Climate change and the election: vote for action

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Photo courtesy of nbclosangeles.com

It is said in the Old Testament, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock” (Ezekiel 34: 2-3). 

We have reached a moment in time where we can no longer ignore the global climate crisis. It has been 30 years since scientists first started to form a consensus about the dangers of human-caused global warming, and since then things have only gotten worse. Yet, there is hope for a better future if we act now.  

In his encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis makes a desperate appeal to communicate the “immensity and urgency of the challenge we face.” He refers to the earth as our “common home,” emphasizing this is not any single country’s issue, but a global one. 

He writes that “Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world.” God entrusted us to protect His creation, and he shows us how to care for it with generosity and tenderness as Mary cared for Christ. The ideas presented in this encyclical are a part of Catholic Social Teaching—the Church’s doctrine on matters of human dignity and common good in society—and have been around since the times of the Old Testament and the early days of the Church.  

As Christians, we should all be striving to protect God’s creation and all living things. Catholic Social Teaching asks us to care for creation, the Bible asks us to care for creation, Pope Francis asks us to care for creation and God asks us to care for creation. 

So, why has climate justice been turned into a political issue? Why is human-caused, global climate change called a hoax and dismissed by so many in this country?

Climate change is an issue that affects every soul on earth. It is an international crisis that should be our primary focus in the upcoming election. 

At the University of Dallas, we strive towards truth and justice. The truth is that climate change is real; this is not a matter of opinion. At UD, we learn to evaluate sources based on credibility. According to NASA, “97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.” 

This is not a hoax. 

If we continue on our current path, carbon emissions will continue to rise, which in turn will cause the global temperature to rise. As the planet warms, everything will feel its effects. Thousands of species will go extinct from loss of habitat due to deforestation. The arctic will be completely ice-free in the summers.  Without the ice, less of the sun’s energy will be reflected back into space, speeding up the global warming process even more. 

As the oceans warm, coral reefs will die, leading to loss of marine biodiversity. Loss of marine life leads to food shortages for humans. Sea levels will rise and eventually flood many coastal cities. The weather will become harsher and more extreme. There will be more droughts and heatwaves; hurricanes will become more intense. 

All this is likely to take place in our lifetimes unless we do something about it. 

Now is the time for action and radical change from the highest office in this country. There is one candidate running this year who stands for climate justice and has a plan to pour $2 trillion into the fight to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. That candidate is former Vice President Joe Biden. 

President Donald Trump’s plan is to deny, dismiss and diminish the threat. While in office, he has reversed many of the climate policies put into place during the Obama administration, including, but not limited to an executive order to rescind President Obama’s 2013 Climate Plan focused on cutting carbon emissions, appointing not one, but two oil lobbyists to head the EPA, reducing the size of two national monuments in Utah by two million acres in the largest rollback of federal land protection in our nation’s history and lifting the moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands.

He also withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement within the first 6 months of his presidency. Biden promises to rejoin the agreement, whose central aim is to strengthen the global response to climate change. Trump promises “America First,” so then why does he consistently enact policies to damage our environment? He does not care about America; he cares about profiting off her destruction. We are one of the world’s biggest superpowers, yet due to Trump’s actions we are ranked 61st in the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index. 

As young people, we need to stand up and fight for our futures and the futures of our children and grandchildren. As 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg said, “We must admit that we are losing this battle. We have to acknowledge the older generations have failed.” 

It is up to us and our generation to fix this crisis. 

Individual change is important, but there must also be a systemic change from real people in power. We cannot ask politely or timidly. We must demand action from our politicians. It is time for Americans to say no to Trump’s incompetence and prove ourselves as a country that fights for environmental justice. 

1 COMMENT

  1. President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement because it does little to reduce global warming and cost a fortune! It will cost nearly 1 to 2 trillion American dollars every year to reduce temperature to 0.3 degrees at the end of a century, which will stop climate change for approximately 4 years (if it even works). (Results from the Stanford energy modeling forum and the Asia modeling exercise). Biden saying that he will pull trillions of tax payer money into this Paris Climate Agreement isn’t proof that he cares/knows what is going on with the climate. It is not a pro to be added. It only emphasizes the fact that Trump is the best candidate because he understands both the economy and the climate.

    You are only showing one side of the Climate change results. A one-sided focus can be very dangerous. Here are some more facts for you. Yes, arctic sea ice is melting faster than expected, BUT antarctic sea ice is increasing contrary to the prediction of the same model. Yes, sea levels are rising, BUT the rise is not accelerating. (Global and Planetary Change, January 2014; Coastal Engineering, May 2013). More droughts? March 2014 Journal Nature shows a decrease in the world’s surface afflicted by droughts since 1982. Hurricanes? U.S. Hurricane damage from 1900-2014 decreased slightly when adjusted for population and wealth.

    Predictions that say label climate change as an existential threat have decades-long track record of getting predictions wrong. For example, a 1989 UN prediction on climate change could not have been more wrong. It stated that “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.” Correct me if I’m wrong but it is 2020 now and which nations have been wiped off the Earth?

    International disaster database shows that climate related deaths (extreme heat, floods, storms, drought, etc.) have been plummeting as CO2 emissions have been rising. Fossil fuel energy emitting the CO2 empowered us to climate-proof our environment. The author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein, describes this by saying, “Fossil fuels have not taken a naturally safe climate and made it unnaturally dangerous, it has taken our naturally dangerous climate and made it unnaturally safe.”

    Climate change is not an existential threat but Harris’ Green New Deal might be. Harris is the senate co-sponsor of the radical Green New Deal. It is so radical that it is borderline a communist plan to tear down houses and make them energy efficient. It implies that the government should prohibit the use of fossil fuel energy immediately and impose 100% renewable energy (like sun and wind). 80% of the energy that Americans use are fossil fuels. Only 3% are from solar and wind. It is only 3% because solar and wind energy are extremely unreliable. They are only good for when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. Because of this, no country has ever come close to even 50% renewable energy use. The Green New Deal would give government control of the transportation industry, manufacturing industry and the agricultural industry.

    **My sources are cited where they are applicable, I also used the writings of Alex Epstein and Bjorn Lomberg as sources

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