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What should we do about climate change? Show more Show less
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We are in a climate crisis. People and natural systems around the world are feeling the impacts of a warming globe, from more intense heat waves, more intense storms, heavier rainfall, melting sea ice and retreating glaciers, etc, etc. No part of our world is left untouched, and given the current rate of warming, things will only get worse. So what can we do to mitigate global warming?

We should take gradual action to address climate change to avoid disruption Show more Show less

We should act on climate change, but we should be very careful to not disrupt the economy and people's lively hoods and way of life.
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We should begin the transition to renewable energy

Governments need to help shift the energy sector to renewable energy, and people need to be amenable to small changes in their environments. Exchanging more city roads for fast, reliable public transportation will be one of these changes. However, all of the steps we take to mitigate climate change need to happen slowly and at the macro-level. This will prevent any strain on society.

Context

We know climate change is happening due to the rapid warming of the planet and an influx of extreme weather [1]. We also know that climate change is caused by humans’ greenhouse gas emissions [2]. If we want to continue living on our planet as it is, we must unite to stop climate change, but the question is how. People have been fiercely debating the issue for decades, but coming to a consensus is imperative so as to prevent an environmental disaster.

The Argument

The world needs to take united, decisive action to address climate change. However, this action need not be radical. The goal is to begin transitioning our society into a green one, but to do so broadly and incrementally. This should encompass slowly switching to renewable energy. One step towards this is phasing out gas-powered cars for electric ones in tandem with building fast and reliable electric-powered public transportation [3]. Since the use of fossil fuels is such a large contributor to climate change, it is imperative that we reduce our use of them. Eliminating gas-powered cars will also help, but we must begin switching to renewable energy for all of our energy needs. Our future will be powered by solar, wind, or hydroelectric power. In order not to hurt existing commercial enterprises, we should not forcibly shut down any that use coal, oil, or gas for energy. However, they could be legally forbidden to expand or build new plants. That will slowly move us towards all renewable energy without any drastic measures. All of the changes that need to be taken to address climate change happen at the national and global level. This means the citizenry will not have to alter their daily lives. They can be encouraged to adopt pro-environmental behavior, but that is tertiary to the aforementioned energy-related recommendations. A mere 20 companies produce one-third of our yearly carbon emissions [4]. The above suggestions target them because that is what will make a real difference. Recycling won’t stop climate change, but a gradual, legally-mandated shift towards renewable energy will.

Counter arguments

This argument isn’t feasible. There is no way to halt the growth of fossil fuel industries without disrupting the economy. Oil is big money, and even gradually phasing it out will hurt honest companies. There are so many people who work in the energy sector too. Who is going to guarantee a smooth transition for them into new jobs in renewable energy? Their livelihoods are absolutely at risk should this not be executed perfectly. This argument suggests that we rely on national mandates to stop climate change because macro-level changes will minimally impact people’s daily lives. This is abjectly false. Changes that are made at the national level effect the national economy and all of the citizenry’s way of life. This approach is not gradual at all. For a climate change solution that is both effective and has a low impact on people, changes need to be made at the individual/micro level instead.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
  2. https://www.brookings.edu/policy2020/votervital/what-to-do-about-climate-change-and-why/
  3. https://www.thegef.org/topics/climate-change-mitigation
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/revealed-20-firms-third-carbon-emissions
This page was last edited on Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 18:40 UTC

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