Table of Contents
- The Government and the Environment
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency
People have been aware of their environment far longer than there have been laws to protect environments. State, local, and federal Governments all play an essential role in protecting the environment. Climate change can lead to potentially dangerous health effects. Including illness, deaths, injuries from severe weather events, or respiratory problems caused by pollution. China and the United States emit almost half of the world’s carbon dioxide, therefore both countries play an important role to reduce greenhouse emission. Carbon policies must be monitored and enforced at international level. U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible to protect human health and the environment from pollution. EPA’s studies potential impacts of climate change and enforce national standards. EPA Also, helps business, states, public, and tribal government to understand climate science and their commitment to preventing dangerous impact. Since 1970 EPA helped to reduce pollution and educate the population. Everyone has the right to clean air, land, and water. The government works to protect that right. Trump’s administration efforts certainly do not merit credit for the long-term improvement in air and water quality in the U.S. The world wants the U.S. government to do more on the environment, preventing hundreds of thousands of premature deaths caused by climate change.
The Government and the Environment
Global climate change can lead to potentially harmful health effects. The strategies and decisions used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect communities from climate effects are crucial to prevent health problems. U.S and China, the world’s biggest climate polluters must reduce greenhouse gas emission. It’s important to learn the history of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to understand how the world has change for the better, since 1970. Trump’s administration is rolling back Obama’s legacy to fight climate change. The U.S government along with China and the rest of the world must act now to reduce pollution and protect the environment.
The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it. ('Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address | January 20, 2015')
There is no time to wait. Climate change is an emergency priority nationwide, scientists and specialists are warning about the risks and damage to the world it can cause if no action is taken. Countries such as the United States and China are limiting their emission of carbon. Other nations are also stepping up and offering hope that an agreement to protect the planet will secure life for the next generations. Actions today will reflect the life of every child in the future.
According to Neil Oculi (2015), a Ph.D. student of geography at the University of Connecticut wrote “Climate change as a Security for the United States and China”. In December 2015 world leaders negotiated and adopted a historic climate change accord. However, Neil argued that the climate change accord was a major disappointment. While 190 nations promised to cut their greenhouse gas to a certain amount, these pledges have no mechanisms to enforce their emission cuts. Neil’s belief that climate change highlights collectively security issues that are impossible to be solved by any one country alone. He also believes that China and the U.S. are very vulnerable to these security dilemmas such as migration of people, refugees of climate disasters.
The destruction of New Orleans is an example of climate change being an internal security threat to the United States. Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that the U.S. government is not prepared and need to act to be an example for many other nations to be prepared for catastrophes and take measures to avoid many others from happening.
Climate change also poses significant security threats to China. According to Hellenic Foundation for Europeans and Foreign Policy (2019), an average of 30 million people was displaced by climate change in China. Inducing migration in China as a result of, flooding, water stress, coastal erosion, saltwater in excess, and the glacial melt in the Himalayas.
Pollution is considered a domestic crisis in China. Sixteen of the world’s most polluted city are in China. In November 2013 government official had to shut down schools’ roads and airport in Harbin, a city of 11 million people. The reason for the shutdown was because the pollutions levels were 40 times the safe limit set by the World Health Organization.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA)China and the United States together emit over 40 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide. Therefore, international effort to reduce pollution must include meaningful participation from both nations. (Tan & Lee)
In order to achieve success in climate change, the United States and China must engage and participate at all levels: regionally, and internationally. Both countries must play better roles in addressing climate change. Also, they must invest in developing countries to help with adjustment and mitigation efforts to elevate their securities capabilities. Programs and incentives such as renewable energy, vehicle fuel efficacy, and reduce tropical deforestation must be implemented to protect the environment. The population must demand action from elected leaders to support and offer solution to defend the planet from disasters caused climate change.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970 to consolidate in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, and enforcement activities to protect the environment. EPA works for a healthier, and cleaner environment for Americans.
The Congress of the Unites States of America authorized EPA in 1970 to set national air quality, auto emission, and anti-pollution standards. William D. Ruckelshaus, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced in April of 1971 the final publication of national air quality standards for six common pollutants: particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, photochemical oxidants, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. The standards were based on investigations conducted at the outer limits capability to measure connections between levels in pollution and effects on man. (EPA,2018)
The Clean Act required to set pollution limit at levels that protect the public health and provide an adequate margin of safety. States were required to plan to meet the standards by 1975. The Clean Air Act prevented over 200,00 premature deaths by reducing the presence of lead, sulfur dioxide and other harmful pollutions in the air. EPA emphasized that State action should assure that air pollution never reaches the levels at which significant harm to health may occur. (EPA,2018)
In 1972 Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the Clean Water Act. The purpose of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain our nation’s waters by preventing pollution, providing support to publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities, and maintaining the integrity of wetlands. Also, in 1972, Congress enacted the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, or Ocean Dumping Act, to reduce ocean water pollution. Within three years, EPA had denied 70 contracts, many of them for chemical dumping. (EPA,2018)
The Congress created in 1980 the Superfund Program, holding polluters responsible for cleaning up most hazardous waste sites. The initial program designated $1 billion for cleanup efforts. EPA’s Superfund program is responsible for cleaning up some of the nation’s most contaminated land and take care of to environmental emergencies, natural disasters, and oil spills. To protect public health and the environment, the Superfund program focuses on making a noticeable and lasting difference in communities, making sure that people can live and work in healthy, vibrant places. (EPA, 2018)
In 1990 EPA ordered that the most hazardous wastes must be treated before they are disposed of on land. This prevents toxins from seeping into the ground and contaminating the water supply. President George Bush signed in 1990 the Pollution Prevention Act, emphasizing the importance of policies and actions that prevent environmental damage before it happens. (EPA, 2018)
EPA joined hands with the U.S. Department of Energy to start the Energy Star program to help Americans save money and preserve the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. In 2009, Americans used Energy Star to save nearly $17 billion on utility bills and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars. Since its creation, Energy Star has been adopted by Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the European Union. (EPA,2018)
The Paris Climate Accord in 2015 brought almost 200 nations, including the U.S. into a common cause to combat climate change and adapts to its effects. An agreement to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to the increase in global average temperatures. Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the accomplishment of these long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to minimize national emissions and adapt to the impacts of global climate change.
The Paris Agreement stipulates each country to prepare, communicate, and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it seeks to achieve. Nations shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, to achieve the objectives of such contributions. In June 2017, the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. President Trump ordered the cessation of all implementation of the Accord, stating that compliance with the terms of the agreement could undermine U.S. competitiveness and cost the U.S. over 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025. ('The Paris Agreement', 2018)
Trump attempts to shift blame costs and competitiveness is also at odds with the fact most of the countries in the world has signed up to the Paris climate agreement and only one government has declared its intent to withdraw from them. The administration’s efforts to weaken and repeal every possible environmental regulation certainly do not merit credit for the long-term improvement in air and water quality in the U.S.
According to Gresko et al.(2019), writers for the National Geographic’s science, nobody is giving up the fight. The state of New York, California, and Washington have declared a United States Climate Alliance to support the existing Paris agreement pledges. Connecuit and Massachusetts also voiced participation for the alliance. Eight-four U.S. mayors representing 40 million Americans also proclaimed their contribution to the Paris Agreement.
“The countries of the world care about climate change… and they understand that the Paris regime cannot work in the long run if the world’s indispensable power has left the table,” wrote Todd Stern (2018) Obama administration’s chief negotiator at Paris, in a recent essay published by The Atlantic.
The U.S. government needs to reach agreements, implement, and invest in technology nationally and globally. Finding the perfect balance between economic and environmental sustainability. To promote global warming solutions, the U.S. government together with all nations in the world must work to reduce carbon pollution, invest in fossil fuel free, and educate the population to help protect the planet.
The U.S. and China government should do more to protect the environment. It is time to panic about climate change. Since the Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, it has made our water and air cleaner, avoiding millions of asthma attacks and hospitalizations and preventing hundreds of thousands of early deaths, all while citizens of the U.S enjoyed a growing economy and a diverse population. The influence and size of the EPA have shrunk under the Trump administration. Since President Trump was elected, dozens of environmental rules have been either opened for reconsideration or overturned altogether. The United States needs to be moving forward, not backward, especially when it comes to defend children, elderly, and others who are vulnerable to lung cancer, heart disease, climate change disasters.