The climate will continue to change, whether or not we believe it, or are prepared for it, or are willing to do anything about it.
In the near future of our planet ignorance will not be bliss. As much as some voices in the political sphere would like us to believe that the science is muddled and inconclusive, that is simply not true. There is consensus within the scientific community that climate change is happening and happening at an alarming rate.
The Democratic platform aptly acknowledges "the change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe." That is something we often forget: That our actions reverberate all over the world and the impact of our contribution to global climate change can have a far greater impact in other places than what we face at home.
Despite the Democratic Party's acknowledgment of global climate change, its platform is definitely weaker on domestic climate change than it was in 2008. Although Obama implemented new fuel efficiency standards that will cut the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by 2025 and rules that will curb emissions from power plants, he still too often takes the middle path when more drastic measures should be called for. On the other side of the spectrum, the Republican platform has changed dramatically in terms of climate change, with global warming disappearing completely from the party's list of concerns. Strong language opposing action toward curbing emissions has now replaced the section in 2008 titled "Addressing Climate Change Responsibly."
The Republicans demand Congress "take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations" (Washington Post). Furthermore, the party asserts we need to "restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions," which closely mirrors a Paul Ryan op-ed (2009) openly accusing climatologists of using "statistical tricks" to distort findings surrounding climate change. There was no evidence of wrongdoing to support his claim.
Unfortunately, neither party adequately addresses the looming devastation that comes along with climate change. As citizens of a democracy, it is vastly important to educate ourselves and push to have something done about the impending crisis that will affect not only us, but the entire world.
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