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Our nation must confront climate change soon

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JAIMI JENSEN
June 10, 2011
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is among commentaries written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School. The seminar is for students in the advanced placement U.S. government course taught by Joe Van Rooy.

According to special-interest groups such as the Sierra Club and Oceana, it is a clear fact that global climate change is occurring at a rapid pace and that humanity’s carbon footprint is partially to blame for this acceleration. By continuing at these rates of energy consumption and carbon emissions, we will reach catastrophic environmental conditions that could be devastating and irreversible.


Already, examples of this climate change are observable in Earth’s ecosystems, as well as in extreme weather patterns, including mass floods, prolonged drought and intense storms. In the summer of 2010, brutal floods plagued Pakistan, devastating villages. Only six months earlier, a crippling drought severely threatened the nation’s staple crop, wheat.


At present, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass are being promoted internationally as methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen our impact on the environment. Unfortunately, the United States falls short of competing with nations in the global market when it comes to producing energy, although we consume the most energy of all developed nations, says Joel Smoot, a staffer in Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s office.


By investing in renewable energy sources, not only will the U.S. set an example through leadership, but jobs will be created and our dependency on foreign oil will diminish. The United States must begin a more widespread transition to green energy in order to contend in the worldwide market.


In the perspective of Smoot, “we are the standard.”


In the current political climate, it is understandable that climate change might be forced to the bottom of the agenda; however, it will remain a burning issue for years to come and must be confronted in the very near future if we are to prevent further damage to the planet on which we live.



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