by Katharine Desgans
Climate change is one of the most imminent threats to our existence, and its policy is currently gaining momentum. Youth activism, international treaties and world leaders have, in the past decade, engaged increasingly on environmental issues. With the termination of the Millennium Development Goals, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the ground-breaking historic moment of the Paris Agreement, society has remarkably started to pay attention.
The momentum for climate policy is three-fold: on politics, on finance, and on justice.
It is worth noting that climate and environmental policy in U.S. politics has had its ups-and-downs. To contextualise, the Environmental Protection Agency was founded by ex-president Richard Nixon. He also pushed for the implementation of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The bipartisan nature of environmental policy was not always an issue as much as we see it today. However, climate change is gaining momentum in the U.S. policy platform. In 2014, a poll by Pew Research Center showed that Climate Change was at the bottom list of priorities for Americans. However, as discussed recently in Vox and The Atlantic, climate change now ranks top two in priorities among Democrats behind healthcare. In addition, it is worth remembering that in 2017, while 86% of Democrats wanted to remain in the Paris Agreement, 51% of Republicans also wanted so. Thus, despite the polarization in the recent decades, a growing consensus of the need for climate policy in the U.S. is now more important than ever.
Indeed, as stated in The Economist, “Neither the virus nor greenhouse gases care much for borders”. The pandemic has shown us how climate change and public health interact with each other, and both Democrats and Republicans are pushing for their own agenda on climate policy. Despite its polarization, climate is a policy that neither party is denying, but rather actively engaging in. For example, in April, global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) were down by 8% compared to 2019, being the “largest annual drop since the Second World War”.
What is more, the renewable energy sector has never been so cost-effective, and its momentum is unlikely to go away. As renewable energies drop to a record low on prices, particularly regarding installation, other sources of energy such as coal can sometimes even be more expensive. Additionally, environment and climate-related issues evidenced to have impacted disadvantaged communities and low-income households in the U.S. disproportionately. Climate intersects undoubtedly with public health, the economy, the labour market, foreign policy, and beyond.
We at Political Awareness LLC understand the momentum. Aware of how much climate change affects all of us, and guided by our sense of purpose to inform, we have dedicated a separate section on climate change. As climate-related issues rise in the polls, it has become a top priority in the U.S. and globally, to vote for candidates with a climate agenda. This section will outline some key points of climate policy.
Featured Image provided by Campax – make change happen, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons