On Wednesday, Jan. 20, presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “The debate is over. The vast majority of the scientific community has spoken. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating harm here in the United States, and to people all around the globe.” This statement was released on Sanders’ campaign website, www.berniesanders.com. Sanders is the loudest voice in the climate change arena, calling for massive reform to the US energy system.
“I absolutely agree with Senator Sanders. The Earth was fine before the Industrial Revolution. With all of the chemicals we have been forcing into the air in the past 120 years, we should have foreseen the consequences and been working to counteract them. Instead, we ignored the problems for the sake of progress. Now the world is falling apart, and the only way we can save it is by taking action and working to create a society that not only avoids harming the environment but benefits it as well.” said Brandon Clagg, a computer science major on the Clarkston campus.
The reforms Sanders would institute given the opportunity would be two-fold, according to CNN. Firstly, Sen. Sanders’ plan would tax carbon in order to reduce carbon output 80 percent by the year 2050. And secondly, Sanders would make “aggressive investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
“…Investing heavily in renewable energy and energy efficiency is a wise plan. I agree with Bernie Sanders that the issue should not be up for debate because we are investing in America’s future which will benefit America so we are not dependent on foreign oil.” said Olivia Song, a music major on the Clarkston campus.
This statement comes only hours after the reports from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), released data claiming that 2015 was the hottest year on record, beating out 2014 by a wide margin. At 1.62 degrees over the 20th century average, the heat takes a heavy toll.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, the higher temperatures not only cause flooding and droughts, but it also raise the rate of infectious disease, smog and extreme weather of all types.
“They are absolutely related to climate change. This is a fairly extensive topic because it has a lot of branches that make up the whole tree, but yes. The droughts are obvious, hotter temperatures means increased water use which leads to reduced water supply and heat breeds bacteria and viruses upping the infectious disease rate. Some of the cause of the changes are not less subtle but definitely still linked to climate change. Everything on Earth is impacted by temperature and a difference of 4 degrees in a person is the difference between life and death, what happens when you take that kind of change and increase it to planetary standards?” said Adryn Bowers-Dean, a history major on the Clarkston campus.
However, even with the statistics, many politicians are either ignoring the issue of climate change or are ridiculing those that believe it to be an issue. And while none of the GOP candidates have, as of yet, weighed in on the newest data collected by NASA and NOAA, another presidential hopeful, Donald Trump, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, “I think one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics — in the history of politics as I know it, which is pretty good, was Obama’s statement that our No. 1 problem is global warming,”
While many do not consider climate change to be our number one problem, it is an important issue that should be dealt with in the very near future.