Climate Change’s Policy Debut

On June 1 2014, the Obama administration proposed a new plan that would cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. This plan would help the country encourage more opportunities for new environmental friendly industries. With the introduction of this new plan, climate change proves to be an important and current issue that needs to be further addressed.

The previously weak policies for climate change reflected the lack of attention on an undeniable climate change. It seems that no one was willing to make sacrifices without special recognition and/or subsidies. According to World Nuclear Association, these past policies were  “largely ineffective.” This new policy is its largest step by the U.S. in taking responsibility for its emissions after declining to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in 2001. So far the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty aimed to cut down carbon discharge, has failed to slow global emissions.

The Obama administration’s policy would target the source of America’s 40 percent carbon pollution while also putting pressure other nations to take its part in combating global warming. In 2012, the annual emissions of carbon dioxide were 26.43 percent, 14.14 percent and 13.33 percent on China, U.S. and the European Union (EU) respectively. Announced earlier this year, the EU aims to cut their CO2 emission by 40 percent by 2030. The EU’s availability of renewable sources is believed to support the effectiveness of this plan.  As the largest greenhouse gas emitter, China should put in more effort to reduce emissions. Because climate change is an international concern, all industrialized and developing countries must unite to reduce CO2 emissions.

Focusing on renewable energy would also create a substantial economic impact by generating new job opportunities in this new field. The Green economy provided “9 million jobs and $1,045 billion in U.S. revenue in 2007,” according to the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). With the support of the innovative Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE&EE) industries, we can change society by encouraging every industry to partake in lessening their pollution productions. The majority of jobs created by RE&EE are already existing in other industries such as engineering, accounting and electricians. The improvement on strategies concerning climate change will continue as this policy encourages every city throughout the U.S. to participate.

Lastly, the Green economy would drive out the nation’s dependence on unsustainable energy. Oil, a limited kind of fossil fuel, has created tensions between countries. American-made energy, according to the White House, declines the nation’s reliance on foreign oil. Innovations on developing clean energy and fuel, and energy efficiency advancement are few of the projects the administration is advocating for. The declaration of the new policy reflects the earnestness of administration for change.

As citizens of the U.S., we have seen the devastating effects of climate change in our country – from devastating hurricanes to prolonged droughts that affect our food supply. Now should be the time for this issue to be addressed – not next year, nor on the following decades. Climate change is part of the earth’s ways of renewing itself; it is natural and inevitable. Our country has the responsibility to set as a good example for other nations especially since it is responsible for a significant percentage of carbon dioxide emissions. Policies on climate change should not be updated after every decade; instead, should be improved and strictly implemented every year. Natural disaster never waits; united control and prevention is the key in a successful campaign for an international problem like global warming.

The Obama administration’s new policy would help its own people while serving as a catalyst for other nations to contribute in decreasing carbon emissions. America’s freedom from fossil fuel dependence is a milestone that every industry must work on together. The Obama administration is on the right path with this newly constructed regulation.

 

Karen Ivy Mae Gabon is a fourth-year public health science major. She can be reached at kgabon@uci.edu.