The Most Important Policy

Clare McCullough
A public policy issue that is extremely important is environmental regulation. This issue has what might be the largest impacts out of any other facing us today, and it will start truly affecting us around as soon as 2050; within my lifetime. A recent policy that has tried to tackle the issue of pollution and the warming climate is the Clean Power Plan, which aims to combat climate change by putting caps on CO2 emissions. Another big environmental step forward under Obama’s administration was The Paris Climate Agreements which occurred Winter of 2015. In the past policies, have tried to reduce carbon emissions and maintain environmental health through incentive and disincentive programs.
Conservation policies are important because its shown that if we continue living and consuming the way that we have; it will lead to extreme weather patterns. There will be long droughts in some places and flooding in others. Often, I believe, we forget how dependent we are on our natural resources. The necessity for a sustainable future is paramount, if we are going to raise quality of life as a planet. The point of progress is to grow and be happy, and if we cannot achieve at least the basic rights of clean air and water then what was the point? In the end, all we have is our health and our environment in which we live in.
Tackling climate change will require international action. The time for action was yesterday and we can’t afford to ignore the impacts of the fact of global warming. The unsustainable use of dirty energy will create a dramatic transformation that we are already seeing the beginning of the impacts. 2014 was the hottest year until 2015 was the hottest year. As the oceans rise, small island countries will start to disappear as well as low lying cities such as Dakka and Shanghai and will create thousands of millions of refugees, pushing the rapidly growing populations elsewhere and compounding food crises which are already fragile in a lot of countries. Crops will not grow the same in different climates, so there will be less food to put on the table, over the long-term food production will decrease and the poorest among us will be the most vulnerable to that, increasing the need for aid. Not to mention the loss of biodiversity caused by unsustainable development and use of energy. The coral reefs are already bleaching and bees are going extinct. Biodiversity is crucial for any ecological system to function properly.
But, I believe in a different future. We can move together to solve for the inherent problems that are facing us with climate change. First, we need to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions, as well as decrease the use of dirty energy and increase investment in clean energy possibilities. For the energy challenge to be overcome, we need to have an inexpensive and reliable energy source, an energy that emits optimally no greenhouse gasses, and an energy source that doesn’t create local environmental and health problems. With the booming world population, it will be difficult to achieve all those goals, especially since coal and dirty energies are admittedly very cheap. However, fossil fuels create pollution that shortens lives and are causing climate change and the consequences that follow as I explained above are very complicated and severe. The Paris agreements are expected to help a little in this realm. The three key solutions to solve the energy problem, beside international cooperation, is that we need to start evaluating energy sources at their full social costs and not just looking at energy as an issue that stands apart. We need to invest in research and development in innovation to make sustainable energy cheaper and cleaner. By identifying effective policy tools to combat specific problems we can solve a lot of the issues, we can put the real price on energy emssions to foster innovation and research into alternative energy sources as well as putting caps on CO2 emissions.
According to The National Geographic, if we cut our emissions by two thirds by 2050, only then we can limit the rise of climate change to 2 percent. By switching where we get our energy from and investing in energies such as solar, nuclear, and wind among others we can achieve this goal. But to do that we need to educate people on the issue of climate change especially since there are so many climate change deniers out there and that’s the largest issue facing sustainable policy makers today. Because with this specific issue, it is up to the governments to move us into the right direction. By investing in cleaner transportation, agriculture, maintaining building codes, and better management of forests we can help combat the magnitude that is the problem of climate change
We must act together and we must act now. We need to survive with our planet and I want any future children of mine to know that I was looking out for them from the very beginning and that I did everything in my power to ensure that they will get to enjoy the same beautiful and natural world that I grew up knowing.

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