The environment is our most indispensable asset, the very foundation of our way of life and our prosperity. Everything we stand for and believe in as a nation means nothing if our planet cannot sustain us. Every day, the ecosystem is threatened by rising oceans, perishing forests, and a warming atmosphere.Whether we identify as Democrats, Republicans, or Independents, it is crucial that we prioritize the fate of our planet when electing our next President.
There is no denying that climate change is an urgent and controversial issue in today’s world. Regardless of the progress that President Obama has made over the past eight years, such as passing the first-ever national carbon emission standards for power plants— America’s number one source of carbon pollution— there is still a lot of work to be done. It has never been more important for the U.S. as a global power to lead the fight against climate change. As we near a point of no return in the warming of the earth, the climate stakes in this election could not be higher.
Despite claiming to “understand the environment,” to have “won many environmental awards,” and to be “a believer in clean air [and] water,” Donald Trump does not believe in climate change itself. Trump has called climate change “a hoax,” “a big scam,” and “a very, very expensive form of tax.” As President, Trump hopes to cut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency that oversees the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, regulates the uses of potentially harmful chemicals, and more.
Trump’s primary reason for wanting to cut the EPA is that the U.S. “waste[s] all this money” on environmental protection. However without the EPA, the U.S. might find itself in a similar situation to China, overridden with smog and polluted water. A 2012 study found that the Clean Air Act alone has saved the U.S. government over $5.6 trillion (and perhaps up to $49.4 trillion) in health care costs despite only costing $0.5 trillion. This leaves the benefit-cost ratio at anywhere between 11.2:1 and 98.9:1.
Unlike Trump, Hillary Clinton’s has made her views on climate change and sustainability accessible and unambiguous. Clinton has announced numerous policies and plans that she hopes to implement as President. The most ambitious of these is her 10 year plan to reduce the U.S’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30% via renewable energy. Clinton aims to install over a half a billion solar panels by the conclusion of her first term. She also seeks to cut energy waste and oil use in everything from schools to transportation to low-income homes. This will not only benefit the U.S. in the long run but also encourage other countries to utilize renewable energy and to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. With this plan, the U.S. will be on its way to cutting emissions by 80% before 2050.
After the pledge that President Obama made last year at the Paris Climate Change Talks to reduce worldwide carbon pollution, it has never been more important for global sustainability to elect an eco-friendly President. If elected, Trump will set the country on a backwards path toward unclear air and water for the sake of profit. Hillary Clinton will make sure the U.S. leads the way in the global community by prioritizing what matters: the survival of our environment.