Why Does Presidential Action on Climate Change Matter?

Photo: Peoplesclimate.org

by Emily Fisher, Georgetown University

There are undeniably many individuals who actively lead the charge against climate change, and it would be a great disservice to discount them and what they have done to fight climate change.  The first individuals who spoke up, through various mediums, about the harms being done to the environment did so many years ago. This is not a recent development — just look at The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson — which brought to the forefront the abuses by the chemical industry over pesticide use.  But they did not induce the world to act.  And so today the situation is much worse. We are in the grips of the sixth mass extinction, and the world is permanently being altered for the worse.

That is why it is imperative that presidential action occurs.  The president will be able to recommend and oversee policies for the whole nation and industries that operate in the United States. There are states and local levels of government that have acted. Pittsburgh, for example, has pledged to follow the Paris Accords.  But the president can work at the national level to do more.  And, presidential action could be used to address the fundamental disparity across the nation in who are affected by climate change, like those of a lower socioeconomic status.

Additionally, the president serves as the chief diplomat to represent the country’s interests abroad.  The president needs to make sure that the climate crisis is addressed in international relations, from trade negotiations to climate agreements.  The commitments have to be met or else the consequences will have exponential effects.  It is a necessity that the world acts, and the United States must be a leader.  There must be presidential action to ensure that the world is no longer threatened by the climate crisis for generations to come.

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