THE United States (US) Senate, a few days ago, approved a sweeping $700 billion economic package that includes major legislation on health care, tax and climate change.
The bill, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, seeks to lower the cost of some medicines, increase corporate taxes and reduce carbon emissions.
As a paper that focuses and advocates a safe, clean and green environment, the EcoWatch has followed with keen interest the processes that led to the approval of the bill and joins the many, both within and outside the US, to hail the passage of the bill, after it was blocked by two Democratic senators, who shared Republican concerns about its cost, at Congress.
The issue of climate change has become dear because of the serious impact of global warming on the world and so our interest is mainly because the bill aims at, among others, reducing carbon emissions, which wouldn’t have come at a better time than this.
The authors of the bill say it will cut carbon emissions by the US by a whopping 40 per cent. We note that the world’s temperature has increased by about 1.1 degrees Celsius since the industrial era began and it is estimated that temperatures will keep rising unless governments make conscious and deliberate efforts to cut emissions.
The effects of the 1.1 degrees Celsius increase in temperature are evident for everybody: The US itself is experiencing a heatwave and a recent deadly flooding in Kentucky that has left dozens of people dead. We are aware that many factors contribute to flooding, but a warming atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely.
In Europe, drought is intensifying heat and fuelling fires. Thousands of people have died from historic heat waves that have fuelled wildfires. Indeed, the weather has been far from normal. The European Drought Observatory says nearly half of Europe is under ‘warning’ conditions, which implies a severe drought and soil moisture deficit.
Global greenhouse gas emissions have serious implications for the development of Africa as well. The continent is expected to see a decrease in the length of wet spells, with climate change likely to lessen crop yields, with resultant impacts on food security.
It is our hope that other high carbon emitting countries such as China, India and Brazil will take a cue from the US action to take measures to also cut emissions to help the fight against global warming.
We call on world leaders to play their roles to deal decisively with this monster of global warming by committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is on this basis that we urge China and the US to iron out their recent differences that led China, the biggest carbon emitter, to break off discussions on climate issues a fortnight ago.
We recall that at last year’s COP26 gathering in Glasgow, cooperation between the two countries helped the talk achieve some progress and without the level of trust and agreement between the two, the Paris climate agreement would never have been born.
The advanced world must also not delay any further but redeem their cash pledges to developing nations to help them contribute their quota to the fight against global warming.