Government must take action to stop climate change

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BY DAVID SILVA

How is it possible that the most important global dilemma our generation has inherited can be refuted due to party alignment?

On Inauguration Day, President Donald Trump affirmed that he would specifically target former President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, according to a statement atwhitehouse.gov.

The statement, addressing an “An America First Energy Plan,” says that Trump’s administration plans to eliminate policies that regulate the energy industry, such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. It goes on to say that the administration plans to utilize shale, oil and coal to supply energy.

President Trump’s administration went further by completely eliminating any reference to climate change on the whitehouse.gov website.

On Jan. 24, the president signed an executive order and four presidential memorandums intended to streamline the environmental review process of the Keystone XL Pipeline, Dakota Access Pipeline and other forms of domestic manufacturing.

This paired with the president’s claim that climate change is a Chinese hoax intended to cripple U.S. businesses leaves me petrified about what’s to come in the next four years.

We can no longer afford to make climate change, global warming and other infringements on our environment partisan issues.

The common argument against the validity of man-made global warming is that the Earth has periods in which it warms and subsequently cools.

While that observation isn’t necessarily incorrect, comparing NASA’s data on carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gas levels over the past 400,000 years shows steady influxes every 100,000 years until about the 1950s, when levels have increased exponentially higher.

Other arguments include the seemingly undramatic increases in the earth’s global temperature and sea levels. For those who deem a 3.4 millimeter sea level rise per year as nothing to worry about or a 1.7 degree Fahrenheit global temperature increase since 1880 as not a big deal, one must understand that these seemingly small changes already have evident consequences.

Long and intense heat waves, changes in precipitation patterns and the destruction of coastal habitats have all occurred in the past year.

On the very same day that Trump’s administration reshaped the whitehouse.gov website, the World Meteorological Organization reported that 2016 was the hottest year on record, dating back to 1880. Out of the 10 hottest years in the 136-year span, all but one has happened after 2000, according to NASA.

Not only does global temperature change disrupt the planet’s interdependent ecosystems, but projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline are direct environmental hazards to the surrounding soil, water and wildlife. Trump’s further proclamations to fast-track environmental reviews also threaten to make the most common infrastructure projects environmental liabilities.

We must face the fact that climate change is occurring, and changing this course is going to be extremely difficult.
Even if greenhouse emissions stopped overnight, the present concentrations  in the atmosphere will cause at least a half-degree temperature increase.

In finding a solution for climate change, the problem deepens.

However, the conversation cannot begin if validity is still disputed and used as a political weapon.

The bottom line in climate change reform is that renewable energy options are available. And although they are not as cheap or as common as our present energy providers, solar panels, wind turbines and electronic cars become cheaper and more reliable every year. This progress, with government support, is the future of global energy.

Unfortunately, large oil and natural gas industries are the largest resistors of this change. Environmental regulations will make them accountable for their various emissions and will ultimately make clean renewable energy sources the industry leaders.

Oil companies that have the resources to lobby elected officials have Republicans insistent on staying in the past, and that has bleed over into the party’s core ideology.

It’s essential for us to be fully informed about the consequences industries have on our planet and for us to demand our elected officials, including our president (yeah, our president), to accept climate change as fact and allow the conversation to continue from there.

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