By Tedi Rollins
Elm Staff Writer
Throughout his term, President Donald Trump has made clear his desire to Make America Great Again. The rest of the world has had another plan in mind: to make the environment great again.
The U.S. is the only country that has not signed on to the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement to utilize natural energy sources in an attempt to limit the human causes of climate change. Trump began the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement in June, though the process will not be complete until 2020. As of this week, Syria has joined the rest of the world in working towards a cleaner environment, leaving the U.S. as the sole government in the United Nations still arguing that climate change is not a concern.
Trump and other politicians continue to assert that global warming is a myth, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that would say otherwise.
Lisa Friedman and Glenn Thrush of The New York Times said in an article, “Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes.”
While this may seem like a very small temperature change, it has a dramatic effect on the occurrence of natural disasters and the overall state of the environment. Worst of all, these events are largely caused by the actions of humans.
According to NASA’s Global Climate Change website, “In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there’s a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.”
The impact of human behaviors on the environment is inarguable. From high amounts of trash production to emission of harmful gases for energy purposes, it only makes sense that there would be consequences for the waste that we put out.
“The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there’s a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous-oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years,” NASA’s website said.
As people continue to pretend that global warming does not exist, the problems continue to worsen.
The New York Times spoke to Michael E. Mann, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, who confirmed that the state of our environment is in fact a problem. He said, “This news report simply confirms what we already knew. Human-caused climate change isn’t just a theory, it’s reality.”
There are alternatives to our current energy sources that can sufficiently serve our needs, while also lessening the damage done to the earth. Even if you do not believe climate change exists, switching to more natural methods should be an obvious decision, because it eliminates the risk. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
Countries around the world are setting goals on how much they will reduce emissions in the coming years and forming actual plans to make them happen. Some are trying to eliminate deforestation, while others are expanding on renewable energy resources. Both are steps in the right direction.
As the U.S. sits idly by, the rest of the world is forced to pick up the slack for us. Measures must be taken to reduce the behaviors that are detrimental to the earth. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away. We as humans must recognize the problems that we are causing and work to correct them before it is too late.