Become a politician to solve the climate crisis?

Article by Isabel Key and Mina Frost.

Politicians can suggest and vote for policies which help combat climate change [6]. For example:

Education: the United Nations advises that all children should learn about climate change in school [7]. The Italian and Mexican governments are already planning how to do this [7]. A better understanding of the causes, effects and solutions to climate change will drive stronger climate action [8].

Carbon Pricing: placing a fee on emitting greenhouse gases, and/or providing incentives for producing fewer emissions [1]. With this in place the negative effects of climate change (such as rising sea levels) are, in theory, payed for by the people who are responsible for the problem [1]. Carbon pricing can, for example, increase the cost of burning fossil fuels and encourage the development of cleaner energy sources [1]. It can come in the form of a tax or of an ’emissions trading system’ which gives each member a tradable allowance for emissions [1,2]. About 13% of global emissions are covered by carbon pricing [11].

Low-carbon Energy: energy production (used for electricity, heating, transport fuel, manufacturing etc.) is responsible for about 72% of global emissions [12]. Therefore, reducing emissions from energy is a priority for governments; they need to enforce production of low-carbon energy with renewables or nuclear power [15,16,17].

Farming Policies: agriculture, forestry and other land uses are responsible for ~23% of emissions, so we need to change how we use land, for example by reducing deforestation [3]. Among other things, this requires reducing food waste [3] by improving packaging, increasing awareness in consumers, and using unavoidable waste to generate energy [4].

We need many politicians in every country all acting to achieve the same goal: effective climate action [5,13,14]. Would you like to become a politician to help make the world a better place?

References

[1] https://unfccc.int/about-us/regional-collaboration-centres/the-ci-aca-initiative/about-carbon-pricing#eq-2 See: What is Carbon Pricing? And How does carbon pricing work? And What are the benefits of carbon pricing? And What types of carbon pricing exist? And What is the current status of carbon pricing in the world?

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets_en

[3] https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/08/4.-SPM_Approved_Microsite_FINAL.pdf See: Figure SPM1; Adaptation and mitigation response options; A3.1; Panel A

[4] https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2010.0126 See: The greatest potential for food waste reduction

[5] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tragedy-of-the-commons.asp

[6] https://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/mps/

[7] https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/12/1053261

[8] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057260508560213?needAccess=true&instName=University+of+Oxford See: ‘Empowerment appears to be a keyword…’ to ‘possible channels of influence through politics, organizations

[10] https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/06/14/countries-net-zero-climate-goal/

[11] https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/pricing-carbon See: last paragraph

[12] https://www.c2es.org/content/international-emissions/ See: Global Manmade Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector, 2013

[13] https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/conveng.pdf See: ‘Acknowledging that the global nature of climate change…’

[14] https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate2937

[15] https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/10/01/1821674116.short

[16] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-017-0032-9#Sec3 See: Fig. 2 Specific direct and indirect GHG emissions. Nuclear, wind, concentrating solar power, and photovoltaics have considerably lower life-cycle emissions than fossil fuels and bioenergy

[17] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306261916311746

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