Environmental issues have continued to progress globally as there has not been significant political action taken to reduce environmental degradation. Multiple countries have turned a blind eye toward the increasing issues in the environment and have left it up to the individuals to make ca hange. Global environmental issues can not be fixed by individual sacrifices, they require institutions, like the government, to have substantial effects making it impossible for environmental issues to be separated from politics. The lack of political action has impacted the continued deterioration of the environment, and until proper measures are taken, the environment will continue to hurt as issues like climate change and pollution increase.
There has been a variety of environmental issues that have required government regulation in the form of global treaties and laws. Major environmental problems do not decrease or stop until significant action is taken worldwide, and even then it may be too late to reverse the damage already done. One of the major problems that the government has is its disbelief in environmental issues until they can be scientifically proven or they become such a large-scale problem that they begin to affect people’s lives.
By this point, when action can finally be taken, there will already be an increase in the problem. For example, some major environmental issues like climate change, the transportation of toxic contaminants, and the depletion of the ozone layer were not discussed until scientists continuously presented the issue to multiple governments (Bocking 4). This idea shows that even if serious environmental issues are occurring they can still have little to no effect on politics.
The lack of political interference when the issues are occurring continues to negatively impact the environment because no changes are being made, so the issue just gets worse and worse.
The continued use of non-renewable resources as a source of energy in the United States and other countries has increased the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. The increased burning of fossil fuels results in greater greenhouse gas emissions contributing to atmospheric pollution. Passing an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions has been a major environmental movement trying to gain government support since 2008. Barack Obama understood the seriousness of climate change and decided to create a policy that would help decrease the number of negative emissions. The cap-and-trade bill was supported by various environmental organizations like the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as a variety of well-known environmental advocacy groups. Even though the bill received great support and was able to be passed by the House of Representatives the bill never made it to the Senate floor. This was due to the unwillingness of the Senate to come up with any form of compromise that would help decrease the number of carbon emissions (Bartosiewicz, Miley 7). The failed legislation supports the idea that the government is not doing enough to help stop these serious environmental issues.
This bill would have decreased the number of harmful emissions that are being put out into the atmosphere, which increases global warming and negatively affect the health of humans and wildlife. Even with the support of the President and the House of Representatives the legislation still could not be passed, showing just how difficult it is to get any sort of government action. The United States is one of the eight most industrialized nations in the world, but with this great feat comes an abundance of environmental issues. Due to the large amount of non-renewable industries in the U.S., there is an overwhelming amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced every day. The United States ranks 39th of 150 countries in environmental performance, according to a study that was performed in 2009. The Environmental Sustainability Index (EPI) also shows how bad the environmental regulation is in the U.S. compared to other countries as they ranked the lowest out of the eight most industrialized nations (Vaughn 6).
The United States’ environmental regulation is not adequate compared to the amount that other nationscano carry out. All industrialized nations have a hard time with environmental regulations as they primarily focus on the growth of large cities and industries. These nations continuously want growth causing them to use a large amount of both non-renewable and renewable resources like oil, water, minerals, and land until they no longer can (Doucet 17). The government cares more about increasing the country’s economic growth than the negative impact they are having on the environment to get this growth.
There have been some influential environmental policies recently that have been passed to reduce the continuation of negative environmental issues. One of the most notable is the 2015 Paris agreement that is within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This agreement has gained support from the majority of the world’s nations and has received climate proposals from 179 nations, including the United States. This agreement aims to decrease climate change by reducing the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees celsius.
The Paris agreement has good intentions but it is still not doing enough to have any real impact. Scientists have expressed that the global temperature is likely to increase way beyond 2 degrees celsius, this may lead to very dangerous changes in the environment (Carter 2). Even with the passing of this agreement, there will likely be a major increase in global temperature because there was not enough political action taken early enough to make real change. It takes a lot of time to carry out any form of environmental regulation, as time progresses the environment will only continue to deteriorate.
Even though the government environmental regulation process may not be ideal, it is the only way that substantial change can be made. It is important to continue the growth of environmental organizations and advocacy groups since they help bring the increasing amount of issues to the government’s attention. Since politics have a direct impact on the environment it is the only way to progress global environmental governance, increase environmental laws and have a substantial impact on protecting the environment (Elliott 223). Politics and environmental issues will always be related as the increase in politics and regulations has a direct effect on what will happen in the environment. The two ideas are impossible to separate as one cannot change without help from the other.
As time goes on there must be an increase in political action relating to environmental issues, if not the world will face very serious damage. Substantial environmental change can only occur with help from international institutions, it can not be changed by individual environmental protection. Little political action has resulted in the continuation of environmental degradation and until significant action is taken the environment will continue to be negatively impacted.