Caleb Nauman

Staff Writer

We have under 12 years to completely transition our economy away from fossil fuels. A transition to 100% renewable energy to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

In a recent report from the United Nations, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, “without bold action the U.S. and the world will face major droughts, famine, forest fires, stronger and more intense hurricanes, and other natural disasters.”

An increase of global temperatures by over 1.5C would mark the end of coral reefs. It would also cause massive refugee crises.

Climate change has already touched every state in the Union. Scientists have stated that man-made climate change has reached the ‘gold standard.’ This means there is a 0.3% of climate change not caused by human activity.

Pennsylvania is already facing warmer summers and an increase in flash flooding. These effects will only increase in the future. There will be lower corn yields due to drier summers and more. We cannot afford to wait any longer to act.

As early as 1977, Exxon Mobil knew of the dangerous effects of climate change. They put profit over the public good and decided to cover it up. This discovery brought to light in a recent investigation. Exxon spent millions in research to study climate change and build models.

Exxon had scientists on record saying “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.”

James Black would also state “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to 10 years before the need for hard decisions about changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

This was over 40 years ago. The election of Donald Trump and the nomination of Scott Pruitt EPA did not help. Regulations and other climate protections got decreased or eliminated. The fossil fuel has an enormous influence on our political system. It still receives millions of dollars in subsidies. We cannot rely on the free market or small government programs to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The captains of industry and our government leaders have failed us.          

Yet, Sunrise, a movement led by young people decided to stand up and fight back. Founded in April 2017 and has since been hard at work. Pushing for politicians to refuse fossil fuel contributions. In November 2018, Sunrise helped elect several politicians.  They ran on the Green New Deal and refusing fossil fuel money. They included Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib.

Later that month Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez along with Sunrise and Justice Democrats introduced a resolution to create a select committee to create a Green New Deal. Sunrise rallied Nancy Pelosi, the elected Speaker of the House. She supports the Green New Deal and shows bold leadership in regards to the climate crisis.

The Green New Deal is akin to the New Deal which helped millions of Americans during the Great Depression. It is a bold resolution that will aim to transition our economy to net zero pollution by creating millions of good paying green jobs.

The first part of the plan involves fossil fuel jobs. A guarantee that will put workers and those seeking employment to work by upgrading infrastructure. It will involve building smart grids, upgrading current structures to reduce energy usage, and installing solar and wind farms across the country. Jobs created by strengthening communities that are susceptible to climate disasters. This will be by building sea walls and other protections.

Furthermore, the Green New Deal (G.N.D.) will work to increase green transportation. Such as electric cars and high-speed trains. It is important to note that the G.N.D. will not ban internal combustion engines or airplanes.  Rather it will seek to provide better alternatives. The G.N.D. will also put in place carbon capture and sequestration that will draw carbon out of the air and inject it into the ground. This will reduce the amount of carbon in our air and help reduce the Green House effect.   

The G.N.D. will provide worker protections, stronger unions, and access to good healthcare and benefits. It will respect the rights of Native Americans and end the practice of taking land by eminent domain. Lowering the use of pipelines that will increase the effects of climate change. The G.N.D. will make the U.S. a major exporter green technology to other countries.

Since the introduction of the G.N.D., there have been 89 co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate. The Green New Deal resolution is working to build a framework to prevent the dangerous effects of climate change. There can be a debate about the specifics on preventing climate change, but there is no denying that we need to take bold action. Climate change does not make concessions and there can be no compromising when it comes to the future of our planet. The cost of the Green New Deal is insignificant compared to the cost of ignoring the effects of climate change. We need to take bold action and demand our representatives to co-sponsor the Green New Deal.