Partisan Politics Associated with Climate Change Is Hindering Progress

Molly O'Connell

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It is about time that climate changeyet another issue that continues to divide Americareaches a united decision. Conservative Republicans including Donald Trump advocate for the idea that climate change is just another hoax that scientists are using to further expand their view on how humans are destroying our very Earth. However, with the recent hurricanes destroying livelihoods, Americans should set aside their beliefs and at least consider the possibilities.

Trump called Obama’s climate change plans “stupid” in an executive order issued in March and plans to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Act, which reduced greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Recently, however, some people took the initiative to take Trump’s opinion even further. Rush Limbaugh, a conservative political commentator, publicly said that the threat of Hurricane Irma is nothing more than a plan “to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it.”

This opinion, backed up by minimal evidence, is false.

One popular opinion for the opposing argument is that the Earth goes through a continuous warming and cooling cycle every few hundred years, which makes it normal for the temperature influx. In addition, long term data stems from weather stations, which are often located in urban centers that use energy; therefore, when technology recognizes a rise in temperature, it is most likely the effect of “urban heat island effect,” according to BBC News.

Obviously, the threat that potential hurricanes posed proved to be real. Although these hurricanes were not physically caused by climate change, they sure do augment the issue. According to CNN, sea levels have risen by seven inches and oceans have warmed one to three inches in the past century alone.

According to NASA, tropical storms are “like giant engines that use warm, moist air as fuel.” Not only do the warmer oceans intensify hurricanes, but also rainfall, as the flooding in Houston and Florida was detrimental to their surrounding communities.

Irma, the longest category five hurricane ever, displays how all of these factors have grown increasingly worse. The increase in effects that climate change had on the recent hurricanes resulted in many deaths and casualties of innocent lives, causing $810 billion in damage, as stated by The Independent. Nonetheless, climate change has impacted millions of lives without much initiative taken, due to the fact that many people remain opposed to the real, serious threat backed up by legitimate scientific theories.

With glaciers melting and carbon dioxide levels rising, how could one deny that humans and their use of fossil fuels are behind all of this?

According to NASA, in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 scientific experts from countries under the United Nations came to a conclusion that “more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.” The statistics do not necessarily mean that they are right, but it does provide assurance to people who support climate change. Despite the 97 percent of climate scientists who believe climate change is real and is the result of careless human actions, 56 percent of Republicans in Congress deny climate change as a whole, according to Thinkprogress.

It is time that we, as individuals who literally run our world, recognize the impacts that climate change is having in the world we live in.

The partisan politics that are halting serious progress associated with climate change should be done away with, and rather become a strongly bipartisan agreement. A unified agreement needs to be established that climate change and global warming are, in fact, a serious threat.  

As for the Republicans, or anyone who doesn’t supporting spending time and resources to combat climate change and global warming, the evidence proves that we are a major factor responsible for the damaging of our Earth.

The time is now—especially after the horrific events in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico—that we assume responsibility and take action to do something about our changing Earth. Recycle, limit the use of fossil fuels, and save energy—do something and let’s take on climate change together.