Climate change is affecting the nation based on my own experience and observation. Flooding has always been a problem in the United States, but I believe that climate change has exacerbated it. Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, particularly the flooding it caused, serves as a prime example. Since then, countless hurricanes, typhoons, and flooding put the countless lives and their livelihoods in danger.
In the United States as in other parts of the world, climate change has increased the frequency of coastal flooding, one of the floods triggered by tides. Statistics revealed that just within a decade, specifically between 2005 and 2015, the median annual number of flooding has already doubled. Flooding has become so much more frequent for the stretch of coast from Florida to North Carolina (White, 2018). Climate experts have also produced a warning that flooding will become even more problematic in the very near future, especially since the nation is not doing much to reverse the climate change trends being presented. Case in point, the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere remains high even if there are warnings against such. The problem is that these gases will increase the sea levels for years to come, leading to more flooding at higher intensity levels. Researchers have warned that there is a great possibility that by the 2040s, a total of 2,850 floods can be experienced (Climate Central, 2018). Such floods will be caused by the rise in sea levels and high tides, and won’t even count the impact of storm surges. By 2100, experts believe that flooding at high tide can take place every day for most of those in the East and Gulf coasts (Climate Central, 2018). Considering what just one massive flood can do, a daily occurrence of such is a scary thought.
For the United States, I think sea level rise and the subsequent vulnerability to flooding are the biggest risks to be faced because of climate change. This is a greater possibility now because the United States withdrew from the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Once a strong and enthusiastic member of the Agreement, the United States, under President Donald Trump, shockingly withdrew from the agreement back on June 1, 2017, citing unfair deals undermining the United States economy (Chakraborty, 2017). Trump claimed that being a member would cost the US permanently, at the expense of businesses and laborers. The withdrawal was said to be a manifestation of the America First Policy he popularized (Easley, 2017).
Before its withdrawal, the United States under President Obama provided US$3 billion to the Green Climate Fund of the Paris Agreement. This fund has a goal of raising a total amount of $100 billion by 2020. The United States became an official signatory to the Agreement only in April 2016 and it officially entered into force in the United States on November 8 of that year, four days after President Donald Trumps started his term, a skeptic of climate change from the start.
However, even though he made the withdrawal, the United States still had to abide by the four-year exit process, which means the effective withdrawal date is November 4, 2020. In the meantime, the nation can still be called to maintain its obligations and commitments made under the Agreement. This means it can still be asked to continue reporting about its emissions to the United Nations. Moreover, despite the announced withdrawal, governors of various American states who seemingly did not agree with the President’s decision formed the United States Climate Alliance. The alliance is meant for objectives of the Paris Agreement to still push through at the state level, no matter the decision at the federal level (Cerqueira, 2018).
So far, the US EPA (n.d) has highlighted the climate impacts on different levels of the American society, especially certain communities. According to the EPA, some groups of people are likely to be more vulnerable to climate change effects than others depending on their geographic locations. Those in areas at risk of coastal storms, sea level rises, and droughts in the first place are vulnerable to climate change impacts. At the same time, those whose socioeconomic status is considered low are also more vulnerable than others, such as those impoverished, the elderly, and minority communities. Lastly, those in certain occupations are also going to suffer the negative impact of climate change more than others. Prime examples of these occupations are those in agriculture, in outdoor tourism, and even those in eco-commerce.
I do not think one particular academic major is affected more by climate change issues than others. Everyone in this world is affected by the issue of climate change. However, as a student, I do believe that certain problems will make the commerce field more vulnerable than others. in fact, climate change will have a range of effects on different commercial industries. Naturally, climate change can disrupt business operations, supply chains, prices, and many more aspects of the sector (Ruggeri, 2017). As a student, it is essential to understand how adverse changes or unpredicted events such as flooding can affect a business organization and how to prepare for such.
If, one day, I enter the commerce field, I believe that not knowing about climate change issues can wreck my career. For instance, if I am a business manager or a financial operations officer and will not be able to prepare for the impact of adverse events related to climate change, such as flooding from sea level rise, the whole business can go bankrupt in one day. It is essential to stay on top of these issues and even contribute to reversing climate change events.
I believe that if the United States will continue to not take climate change seriously or, continue to give higher priority to the interests of the businesses and the economy rather than climate change, then the US government will find itself dealing with the climate change impacts at an alarming rate. Unless changes are made, the United States will suffer through great flooding, typhoons, lost livelihoods of laborers in different sectors, the bankruptcy of many businesses and more. If it will not consider the Paris Agreement seriously and refuse to be a member, then it puts itself and the rest of the world at greater risks too. It cannot be denied that the US being a member of such an important agreement can affect other nations’ actions as well. Withdrawing, therefore, can have an impact on other nations as well.
All the innovative technologies being created today can make an impact on the climate change problem, such as wind power, solar power, and hydropower technologies. The manufacturing and shift to electric vehicles and the creation of carbon capture and storage can also have a significant impact. However, I believe that sustainability projects, such as designing green buildings and white roofs, engaging in organic farming and using LED lighting, choosing of sustainable suppliers and partners among others, can do the most or have the most impact (Hunt, 2015). These products and projects can make a significant contribution to climate change efforts because they are those that use the least energy and leave the least carbon footprints, the main culprits of climate change.
Being a mere student should not be a hindrance to doing something about climate change. What adults can do, younger people can do too. First and foremost, we can spread awareness of how scary climate change is and how urgent. Since we are the future of this nation, it is important that even though we have not yet moved into the real world that we are aware of the different issues. When we one day do our businesses, being green should be a priority. We can also join petitions now for the United States to be more proactive about the issue. We can also start little businesses or projects that highlight the use of sustainable products or materials. Being aware and spreading awareness can do so much. Even small changes at home, such as using LED lights can do so much if many are practicing it.