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Climate Breakdown Should be the Focus of the 2020 Election

November 2015. Ocean clouds seen from space. Photo Credit: NASA on Unsplash

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

Within the past few decades, the world and the country have seen a mounting threat to our current society and civilization as a whole: climate breakdown. The timeline of humanity’s survival is debatable, but we do know that climate breakdown is happening and being enabled by humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels, which expel excess carbon in the atmosphere. 

The Threat of Climate Breakdown

To preface, the Cambridge Dictionary defines climate breakdown as “very serious and harmful changes in the world’s weather, in particular, the fact that it is believed to be getting warmer as a result of human activity increases the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

To add on, there is a significant amount of credible climate scientists that believe climate breakdown is occurring due to human activity. Over 97% of climate scientists say that climate breakdown is happening and is a manmade disaster. American scientific societies, like the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as science academics and U.S. government agencies, strongly assert the existence and threat of climate breakdown. Lastly, intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations recognizes climate breakdown as “the most systematic threat to humankind.”

According to USA Today, the world passed 415 parts per million in May 2019, when the daily mean concentration of carbon dioxide reached the highest levels in human history. The threat of climate breakdown is present, and the destruction to our economy and society will be cataclysmic. With the rise of carbon levels in our atmosphere comes the rise of the global temperature, which increases the likelihood and intensity of natural disasters across the planet.

According to the United States Geological Study, “with increasing global surface temperatures, the possibility of more droughts and increased intensity of storms will likely occur…More heat in the atmosphere and warmer ocean surface temperatures can lead to increased wind speeds in tropical storms. Rising sea levels expose higher locations not usually subjected to the power of the sea and the erosive forces of waves and currents.”

To learn more about the dangers of climate breakdown, you can watch our 10-minute interview with Climate Scientist Peter Kalmus, where he went more in-depth about the dangers of climate breakdown and potential solutions. You can also read our various articles on climate breakdown.

Nuclear Energy and Policies

Whether it be Biden or Trump, the next president must act accordingly with new legislation addressing environmental threats but also presenting alternative sources of energy to the nation and the world.

The next president must look into nuclear energy as a potential transition from fossil fuels to a predominantly renewable energy-based society. 

According to the World Nuclear Association, “Because nuclear power is reliable and can be deployed on a large scale, it can directly replace fossil fuel plant, avoiding the combustion of fossil fuels for electricity generation. The use of nuclear energy today avoids emissions roughly equivalent to removing one-third of all cars from the world’s roads…Nuclear energy has shown that it has the potential to be the catalyst for delivering sustainable energy transitions, long before climate change was on the agenda.”

Nuclear energy is stated as an important aspect of the energy sector for its efficiency and sustainability.

“Without an important contribution from nuclear power, the global energy transition will be that much harder,” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency’s Executive Director. “Alongside renewables, energy efficiency and other innovative technologies, nuclear can make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable energy goals and enhancing energy security.”

Furthermore, I agree the United States government has to propose and enforce legislation about the environment and addressing climate breakdown, but I was against Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s 2019 Green New Deal specifically because she crammed a progressive economic wish list at the end of the legislation’s resolution.

The Green New Deal was not wrong when it said, “Whereas, climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States by impacting the economic, environmental, and social stability of countries and communities around the world; and by acting as a threat multiplier.”

They were wrong, however, when they addressed economic and income class inequalities as relevant to a bill addressing climate breakdown.

At the very end of the bill, she proposes “high-quality health care, ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies, and guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical, leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

This is just scratching the surface; Ocasio-Cortez introducing a bill that prioritizes actions taken against climate breakdown is at least commendable, but introducing radical progressive economic actions at the end of the bill is a turn off for many fiscal conservatives and moderates. Yes, we should look at climate breakdown as a national security threat, but politicians should not hold that threat hostage to advance progressive policies.

Foreign Policy, Ensuring a Decrease of Emissions in Other Countries

Even if the next president is successful in implementing such energy resources while maintaining a flourishing economy, he must also ensure countries such as China are not expelling 10.06 metric gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere. 

China has been for the past few decades and currently is the greatest geopolitical adversary to the United States. Their massive production industry is expelling several billions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere. They are the second-largest economy and have more military personnel than America.

On a quick note, aside from climate breakdown, Chinese President Xi Jinping has orchestrated the mass imprisonment of over a million Uighur Muslims in detention camps since 2017. They have violated numerous United Nations human rights policies and imposed strict totalitarianism on its people. They have decimated the liberties of Hong Kong and stripped them of any independent form of government.

Therefore, the next president must be incredibly aggressive towards China. This requires a strong grasp of the world stage, but also a serious foreign policy strategy to confirm that the levels of carbon in other nations decrease.

The next president must outright condemn the morally egregious actions of the Chinese Communist Party, move to pull funding from any intergovernmental organizations that cover up or enable the actions of the CCP, dramatically increase countermeasures to potential Chinese military actions, and prioritize vigilance and surveillance of their actions.

This is a vague policy, but the next president has to make the relationship between the US and China an urgent priority of his administration.

2020 Election

Lastly, while I want the focus on the 2020 presidential election to be the issue of climate breakdown, the economy will be the center of this election due to its current state. It is hard to appeal to the voter base on the issue of climate breakdown when they are experiencing layoffs of epic proportions or when the unemployment rate is increasing.

The Supreme Court, voter integrity, law enforcement reform, and others all captivate the interest of the American voter. However, this country, as the leader of the free world and as the most powerful country in the world, has to take a leading role in implementing policies that fight the impacts of climate breakdown. The science is clear: climate breakdown is happening and poses a threat to the security of the nation and the world.

This article is not an official endorsement of any politician, but it is politically negligent and malfeasant to ignore the basics of climate science. Immediate action is required, investment into nuclear energy is required, political responsibility is required, and global awareness of this threat is required to fight the present dangers of climate breakdown.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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