The United States environmental policies are a set of federal government acts aimed at protecting the environment from the ecologically hazardous actions of the citizens. Lawmakers in the US have created many policies and federal agencies to handle environmental affairs. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency tasked with the enforcement of environmental policies.
The US Climate Change Action Policy (USCCAP) is one of the most outstanding environmental policies not only in the US but also around the globe. The policy was formulated in response to the devastating effects of climate change across the globe. The policy covers three key areas in the environment that include reduction of toxic gas emission, adaptation strategies to the effects of climate change, and international collaborations in tackling global warming.
The policy places restrictions on the emission of greenhouse gases and encourages the use of renewable energy. Furthermore, it provides for adaptation measures that shield all species from the effects of climate change. This paper will draw attention to the key issues in the U.S. policy for climate and come up with recommendations on the same.
The United States environmental policies are a set of federal government acts aimed at protecting the environment from the ecologically hazardous actions of the citizens (Bronen, 2011). Lawmakers in the US have created many policies and federal agencies to handle environmental affairs.
The inception of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, enhanced environmental management in the country (Hahn, 2011). The agency is mandated with the task of enforcing health safety and environmental policies. Currently, the United States government spends more than any country across the globe on environmental management (Holden, 2010).
The US climate action policy is a set of principles that direct the government on issues regarding the climate. Generally, the policy was established in response to the current wave of increasing global temperatures (Holden, 2010). Researches indicate that the U.S. climate alone has increased by nearly 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The rise in temperature contributes hugely to global temperatures, which is currently rising above the normal average.
Heavy downpours, a rise in sea levels, wild fires, and increased heat waves characterize the current nature of the climate in the United States (Hahn, 2011).
In some areas, snow and ice cover has hugely reduced. Environmental experts have warned that global warming could cause drastic changes in ecosystem structures and functions. Some scientists have predicted the extinction of approximately twenty to thirty percent of plant and animal species (Bronen, 2011).
Therefore, in response to the challenges facing the nation, the government embarked on the rafts of measures that would mitigate the dangers arising from global warming (Hahn, 2011).
The measures contained in a policy document range from the reduction in carbon emission to the introduction of renewable wind and solar energy among the domestic energy users (Bronen, 2011). Also, the U.S government has put in place ambitious measures critical in the mitigation against the adverse effects of climate change (Holden, 2010).
The US Policy on Climate Change
The United States policy on climate change encompasses three major areas regarding the environment (Bronen, 2011). To begin with, the policy tackles the issues arising from increased rates of toxic methane, carbon dioxide, and chlorofluorocarbon (HFC) gases emission from power plants in the country (Hahn, 2011). Methane is considered the second largest anthropogenic carbon pollution in the United States.
The highest rate of environmental degradation gases in the atmosphere has motivated the government to come up with clean energy innovations that would aid in the long-term protection of the environment (Holden, 2010). The policy creates a sequence of clean energy innovation hub where studies on energy challenges are carried out by top researchers and engineers in the United States.
Furthermore, the policy places restrictions on the practices that lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions from the present coal-fired power plants to measures that encourage the use of renewable energy (Holden, 2010).
Since the beginning of its implementation, the department of the interior has permitted the establishment of solar panels production facilities, wind farms and geothermal power plants to boost the national electric power grid and sustain approximately seventeen thousand workers (Hahn, 2011).
The department believes that such an effort will double the renewable energy generated from wind, solar, and geothermal sources at the expense of hazardous coal-generated energy. Consequently, this will reduce the country to reach its goal of reducing carbon pollution by approximately seventeen percent by the year 2020 (Bronen, 2011).
Secondly, the policy is geared towards mitigating the effects of constantly recurring climate change (Holden, 2010). The mitigation measures include a set of activities that would help some of the US citizens, especially the American Indian tribe, to adapt to the climate changes. Research has indicated that American Indians are more prone to several effects of climate change due to their marginal nature and the location of their ancestral land (Hahn, 2011).
The policy enhanced the creation of a multi-agency Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) to advise the government on how to adapt to the threats that come with climate change. The task force arrived on and published several measures that ensured citizens and investors are protected from the risks associated with climate change (Bronen, 2011). Also, the policy provides a framework that promotes resilience in fish, wildlife, and plant populations.
Finally, the policy provides proposals that ensure collaboration with the international community in endeavors to tackle global warming (Hahn, 2011). Specifically, the policy obligates the government to join forces with foreign partners to eliminate the emission of harmful gasses including HFC, which is used as a refrigerant across major foreign economies like India, China and the European Union (Bronen, 2011).
In line with the policy, the government initiated and signed several international agreements on environmental protection that included the Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreements (Holden, 2010). Consequently, the government undertook measures to supervise the mitigation attempts in developing countries and launched a green climate fund.
The formulation and the execution of the policy lie entirely on the executive arm of the national government (Hahn, 2011). The execution of the policy requires an interdepartmental approach among various state governments.
For example, EPA can be tasked with outlining and execution of regulations on power plant emissions whereas the role of boosting the use of renewable energy on community lands can be assigned to the department of the interior (Holden, 2010).
Conclusion and Recommendation
Generally, it is evident that global warming has adverse effects on ecology, including various habitats. The government of the U.S has developed a very elaborate policy document to curb the problem. The government is entrusted with an enormous plan of ensuring the implementation of the Climate Action Plan (CAP).
Within the CPA are activities that include reducing emissions of toxic gasses, encouraging the development and use of renewable energy, advancing nationwide adaptation plans and protecting the habitats of both endangered plants and animals. The government also has the responsibility of collaborating with the international community in responding appropriately to the challenges of climate change.
The government should put much emphasis on the development of renewable energy on idle public land with minimal wildlife interference to avoid unnecessary environmental and cultural conflicts. Such conflicts over resources could delay policy implementations.
Additionally, the government must review laws that govern fossil fuel development on public land. Such review is necessary for encouraging stringent measures on fossil fuel development and subsequent emission of carbon.
The success of the policy depends a lot on its implementation. The policy requires an inter-governmental working group of federal, state, and tribal agencies to collaborate and ensure successful implementation of the policy. For instance, the federal government should coordinate National adaptation planning activities with the various state governments and tribal agencies that could be affected by climate changes.
Moreover, in developing adaptation plans, it is important to note that specific areas have unique needs. Therefore, the plans should be tailored to specific areas. Tribes should be provided with expertise and funding to develop their respective climate change adaptation strategies.
Such funding is quite necessary since there is no institutional structure in the United States to transfer communities and the agencies mandated with such tasks lack technical and organizational means to carry out the mandate.
Bronen, R. (2011). Climate-induced community relocations: creating an adaptive governance framework based in human rights doctrine. New York, NY: Law & Society.
Hahn, R. W. (2011). United States environmental policy: Past, present and future. Natural Resources Journal, 34(1), 305-348.
Holden, M. (2010). Energy policy and the Obama administration: Some choices and challenges. Energy Law Journal, 30(405), 405-414