A changing climate, changing policy: a closer look at the ‘New Green Deal’
The Climate seems to be rocking out to a sped up remix of Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold.” The recent polar vortex had record lows in northern states while parts of the southern hemisphere are burning up amid a record-breaking heat wave. But sometimes on campus all we really want to know is, ‘will I freeze to death on this trek to class’ or ‘will the A/C levels ever be able to combat Dallas heat!?’
A recent survey states millennials see global climate change as the single biggest issue our population is facing. However, it’s hard to keep track of what changes are happening. Let’s look at the latest legislative moves and some SMart pointers for U to lower personal impact:
Global Climate report 5 fast facts:
Skim some of the most important issues NASA mentions via collective research on their climate page and click the linked titles to learn more.
- Global Temperature Rise: The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
- Rapid Increases: Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010.
- Warming Oceans: The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.
- Severe Weather Events: The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.
- Sea Level rise: The global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and is accelerating slightly every year.
What’s this “Green New Deal” business?
Freshman Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass announced a new resolution on Thursday Feb. 7, 2019.
The name plays off President Franklin Roosevelt’s social welfare “New Deal” programs implemented during the depression. In 2007 New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman coined the ‘Green New Deal,’ envisioning government-backed research and loans, as well as taxes and incentives to remake the U.S. economy.
Its key points include:
A dramatic increase in the production of renewable fuels, focusing on a 10-year shift to energy systems that are greenhouse gas “net-zero.”
In general, the resolution aims to meet “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”
Politically, not all democrats are on the same page. In an interview with Politico House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, welcomed the enthusiasm of Green Deal backers stating, “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive.” But, she was reluctant to throw specific support behind the proposal, instead supporting recently revived Select Committee on the Climate Crisis panel chaired by Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla, which is working to formulate general environmental protections.
SMart tips for U:
While the politics continue to bounce back and forth, we can all agree we like our place in the world, so here are some savvy tips and “self – legislation” you can implement right away to help preserve and grow the SMU we know and love.
- Unplug chargers that you’re not using to reduce electricity waste
- Turn the lights off when you leave the room
- Save paper by using E-textbooks (and rejoice … you no longer have to break your back carrying a bag full of books!)
- Take shorter showers to save water (nobody wants to stand in dorm showers that long anyway right…?)
- Use energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (and they won’t get confiscated in those dorm fire checks!)
- Use cold water to wash your clothes (this saves CO2 emissions)
- Carpool to save fuel and cut pollution
- When it’s hot outside, open your windows to ventilate the house instead of running the air conditioner
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth to save water