As the political landscape continues to grow more divided in America, climate change rages on. The national and international debate surrounding the environment continues, with long strides still needing to be taken if the rate of climate change progression is ever to be stopped.
Climate Change As It Stands
Currently, the United States continues to fuel the ever-growing problem of rising temperatures globally. The rate of rising temperatures has reached dangerous levels, and without some sort of relatively immediate intervention, prospects are looking grim. According to a recent report released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, keeping temperature increases to 1.5% by mid-century still likely won’t be enough to avoid environmental catastrophes. Already the visible effects have begun to take place, and yet little in the way of intervention has taken place within the United States.
Business As Usual, Despite Dangers
Despite the warning signs, a vast majority of industry and policy that would affect rising temperatures remains unchanged. The current global market for plastics, a known threat to the environment, still grows at a rate of roughly 5% annually. In America, some changes have gone in the reverse direction, promoting a social atmosphere that encourages harm to the environment. According to the EPA, there has been an increase in U.S. smokestacks taller than 500 feet within the last four years.
This is possibly attributed to the lack of awareness of the general public as to the true state of climate change. Overall, only 15% of Americans say they are aware that agreement on climate change severity among scientists is greater than 90%. Without public awareness of the science backing claims of climate change danger, there will be a lack of public pressure that would normally push policy change.
Hope On The Horizon?
Despite the many indications of a dark situation, there are a few glimmers of optimism for actual change in environmental policy. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently rejected a bid from the current presidential administration that would have blocked a lawsuit against the United States government. This lawsuit was filed by a collection of young activists who accused the U.S. government of ignoring the dangers of climate change back during the Obama administration.
Should this lawsuit proceed, it could, at least, provide a more thorough awareness of the realities of climate change to the general public. At most, the legal changes that would take place as a result of such a lawsuit could potentially help shape American environmental policies moving forward. However, as the lawsuit has been continually pushed back, the long-term results remain to be seen. Regardless of how this particular legal situation proceeds, the United States will need to make a decision: will it be a part of the problem of climate change, or will it be a part of the solution?