Recently, I've been becoming less pessimistic towards our government with regards to climate change action. In my environmental law class, I've been learning more about the regulations that the EPA has set to discourage greenhouse gas emissions as well as Obama's Climate Action Plan. In our trip to Washington DC, three other student delegates and myself were able to talk to a few employees from government agencies that were clearly passionate about climate change; they gave us a glimpse into what their agencies are doing to fight climate change. Learning first-hand about what the government has going on to address climate change gave me a lot of hope.
After the recent election, I'm not sure what to think. Future Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is from Kentucky, where coal-mining is a large part of their economy. He has made it clear that he has greatly disapproved of Obama's actions to decrease the use of coal. While campaigning, he promised to drastically cut the EPA's budget. James Inhofe from Oklahoma, an avid climate change denier, will be the Environment and Public Works Committee leader in the Senate. On this hand, it seems that progress towards mitigating climate change will be slowed or virtually halted, as a result of the recent election.
On the other hand, climate change is becoming less and less of an issue that divides parties. The infamous "I am not a scientist" response that we have seen from politicians is becoming less tolerable. Climate change is becoming increasingly difficult for politicians to simply ignore in their platforms. Hopefully these trends will cause more politicians to rethink their stance on climate change and its role in policies.
If not, some other aspects that have given me more hope include that the Obama administration has been working to ensure that a future international climate change treaty would not require Senate's approval. Another thing is the ever-decreasing costs of solar power and other renewable energy sources--hopefully these will start out-competing conventional fossil fuels in the near future!
Note: I apologize for getting a bit political in this post; this has just been on my mind a lot after the results from the election. I would love to hear others' opinions on these matters!
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Photo used under Creative Commons from Noel Feans