Europe is leading the fight against climate change while the U.S. falls behind

By TANVI NARVEKAR | December 5, 2019

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These past couple of months have been eventful in terms of climate change. While it is always possible to take more action, any progress is a step in the right direction.

A month ago, Italy became the first country to require education on climate change. The education will first be taught through civics courses but will expand to be included in all subjects. Students will be required to study climate education for approximately 33 hours a year. Italian Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti spearheaded the reform. 

In the music industry, the band Coldplay seems to be one of the first groups to consider the environmental implications of touring. Recently, Coldplay announced that it would be halting the production of its tours to make them more environmentally friendly. Lead singer Chris Martin discussed the goals for this tour in terms of being environmentally conscious.

“We’re taking time over the next year or two to work out how our tour can not only be sustainable [but] how can it be actively beneficial,” he said in an interview with BBC News.

Musician Jack Johnson took similar strides during one of his tours in 2014. One thing that he did to make his tour more environmentally conscious was provide substitutes to single-use plastic. By doing this, he was able to save one million pounds of carbon dioxide. 

By making sustainability a priority, Jack Johnson and Coldplay set an example for other musicians and groups. Hopefully others artists will make similar strides to minimize the negative environmental effects of touring.

On Nov. 26, the United Nations (UN) published a report stating that big steps need to be taken with regards to climate change. In the report, the UN confronted the public for having failed to take action to mitigate climate change. 

The report included some alarming statistics and numbers. For example, the average global temperature has already increased more than one degree Celsius. The original goal of keeping this temperature increase to under 1.5 degrees may have to be increased to two degrees, because the efforts needed to keep that rise low need to be more extreme. 

In addition, The Washington Post reports that the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions have increased recently, which they attribute to President Donald Trump. This is not surprising, considering he has openly advocated against climate action in the past. This is a stark contrast from the actions that former President Barack Obama undertook during his time in office. 

The Obama administration provided 25 million dollars in funding for a research organization in Belize called Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, which seems to be one of the things that the Trump administration has cut back on. 

On Nov. 28, the European Union declared a state of emergency for the climate situation. By declaring a state of emergency, this directly and indirectly encourages member states to take action against climate change, something that they have been lacking for a while now. This bill also puts the European Green Deal into motion. 

Through this Green Deal, Europe will become the first continent to make the goal to work on fixing the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, including cutting net emissions. Such strides show how countries and continents are taking steps in the right direction to combat climate change. These strides also show the United States’ lack of action towards combating climate change.

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