In a bombshell 700-page released last year, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave a grim warning about the urgency of climate change. According to the report, we have only 12 years to take aggressive action to limit global warming to moderate levels.
The report also discusses the effects climate change would have if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the same levels. Some impacts include extreme heat waves becoming more common and severe, loss of insect and plant habitats, decreased biodiversity, increased and more severe droughts, and more extreme weather patterns, among others.
Food security, water supply and human health are also major concerns associated with climate change. Crop yields are expected to decrease, resulting in food shortages. With increased droughts come a lack of clean water, and diseases like malaria are expected to become more prevalent.
There will also be an economic toll to pay, with estimated costs from the impacts of climate change to be as high as $54 trillion.
With the urgency of climate change clear, it’s incredibly frustrating to have a president who believes climate change is a hoax. President Trump recently tweeted, “In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming (sic)? Please come back fast, we need you!”
This type of rhetoric is dangerous and has no place in our government. It’s vital that we elect a president who acknowledges the urgency of climate change.
With only 12 years to act before we hit a point of no return, drastic action is needed. Economies will need a massive shift and our infrastructure will need a massive overhaul. Luckily, some Democrats in Congress are taking charge with the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is a comprehensive plan to invest in clean energy jobs and, in the process, overhaul our energy infrastructure. Its goal is to transform the entire economy.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the leaders in the push for a Green New Deal. Working together with the organizations Sunrise and Justice Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez has created a for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal. So far, over 40 members of Congress have signed their support for the committee.
While the exact details haven’t been developed, there are three general principles to the Green New Deal. First, the economy must run entirely on renewable energy. We need to have a zero-carbon economy as soon as possible. Secondly, the plan should create a federal jobs-guarantee and include large-scale infrastructure investments. Thirdly, the plan should include protections for those hit hardest by climate change.
The report by the IPCC also described how disadvantaged and vulnerable populations are at an increased risk of dealing with the adversities related to climate change. A Green New Deal would not only protect the planet but those vulnerable populations as well.
By creating a federal jobs guarantee and investing in our people, we can help decrease the level of poverty in the country as well as protect those most affected by climate change.
Justifiably, the question of how to pay for a Green New Deal always comes up when discussing the groundbreaking proposal. A carbon tax is a popular method. Another proposed method is raising taxes on the wealthy. Ocasio-Cortez has been a strong proponent of this method. She recently proposed raising the income tax to 70 percent for income over $10 million.
The cost of dealing with the impact of climate change will be in the trillions. We might as well use those trillions to overhaul our economy and infrastructure and create new jobs in the process. The time for a Green New Deal is now. Not only would it be beneficial to the environment, but it would provide a massive boost for the economy as well.