“We are near the tipping point now,” Geography professor Anita Forrester said.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this previous summer has been the fifth hottest summer on record with temperatures two degrees above the average.
The tipping point Forrester referenced is a two-degree Celsius increase in the Earth’s temperature. Since 1900 alone, it has already increased a degree. The normal cycles of the Earth heating and cooling should occur over “millions of years, long term cycles, not in 150 years,” according to Forrester.
During 2016’s election, President Donald Trump went on the record denying climate change, and used his Twitter account to surmise that the planet’s warming was merely, “Created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Additionally, President Trump had campaigned on promises to pull out of the Paris Accords and to put the coal miners back to work.
The Paris Accords were an agreement put together by the United Nations and participating countries working to keep the increase in Earth’s temperature around the two-degree Celsius mark and look to divest from companies that are central in fossil fuel production.
With former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency, who had sued the agency 14 times during his role as state attorney general, according to the Atlantic, the table is set for the Trump administration to roll back many of the initiatives President Obama had put in place.
Pruitt sued the EPA for wanting to test water in Oklahoma for mercury levels, and many of his cases were helping oil companies in their ventures, while trying to eliminate government regulation at every turn.
His stated mission is, “To give the power of environmental regulation back to the states,” and as White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, “The EPA will no longer spend unnecessary taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control, anti-energy agenda.”
Among these, is the Clean Power Act. This act was designed to lessen carbon dioxide emissions on a state-by-state basis, making current fossil fuel plants more efficient and as well as replacing carbon emitting power stations for clean energy alternatives.
On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order directing a review of the Clean Power Act, ending what he referred to as “the war on coal” – Citing energy independence and job creation as reasons for the order.
“Rolling back Obama’s climate initiatives leaves the most socioeconomically vulnerable at risk,” Forrester said.
In 2014, Time Magazine did a study on what climate change will do to the poor in this country. Cities like Chicago, New York and Philadelphia would have many more people struggling with heat-related illness. Additionally, the coal-burning plants and manufacturing centers that produce high levels of carbon dioxide are surrounded by middle to lower socioeconomic neighborhoods.
Rising sea levels, desertification, and a shrinking supply of freshwater will create environmental refugees, most of these phenomena worsened by climate change.
By 2020, the UN predicts there will be 50 million refugees, according to an article by The Guardian.
These sweeping revisions and denial of climate change by the Trump administration make the March for Science that NCC students will be attending much more noteworthy.
NCC’s CAN, or Climate Action Network, along with the College Sustainability Committee, Center for Civic Engagement, Outdoors Club, Ski Club and Student Senate have come together to sponsor the trip to Washington D.C.
“We don’t have a day to waste, let alone four more years,” Forrester said.