Obama’s actions on climate change deserve to be recognized

President Barack Obama met in Paris with 150 other leaders from across the globe to discuss the future of climate change.

Washington Post

President Barack Obama met in Paris with 150 other leaders from across the globe to discuss the future of climate change.

Christine Zhao, Staff Writer

On one day, we might hear about the outrageous and absurdly racist comments of Donald Trump. In the next, we might hear about another terrorist attack, and the subsequent religious shaming done and promoted by many of the candidates running for the 2016 election. In the midst of all this flurry surrounding the presidential race, we should step back, look back, and reflect on the presidency of Mr. Barack Obama.

The President met with 150 leaders last week to kick-off the two-week long climate change summit in Paris and discuss the future of the world in an era of rising pollution and global warming. However, this act has caused many people to once again criticize Obama’s seemingly “beneficial” act of diplomacy. For example, last week US News wrote that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believes Obama “prioritizes symbolism over substance.” In addition, Obama’s previous efforts to reduce climate change have caused opponents to criticize his agenda against climate change, which includes implementing the Clean Power Plan, with restrictions on the gas emissions of factories and greater funding going towards researching renewable energy. These opponents argue that helping the environment will cause energy prices to increase, leading to higher energy bills, and also somehow leading to fewer jobs.

However, even though Obama’s action towards preventing climate change has brought sharp rebukes from leading politicians, I believe that Obama has done as much as he could in the past few years to bring about real change in the country. On August 3, 2015, Obama and his administration introduced the Clean Power Plan , which seeks to reduce carbon emissions by 32% from 2005 to 2030. The White House website states that the Clean Power Plan will protect the health of American families, save the average American family “nearly $85 a year on their energy bills in 2030”, and boost the US economy. In addition , by 2011, Obama’s administration and the administration of presidents before him had already loaned out $16 billion to small businesses to develop new, clean technologies. If the government believed Obama’s plans to stop global warming weren’t going to be effective, they wouldn’t have sourced all this money into developing cheaper and greener technologies. If Obama is implementing all these programs, along with the enormous, progressive change he has brought to our country with these policies, critics should stop and rethink their decision to resist Obama’s actions.

Resistant to criticism, Obama is also extremely adamant about sticking to his plan to combat climate change, and this is one of the aspects of the President that I really admire. He made headlines in November for rejecting the proposal to create a 1200 mile oil pipeline across 6 states, which could have caused irreversible environmental damage, both from the pipeline’s construction and through its maintenance. Under Obama’s administration, the EPA has also introduced its first ever plan in history to reduce carbon emissions. It’s obvious that through the persistence of the President and those at the White House, real change has been brought in order to make the world a cleaner and more eco-friendly place. Through all the hateful messages I’ve heard surrounding Obama, I truly believe his presidency has made a lasting impact on our country. Obama’s changes to the way this country used to be run make me optimistic for the future, and grateful for the wonderful last 7 years that he’s already been a president in.