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Current levels of atmospheric CO2 in ppm.

A common philosophy in the modern day world of business is that money makes the world go round. Without money, there is no production, no supply, no sales, no consumer, etc., but without a habitable planet, there is no money either.

Climate change is something that is undisputed amongst scientists who do not have oil companies in their pocket, yet the greed of a couple big companies like Exxonmobil and industries owned by the Koch Brothers alone have almost sole control of the fate of our planet. And spoiler alert: they don’t care what happens to it.

These companies spend hundreds of millions annually to buy out enough seats of Congress to steer away from clean energy initiatives and environmental protection plans. One of the scariest buyouts these companies have secured is Trump’s proposed head of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), who is a documented climate change denier.

And while many may think that just Republicans, who have long been climate change skeptics, are the ones accepting bribes from big oil, that also isn’t true. Hillary Clinton accepted $775,456 from these companies last year, which is actually over $100,000 more than Trump (that being said, Trump owns a plethora of business’ whose best interest lie in fossil fuels).

But this is not a Republican VS Democrat debate, and to be quite frank, we don’t have time for that anymore. As of last year, Scientific American has predicted that at the current (as of 2015) rate of growth of CO2 in our atmosphere, by 2042, we could hit 450 ppm (parts per million) of CO2 in our atmosphere. This would cause unprecedented environmental changes to our climate, and many estimate that it is the “point of no return” for our climate.

“The point of no return” is when climate change takes over and becomes a positive feedback loop, meaning it feeds itself. Within our icecaps are large pockets of methane, and as global warming (caused by climate change, caused by increased carbon dioxide outputs) increases and polar ice sheets melt, these methane pockets will eventually be released. Methane is roughly 30 times as powerful as CO2 at trapping heat in our atmosphere, thus increasing to global warming, thus releasing more methane, and so on.

Scientific American predicted we would reach this “point of no return” mark of 450 ppm CO2 in 2042, predicting an annual increase of 1.92 ppm. This was last year, when the ppm was 398.55. Since, in one year, we have by far surpassed the 400 ppm milestone and jumped to 403.64 ppm. This is a jump of 5.09 ppm, 3.17 ppm greater than the predicted increase. At this rate, we have just over 9 years before we hit the dreaded “point of no return”.

Scientific American also predicted that to stop global warming by 2042, we’d need to make very serious changes by 2020. Again, at this year’s rate of growth, we have only 9 years. There is no way around it, we are in a dire situation. And yet, we are still squabbling over whether climate change is even real!

According to NASA: Sea level is rising, global temperature is increasing, polar ice sheets are melting, oceans are warming, and extreme weather events are on the rise. Other countries leading scientific departments are in full support of this evidence. At this point, disputing global warming is like disputing gravity, or the heliocentric model. We must move past this debate of whether or not climate change is real. As respectfully as possible, if you cannot believe in NASA’s direct findings, who have access to the best scientists of our time, just do some real research.

It is now our job to, first, be passionate about our planet. It is our job to care! Especially my generation. I want my children to be able to see the beautiful parts of the Earth I have seen, and not just barren wastelands and insides of skyscrapers.

Then, we need to educate those who are skeptical of climate change. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat, Mexican, American, or Chinese, etc.; we’re all people of Earth. An Earth that is very, very sick.

Don’t let the greed of a handful of people control our planet through palm oil and fossil fuels. We must rise up as a people to heal our planet. The technology is available to both save our planet and keep our livelihoods, it is just in a stranglehold of big oil interest.

Although I personally feel that the planet being habitable is economic incentive enough, we must also call for our governments to incentivize clean energy and implement carbon taxes. For those still skeptical of the economic advantages of fixing our environment: it is predicted that in the next 20 years, damages from climate change caused natural disasters will exceed the amount needed to invest in our planet by over 10 billion USD.

Money does not make the world go round. Mother nature, does. It is up to us, the people, to overcome the gluttony of our time, and insure that our collective legacy does not go down in the history books as one of greed and disaster.

 

Written by Jaxson Thornton

Editor-in-chief