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  • Kayla Arch

Is it going to be Enough?: Tackling Climate Change Today

President Biden has prided himself and his administration on the advancements he has made with combating climate change and his plans for the future. But when we look back on the history of different administrations in the White House, when it comes to climate change laws, rules, and regulations nothing is set in stone. There's a constant debate between the Democratic Party and Republican Party about how to go about the climate. Protecting the environment and changing over to greener energy rather than fossil fuels and coal is a much more left-leaning ideal, whereas prioritizing the economy and maintaining the jobs of Americans is more right. In the past, we have seen many administrations prioritize the health of our environment, much like Theodore Roosevelt and his passion for conservationism, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Now, President Biden has struggled to pass legislation and rules that help fight climate change because of the extremely slim margins that we see in Congress, however two triumphs that have passed through the Senate have been the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022 and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill in 2021.

With his appreciation for conservation, Teddy Roosevelt implemented many of his environmental ideals into the United States. Being a close confidant with John Muir, a preservationist and the founder of the Sierra Club, the two of them shared similar ideas about the importance of the environment, which helped sparked Roosevelt’s legacy on the land of this nation. During his time in the Oval Office, Roosevelt established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, five national parks and 18 national monuments. It would be him and his administration that would later inspire President Franklin D. Roosevelt implement his beliefs in conservation in legislation as well.

Even before his presidency, FDR prided himself as a conservationist. He was famous for his creation of the New Deal, a series of social programs that's main goal was to alleviate the suffering of American citizens living though the Great Depression. Within this era, FDR signed Executive Order 6101 and created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Not only by creating this did it allow for land and natural resources to be conserved, but it also helped in raising more public awareness in the importance of the environment. The CCC is known to be one of the most influential and impactful programs created in the New Deal, with 3 billion trees planted, building campgrounds, improving habitats, and the preservation of historical sites, roads, dams, and bridges. FDR helped lay the foundation for the importance of conservation and preservation within the United States, while inspiring future administrations to follow his ideals of the environment.

The Inflation Reduction Act is extremely beneficial to Americans and while simultaneously helps combat climate change. This bill would help cut energy costs for Americans, create new jobs, and help have a fair transition to clean energy. With the Inflation Reduction Act being passed, greenhouse gas emissions, a main contributor to climate change, are likely to reduce to between 31% to 44% by 2030. A huge concern for many Americans is the cost of clean energy, but this law can cut the social costs of the damages created by natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, and droughts that come with climate change up to $1.9 trillion dollars by 2050.

Working side-by-side with the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was another piece of legislation that helps fight back against the rising risk of climate change. This bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase access to clean and safe drinking water, creating a cleaner power grid, and more. Many of these grants that provided from the passage of this bill helps a wide range of Americans, but especially those who live in impoverished communities that struggle to find affordable, clean drinking water. This bill also grants the Environmental Protection Agency with $60 billion over the span of five years to help with America’s infrastructure and fund different environmental programs. Programs including clean-ups, addressing different contaminants, creating school buses that run on clean energy, and investing in water infrastructure are all examples of the positive impact this bill will have on the environment, America, and the world.

Climate change continues to be an issue that constantly surrounds the political atmosphere, whether politicians support environmental protection or not. In the past with many administrations, climate change has been an issue that is pushed to the side. Now with President Biden we are seeing more reforms to help this nation protect its land and people. It is always important to put the nation's economy into consideration, but I believe that climate change needs to be taken seriously and action must be taken today no matter the cost. Rather than climate change being an issue that people only care about after a natural disaster, it should be an issue that is taken into consideration every day. If we continue to live a life where climate change is not a priority, we will see the earth’s average temperature increase, sea levels will rise, ruin the integrity of ecosystems, reduce snow and ice coverage, and more. Although more steps are being taken today, the federal government and the Environmental Protection Agency must continue to create new legislation and call more attention to this issue because our environment is depending on the leaders of this nation to take action.


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