U.S sets innovative targets to combating climate related effects
By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
From the development of new innovations to the financing and providing technical support, the United States is coming back to the battle of combating the climate change crisis through innovations and more committed than previous administrations.
According to officials from the State Department, the United States is putting more effort into climate change as projections for climate related crises may be higher than one can forecast today.
In November, 2020 while he was speaking at the event organized by the U.S Elect President Biden to present members of his Government, John Kerry, the U.S special Envoy on Climate Change hailed Biden’s ambitious determination on the Climate Crisis adding that “The President Elect is right to recognize that Paris agreement alone is not enough.”
Although the United States is back on the front to cooperate with other countries in tackling the effects of climate change, there is much that this world’s most powerful country prioritizes.
However, the country’s leaders believe current goals are not enough due to the violence of the struggle so the effort put into that struggle must increase on a continuous basis.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, 11th May 2021, Dr. Jonathan Pershing, a senior advisor to the State Department’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change
He said that the fact that some people in the world think that the problem of climate change does not concern them, would be a mistake because the world is more threatened than some people think.
He explains that most of the people live in places where the effects of climate change might be not even very much in terms of a day to nighttime change.
“But the reality is, the last time the world had that kind of a significant change in temperature, huge areas were either under ice when it was colder or were covered by water when it was slightly warmer. These are massive shifts when you look at global averages and it’s happening at a rate that’s faster than anything we’ve ever seen in geological history.” Dr. Pershing said.
“It’s moving very, very quickly, much faster than communities and people can adapt.” He added.
Analysts of global politics find that it is time for super powers and developing countries to work together to find solutions to the effects of climate change that continue to manifest itself in a variety of ways, including epidemics, droughts, floods and more.
He noted that “those effects are killing enormous numbers of people. They’re destroying communities. They’re destroying habitat and wildlife.”
To better understand the effects of climate change on human health, Dr. Pershing argues that so far there are epidemics that continue to threaten human health largely due to the fact that these effects are causing people to attack animal dens, as a result of pressure that human beings are putting on nature.
He said “Consequences of things like zoonotic diseases that come as we both encroach on those wild areas, but also as the disease vectors move because the temperature has changed and the precipitation has changed, these are things that are leading to increase not only in things like malaria but in things like the Zika virus.”
So, now, what’s the American administration doing?
Dr. Pershing said that the Biden team has been in for just over three months, almost four months now, and the framework had a couple of different pieces.
President Biden announced early in his term, and certainly ran in part on this as a campaign platform, that he intended to really take seriously the climate agenda and to address it with a great deal of urgency.
Among other things, he put the United States back into the Paris agreement.
“We have begun to work on our own long-term strategy, and we held a summit of leaders from the world on the 22nd of April, on Earth Day, to really bring to the attention of the world our intent, and to help catalyze what we thought could be additional actions globally.” Dr. Pershing highlighted.
He noted that the U.S is driving toward a commitment to get to net zero of pollution by 2050.
“We are driving towards actions that the President has put into executive orders that call for decarbonizing the U.S. electricity system by 2035 by installing significant numbers of charging stations or electric vehicles, by putting in place building efficiency programs, and by putting resources to rebuild the American economy post-COVID and rebuild our infrastructure in ways that are low or zero-carbon.” Explains Dr. Pershing.
The U.S. says the fight is not just about Americans, but about working with all nations to find a better and faster solution.
“So, our agenda – ours in the U.S. as we work domestically, ours as we work as part of a global community, ours in the global context – is to try to solve that problem and do so with as much speed and efficacy as we can and not leave people behind.” He said.
How is the U.S set to deal with the rising global warming emissions?
In this regard, Dr. Pershing said the United States is ready to do more, including innovating to address climate change.
He revealed that “The single largest share of emissions in the United States is coming from the transportation sector. The power sector – generating electricity – is second. Industrial activities are third. Agricultural land use remains – make up the remainder.”
“So, transport is the number one issue. There are a number of options in the transport sector. We can divide it up into road transport and then shipping and aviation. Roads can often be matched up a bit with rail, but we think about roads as both heavy-duty vehicles as well as cars. That structure and that system is a focal point to the United States.” Said Dr. Pershing, the senior advisor to the State Department’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change.
President Biden committed to the installation of 500,000 charging stations, which makes it much more plausible to get electric vehicles recharged whenever people are traveling.
“But we’re also looking at finding ways to create incentives for the consumer to purchase vehicles and for the manufacturers to make more of them. And we’re thinking about the supply chain in batteries and how that technology advances and where does that go.” He noted.
“In that sense, it’s not the only sector, because once you’ve got an electric vehicle, you then have to charge it, and what is the power going to come from to make that vehicle run?” Dr. Pershing asked
“Well, at the moment the U.S. energy system has a pretty heavy share of fossil-intensive sources, including coal and gas, so very little oil in our power generation mix.” He said
However, Dr. Pershing told journalists that the U.S is therefore looking at how to decarbonize the power sector and what are the mechanisms through which they might do that.
And at the other end, it’s very clear that the U.S can do a fair amount with electricity in managing its industrial emissions.
“A lot of the lower-temperature industrial emissions can be managed with electric motors and electric heat. That’s a way to kind of take the same clean electricity and apply it to that sector.” Explains Dr. Pershing.