Climate change has no time for politics


Ingrid Hofmann

Climate change is imminent, so politicians need to put partisan politics to the side and help heal our planet.

Nathan VanUtrecht, Copy Editor

With current carbon emission trends, scientists estimate that we have until 2030 before climate change becomes irreversible. If our planet is running out of time, why are politicians making it a partisan issue?

I am aware of the complexity behind climate change; economics, morality and science are all dimensions making it an intricate issue. There is no clear solution, but that should not stop our politicians from attempting to mitigate climate change.

The problem lies in hyperpartisanship. At this point, stopping climate change would require substantial changes to society, and quick change is scary for politicians who are constantly trying to appease their funders. Supporting policies that do not align with their party beliefs creates rifts which can be hard to mend come reelection time.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a perfect example of why partisanship should not be involved with climate change. The plan aims to reduce carbon emissions by 32% by 2030. Each state would create standards based on their needs, but the limits would be enforced through taxes. However, Trump’s proposed 2018 national budget defunded the plan because it would destroy jobs in the oil sector.

There are underlying motives for the decision to defund the plan. The oil and gas sector is historically right-leaning; in 2019, they donated tens of millions of dollars to the Republican party and conservative groups while only donating a couple million to the Democratic party and liberal groups.

To say that defunding the Clean Power Plan provides more benefits than the plan itself would be a lie: its defunding was based on party politics and funding, not a motivation for the betterment of American citizens.

Climate change is the biggest problem that our society faces, and our time to fix it is running out. Senior Sophia Lindquist agrees with the importance of separating climate change and partisan politics. “The facts are there and both parties need to accept it and work to better the environment,” she stated.

However, it is not too late. The biggest step we can take towards mitigating climate change is reducing our carbon emissions. It is abundantly clear that political infighting will limit our ability to reduce emissions, but rejoining a pact like the Paris Agreement will keep us held accountable by other nations. We need to set ourselves as an example for other countries to follow.

After committing ourselves to cutting carbon emissions, we need to set limits on the amount of carbon that factories and power plants can produce. Emissions that supersede the limits will be heavily taxed which will prompt the switch to cleaner, renewable energy such as hydro, wind and solar.

While these steps will help with mitigation, they will not separate party politics from climate change issues.

Senior Olivia Reddish believes that there are ways to reduce the partisan divides concerning climate change. “The best way to avoid partisanship with climate change… is education,” she said. “The more educated an individual becomes on the topic, the less debate there is.” Educating society on the dangers of climate change will help people realize that the situation is urgent.

By nature, climate change is not a political problem. “It is not a policy or a debatable issue; it is an international threat to the human race,” Reddish expressed. We are confronted with the most pressing problem of the century; a failure to stop climate change will result in an inhabitable Earth.

As a nation, we need to put aside our political differences and come together to help heal our planet.