The multifaceted issue of climate change

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Grace Pender

There is an ongoing debate regarding climate change. It is a multifaceted issue involving many considerations.

Grace Pender, Copy Editor

There is an ongoing debate regarding climate change and the steps needed to counteract it. Some believe that the world should completely adopt green policies, while others mitigate its severity and the importance of taking action. 

The phrase “global warming” has been circulating the media for years, but what is it exactly? 

PVHS science teacher Zach Miller explained the concept of global warming. “The Earth possesses an atmosphere that acts like a greenhouse,” Miller said. “The more ‘greenhouse gases’ like carbon dioxide, methane, etc. that we put into our atmosphere, the more heat that is trapped inside the atmosphere thus causing the overall temperature of our planet to rise.”

So where are these greenhouse gases coming from? 

The main source of global warming is human activity. Recently, the burning of fossil fuels has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This occurs when fossil fuels are burned and combine carbon with oxygen in the air, creating carbon dioxide.

The repercussions of global warming are present at both a global and local scale.  

Miller discussed the potential global effects of global warming. “There are many repercussions that scientists are looking at when it comes to global warming. The common ones that most people have heard about are the melting polar ice caps, melting glaciers, rising sea level, warmer than normal temperatures.” 

Miller went on to elaborate on how global warming can affect the Midwest. “When we look in the midwest we should be concerned with these factors: Increased risk/occurrence of major droughts that would negatively affect the food supply chain for humans and livestock, increased severity and frequency of severe weather events.”

Solving the issue of global warming also involves economic considerations. 

Miller explained whether the scientific community takes into consideration the costs of going green. “In order to obtain that evidence, scientists conduct studies to obtain data,” Miller elucidated. “I think that science is providing information to society and society/ economics/ business look at the problem of global warming and they are the ones who get to consider the costs of going green.”

The world has been slow to “go green”. American lawmakers have proposed various legislation, but this has been fought against by those with concerns regarding the potential economic repercussions of green initiatives. 

Erin Klage, an economics teacher at PVHS, discussed why America has been resistant towards implementing green initiatives. “As long as there is not a widespread push towards green initiatives, there would not be motivation by businesses to go green. There is always a profit motive and there needs to be more benefits than costs for businesses to follow these initiatives and at this point, this is not the case,” Klage stated. 

Environmental regulations and green initiatives affect America’s ability to be competitive in a global economy. It is an all or nothing scenario, if all countries fail to take action, America will fail to take action, as it does not want to be put at a competitive disadvantage in the global market.  

The planet’s temperature and climate continue to rapidly change. But, going green would inevitably increase costs. There are many considerations regarding the multifaceted issue of climate change. However, the United States is one country of many; the world will have to work together to mitigate the impact of climate change if they deem it an issue worth addressing.