Should the U.S. declare a climate emergency? | The Tylt

Should the U.S. declare a climate emergency?

Activists are pushing governments around the world to declare a climate emergency and immediately start taking action to slow and mitigate climate change. New research shows more cities and land will be lost to rising oceans by 2050 than previously thought. Declaring an emergency would call attention and focus efforts to stop climate change. However, some experts caution that declaring an emergency is a poor communications strategy that could lead to inaction instead. What do you think?

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Should the U.S. declare a climate emergency?
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Declaring a climate emergency sets the priorities for the government and the conversation around what to do about climate change. The conversation is no longer whether or not climate change exists, but what we should do about it. American communities are already facing the effects of climate change today. Declaring a climate emergency would help begin the process of taking on and mitigating the situation. 

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed a resolution calling for a climate emergency declaration back in July. Here's how the New Yorker's Carolyn Kormann made the argument for it: 

While Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for a climate-emergency declaration are not solving any problems, they are providing the language that needs to dominate the national conversation. And that matters. The United Nations recently warned that climate disasters are happening at the rate of one per week. This past June was the hottest on record. At the end of the month, a freak storm buried Guadalajara, Mexico, in hail, and on Thursday morning news outlets reported that freak hailstorms in Greece killed seven people. A month’s worth of rain fell on Washington, D.C., in an hour on Monday (while Trump completely ignored the climate crisis in his speech on the environment), then more flash floods drowned New Orleans, which is now preparing for a tropical storm that could dump another twenty inches of rain and test the city’s levees.
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Some caution against declaring a climate emergency because it's purely a symbolic action that could provide cover for political inaction and, at worst, make climate change an even more partisan issue. Instead of fighting for a climate emergency, that effort would be better spent fighting for specific policies we can take right now, and finding bipartisan support for it. Making climate change into even more a political issue would make things worse.

It's not about climate change denialism — there absolutely is a climate emergency. Instead, it's about the most effective strategy to stop climate change and how you communicate that to the public. 

Here's how Climate Change Communication Research Hub Director David Holmes made the argument against declaring a climate emergency:

1) Without bipartisan support, which is likely to be the case, it will further entrench the politicisation of climate change in Australia. Australians are already divided on anthropogenic climate change, and are increasingly afflicted by issue fatigue. This is precisely because climate change is thrashed about as a political issue (which turns on opinion) rather than a matter of physics (which turns on facts).

2) If such a conscience vote fails in parliament, it will marginalise any well-intentioned instigators as a partisan minority.

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6) By far the most overwhelming problem with such a declaration is that politicians are the least trusted sources of information on climate change.
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FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should the U.S. declare a climate emergency?
A festive crown for the winner
#DeclareAClimateEmergency
#ActionOverSymbolism