Climate change, along with its existence, magnitude, urgency, and possible solutions, are constantly under fierce political debate. Individuals and government officials passionately address the issue from all sides. While some deny the general existence of global climate change, some persistently advocate that climate change requires immediate action. Climate change is an incredibly polarizing, divisive, and debated issue, with all sides devoted to their beliefs. In the current political state of the United States, the issue is constantly prevalent in the news, political debates, and policy.
A major policy move against climate change intended to reduce carbon emissions was the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan was an initiative introduced by the Obama Administration in 2015. It aimed to help offset the high carbon emissions produced by the energy sector, most specifically the coal industry. The plan was significant in the fight against global warming as it set the nation’s first limits on carbon pollution from power plants. It became Obama’s signature climate change initiative, and hoped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through environmental regulation. The idea was that it would encourage industry to move away from environmentally harmful energy sources like fossil fuel combustion. Instead, proponents hoped that industries would alternatively transition toward clean, renewable energy sources.
The Clean Power Plan recently came under attack as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced its replacement with the Affordable Clean Energy rule (ACE). The EPA, supported by the Trump Administration, is repealing the Clean Power Plan over claims that it was EPA overreach. The Affordable Clean Energy Rule will weaken environmental regulations and grant increased leniency to industries regarding greenhouse gas emissions. Supporters of clean energy sources and those involved in the fight against global warming are critical of this policy for not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions. Rather than prioritizing the well-being and fate of planet Earth, it is representing the coal industries economic interests that are detrimental to environmental safety and protection.
While this large-scale policy action and widespread political debate can seem daunting and beyond the control of individuals, we can work to make our own positive impacts on the environment. It is hard to see how one small action can be appreciated, but the concern of climate change is very real. Therefore, every effort to reduce atmospheric carbon levels makes all the difference. One small and easy step that people can take to personally combat climate change is transitioning their search engine use. Every internet search emits carbon dioxide, but by using websites like Treegle.org and Ecosia.org, you can curb carbon pollution. Treegle and Ecosia are two search engines that give the money earned by their search ads to planting trees. Through the use of Treelge and Ecosia, rather than adding to atmospheric CO2, individuals can contribute to necessary reforestation projects.