Updated: Jun 22
My vision for the future is one where climate change is not just stopped but reversed. Climate change is leading to more wildfires, droughts (that could stop waterfalls like Morrell Falls), rising sea levels, extreme weather events, ocean acidification, unhealthy ecosystem changes (that would damage the view from Wahweap Overlook and Wahweap Window at Lake Powell), and countless other effects. The longer that humanity waits to fight climate change, the worse these effects will become. It affects every single living thing on this planet, which is why I believe that this vision is more important than any other. Reversing it would allow the planet to return to normal. I would be having a large and direct impact on climate change, like passing laws that increase renewable energy usage throughout states. The nation would not only want to stop climate change but be eager to do everything possible to lessen its effects. Politics would be put aside to help the Earth.
Internationally, richer countries will help poorer countries fight climate change and mitigate its effects due to their unique susceptibility. It would be much more relaxing to live in this world knowing that everyone is being treated with equity and that every country, big or small, is helping to stop and reverse climate change. We would transition to this vision by making enormous investments in things like renewable energy, electric vehicles, walkable cities, cultivated meat, and reducing consumption, which I talk about in my other blogs. Jonathan Haidt and John Stuart Mill play an important role in the ethics of my vision; we need bipartisanship and utilitarianism to guide our decisions.
In my vision of stopping climate change, I am making a significant impact in many walks of life. This would occur mainly through legislation, just like what Joe Biden and the Democrats have been doing for the past couple of years. For example, pushing politicians to pass 100% renewable energy mandates. Electricity accounts for about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so this would have a large impact. Power companies would build thousands of megawatts of renewable energy to completely decarbonize electricity generation. Not only would this help stop climate change, but millions of people would also benefit from lower electricity prices and less pollution.
Another piece of legislation that I would pass is a carbon market. Over time, more and more sectors of the economy would be required to reduce emissions. The companies that produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions will get carbon credits that they can sell to companies that pollute much more. There is a financial incentive to decarbonize as quickly as possible. Many companies will appear to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere because that will be profitable - and advantageous in fighting climate change. In the long run, these carbon removal companies can reverse climate change as CO2 levels fall. Capitalism can be used to efficiently decarbonize the economy. A third piece of legislation would be increasing funding for cultivated meat, which is meat made in a lab. The agricultural sector is tough to decarbonize. Cultivated meat produces very few greenhouse gases and tastes just like real meat, so uptake could be very high; all it needs is a boost to speed up this transition. Some people would lose their jobs, but there would be plenty of other higher-paying jobs.
Overall, the government will always have the biggest role in fighting and eventually reversing climate change because it can enact laws that apply to everyone. This is why I would be encouraging governments around the United States and the world to do so. Capitalism can also speed up the decarbonization process; companies want to make money, which they can do by reducing their emissions. Investing in green technology can reap great rewards for a company and the environment. I would push banks to fund more environmentally-friendly projects and implement a requirement for a certain dollar amount of funding in this sector.
One of the desirable characteristics of my surrounding community and nation within the vision is a commitment to sustainable practices. Sustainability is one of the most important things that we can achieve to fight climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving natural resources, and investing in low-carbon technologies like renewable energy should be done on an individual level across small communities and the country. For example, not cutting down old-growth forests will allow that land to continue absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide and keep our planet cooler. Reducing, reusing, and recycling will decrease waste and emissions since fewer products need to be manufactured. Humanity will not be able to stop climate change unless we fight it in every neighborhood.
Another desirable characteristic within my vision is strong environmental policies. Regulations will be vital in stopping climate change because they can be applied on a wide scale. Limiting the amount of methane that can be released from the coal and oil industries can rapidly slow down climate change due to methane’s heat-trapping qualities. Furthermore, ordering carmakers to increase their fuel economy can limit greenhouse gas emissions and save the consumer thousands of dollars, which will increase the uptake of cleaner cars. Increasing the amount of public transport means fewer cars are needed; increasing the number of biking lanes can have the same effect.
A third desirable characteristic is climate change awareness and education. Climate change, and many of the other environmental problems in the world, need to be taught in schools so they can be fought more effectively in the future. Almost all of these problems are not fixable in a single generation. By teaching others about climate change, the average individual impact can grow substantially and have a profound impact on the environment. Most of our greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated by changing our lifestyle; using less electricity or installing residential solar panels, buying cleaner cars, eating less meat, and purchasing fewer products will accomplish this.
Support for innovation and research is very important for stopping the climate crisis. It is debatable whether humanity has all of the tools to bring climate change to a halt. By increasing the amount of technology that can reduce emissions, those emissions can be cut down more easily and at a cheaper price. A few decades ago, renewable energy was expensive and inefficient. Through innovation and research, it is now incredibly cheap and becoming more efficient; capitalism will play an important role in this because companies will make a lot of profit. To sum it up, research and development of new technologies will cost trillions of dollars but save trillions more.
Collaboration and partnerships are other important features in stopping and reversing climate change. Sharing ideas or new technologies can allow for a more rapid transition to a low-emissions world. Ten people would achieve more than one person. Also, pooling money together can lead to more swift decarbonization. Everyone is being affected by climate change, so we need to collaborate to come up with more effective solutions. One example is how a community quickly built solar panels. They can teach other communities how to do the same, and how to avoid much of the bureaucracy that stalls this process. They could also partner with other communities to start a recycling program; sharing these resources would make it cheaper for residents.
Inclusivity and equity are how everyone will be able to benefit from a world that stops climate change. One example is renewable energy. By building renewable energy closer to low-income communities and signing contracts, these citizens will benefit from lower electricity prices and cleaner air. Another example is giving electric vehicle tax credits to low-income families since they may not be able to afford one. Poor communities are usually hit the hardest when it comes to car pollution, so this incentive can save thousands of lives a year in the United States. Building electric vehicle chargers in these disadvantaged communities will also increase the uptake of these cars. These communities will need more financial assistance than wealthier communities to achieve these environmental goals. They are vital to stopping climate change because they make up so much of the population.
Overall, climate change has to be fought against on a local level, which is what my vision would entail. Every community has different needs and different solutions. Everyone would help to implement low-emission technology and help other communities to do the same, so the impact will be significant. There will be dozens of regulations that ensure the protection of the Earth, and more funding for environmentally-friendly ideas.
Global cooperation is a desirable characteristic of the international community within my vision. Every country will share their new technologies with other countries, and commit to climate goals; many countries today do not make net-zero goals in a short enough time frame and blame other countries for having a worse impact on the environment than themselves. By partnering together, cleaner technologies can become much cheaper and more widespread. Capitalism will also speed up the process. Global emissions will fall because the world is united in doing everything possible to bring climate change to a standstill.
Ambitious climate goals are the most important trait of the international community within my vision of stopping climate change. Every country agreeing on aggressive climate goals will make greenhouse gas emissions fall quickly enough to stop severe global warming from occurring. These climate goals would be made up of things such as renewable energy deployment, energy efficiency standards, and emissions reduction. Also in my vision, it will not be too difficult to achieve these goals because there is so much attention and funding toward achieving these goals. Other than decreasing our carbon emissions, carbon will be removed from the atmosphere at a high rate so as to reverse global warming.
Transparency and accountability will be important for ensuring that every country achieves its goals and is held responsible for any shortfalls. For instance, if a country promises that it will reach net zero by a certain year, they need to share all of its data relating to greenhouse gas emissions. If they do not achieve this goal, then they should be sued by communities, organizations, and other countries under international law. All countries should share most of their data about anything relating to the environment, such as deforestation and reforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste disposal.
It would feel relaxing to live in a world where climate change has been stopped and reversed. Every country on the Earth is doing all it can to protect the environment. Because of all of the environmentally-friendly technologies we use, like electric vehicles and renewable energy, there are fewer cases of asthma and death; fewer pollutants are emitted into the air that irritates the lungs. Fewer wildfires will occur, saving hundreds of millions of people from smoke. Furthermore, unemployment rates are lower because of a low-carbon industry. Families get to go on vacation more often, participate in more recreational activities like hiking Goldbug Hot Springs, and not live paycheck to paycheck. People will be happier.
Humanity will be relieved to know that ecosystems are no longer in extreme danger. Forests, wetlands, and oceans are protected and restored, improving biodiversity. Ocean acidification will no longer occur, saving the fishing industry, and the ocean’s food chain, from collapsing. People can visit national parks and forests and see what they were like before humans, too.
Natural disasters will occur less frequently as a result of reversing climate change. This will protect ecosystems, and save countries trillions of dollars a year. People will not lose everything they own because of a wildfire or hurricane that was caused by climate change. Ranchers and farmers will no longer have to live in fear of a drought or invasive species killing all of their crops. Food prices will decrease across the world as the food supply becomes more stable. There will not be any wars over water.
Not only is the planet no longer warming, but there is also ubiquitous equity. Low-income communities and vulnerable nations will no longer be severely impacted by climate change, which can create a better and more equal economy. Every country, rich and poor, will have low-emission technology that improves lives. The economic stimulus from clean technology will put these poorer groups in a more financially sound position. The wealthier groups can provide money to help these poorer groups become more sustainable and live better and happier lives.
We can transition to this vision by spending trillions of dollars. This can build massive amounts of renewable energy and electric vehicles, along with increased energy efficiency. We can also pass legally-binding climate goals that ensure companies, states, and countries achieve their goals. This is the best, and maybe the only, way to make countries work toward saving the environment. Increasing awareness and education throughout the population can contribute to a better world. It would not require as much government intervention, so countries that are slow to help the environment, like China and India, can still decrease their greenhouse gas emissions. A couple of obstacles include cost and time. The transition could cost tens of trillions of dollars, and take decades to achieve even if we go as quickly as possible. This creates substantial amounts of resistance to the green movement. But even with the massive bill, there will be millions of new, high-paying jobs. It will also be an economic stimulus because there is so much new manufacturing occurring. The time to transition can be cut down by encouraging individuals to cut their emissions, and by creating new and improved technologies. Batteries are an example of a new technology, which we talk about extensively in our latest blog. They can supply large quantities of energy to the grid and stabilize it. Fewer blackouts will occur when temperatures get extreme, saving thousands of lives a year. They are also able to be built in large numbers when renewable energy is built.
By requiring energy suppliers to build battery storage, the amount of fossil fuels being burned will decrease. Lastly, the mission to stop climate change can unite the world. If every country agrees that we need to do something to stop it, we can collaborate and partner with each other. Our relationships will become more concrete, maybe more so than they ever have. Stopping global warming is possible if we put enough effort into solving it.
Jonathan Haidt’s position for overcoming the divide between liberals and conservatives is important. He explains that we need to recognize and appreciate each other’s moral foundations and move past the “us versus them” mentality. When I am passing legislation in my vision, I will need bipartisan support. I believe that it is immoral to drastically change the world without support from most citizens. Forgetting about the “us versus them” mentality is an important characteristic of the surrounding community and nation and of the international community. Fewer environmental regulations and mandates will be passed on the local and national levels if there is little bipartisan support. As for the international community, we cannot achieve our goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions if we are fighting about politics; it is wrong to not fight climate change because another country refuses to do so.
Furthermore, John Stuart Mill’s consequentialist ethics, or utilitarianism, would go hand in hand with stopping and reversing climate change. In order to stop climate change, we need clean technology and reduced consumption. Because less pollution is being emitted into the atmosphere and less waste is being produced, this brings about the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Clean technology would need to go to every community, big and small, rich and poor; this promotes widespread equity throughout the world. People would save large amounts of money through cars and power consumption, and spend less money on medical bills that result from things like pollution or heat. People or companies that harm the planet should be punished. It is morally wrong to let our Earth go to waste and to let future generations have a run-down world. We need to act on climate change so future generations can live in the world without fear.