By Zunaira Bibi ’18
The adherents of climate change theories argue that our Earth will experience extreme weather patterns reminiscent of the science fiction apocalyptic movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” The poster of the movie itself captures the image of our city’s iconic monument, Lady Liberty, partially buried in ice, due to this controversial phenomenon. Resurfacing to the mainstream platform recently, it has left the average people divided with various viewpoints on global warming. President Donald Trump caused public outcry when he withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord in June 2017.
The Paris Climate Accord was established in late 2015, and consists of 195 countries. Its main goal was to create a global combat plan to place the world on the right path to preventing hazardous climate change. For example, one of the key elements of the accord was to keep the global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.
Protests were held all over the nation for people to show their disapproval of the decision made by Trump. Tweets he made prior to his presidency regarding the issue reemerged to reveal his ignorance, such as, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Famous scientists also commented on Trump’s decision to end the accord. Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most renown physicists, said, “By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.”
Global warming and climate change are issues that have been publicly addressed by scientists for decades. Many scientific findings show the different causes for rapid climate change all over the world. According to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), some of the vital signs of the planet’s deterioration are global temperatures rising, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, and sea levels rising. All of these things have been contributed to by human influences.
As society makes technological and economical progress, the planet is negatively impacted. In his article, “Is Progress Good for Humanity?” Jeremy Caradonna dismissed the mainstream narrative (story) of the Industrial Revolution that continues to link modern technological advancement to “increased human happiness, wealth and productivity.” He argued that advanced technology enabled people to live longer and safer lives, but at the same time destroyed global ecosystems. Caradonna listed intellectuals like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who appreciated advancement in technology, but also recognized negative consequences of rapid industrialization such as social inequality and destruction of environment for the sake of economic development. This immediately connects back to Trump and his speech about withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord in which he stated, “Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”
Despite all the controversies, there are still countless skeptics who don’t consider global warming and climate change to be a cause of real concern. According to National Geographic’s “Six Degrees Could Change the World,” “by the end of this century, the Amazon Rainforest, home to half the world’s biodiversity could wither to an arid savannah.” Only time will tell how severe global warming alters our lives however the minor changes that are presently being experienced in the unstable daily weather conditions are warnings on an impending danger to all life on Earth.