The Ripple Effect: Don’t forget climate change

Protecting jobs is important, but so is protecting the planet


President Trump has emphasized that one of his top priorities is safeguarding the jobs of people working in industries concerning nonrenewable energy. Photo courtesy of TIME magazine.

According to CNN, six Obama-era executive orders regarding climate change moderation were recently retracted to preserve American jobs. But when jobs are prioritized over the planet’s well-being, it’s time to be concerned.

And when, according to Fox News, the president of the United States has repeatedly called climate change a Chinese-invented ‘hoax’, it’s time to be concerned.

After all, the United States is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases, accounting for 17.9 percent of emissions globally, reported Reuters.

I won’t spend this whole article explaining climate change (although according to the New York Times, climate change denial is most prevalent in this country out of 20 polled), but the gist is that more emissions means more heat trapped in the atmosphere, which means temperatures rising, ice caps melting, crops dying and a host of other ill effects.

President Trump has frequently reiterated plans to ditch the Paris Agreement, which delineates a plan for several countries to combat climate change. Despite his stance having become shakier, the fact remains that the possibility of abandoning the agreement is a blot on both the U.S.’s reliability and consideration for others.

Consider: The U.S. waves goodbye to the Paris Agreement. Other countries, especially China (the foremost greenhouse gas producer) are understandably affronted by America going back to its old ways of turning up its nose at climate change deals.

But it’s not just the U.S.’s reputation in the world of environmental safety that will be (further) marred.

Consider again: Regulations on greenhouse gas emissions are lifted – the administration is, after all, already aiming a critical look at the Clean Power Plan for coal plants. We, the second largest greenhouse gas producer, surpass China, which cuts down on its emissions due to the Paris Agreement. Jobs in the coal industries and others are secured, and it’s a nice, cool 80 degree winter day in the U.S..

Yes, job creation will get a boost in the short term, but it will just as much slow down in the long term. People can’t work if the planet is too much of a wreck to work on. And certainly, individuals have a part in shrinking their carbon footprints and combating climate change, but reducing, reusing and recycling items will only make a significant impact if the factories producing these items deflate their own footprints.

Throwing regulations out the window may preserve jobs, but endlessly practicing the Three R’s won’t preserve people’s ways of life as the effects of global warming kick in. And if Trump really wants to shake things up in office, he can start by changing his own behavior to look at things in the long term.