The Price Tag of Earth

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The Price Tag of Earth

Ella Exterkamp, Staff

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While many things in the White House have changed recently, some issues have slipped through the cracks. One of these issues being ignored recently by the Trump Administration is climate change.

 

Climate change is a reality that is impossible to ignore. The statistics below from NASA should be a step back into reality, whether you believe in it or not.

 

  • Seventeen of the eighteen warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.
  • The global temperature has gone up 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.
  • In 2012 the Arctic ice sheet shrank to its lowest point on human record.
  • The global average sea level has risen 7 inches in the past 100 years.
  • Carbon dioxide levels in the air are at their highest in 650,000 years.

 

The numbers look scary, but the reality is far scarier. Statistics from Quaternary International claim up to 5,500km2 of coastal plains will be flooded before 2100, a horror some high school students may live to see.

 

1.8 degrees may not seem like a lot, but if that number gets up to 7, places such as Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, London, and even New York would be at risk of rising sea levels. This  would look something like the depiction of Mumbai made by Nickolay Lamm from StorageFront.com.

Nickolay Lamm
Nickolay Lamm

Nickolay Lamm

To put this into context, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

 

If the picture above is 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit what would 10 look like?

 

The fact is, the gases we are putting into our atmosphere aren’t increasing at a steady pace. It is exponential, meaning the estimated temperature rise may be dangerously too low.

 

This is no hoax, this is not a joke, this is reality. The reality is our planet is dying below our feet. This is not a matter of belief, it is fact. A fact that could possibly lead to the extinction of the human race as we know it.

 

It is clear that the earth is screaming at humanity to do something. Anything. Some have heard this cry and have started making changes for the better, such as the Paris Climate Agreement, a group of nations that have agreed to undertake efforts to combat climate change starting in 2020.

 

President Trump, however, has threatened to back out of this agreement. Trump overall through his campaign has displayed a steady hostility to the Paris climate agreement and the very idea of climate change itself, responding to his own government’s recent report about its potentially catastrophic impact by saying, “I don’t believe it.”

 

Trump does believe it. The evidence is terrifying and real and above all, costly. It all comes down to money, but what Trump, and many other countries, need to realize is that the earth has no price tag. Once it’s gone it’s gone. The damage will be irreversible. Oil is not worth more than a life for our grandchildren.

 

What is even more concerning than Trump’s “lack of belief,” is the actions he is doing to promote fossil fuels at the expanse of climate protection.

 

The former head of the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, resigned in July of this year amid controversy over mismanagement of money. Andrew Wheeler, a former coal-lobbyist, took his pace on July 9th. Many worry Wheeler will be more effective at implementing Trump’s anti-environmental agenda than Pruitt was.

 

Andrew Wheeler is also the former chief of staff to Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, the conservative Republican who has become known as Washington’s most prominent denialist of human-caused climate change.

 

“Like Pruitt, this veteran coal lobby lobbyist has shown only disdain for the E.P.A.’s vital mission to protect Americans’ health and our environment,” said Ana Unruh Cohen, director for government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

This should be worrying. Not only is Wheeler trying to strip regulations of coal and oil companies but he is also doing it right under American’s noses, passing bills slowly so they will not be challenged by the law.

 

It is clear Trump cares little for the environment, which for many Americans should be alarming because right now we are at a fork in the road.

 

Either we make the necessary changes to save our planet, or we stand by, cashing in on the land we stand on as it dies below our feet.

 

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