Climate Change: The Forgotten Global Disaster and What Biden Plans To Do About It

Climate change is still very real and Biden’s Clean Energy Revolution plans to do something about it.

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Climate change is an issue that still needs to be addressed, even with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. There is only one planet we can call home, and we need to save it while we still can.

Amidst pouring all our concentration into dealing with overcoming the Coronavirus pandemic, we have neglected another global disaster that is still at hand behind the scenes: climate change. It is the process that puts our home on a path to permanent ruin and the reason that global temperatures are at an all-time high. It also leaves Earth ravaged by extreme weather. This detrimental phenomenon needs to be dealt with swiftly, or else our precious home will be left unrepairable.  

Climate change is defined as a change in global weather and climate. While these are the factors that change, they have a wide variety of causes and effects that are often very destructive and cause lasting damage to Earth’s ecosystems. 

Humans’ effect on the climate has exponentially increased over the last one hundred and twenty years, and we are the primary cause of climate change. Humans conduct harmful processes like burning fossil fuels which produce carbon dioxide, and grow livestock in mass quantities; these livestock put methane gas into the atmosphere.

 Carbon dioxide levels are the highest they have been in 650,000 years at 415 parts per million. Carbon dioxide, among other gases like methane, are greenhouse gases that trigger the Greenhouse Effect which causes the overall global temperature to increase. 

Additionally, this is made worse by deforestation, because nearly 3.5 billion to 7 billion trees, who naturally reduce carbon dioxide and replenish the air with breathable oxygen, are cut down each year. The effects this can have on the environment is also very detrimental. The overall increase in heat causes the polar ice caps to melt, which not only destroys the habitats of many species living there, but also causes the sea level to rise. 

Nearly 428 billion metric tons of Earth’s ice sheets are melting per year, and the sea level is rising at about 3.3 millimeters a year. While this may seem like a small and insignificant amount now, over time, the sea level will rise above the surface, making it inhabitable. 

Additionally, precipitation and weather patterns will change drastically, causing heavy rainfall in places like the northern United States and less precipitation in the southern United States. There will be severe droughts and heatwaves in the southwest, and hurricanes will become stronger and more intense. 

Humans have a large influence on increasing global temperatures, and with growing populations and increasing energy demands, the situation is bound to become worse if no solutions are figured out,” said Matthew Ferencz ’23. The severity of the situation is always increasing, and it is a ticking time bomb that needs a solution. 

This is why president-elect Joe Biden has proposed the Clean Energy Revolution,  a proposal that would tackle climate change more aggressively than any of Biden’s past few predecessors. The main goal of the Clean Energy Resolution is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 through investing in research and development of zero-carbon technology as well as by exporting this technology to other nations in order to help them to control climate change. 

By 2030, Biden aims to have new zero-emission standards for buildings, make new zero-emission U.S. buses, and to create 250,000 jobs plugging wells and abandoned mines. By 2035, he hopes to create a net-zero carbon emissions electricity sector and direct 40% of all infrastructure spending on low-income and marginalized communities. 

During Trump’s presidency, environmental issues have not been addressed; Biden’s plan to even make any progress will be beneficial to the United States and the world,” said Ferencz. Even a little progress could be a stepping stone that leads to further improvement; in a survey conducted during the 2020 election, 42% of registered voters said that candidates’ climate change plans were “very important” to their vote and another 26% said that it was “somewhat important” to their vote. A majority of registered voters fret about climate change, are aware of its dangers, and care about what will happen to the planet.  

Biden has made big promises for the fight against climate change, but some are still skeptical if it is enough or if it will even happen.“It’s a step in the right direction. And I do think it will be effective. Obviously, his proposals alone won’t be enough. But, if everyone gives up and says, ‘We can’t stop climate change,’ then it will be the end of life as we know it,” said Edward Caldwell ’23. The Clean Energy Revolution is not the whole and perfect solution for climate change, but it will certainly help with our fight against it. 

When the time comes, will enough have been done to stop climate change?  Or will a dying planet be left in the hands of future generations? The next actions taken will determine if our descendants can still call Earth “home.”  

“It’s a step in the right direction. And I do think it will be effective. Obviously, his proposals alone won’t be enough. But, if everyone gives up and says, ‘We can’t stop climate change,’ then it will be the end of life as we know it,” said Edward Caldwell ’23.

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