The Back and Forth on Climate Change is Going to Get Us Nowhere

It affects everyone. Whether you are conservative, liberal or independent, climate change is wreaking havoc across all parts of the world. 

Everyone has seen the effects of climate change, large or small. California has seen some of the worst possible damage with their wildfires, caused by lots of heat waves and droughts in the west. In the midwest — closer to Libertyville — Lake Michigan has seen record-high water levels that have eroded the coastline and beaches. And this January, Lake Michigan had its lowest ice cover ever recorded, according to Wisconsin Public Radio, signifying the changing climate and warming temperature.  The rising temperature hasn’t affected the Chicago area very much yet, but in 2050, there will be 10 times more heat waves compared to summer 2020, according to Climate Central, if action is not taken.

These are just some examples of how climate change is affecting millions of people. But there are thousands of more domestic and foreign examples of how climate change is affecting humans and animals in the wild. 

If we continue our practice and pace of releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, the average temperature will keep going up, creating huge problems in the future, like dangerous heat waves and mass animal extinction, even making areas of the world uninhabitable.

The average human being emits 27 tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to a Penn State University study. These emissions are from cars, electricity usage, flying in planes and even the carbon emissions involved in producing and transporting the goods we consume.

Emissions produced rise up into the earth’s atmosphere in the carbon cycle and then continue the cycle back down to earth. However, humans are currently releasing extreme amounts of carbon dioxide and the carbon cycle cannot keep up with the increase in carbon dioxide. A barrier forms in the atmosphere from all of the extra emissions, creating the “greenhouse effect,” trapping the sun’s rays and increasing the average temperature.

The only way to fix the open wound of climate change is to cut total emissions and go carbon neutral — meaning that the United States would not release any extra emissions that the carbon cycle can’t handle. Various scientists have agreed that in order to stop irreversible damage to our planet, every country needs to be carbon neutral by 2050. The entire world is in this together.

To combat climate change, the Paris Climate Accord was created. In this agreement, countries pledged to keep global warming under a certain level and have emissions peak as soon as possible. President Barack Obama joined the Paris Climate Agreement after it was created in 2016, in addition to helping pass climate change-related legislation.

After President Obama’s term ended, President Donald Trump’s term began. He took almost every action that President Obama had approved on climate change and reversed course. He also withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. Trump sided with about 25% of people — according to a large-scale Pew Research Center study — that believe that climate change is not real and or not a problem, ignoring the scientific evidence signaling that we are in a crisis.

Just recently, President Joe Biden signed many executive orders reversing course again, including re-joining the Paris Climate Accord.

This back and forth on climate change isn’t doing any good for anybody and is just making the goal harder and harder to reach. This is going to be the reason why the whole country is going to have to struggle to make any progress on climate change, not be carbon neutral by 2050 and not meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. 

Climate change shouldn’t even be a political issue, as it affects every single human being. No matter your party affiliation, you should care about the negative effects of climate change.

The whole country already got set back four years on climate change. Just imagine getting set back again — even for just a year or two — and how that could affect our progress. It is vital that climate change is taken seriously, for the future of human life on planet earth.