Campus Ideologies: Three student parties take on climate change

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Rowan's Political parties' logos. - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon.

Rowan Progressives

The current state of the climate can be described as nothing less than a crisis. 2023 has not been the first year to be documented as the hottest year on record, nor will it be the last. Global temperatures are projected to rise to 2° Celsius within the next 5-15 years. Flowers are blooming in Antarctica, whole countries are sinking, and climate hazards are causing public health crises everywhere. The situation is only becoming more dire and will continue to worsen if we do not act. 

While the individual consumer has an influential role to play in combatting climate change, we must be careful to not misconstrue where the blame falls. Not one individual’s consumption will ever equate to the colossal levels of greenhouse gasses emitted by the massive corporations fueling the rampant consumerism for which we, the working class, are often blamed. These are the entities that need to be regulated. Not just in environmental regulations, but additionally in unbridled economic growth. 

The environmental consequences of production are no coincidence. The exponential production of material goods and their inevitably quick demise demand a capacity from planet Earth that it simply does not have. The United States, much like the rest of the Global North, has an immovable priority of profit over anything. Environmental regulations are a threat to the viability of that, meaning what we need is not stand-alone policies and half-hearted monetary penalties from the Environmental Protection Agency, but rather a complete overhaul of the systems that call for production at any cost. 

Having established this, we can now understand why the outcomes of the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) were not only disappointing but quite frankly disturbing. The final document produced vaguely alluded to a soft transition away from fossil fuels, failing to provide consequences for nations who do not meet the quota for climate action. If the question is of the United States’ position as a global leader, the answer is that they must step up immediately to push for international cooperation on the complete phasing out of natural gas.

The consequences of this may not be as far removed from our everyday lives as they may feel. That being said, there is nothing wrong with the potentially “selfish” reasons to be invested in the future of climate circumstances. Basic aspects of human existence come under threat due to environmental issues. Recent spikes in grocery prices are inextricably linked to the climate crisis. Unprecedented and irregular natural disasters are destroying ecosystems that we rely on for so many of our favorite foods, making them harder to access and subsequently more expensive. Traffic solutions fall under this same trajectory. 

Car-centered infrastructure is a dominating force in the use of natural gas. We would be much better off choosing to invest in walkable communities with the potential to create positive community ties and incentivize green spaces.

The United States has the economic and political power to implement these things not just at home, but abroad. However, it is not any national government alone that will pave the way to a brighter future. Grassroots organizing campaigns put immense weight on shifting the global scales of action. For example, anti-big oil campaigns at over 1,600 institutions have amounted to over $40 trillion divested from the fossil fuel industry. These sorts of coalitions are what we should look to as the leaders of the climate movement. As is with all sociopolitical causes, it is the power of the people that is necessary if we are to see significant progress.

Rowan Republicans

Climate change is undeniably a pressing global issue, and its impacts have become more evident with each passing year. As we reflect on 2023, recorded as the hottest year documented, it prompts us to consider the approaches to mitigation and adaptation. From my perspective, the focus lies on balancing environmental stewardship with economic considerations and individual freedoms.

When assessing the main contributors to climate change in our country, it’s crucial to acknowledge that various factors play a role. While industry emissions are often highlighted, my perspective emphasizes the need for a comprehensive analysis. It involves evaluating the role of natural climate variability, and global contributors, and striking a balance between environmental protection and economic growth. The debate on government intervention in climate change often divides political ideologies. From my standpoint, the emphasis is on promoting innovation, technology, and market-driven solutions rather than extensive government regulations. Encouraging private sector initiatives, incentivizing clean energy innovation, and fostering voluntary measures are seen as viable approaches to address climate concerns.

Should the U.S. take charge of leading the fight against climate change? My perspective contends that while the U.S. should play a role, it’s crucial to avoid unilateral actions that may disadvantage our industries. Emphasizing cooperation and encouraging other nations, especially major contributors, to adopt sustainable practices is deemed more effective than imposing strict regulations domestically.

Is climate change as serious as we think? I often advocate for a balanced perspective, acknowledging climate change while questioning alarmist narratives. The focus on climate change is diverting attention and resources from what he sees as more immediate and pressing issues.

In conclusion, addressing climate change requires a nuanced approach that balances environmental concerns with economic considerations and individual freedoms. From my perspective, the focus is on promoting innovation, voluntary measures, and international cooperation to navigate the challenges posed by climate change.

Rowan Democrats

Climate change has easily been elevated to the most pressing priority and detrimental issue of the twenty-first century. The shift in our climate has brought about unprecedented devastation with increasing atmospheric temperatures causing catastrophic droughts such as the 2023 Southern/Midwestern Drought which cost $14.5 billion and 247 lives. Tragedies like these have become regular occurrences due to climate change and global warming. 

While daunting, the effects of centuries of harmful emissions can be stalled with more environmentally conscious living. Every person has a carbon footprint detailing the impact of an individual on the environment. Living an “environmentally friendly lifestyle” aims to reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by, for example, walking or biking rather than driving (or, if driving is necessary, utilizing public transportation).

Human activities such as utilizing electricity and transportation efficiently play a vital role in reducing the effects of climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the three biggest contributors to rising temperatures are Industrial (30%), Residential and Commercial (30%), and Transportation (29%) factors. To preserve a cleaner future, the United States must continue its initiatives towards reducing industrial emissions and emissions produced by the general population.

Under the Biden Administration, the largest piece of legislation directed at climate change investments and environmental security has been passed and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is charted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one billion tons by 2030. The Biden Administration has also made significant progress in promoting the sales of electric vehicles by deploying incentives such as “clean vehicle tax credits”, pushing consumers to make the transition away from traditional fuel. Attempting to lead the world by example, the United States launched a Sustainability Plan aimed at reducing the federal government’s carbon footprint with the goals of transitioning to 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2030, 100% zero-emissions vehicle acquisitions by 2035, and net-zero emissions by 2050.

In the global community, the United States of America serves as a powerful agenda setter and should utilize the resources and influence at its disposal to take point on the most critical issue of this generation. Today, regions all over the world are without water and these scarcities create global tensions that may conflagrate into full-blown “Water Wars”. The effects of climate change are felt in all aspects of life including immigration, international conflict, and national security.

When such a vital resource as water becomes difficult to acquire, the question becomes less about how to get it and more about what you are willing to do to get it. The extreme consequences of climate change have sparked conflicts such as those along the Nile River, a key resource under siege for the rights to its water in a heavily contested dispute between regional states including Egypt and Ethiopia.

Domestically, the challenges of climate change are braved with relentless wildfires, floods, and droughts. The recent Maui Wildfires have shown the world just how devastating the consequences of global warming can truly be with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reporting the wildfires as the United States’s deadliest in over 100 years with over 95 deaths. Over 2,200 structures were destroyed and will cost over five billion dollars to repair vital water, food, and shelter infrastructure.

The United States and its citizens have an obligation to the people, who have had their lives taken due to the catastrophic results of unsustainable living, to actively work towards a cleaner today and an even cleaner tomorrow.

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