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The Way We’re Headed: the politicization of Climate change - Guest Writer

Written By Isaac Netherton

Edited by Annika Lilja



Oh, climate change! One of the more... contentious subjects among politicians and citizens. Efforts such as the Green New Deal, a proposal that will allow the United States to slowly transfer from fossil fuels to clean energy and “curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions,” has been shot down by Senate Republicans, calling it “a socialist takeover” and that the Senate Democrats are “far from the mainstream on energy issues.” Regardless, the science shows that something needs to be done, and Congress is clearly split on how change should come about.


However, across the country, various youth organizers have come together to address this problem head-on. The Sunrise Movement, an organization that is uniting to make climate change an urgent priority in America, has taken the U.S. capital by storm in its various protests and sit-ins. In early 2019, elementary and middle schoolers visited California Senator Dianne Feinstein to vote “yes” on the Green New Deal. In September 2021, various indigenous and non-indigenous people came together to protest the Line 3 pipeline that was being made on native land as well as to “redact the permits for the Dakota Access pipeline.” As you can see, it seems that America’s youth is taking on the challenge of fighting for climate change action.


To fully understand the extent of climate change, you have to set aside all political views regarding this ongoing crisis. The facts show that this is a real threat and that the human race is mostly responsible for the damage done. To quote a previous article here on All Teen Politics, “Now begins the question as to whether systemic change is required, or if letting everyone make their own decision, regardless of the lasting effect on our planet, is the best strategy.”


Five months after he was elected in 2017, Former President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be leaving the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty aimed at bringing down greenhouse gas emissions all over the world, serves as a guide to over 193 countries on how to successfully stop climate change. President Trump announced the leave on June 1 of 2017, citing that the Paris Climate Agreement was “a deal that aimed to hobble, disadvantage and impoverish the US.” This decision was met with widespread support from Senate Republicans and fellow conservatives. The withdrawal took effect in November 2020.


During his campaign for Presidency in the 2020 election, Joe Biden announced that it was his intention, on the day of assuming office, that he would have the U.S. rejoin the Agreement. On January 20, 2021, the day he was inaugurated, Biden signed an executive order having the U.S. rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. This was met with universal support from Democrats, while most Republicans disagreed with rejoining.


On October 31, 2021, the United Nations Climate Change Conference convened to discuss the worldwide impact of climate change. The Glasgow Climate Pact took effect on November 13, seeking to limit global warming to 34.7°F by 2030 worldwide. Now, what exactly does this mean? Well, as the years go on, our earth gets a little bit hotter. Due to the fact that we as a planet continuously burn fossil fuels, it sends carbon emissions up into the atmosphere, making up what are greenhouse gasses, that will then trap heat. This, in turn, warms up the planet. We burn fuels, heat gets trapped in the atmosphere, and, in the process, we melt the polar ice caps, sea levels rise, and animals die off, among other things.


As said above, the issue of climate change and how it should be dealt with varies among people across the political spectrum. The country clearly isn’t united together on this issue, with Republican lawmakers attacking the Biden Administration’s actions to address the climate crisis, with Democrats wanting to reverse the Trump Administration’s rollbacks of climate and environmental protections.


Climate change has been politicized. Yes, this is a political blog, and politics always have a role to play in getting things done, but if we want to enact real and meaningful change, then we must forgo all pretenses of bipartisanship and come together as a country. To quote President Joe Biden, “The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.”


 

Sources


● “1. Is the Climate Warming? | Royal Society.” The Royal Society, Mar. 2020,

royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/climate-change-evidence-causes/question-1.

● Beckett, Lois. “‘You Didn’t Vote for Me’: Senator Dianne Feinstein Responds to Young

Green Activists.” The Guardian, 23 Feb. 2019, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/22/dianne-feinstein-sunrise-movement-green-new-deal

● Biden For President. “A Presidency for All Americans.” Joe Biden for President: Official Campaign Website, 19 Oct. 2021, joebiden.com/presidency-for-all-americans.

● Dewan, Angela. “Climate Protests Led by Youths Spread across the World: Live Updates.” CNN, 24 Sept. 2021, edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/live-updates-climate-protests-unga-intl/index.html.

● Dewan, Angela. “COP26 Climate Deal Includes Historic Reference to Fossil Fuels but Doesn’t Meet Urgency of the Crisis.” CNN, 14 Nov. 2021, edition.cnn.com/2021/11/13/world/cop26-agreement-final-climate-intl/index.html.

● Friedman, Lisa. “What Is the Green New Deal? A Climate Proposal, Explained.” The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2019/02/21/climate/green-new-deal-questions-answers.html.

● Hancock, Lorin. “Why Are Glaciers and Sea Ice Melting?” World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/pages/why-are-glaciers-and-sea-ice-melting. Accessed 8 Jan. 2022.

● Nilsen, Ella. “Sunrise Movement: Youth Climate Change Activists Are Angry, and Effective.” Vox, 17 Sept. 2019, www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/9/10/20847401/sunrise-movement-climate-change-activist-millennials-global-warming.

● “The Sources and Solutions: Fossil Fuels.” US

EPA, 11 Dec. 2020, www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/sources-and-solutions-fossil-fuels.

● “Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” US EPA, 27 July 2021, www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions.

● Sunrise Movement - Sunrise Movement. “About The.” Sunrise Movement, 18 Nov. 2020, www.sunrisemovement.org/about.

“https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40127326

● https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

●https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/20/paris-climate-agreement/

●https://democrats.org/where-we-stand/party-platform/combating-the-climate-crisis-and-pursuing-environmental-justice/

●https://democrats.org/where-we-stand/party-platform/combating-the-climate-crisis-and-pursuing-environmental-justice/


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