Energy dominance: it’s a defining phrase of the Trump presidency. Emphasizing the expansion of coal and oil production, the doctrine actively weakens attempts to curb the growing threat of global warming. A recent report by national climate scientists is the most detailed and blunt assessment yet of the dangers of unchecked global warming, and time is running out.
The report suggests our planet will experience famine, war, global water shortages and the sinking of coastal cities by 2040. We are no longer at a point where action on climate change is a choice; these reports suggest that without significant actions in the next 12 years, my generation will witness the destruction of Earth. Arguing whether global warming is man-made is no longer important. Earth is getting warmer; there are more floods, fires, droughts and severe storms–all of which will affect the human population.
Our warming climate will not only have dire effects on the planet, but it will also directly cause a massive number of civilian deaths. Climate change will worsen already dangerous air pollution levels, which will cause aggravated respiratory or cardiovascular problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests there will be a significant surge in premature deaths from air pollution. In 2018, nearly 500,000 people died in Western Europe alone–not to mention the eight million others who lose their lives to this silent killer every year globally. Air pollution kills more than three times the number of people who die from HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, according to the CDC.
So what can we do? My answer: we need big thinkers. Our country is desperate for strong leaders who will stand up to government inaction. Turning off lights and appliances when not in use, switching to green energy and buying local produce to reduce transportation and storage are all small ways we can make a difference.
Most importantly, however, we need to use our voices.The more conversations we have about climate change, the more global warming can become a universal issue, not a political one. The truth is, almost all countries have the capacity to minimize the impact of climate change.
The necessary step now is to create the right political conditions to motivate action by combating the climate conspiracy and creating meaningful change. We must work collectively to boost our resilience to the unavoidable destruction of our planet. To ignore this reality is to gamble with the existential future of not only the global economy but the safety and preservation of our planet.