Free «Barack Obama Administration and the Problem of Climate Change» Essay
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One of the major international issues of the 21st century is the change in the planetary climate. The impetuous increase of the overall dynamics of disasters is of particular concern. The increased number of disasters has been observed in the recent decades. These days, there is the annual rise of average temperatures worldwide. Many of the changes in the behavior and way of life of animals and the development of plants are linked to global warming. Many countries have already adopted political regulations concerning the problems of climate changes. The United States is not an exception. Barack Obama has proposed a regulation to address the issue of climate change, and this regulation has gained both proponents and opponents. The purpose of the paper is to summarize the main issue of the proposal and discuss its advantages and disadvantages.
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The Plan Proposed by Barack Obama
When “Barack Obama became president of the United States in January 2009” (Dessler, 2015, p. 226), the climate change was one of the most important priorities of his presidency. In their book Climate Change Litigation, Peel and Osofsky (2015) claim that “With the election of President Obama in 2009, political attitudes to climate change shifted in favor of action corresponding with increased public belief in the need for, and acceptance of, climate mitigation policies” (p. 227). President Barack Obama officially presented the plan of the reduction of the carbon-emission volume by power plants. Thus, the US president is determined to fight for the reduction in CO2 emissions that present the biggest threat to people around the world. Climate change is the most serious problem threatening the world these days, and CO2 plays the main role in these changes.
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The United States recognizes its responsibility for the warming of the planet. The country is one of the most developed economies in the world. Therefore, its developed economy causes damage to the planet’s climate. The scientists confirmed that 2015 was the warmest year in the entire history of meteorological observations (Gormley, 2015). Climatic changes are particularly acute in Alaska. The melting of polar ice caps threatens human settlements in Alaska. The entire cultures of the indigenous peoples are threatened.
According to Barak Obama, if drastic measures designed to stop global warming are not taken immediately, it is possible that the world will never be able to do it (Gormley, 2015). Barack Obama wants to reduce C02 emissions by the US power plants and dramatically lower the overall emissions of the country by 28% by 2025 (Bailey, 2016). Therefore, the atmosphere will not get 870 million tons of carbon dioxide (Bailey, 2016). The proposed plan provides the reduction of the volume of electricity generation with the use of coal and the gradual transition to the renewable energy. In accordance with this plan, the power plants will have to reduce the number of carbon emissions by 32% (Bailey, 2016). It is the reduction to the figures of 2005.
Barack Obama called the proposed plan the most important step ever taken by the United States in the fight against global climate change. One-third of all the carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere is attributed to the power plants. They emit more carbon dioxide than cars, houses, and airplanes taken together.
In accordance with the new standards by the Environmental Protection Agency, every American state is responsible for drawing up its action plan to achieve the established quality goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power plants. At the same time, according to the new plan, every state will be given two additional years for this purpose. The implementation of these plans should be initiated up to 2022 (Gormley, 2015). Due to these regulations, the mortality caused by the pollution of the atmosphere by the power plants will be reduced by 90%, while the volume of pollutants that lead to asthma attacks will be reduced by70% (Gormley, 2015). Thus, this plan has a positive effect on people’s health.
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Opponents of the Plan
These regulations caused numerous debates throughout the United States. Thus, Bailey (2006) affirms that “Congressional Republicans and a number of Democrats from coal-mining states reacted angrily to Obama’s actions” (p. 116). The plan came up against the strong opposition from power companies and Congress controlled by the Republicans that put the issue of the price of the reforms and how they could affect consumers. According to the opponents, this plan would lead to the reduction in employment. As with the closure of the power plants, millions of people can lose their jobs despite the fact that the plan for the transition to clean energy sources includes the development of the solar energy sector. It is associated with the fact that the sector of solar energy and other clean energy sources is not so developed as the power plants’ one. Thus, it cannot provide such a number of jobs. Opponents claim that Barack Obama has declared war on the coal industry. About one-third of the US energy needs is provided by coal (Bailey, 2016). In particular, the miners are the main adversaries of the project as they are afraid of losing their jobs. According to many experts, electricity will become more expensive for the millions of Americans (Bailey, 2016). Moreover, the United States is not the only country with the operating power plants that emit carbon dioxide into the air. Such countries as China, India, and many European states with the developed economies also have such plants on their territory. In many countries, there are no such projects as the ones offered by Barack Obama. Therefore, the use of restriction in one country will not save the situation in the whole world. However, many people disagree with this statement because in such a way, the United States can serve as an example for other countries. The USA plays a leading role in the process of adaptation to climate changes. Moreover, the decisive actions of the Obama administration have forced China to accept the obligation to reduce the volume of carbon emissions.
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Proponents of the Plan
Despite the numerous critics of Obama’s plan, there are those who support the idea of the president. They support this plan because of the harmful effect of the power plants on nature. Undoubtedly, the power plants are necessary because they provide entire countries and cities with electricity needed for the normal functioning of the inhabitants of the planet. However, despite all advantages, the daily operation of the power plants has irreparable damage to the planet’s ecology. For example, during the operation of the nuclear power plants, there are radioactive wastes that poison the soil, air, and water and they can lead to thermal pollution. As the result of the operation of the thermal power plants, harmful gasses and combustion products are released into the atmosphere. In particular, carbon monoxide gasses and toxic substances enter the air (Chambers, 2015). The disdain of these types of contaminants can eventually cause precipitation in the form of acid rains, the greenhouse effect, and the destruction of the ozone layer. Soot and smoke remaining from incomplete combustion of fuel have a harmful effect on the health of all people. Moreover, they also warm the planet. It has been proven that their role in global warming is crucial (Chambers, 2015). The atmosphere contains such an amount of soot particles that they absorb about 1.1 W of solar energy per each square kilometer of its surface (Chambers, 2015). Globally, it creates a serious greenhouse effect. It appears that after carbon, soot is the second most significant anthropogenic factor influencing the development of global warming. According to scientists, diesel engines and coal-fired power are among the main sources of carbon emission in the atmosphere (Chambers, 2015). Thus, Black, Hassenzahl, Stephens, Weisel, and Gift (2013) assert that “Carbon dioxide is the largest greenhouse gas contributor to climate change, and emitting large quantities is detrimental to environmental health” (p. 580). In such a way, it is necessary to make everything possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. Therefore, Barack Obamas’ plan is a great opportunity to achieve this goal. Nevertheless, the US Supreme Court has decided to prohibit the introduction of quotas for the emissions of greenhouse gasses that have a detrimental impact on the environment. Initially, the court wants to hear all the objections of the opponents referring to the change of the energy industry (Bailey, 2016). Only after that, the court’s decision will be made regarding the initiative of the American leader.
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The environment is the basis of human life. Mineral resources and the energy produced from them are the bases of modern civilization. It is obvious that there is no future for the humanity without energy. However, modern energy brings serious harm to the environment, worsening the living conditions of people. Different types of the power plants are the basis of modern energy. Many countries around the world have already adopted certain plans to stop climate changes on the planet. The US President Barack Obama has also associated the climate plan aimed at reduction of carbon emissions from the power plants. Its purpose is to improve the state of the environment in the United States and the whole world. Nevertheless, the regulation has been criticized by many states, but it also has its supporters.