Massive wildfires recently left at least 40 people dead in California. Thousands of Adélie penguin chicks starved to death in Antarctica in 2016, the hottest year on record, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
What’s at the root of each of these events? Climate change. Who’s causing climate change? Us.
Coal-fired power plants emit nearly 40 percent of the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon pollution comes with other pollutants that can seriously harm our health also, a sentiment echoed by public health officials and environmental activists.
Miami is one of many cities that could be devastated by climate change. If the global warming rates increase, sea levels will rise and our city will be under water. There will be coastal flooding, water shortages and, ultimately, the displacement of 2.5 million Miamians.
Efforts have been made to repair the damage. Research has shown that using clean, renewable energy can help. Avoiding emitting carbon into the air can help. America took steps in the right direction with the Paris Climate Agreement and Clean Power Plan, both of which aimed to reduce greenhouse gases.
Even though it never went into full effect, the Clean Power Plan was an opportunity to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. But now this opportunity is in danger. Our president has called climate change a “hoax” and vowed to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Earlier this week, Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced his decision to make cutbacks on some of the carbon emission rules Barack Obama made during his tenure. One of these cutbacks, which can have devastating effects, is eliminating the Clean Power Plan, whose objective was to push states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions.
This shouldn’t be a political issue, but it is. Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt are waging war on our climate. In a time where the effects of climate change are too real to deny, their efforts to inhibit the transition to cleaner power sources are foolish. The anti-environment strategy is played out. For a man who thinks he knows a lot about winning, Trump and his cronies should know denying climate change is not the way to win America.
Kay-Ann Henry is a freshman majoring in journalism.