Why Should You Care about the Environment Agreement and Disagreement

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Leading U.S. scientific agencies and organizations have recognized global warming as a man-made problem that should be addressed. The U.S. Global Change Research Program has published a series of scientific reports documenting the causes and effects of global climate change. NOAA, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, and the Environmental Protection Agency have all released reports and fact sheets showing that the Earth is warming primarily due to the increase in man-made heat storage gases. However, about 45% of the public believes that solar geoengineering would cause net damage to the environment. Three in ten adults in the U.S. believe these techniques would bring net benefits to the environment, and 22% say they would have little impact on the environment. Eight in ten Republicans and Republicans (80 percent) believe in a major U.S. goal Energy policy should reduce reliance on foreign energy sources — a view shared by 61 percent of Democrats and Democratic independents. Through the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, countries have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise, warming the Earth at an alarming rate.

Scientists warn that if this warming continues unabated, it could trigger an environmental catastrophe in much of the world, including staggering sea-level rise, record droughts and floods, and widespread species loss. Experts, activists and citizens are increasingly concerned that countries` commitments under these global agreements are not ambitious or urgent enough. Three-quarters of Americans believe global climate change today has at least one impact on the United States, and about six in ten (59 percent) believe climate change has at least one impact on their local community, according to the new survey. Heat waves. Many regions are said to suffer from warmer days, with about 14% of the world`s population exposed to severe heat waves at least every five years. Compared to other climate and energy issues, there are relatively modest policy differences in views on the impact of solar geoengineering on the environment. Separate surveys by the Pew Research Center found a 15-percentage-point drop in Americans` overall rating on how the federal government protects the environment between 2015 and 2017. Views on the government`s performance in this area have changed among Republicans and Democrats. The majority of Americans say the federal government is doing too little to address important aspects of the environment, including water (69 percent) and air quality (64 percent). And two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say the government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. These findings come after a year of change in climate and energy regulatory policies under the Trump administration.

Those who perceived at least some of the effects of climate change in their local community were asked to consider whether climate change was having a personal impact on their lives. Overall, about three in ten adults in the U.S. (31 percent) say the local impact directly affects their personal lives. Recognizing that many developing countries and small island states that have contributed the least to climate change could suffer the most from its consequences, the Paris Agreement includes a plan for developed countries – and others that are “able to do so” – to continue to provide funds to help developing countries mitigate and increase their resilience to climate change. The agreement builds on financial commitments from the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which aimed to increase public and private climate finance for developing countries to $100 billion a year by 2020. (To put this in perspective, global military spending in 2017 alone amounted to about $1.7 trillion, more than a third of which came from the United States.) The Copenhagen Compact also created the Green Climate Fund to help mobilize transformative financing with targeted public funds. The Paris Agreement set hope that the world would set a higher annual target by 2025 to build on the $100 billion target for 2020 and put in place mechanisms to achieve that scale. Consistent with previous studies, Republicans and Democrats remain divided on whether the Earth is warming and the importance of human activities to do so. .