Opinion: Is the U.S. Government Doing Enough for Climate Change?

Maggie Hanlon '24, Contributing Writer

Climate Change:

Climate change became a national issue on June 23, 1988. From then on global warming has only increased. Global warming has caused a rise in sea level which has produced flooding along the coast of the United States especially in Louisiana and Florida. The two states are sinking and have major flooding at least once or twice a year. The icebergs that are melting are many animal habitats in the arctic. These habitats are being destroyed. Plastic pollution is growing an overwhelming amount, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This is not okay and it has to be realized how dire the situation is.

So, what is the government doing?

From October 31, 2021 – November 12, 2021 world leaders came together at a climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Many countries made new pledges on methane gas pollution, deforestation and more.

President Biden, rejoined the Paris agreement and announced that the United States will decrease methane gas emissions by 50- 52% by 2030 in comparison to 2005.

The Paris agreement will hopefully be effective and will enforce change to prevent climate change from further progressing. If you want to learn more about the Paris Agreement go to the United Nations Climate Change website.

The federal government is starting to take action even though they should have begun this rigorous process in 1988. The federal government has a lot of influence in the United States and should be influencing people to help prevent climate change. One way to do this is by simply informing the people. Giving specific facts and visual evidence because there are too many people in the United States that don’t believe climate change is real. Also, telling people how to help and how to create change in their life that the environment will benefit from.

According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans believe the government should be doing more on climate change. Some action that the public wants to be taken is more trees being planted, tougher carbon emission laws and the United States should prioritize developing alternative energy sources.

Why Can’t the Government Take More Action?

Some of the actions that should be taken can’t be because too many people rely on materials and businesses that sadly cause climate change. For example, power plants employ thousands of people and shutting down all power plants would cause poverty and would severely impact the economy. So alternative jobs have to be made and everything has to change slowly.

Overall, the federal government is trying to help fix the issue but it is not enough. What they are doing is basically all they can do for now. Unless they slowly slide into a more green America which is a part of President Biden’s agenda then they can’t do much more. The economy would be severely hurt if the government banned coal mines and power plants all at once so.

Many people’s jobs would be lost and the economy would go into chaos. My dad is one of the people that would lose their jobs if power plants were shut down. This would leave my family in financial distress and would make our lives a lot more difficult.

Essentially, what they are doing is as much as they can. They should’ve started this process a lot sooner but they didn’t and now we must deal with the consequences. Town governments need to implement more restrictions on plastic use and find other alternatives to become more green, for now it is in the hands of citizens to stop climate change.

What You Can Do:

Yes, it is disappointing but here are some ways for you to minimize your carbon footprint:

Composting is a great way to reduce carbon emissions in landfills. All you need is a bin, like a trash barrel, dead leaves, twigs, branches, grass clipping and water; then add your leftovers. More information on how to compost correctly can be found on EPA.
Use a reusable bag when shopping. Most towns in Massachusetts use reusable or paper bags in grocery and retail stores but using your own reusable bag can help decrease deforestation and plastic waste.
Buy less. Many Americans are caught up in having materialistic items and needing the newest tech or fashion. Living a more minimalist lifestyle can help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. It can also improve your quality of life.“The need for less often results in a life of more”- Brian Gardener, a famous American recording engineer.
Drive less. Cars release a lot of carbon emissions and cause air pollution. So, drive less and bike, walk or skateboard more.

A Teenager’s Point of View:

It is truly sad and painful to see such a beautiful world be destroyed. I will never be able to see the Great Barrier Reef in person in my life and I will never get to see countless animals that have gone extinct in the past few years. The earth is dying right in front of us so look at the stars a little longer, take a breath of fresh air and look at the beautiful wildlife around you because if we continue on this path that will all be gone.



Climate Change Summit

Paris Agreement

Two-Thirds of Americans Think Government Should Do More on Climate

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