Climate Change

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Climate Change

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Amy Laabs

Climate Change

A look at the effects of climate change, and the proposal of the Green New Deal

As legislation titlted the “Green New Deal” starts up in Washington DC, many Americans are skeptical. Climate change is a big issue that needs a big solution, but at what cost to the country? Not to mention, some conservatives are still hesitant to even acknowledge the validity of the problem. How can America take steps to reverse the damage if its own president denies its existence? Before turning to the bill proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it is pertinent to examine the dire fate that Earth is facing.

After the Industrial Revolution, pollution began a steady incline. Industrialism is not inherently bad, but in the 21st century it is important to turn to more environmentally friendly means of production and industry. According to NASA’s website, current warming trends are particularly significant because it is more than 95 percent likely to be the result of human activity, and they’re proceeding at a rate never seen before. 2016 was the warmest year on record, and January through September – with the exception of June, were the warmest on record for those respective months. This is quite alarming. A global temperature rise contributes to warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreats, decreased snow cover, sea level rise, extreme weather events, and even more. In Minnesota, climate change can be seen through warmer temperatures, increased rain falls, more big storms, a spread of lyme disease, and the list continues. With this rapid deterioration of the planet the question is, what is driving this change? Eurostat defines drivers as human activities that cause climate change. This includes economic activities like electricity production or cutting down trees, but also leisure activities such as car journeys. UN scientists warn that there is 12 years left to limit climate change catastrophe. Twelve years before human actions are irreversible. For example, ice. If we keep burning fossil fuels, global warming will eventually melt all the ice. In North America, Florida and the Gulf Coast will be gone. San Francisco will become a cluster of islands. After this happens, nothing can fix it. Action needs to be taken before the world gets to this point. Despite partisan tensions, there is legislation on the horizon.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s 14th district has been challenging the status quo since before she got elected. Her progressive policies have caused congressional veterans to shake their heads. The newest proposal, the Green New Deal. It’s ambitious and controversial. The main points are to invest in in green business, move to 100% clean energy by 2030, and provide green jobs. The program would invest in green business by providing grants and low-interest loans to green businesses and cooperatives. An emphasis would be placed on small, local businesses that keep the wealth circulating in their communities. Moving to 100% clean energy by 2030 means redirecting funds from fossil fuels into wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Then the Full-Employment Program will provide 16 million green jobs. These solutions fall into umbrellas of justice and investment. This plan has good ideas, but it’s zealous and some Democrats have slammed the proposition. Chanhassen freshman Evan Violette comments, “The Green New Deal is a great political policy, but a really horrible practical one. The thing about the Green New Deal is it includes so many different promises to voters that are all super extreme.” The good news: Green New Deal is a start. It’s a conversation brought to the table for debate and revision. The hope is that this results in policy.

Climate change is a global problem that will take years to resolve. However there are things that everyone can do to help the planet. Try taking a bus, or carpooling to school. This can help cut down on emissions. At lunch, sort your trash. This is such an easy way to reduce the waste in our landfills. Buy a reusable water bottle to avoid using plastic ones. Although the largest contributors to climate change are massive organizations and corporations, these simple lifestyle changes can help everyone do their part to save the Earth.

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