By: Annie Dubois
To begin, it is well-known that the Trump administration is not the biggest advocate for environmental justice. As citizens we see this in President Trump’s proposal to slash funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, and his numerous tweets against the protection of the environment, like his infamous claim that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese. In a new era of politics, a re-emerging version of the Republican party has slowly started to view the protection of the global environment as a subject to be monopolized and politicized, rather than dealing with it with as an issue across all parties. Although many of us knew of President Trump’s stance on the environment, it still came as a surprise that he pulled the U.S out of the Paris Climate Agreement, making America the only nation to not participate.
What does this mean for us as Americans? As nature lovers and protectors? What can we do to combat these decisions?
In a nutshell, the Paris Agreement brings nations together to combat climate change as a collective. The main goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius through new technologies and financial efforts. Scientists agree that keeping the temperature change below pre-industrial levels is vital to preserve our planet from enduring the gruesome effects of climate change. Each nation that joins the agreement is required to report regularly on their efforts and emissions, which holds them accountable. The question remains: why did Donald Trump make the decision to drop the U.S from this agreement?
President Trump claims that America would spend “billions and billions and billions of dollars.” Although the U.S did agree to spend $3 billion, and this is indeed higher than any other country, we should also take into consideration how many greenhouse gasses the U.S emits. In 2014, we emitted 15.1 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide, ranking us number 2 in the list of countries that emit the most gasses. In the bigger picture, it seems reasonable that we contribute $3 billion because of our enormous amount of emissions.
Donald Trump also claimed that the Paris Agreement would result in job losses, and this claim has been disproved. Although the President claims that 2.7 million jobs would be lost by 2025 due to the Paris Agreement, it is a fact that solar energy jobs outnumber those in the coal industry. This means that extreme job loss due to a shift in energy methods is an unlikely claim. In addition to this, as clean energy technologies develop further, the costs for these technologies will decrease. In fact, ever since 2016, solar energy costs have decreased by 8%.
As many of us know, the U.S dropping out of the Paris Agreement would mean irreversible negative environmental outcomes for the world as a whole. We’ve already seen the scary beginning of the domino effect that is climate change. As the glaciers shrink and melt, heat waves intensify, and the damage and frequency of natural disasters increases, our human activity is the factor that is crucial in stopping the advancement of these effects. If we don’t work together to protect our environment, we will continue to experience temperature rises caused by human activity. As a consequence, precipitation patterns will change, heatwaves and hurricanes will be more intense, and sea levels will rise exponentially high. Cities like Phoenix, Arizona will be uninhabitable due to temperature rise, and Miami, New York, and San Francisco are projected to be severely at risk for flooding due to rising sea levels.
Now is the time to stand up for our voiceless environment. Call your state senators and tell them what you think, protest, and make your voice heard. There’s no planet B, so let’s take care of our world. For ourselves and for future generations.