The debate on climate change has shifted. Only a few years ago, scientists of merit were talking about whether or not climate change was happening as a result of human action or natural forces.
The research piled up, and more and more organizations weighed in on the issue, including the American Medical Association, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Ecological Society of Australia, the American Chemical Society, the Geological Society of London, the American Geophysical Union, the International Arctic Science Committee, the American Meteorological Society, the American Physical Society, and The Geological Society of America, along with 197 international organizations.
Climate change is not a scientific debate anymore; it is a political and economic debate, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Are we up to the challenge of turning things around? Are we willing to make the changes necessary to slow or even reverse global warming?
Let’s take a look.
We are ready to make the changes that are necessary.
solar and wind energy are getting cheaper and better
The cost of generating and storing solar power has dropped from $800 per kilowatt hour to $281 over the past four years. Batteries are getting better at holding charges longer and solar panels are generating power more efficiently.
Bloomberg NEF analyzes the financial, economic and policy trends connected to energy consumption. They predict that that by 2050, renewable power will produce two-thirds of the world’s electricity, which is the amount that fossil fuel produces today.
China is the world’s biggest producer of carbon emissions in the world but it’s also made a commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement. They are not only making epoch improvements in their environmental quality by phasing out fossil fuel use, they’re also heavily invested in evolving energy technologies and markets.
Yale professor William Nordhaus won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his model for a carbon tax that quantified the societal cost to burn 1 ton of carbon. His number? $40. With this, a tax can be levied on those who produce the carbon, which will, in turn, drive innovation in technology that relies on clean energy.
improvements in agriculture
Agriculture is continually being transformed by innovative solutions to manage crops that are also beneficial to the environment. A recent example is a process that will reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers, the production of which contribute to CO2 emissions.
progress is still being made, despite lack of support from President Trump
Thousands of cities, companies, universities, and civic groups came out with statements of support for the Paris agreement even as President Trump announced his plan to withdraw.
Many states have already been making progress on cleaning up their power plants, thanks to cheap natural gas (instead of coal) and improvements in wind and solar power.
Making the necessary changes to avoid a warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius is too difficult.
governments aren’t incentivized to act on something now for a hypothetical future event
President Trump doesn’t support the effort to reduce emissions, and has announced he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement at the first opportunity to do so, which is four years from the signing of the agreement.
His position may not be popular worldwide but it seems to be supported by voters.
We are politically divided on the issue: About 76% of Democrats say climate change is affecting their local community, while 35% of Republicans say this.
EPA rollbacks are trending
The Trump administration is looking at more than 45 environmental rules, including 25 at EPA, according to a rollback tracker by Harvard Law School’s energy and environment program. The EPA rule changes would affect regulation of air, water and climate change, and transform how the EPA makes its regulatory decisions.
technology doesn’t exist
Wind and solar are improving but currently only represent about 4% of energy use.