Monday, August 3, 2015

Obama's environmental proposal a positive step in the right direction

We need to work towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources

President Barack Obama released his plans this week for combating climate change.

The plans center largely on reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) being released into the atmosphere. CO2 is a large contributor to the greenhouse effect, which allows energy from the sun to enter our atmosphere but traps the heat inside without being able to escape.

Some greenhouse effects are a good thing. Without some carbon in the atmosphere, our globe would become an ice planet.

But the levels of carbon dioxide and other harmful elements in our environment is reaching dangerous levels. Just this past year, CO2 levels reached 400 parts per million particles in the atmosphere. That may sound like a small amount, but it actually means a lot more to our survival than meets the eye -- a sustainable amount of carbon is closer to 350 parts per million

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist with NASA, puts it this way: “We are a society that has inadvertently chosen the double-black diamond run without having learned to ski first. It will be a bumpy ride.”

To combat this rising trend and to reduce carbon emissions overall in the U.S., President Obama has proposed lofty but achievable goals.
  • Reducing emissions from power plants by 32 percent before the year 2030
  • Requiring that power plants invest in renewable energy sources
  • Creating CO2 emissions targets for states to shoot for
Conservative leaders from across the country have lambasted the proposal -- some before it was even published. They have vowed to oppose the limits, and to legally challenge the proposal should it get passed.

But we need to acknowledge that our climate is in a fragile state -- and more importantly, that we can do something about it. Man-made global climate change is a real thing. Ignoring our role in its creation isn’t going to change the fact that we’re destroying our environment.

The Obama administration deserves praise for this plan. It’s a good move forward, and deserves serious debate. Ultimately, a plan of action needs to be taken, one that will reduce our carbon output and increase our use of renewable energy.

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