Now is the time to give environmental policies a new look

As young adults who have experienced the warming temperatures, it is hard to ignore what is to come in the future if this continues to warm.

Since 1956, the global threat of climate change has grown each year, affecting the lives of every human on Earth. However, this glooming threat isn’t seen as a big issue with older people as it is in young people. Scientists believe we are running out of time and must resort to geoengineering in the coming years.

Ever since the industrial revolution in 1750, the world’s carbon dioxide emissions have exponentially increased. Due to this, NASA estimates that since 1901, we’ve lost about 49,000 gigatonnes of ice, this is enough to cover the moon’s surface in a 5-foot-high sheet of ice. This has greatly increased the temperature of the planet and if the issue isn’t addressed, then temperatures will continue to rise.

It has become apparent that not as many older people are aware or care about the state of the planet because, maybe, they feel as if it isn’t their problem. This sets a bad example for the young people who will be the ones affected by the changing climates when they’re older. This type of neglect, however, can’t be adopted by the youth – we simply can’t afford it.

Due to the alarming rate at which climate change is increasing, scientists believe in the near future the only solution to the fight against climate change is geoengineering, which is the idea of using large-scale engineering to intervene against the Earth’s climate.

Unfortunately, we wouldn’t have to resort to this if the problem was addressed much earlier. Even now, the Amazon Rainforest continues to burn, yet there is not much (social) media coverage over it. Additionally, the recent California wildfires are a factor in scientists believing in geoengineering since both fires are related to climate change.

Scientists believe that in the near future we’ll have to do a type of solar radiation management called stratospheric aerosol injection. The plan would be to annually send airplanes to the stratosphere where they would spray a type of aerosol (most likely sulphuric dioxide) where it will reflect the sun’s rays back into space and in turn cooling the planet. The idea is to mimic volcanic ash: to cover the sun and block the planet from the sun’s rays entirely. 

This plan of aerosol injection is the fastest and cheapest way for us to fight climate change with it only costing around $2 billion a year. This is a lot cheaper than most methods.

But will this even work?

Studies show this plan can work but with catastrophic effects. The plan would affect regional climates, deplete the ozone, continue ocean acidification, and many more negative effects. Not to mention once the plan is put into action, there is no going back because even if we succeed, once we stop aerosol injections, the climate would grow warmer faster than it is now. 

As young adults who have grown up watching the effects of climate change unfold with our own eyes, it is our duty to make the world a better place for everyone who lives here. We don’t have to resort to aerosol injection if we helped find another way to fight climate change.

Not only will these climate change events affect our planet, but also our politics. Candidates who promise for more CO2 removal, and cooler climates will hopefully win over the youth, and people will expect more efforts in the fight against climate change. 

We can already see the effects of climate change affecting politics today, with Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggesting their Green New Deal and candidates like Joe Biden pledging for ambitious climate action. 

We, as a collective, have shown that we are able to bring attention to issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement. So we, as a collective, can bring attention to the world’s warming climate, and hopefully, in the near future, we can find another solution. If we are unable to do this, then the planet that we hold dear will inevitably have disastrous effects on everyone. We can’t continue to ignore our planet’s growing temperatures because, in the future, we will be the ones greatly affected by climate change, and later on, our children’s future.

It’s time for the younger generation to finally step up in finding a new solution, because if we don’t, then who else will?


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