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Challenges ahead

The catastrophic climate change is no longer a subject for argument, at least on a mainstream level within the science community. Yet, as temperatures continue to rise, American efforts to combat global warming, sadly seem to decline.

President Elect, Donald Trump is more concerned by the economic cost of combating global warming, and has repeatedly rejected United States’ role in the Paris Climate Agreement that took place in December of 2015.

In fact, Trump has pledged to end US involvement in the Paris climate deal, arguing that the main concern of the American government is the continuation of the construction of various pipelines, like that of Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as drilling, fracking, and so on, because it is “a big piece of profits” for the American people.

Of course, his statement is baseless and self-serving considering the ‘big piece of profits’ will mostly benefit American corporations and elites, not the American people.

Such arguments certainly complement Trump’s views which have historically been self-absorbed and hold little regard for the environment. Moreover, Trump had referred to climate change as a “hoax”. He explained in one of his numerous tweets: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

Trump’s eccentric views aside, the seriousness of global climate change has been taken for granted. The situation is too critical for political pandering and empty promises by large corporations.

A study conducted by Climate Central – which reports on the science and impact of climate change – identified 414 towns and cities within the United States that will become submerged no matter what climate action is taken as of now.

This devastating forecast includes some of the most condensed population centers in the United States, such as Miami and New Orleans.

No conspiracies here, however. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had reported that as of 2014, US carbon emissions totaled 6,870 million metric tons (15.1 trillion pounds) of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Grim as the forecasts maybe, there are reasons for hope as more nations are making steady strides for cleaner energy. As of 2016, Germany’s overall economy already operates with 27% renewable energy. In fact, on May 8th of 2016, 95% of Germany’s energy consumption was reportedly met by renewables alone.

Ordinary citizens are too making a difference. In January of 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe initiated a mobilization effort to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a crude oil pipeline trailing from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipelines journey was meant to cut through the ancient burial grounds as well as threaten the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux.

Native Americans from over 100 tribes and thousands of other protesters joined in solidarity to resist the destruction the pipeline would ensue. They were met with violence from the police force that quickly amassed, using concussion grenades, pepper spray, and police dogs and water cannons.

Through the determination of the ‘water protectors’, they managed to push for the rerouting of the pipeline; though they continue to protest the construction of the Dakota Access as a whole.

The US must heed calls for massive change of attitude towards renewable energy. In fact, by doing so, it is set to economically benefit from the change.

Baroud, Zarefah. Challenges ahead. The News, January 19, 2017.

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