The Short Version: Climate Change
The point of it all is to break down the headlines, the week’s most controversial issues, determine why a particular issue is important and reveal the best arguments on each side of the story.
In a recent iterations of The Short Version, Cleo Abram talked about Bill O’Reilly and the fact that the man was not found to have committed the harassment in any public process, much less found guilty of a crime. The debate was about whether or not we should require criminal prosecution and conviction before a person loses his or her job based on allegations of serious misconduct like sexual assault or harassment.
This week, well, Cleo was one of the thousands of people at the People’s Climate March yesterday. She believes it’s impossible to both be educated about this issue and not care.
And this week, the amount of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere is now officially off the charts as the planet last week breached the 410 parts per million (ppm) milestone for the first time in human history.
“It’s a new atmosphere that humanity will have to contend with, one that’s trapping more heat and causing the climate to change at a quickening rate,” wrote Climate Central’s Brian Kahn. “Carbon dioxide hasn’t reached that height in millions of years.”
This week, Cleo examines the debate on climate change and asks if the U.S. should remain in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Note: In general, if you have missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, all her blogs will appear.
As temperatures topped 90 degrees, thousands of people converged on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to call attention to environmental issues and protest government inaction on climate change.
A popular chant aimed at President Trump: “Resistance is here to stay, welcome to your 100th day.”
The Trump administration’s recent actions concerning the environment include:
- A major executive order issued March 28th that begins to dismantle President Obama’s climate change legacy and roll back policies that address global warming.
- An executive order issued this Wednesday that will begin the process of reviewing national monuments with the aim to open protected land to industries like drilling, mining and logging.
- A decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to take down government web pages that used to contain climate data and scientific information related to the environment. By showing that climate change was likely due in part to human activity, the data on these pages contradicted the new Trump-appointed administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt.
- A debate currently raging in the Cabinet on whether the U.S. should remain in the Paris climate accord. The accord—the first universal climate deal—aims to curb global warming by keeping the global average temperature under 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
Why is it important?
The planet is warming. Studies of peer-reviewed articles on global warming show that 99.99% indicate that global warming is caused primarily by human activity. (Scientists refer to this as anthropogenic climate change.)
The power of the executive branch to act on climate change means that a new president can make drastic changes with far-reaching impacts. President Trump seems to be doing so.
Certain market trends, advocacy, and policies in other parts of government continue to combat environmental changes and are largely untouchable by the president. But President Trump’s efforts matter immensely. As Vox’s Brad Plumer put it, “After all, if we want to halt climate change, it’s not enough for US emissions to continue to drop slowly or flatline. They have to drop dramatically. That would’ve been a huge challenge even if Hillary Clinton had been elected president — she was mainly planning to expand some of Obama’s EPA programs at the margins. But it now looks extremely unlikely under Trump.”
Should the United States remain in the Paris Climate Agreement?
More about Cleo Abram here:
Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.
Cleo is a digital strategist now working at Vox, a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple: Explain the news. Politics, public policy, world affairs, pop culture, science, business, and more.
Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.
She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.
Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.
Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski.