Today, in this day and age American democracy is facing a major global catastrophe known as climate change. Climate change is widely defined “as the long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates”. This is attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that is produced by the use of fossil fuels. Some Americans are oblivious to the drastic effect’s climate change has caused. Some even believe that climate change will not even personally affect them.
This global crisis not only puts the people of this great nation at risk but also endangers our entire atmosphere. Climate change is in dire need of a solution, which is why imposing a carbon tax policy would implement the regulation necessary in order to fight back against this problem.
Climate change not only affects weather temperatures, it also causes other things within the earth’s environment to change as well.
With an increase in global temperatures this has led to the warming of oceans, the shrinking of ice sheets, glaciers retreating, sea levels rising and ocean acidification. Many Americans are calling global climate change a major threat to the well-being of human life as well as the United States. Pew Research Center surveys have come to shown that the “rise in concern about the crisis has largely come from the Democratic Party”. It appears that Republicans have ignored the global crisis rather than acknowledge the threat it imposes.
In addition, climate change has become a major threat to American democracy because the resources that people around the world have come to depend on and value such as, water, energy, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, and the well-being of the human race have all been affected.
Changes to water resources have significantly impacted not only American lives but also our animal wildlife. In many regions, flooding is becoming problematic and weather quality is declining. Most of the American’s food supply depends on climate and weather conditions. Some can argue that agricultural growth practices can be changed and adaptable. Which may be true but problems such as increased temperatures, water stresses, diseases and extreme weather conditions can create many challenges for farmers and agriculturalists. Human health is also extremely vulnerable due to the effects of global climate change. The change in the environment is expected to cause more “heat stress, an increase in waterborne diseases, poor air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents”.
Our ecosystems have also been altered, habitats of wildlife are being modified, the timing of events such as fertilization and egg laying are shifting. Marine wildlife has also been drastically affected due to elevation of carbon dioxide. According to NASA’s carbon dioxide chart, for millennia, the atmospheric carbon dioxide has never been above the 300-carbon dioxide level. The carbon dioxide level now is at an all-time high of 410. Since the ocean absorbs about “30% of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels”, people can imagine how this could be a problem for marine wildlife. As a result, the ocean is becoming more acidic therefore, affecting the marine wildlife. Due to thermal expansion, rising sea levels have also occurred, caused by the melting of Antarctic ice sheets and glaciers. While the rise of sea levels puts all coastal areas at greater risk of erosion, flooding, and storm surges.
On the surface, climate change appears to be unique in its ability to strip the ways of self-corrupting human choice. It is important to preserve and protect the resources that we have come to value but in order to do that people must be able to change the very grounds of their choices. It was stated that “Washingtonians agree that we must address global warming by weaning our state off of fossil fuels” but in order to alter the effects of our own malfeasance, regulations and precautions need to be put in place. Imposing carbon tax would be the optimum course of action, for it presents the regulation and precautions necessary. Implementing a tax on carbon could be the step necessary towards a better future. Carbon tax is considered to be levied on the carving content in the transport and energy sector.
This term is also considered equal to the carbon dioxide equivalent tax. Some studies have come to show that placing taxes on carbon production can effectively reduce greenhouse gas admission into earth’s atmosphere. “Along with decreasing carbon emission, imposition of carbon tax can encourage the use of renewable energy production and green economy in the country”. Carbon dioxide and other compounds of carbon have been shown to cause major environmental and human health damage and is the leading cause of global climate change. Implementing a carbon tax policy offers a potential cost-effective means of regulating and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere.
On the other hand, people could attempt to argue that implementing a carbon tax would not be the best way to resolve the ongoing climate change issues. The carbon tax approach is too conservative. However, that may be true, but climate change is not going anywhere anytime soon, ignoring the problem now will just cause more problems for the future generations to come. Some could also make the argument that establishing a cap-and–trade policy would be more efficient. For those who are uneducated on the subject, implementing a carbon tax directly establishes a price on greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, companies are directly charged a dollar amount for every ton of emissions they produce. Where a cap-and-trade policy program is set up to issues a specific number of carbon emissions or allowances each year. These allowances can be auctioned off or even traded on secondary markets, basically creating a price tag on carbon.
When compared these two policies share a significant number of advantages over other possible policy programs. For example, both policies can “reduce carbon emissions by encouraging the lowest-cost emissions reductions, and they do so without anyone needing to know beforehand when and where these emissions reductions will occur. Both policies encourage investors and entrepreneurs to develop new low-carbon technologies and both policies generate government revenue”. However, implementing a carbon tax is more beneficial compared to cap-and-trade programs. Cap-and-trade programs don’t encourage companies to reduce the number of greenhouse gasses beyond the emission/allowance target, which doesn’t resolve the climate change problem, only creates slight limitations. While the carbon tax policy forces companies to keep up with the number of emissions they’re releasing, since they will be charged for it. In an article comparing the two policies it was stated that ‘carbon tax is likely to cause emissions to fall more than predicted by the simulation models that shape our policy expectations”.
In conclusion, global climate change is a major problem which needs to be regulated and treated as the potential threat that it could become if regulations are not put in place. Implementing a carbon tax policy would be the most effective and efficient way. This policy offers a cost-effective solution reducing the admissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere and “is more likely to cause emissions rate to decrease more than predicted by the simulation models that shape our policy expectations”. The party that I believe would best to implement this policy would be the Democrat party. The Democratic party has been preserved to “believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals”. Which is why they should be the ones to bring this policy into office, the democratic party can see and understand the major threat that climate change imposes to our economy and our future.