• Jeet Purohit 10th Etiwanda High

Climate Crisis in America

Climate change in the U.S. is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, and unlike in other countries, little to no action has been taken to fix it. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Norway, France, and Denmark, have committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but on the other hand, the United States did not even sign the Paris Climate Accords until after a long political struggle. The ramifications of America’s lack of actions are starting to show. Hurricanes such as Ida, Harvey, Irma and Irene ravage the East Coast each year, tornadoes in central states cause the U.S. government billions of dollars each year, and huge fires in the West Coast burn millions of precious trees each year. In 2021, a third of Americans completely denied that climate change exists.

The political situation in the U.S. has prevented any relevant legislation from being passed. Both major parties are extremely divided on their positions, with some of the Democrats wanting significant action on climate change, and others wanting to sit by and idly watch as the country burns. Similarly, Republicans are quite divided on climate change, with a large majority refusing to pass legislation on the matter, some outright denying it, and others being open to some moderate legislation. Because of this, and the public themselves being almost evenly divided on the issue, almost no progress has been made on climate change.

American companies have also been complicit in the lack of action on climate change in America. A major company that sells crude oil and natural gas called ExxonMobil was one of the first to figure out that releasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 1979. They understood that the consequences of climate change to the environment would be potentially catastrophic, and yet, they kept burning fossil fuels. As other companies such as Chevron invested in renewable fuels, ExxonMobil invested copious amounts of money in climate change deniers, using tactics similar to how the tobacco industry attempted to convince people that smoking did not cause lung cancer.

The frequency of extreme weather events such as tornadoes, fires, and hurricanes have all highly increased in America since 1989. On the West Coast, massive droughts have plagued California since 2000, and as of 30 June 2021, sixty-one percent of the continental USA were in drought conditions. Research finds that climate change is responsible for fifty percent of the severity of the drought in California. Heat waves have also killed many, and the temperature rise is almost completely due to climate change. Along with all of this, sea level rise in almost all of the coasts in the U.S. is much higher than average. Climate change has also highly affected states which were highly dependent on agriculture, causing a lack of food security, and for some, even no ready access to food.

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