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A Climate Change Emergency in the US

Introduction

Scientists now agree that climate change is the result of human activity. Some of these activities include the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Although many gases are emitted into the atmosphere that creates the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide builds up and stays in the air for centuries, causing more harm than other agents. Other greenhouse gases are methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Nevertheless, carbon dioxide accounts for 76% of the greenhouse effect, while industrial processes and fossil fuel burning generate 86% (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2021). The rest of the carbon dioxide emanates from land-use activities and forestry.

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Although the other gases contribute 24% of gaseous effects, their adverse impacts are short-term (EPA, 20210. Therefore, climate change solutions must focus on industrial carbon emitters and fossil fuel burning. The devastating effects of climate change are felt in both third worlds and developed nations worldwide. To handle the problem of climate change effects, the US must restrict carbon emissions by enforcing policies that favor the initiatives, financing the green economy, and campaigning for its implementation.

Main body

The world is faced with a climatic and ecological emergency as the effects of global warming are caused by carbon emissions, increasing in severity and frequency with each day’s passing. Climate change results from human activities as they are the major consumers of coal, petro, diesel, and gas (Gills & Morgan, 2020). The burning of fuels destroys the climate by emitting greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. As more people require energy at home, use electronic devices, and drive cars, fossil fuel combustion levels continue to increase (Gills & Morgan, 2020). Since 1970, carbon emissions have grown by over 90% due to the increased combustion of fossil fuels, industrial activities, land-use changes, and deforestation (EPA, 2021).

Data from EPA (2021) shows the leading countries by emission as China, the US, the EU, India, and Russia, in that order. These countries are mainly engaged in gas flaring, fossil fuel burning, and cement production. The industries involved in most carbon dioxide emissions are heat and electricity production, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation (EPA, 2021). Buildings and homes also contribute to emissions through energy and heat production and cooking.

If the rate of carbon emissions is not changed, there is a likelihood of the emergence of food shortages, the collapse of nation-states, and the call for extreme government responses. In a report released by scientists in the United States in 2018, the world has around twelve years to curb global warming (Khoshnava et al., 2020). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has given multiple warnings that with the growing amount of emissions, the world may suffer unrecoverable damage by 2030. The ecological and climatic emergency is manifested through extreme weather conditions like cyclones and floods, desertification, and extended droughts (Khoshnava et al., 2020).

Although developing countries have contributed the least to climate change, they are experiencing the most adverse effects. Climate change increases poverty in these nations leading to intense competition for dwindling resources, human movement, and instability (Grandi, 2021). Wealthy countries have also experienced dangerous effects, such as the wildfires in Canada, US, and Siberia, the European flooding that killed over 200 people, and the heatwaves that killed people in Canada (Grandi, 2021). Therefore, climate change is already wreaking havoc in all parts of the earth.

The climate crisis has been termed an emergency due to the nature of the change occurring currently and thus requires collective and urgent action by all countries, including the US. Most of the factors that cause climatic pollution are linked to daily human activities, such as land degradation, pollution, and deforestation (Islam & Kieu, 2021). Solutions must focus on carbon pricing, improving energy efficiency, and shifting to renewable energy sources (Krosnick & Maclnnis, 2020).

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These measures can be implemented through tax breaks and incentives, regulations enforced by governments, and consumer incentives. Urgent steps are necessary to reduce national, industry, organizational, and individual carbon footprints. The US should finance the green economy through energy subsidies, public expenditures, climate-resilient infrastructure, and green monetary and banking policies (Khoshnava et al., 2020). While establishing regulations and policies is only the first stage, the government must ensure enforcement within its boundaries. As an influential nation, the US can campaign for green economy governmental frameworks in world countries and support the implementation of COP26 goals. The US is instrumental in lowering carbon emissions to a neutral or zero level in major world economies.

Some critics of the limitation of carbon emitters as sources of emissions argue that implementing a green economy is not possible. They continue to say that renewable sources of energy cannot be fully reliable as they are limited. The reliability of renewable sources fails when they are wholly dependent on wind and solar power. For instance, Germany produced 37.5% of its electricity from renewables while generating 56% of its power from carbon-free sources in 2020. Therefore, these critics mainly focus on wind and solar sources without considering biomass, nuclear, and hydroelectric dams, which contribute to 24% of Germany’s electricity (Shellenberger, 2021).

Critics also cite the rising in electricity prices due to the movement to renewable sources. While this argument is valid, the long-term benefits could outweigh the high prices. In addition, the costs of climate change are also on the rise as extreme weather destroys property and takes away lives. The private and the public sectors have to invest in projects that discourage using fossil fuels, efficient use of resources, and are inclusive socially. Collaborative efforts from all sectors will help to achieve the desired change.

Conclusion

In conclusion, efforts towards adopting the green economy should be implemented quickly to save the world from the effects of climate change, including heat waves, rising sea levels, causing drought, floods, and famine. The environment has already suffered much from the uncaring industries’ emissions, and the impacts are already being experienced. Climate change solutions must focus on industrial carbon emitters and fossil fuel burning, as the devastating effects of global warming are already felt in both developing and developed countries across the globe.

References

Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). Global greenhouse gas emissions data. Web.

Gills, B., & Morgan, J. (2020). Global Climate Emergency: After COP24, climate science, urgency, and the threat to humanity. Globalizations, 17(6), 885-902. Web.

Grandi, F. (2021). Climate change is an emergency for everyone, everywhere. UNHCR. Web.

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Islam, M. S., & Kieu, E. (2021). Sociological perspectives on climate change and society: A review. Climate, 9(1), 7. Web.

Khoshnava, S. M., Rostami, R., Zin, R. M., Štreimikiene, D., Yousefpour, A., Mardani, A., & Alrasheedi, M. (2020). Contribution of green infrastructure to the implementation of the green economy in the context of sustainable development. Sustainable Development, 28(1), 320-342. Web.

Krosnick, J., A. & Maclnnis, B. (2020). Climate insights 2020: Policies and politics. Resource for the Future. Web.

Shellenberger, M. (2021). Renewable energy boom risks more blackouts without adequate investment in grid reliability. Forbes. Web.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "A Climate Change Emergency in the US." October 21, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/a-climate-change-emergency-in-the-us/.

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