Carbon dioxide is a very serious pollutant that could soon pose a threat to humans and our planet if measures aren’t taken to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide itself is not harmful to humans, but can have negative effects such as climate change, damages infrastructure, agriculture, and residential systems. With 85% of all countries signing on to the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions outputs worldwide, each country are coming up with their own ways to reduce their carbon emissions(Why business should say yes to a carbon tax). This was signed in 2016 and if successful, I believe that we can significantly reduce carbon emissions worldwide and significantly lessen and slow down the harsh effects of our extreme output of carbon dioxide. Eighty seven percent of carbon emission from humans are from our use of fossil fuels. Nine percent of carbon emission are from land use changes such as deforestation. The last four percent are from industrial processes such as cement production(What’s your impact.org). The use of fossil fuels such as oil and especially coal are environmentally unfriendly and is the main cause of our dangerous output levels of carbon. There are much more cleaner sources for energy than relying on fossils fuels. It will also be way more beneficial in the long term to switch our consumption of fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly options. Some alternatives to fossil fuels are hydroelectric power, wind, and solar energy. Fossil fuels still dominate worldwide as our main source of energy, but renewable energy definitely seems to be on this rise. China, India and the United States are among the highest emitters of carbon dioxide. Donald Trump has stated that he wants to back out of the Paris Agreement as he believes that it is not “fair” to American workers. China and India has made huge headway in their switch from fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives, while the United States has made very little progress, and is predicted to make even less progress due to the relatively new administration that is now running the country. Some believe that despite these circumstances, it will have very little effect on the global effort to reduce carbon emissions for a better climate(National geographic.org). I can definitely agree with this, but it is still very unfortunate that the United States seems to be making little to no progress and how we still seem to rely mainly on fossil fuels without any indication of moving to renewable energy as our main source of power. Sadly, the country itself can be blamed for this problem. The government just doesn’t do enough to incentivize companies and industries to switch from fossil fuels to a less carbon heavy alternative. In fact, our government actually encourages the use of coal and oil. That just makes it even more harder to switch from fossil fuels. Electric and gas companies are regulated by the government which encourages the use of fossil fuels(huffpost.com). I believe that if the government wasn’t doing this, it would be a lot more easier to make a switch to renewable energy. Another option would be a carbon tax set equal to the social carbon cost, which is 20$ per ton emitted. Most economists believe this to be a very efficient option as it would incentivize producers to innovate away from carbon intensive manufacturing practices(Why businesses should say yes to a carbon tax). Due to climate change, hurricane and wildfire damages are amplifying. If a tax of 20$ would be set to the negative externality of carbon cost, it can help pay back the damage done by climate change and increased natural disaster damages. Due to human caused global warming, studies have shown that in 2005, the year hurricane Katrina struck, 2 to $14 billion of the recorded annual losses could be attributable to climate change, which is 2 to 12% of that year’s normalized losses(The Gaurdian). Many countries are trying their best to switch to renewable energy as their main source of energy. Renewable energy options are also much more cheaper than the fossil fuel alternative we still use. The United States does not look like it will be making that switch anytime soon. It will most likely have to be left to the citizens to protest against their government to uphold the Paris Agreement. Some states are planning of banding together to sign themselves onto the Paris Agreement if Donald Trump decides to sign the United States off of it. I think that is a good idea and will be a huge step forward for the country. Only time will tell if our global efforts to reduce carbon emissions will be a success or not.
By Jama Tasfay