In October 2018, the United Nations released an official climate report, under the recommendation of United Nations Environmental Programme experts, warning that humanity has about 11 years left to change our ways to avoid total climate disaster, but we must be on a sustainable track before 2030. This means that we now have about 10 years to dramatically change our energy usage and C02 production globally. This is particularly important in countries like the United States, considering we currently have the highest C02 production per capita, in the world.
Change will not occur overnight, it will require a level of social responsibility the U.S. has never come close to exhibiting. It will require impactful, wide-reaching legislation, that is drafted, passed, and implemented in a rapid time frame. Legislation will include provisions such as stripping oil and gas corporations of any and all federal and state subsidies, enforcing harsh carbon taxing on corporations, granting sizable subsidies to renewable energy companies (so that their barriers to enter the energy market are lessened, until it becomes the majority of the market), allocating federal funding for renewable energy research and development, and providing tax credits for renewable residential energy sources and electric vehicles. Another part of this policy will need to include the facilitation of a very efficient and timely turn around of our energy sector, which will include job retraining.
Moving into the 2020 presidential elections, Americans should be prioritizing candidates that embrace what is being called the “New Green Deal,” which is said to focus of transforming our energy sector towards a sustainable model of energy production, in part by taking advantage of the available skilled labor force in the U.S. through job retraining programs. However, this alone will not be enough, and the American public must be vigilant in its evaluation of presidential candidates, and prioritize those who are ready to help us move towards a sustainable future.
In reality, this humanitarian priority should not be a partisan issue, seeing as rising sea levels and climate disaster can affect everyone. However, those contributing the most immediate damage also have the most lobbying money in politics, but despite this the American people need to see the threat of climate change for what it is, not the partisan issue that it has been manipulated into becoming, and must be prioritized.
Bob Deans, from the National Resource Defense Council, made this point profoundly, by stressing to the audience the imperative nature of our current climate crisis, and urging everyone to be conscious of our actions, including who we elect to congress. He also reminded us that it is our duty as a voting constituent body to hold our elected leaders to account. This is something for us all to bear in mind as we approach a new election cycle, that will likely include the dire state of the environment as a central topic for campaigns.