With concerns over what rising atmospheric CO2 levels are doing to our planet, politicians are scrambling to find solutions. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is one attempt to solve this problem. Though the Green New Deal failed to pass, the private sector has made considerable progress towards sustainability. Multiple companies have developed technology that has been able to remove CO2 from the air, some with added benefits.
In the modern world, emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gasses have become not only the norm but essential to our way of life. Rightfully so, fossil fuels provide efficient fuel at rather inexpensive prices. Humanity and our consumption of fossil fuels is similar to a smoking addiction. We assume that the risks don’t apply to us, and their addictive nature keeps drawing us back in. In a culture of optimism, it is no surprise that we have had little to no large steps towards building a greener energy output. We simply assume the worst won’t happen to us, and that the risk is worth the benefit.
Michael Ottavio | United States
Senate Majority Leader and brilliant tactician, Mitch McConnell, is currently gearing up to take Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” a proposed solution to climate change and a massive economic overhaul program, to the Senate floor for a vote.
Othman Mekhloufi | United States
A government-appointed German ‘Coal Commission’ released a recommendation to the German government on the morning of January 26th. The goals of said recommendation are to curb carbon emissions, turn to renewable energy, and take steps towards the deceleration of climate change.
The 28-member commission represents various German mining regions and utility companies. After 21 hours of negotiations, they reached a decision to fully phase out coal over a 19 year period (by 2038). This move will, in turn, shut down all 84 of Germany’s coal plants. Germany has also moved to fully shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. This decision is part of another report by the commission that was legislated in 2011. As of now, Germany shut down 12 of the 19 nuclear power plants in the nation.
The progress will be regularly reviewed by the commission in 2023, 2026, and also 2029. The goal is to find out if phasing out coal is possibly by 2035. Nonetheless, 2038 will remain the legally defined date to fully phase out coal pending German government drafting legislation based on the report.
The commission’s report is not legally binding as it still requires the action of the federal government. The report holds a set of guidelines and suggestions for the federal government to legislate accordingly in hopes of curbing climate change and CO2 emissions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will likely approve the commissions’ proposal.
Coal in Germany
Coal plants in Germany currently account for 40% of electricity and power production. Renewable energy surpassed coal as the leading source in 2018. It now accounts for 41% of energy use. By fully phasing out coal and nuclear power, Germany aims to rely on renewable energy. Ideally, renewable energy will provide 60%-85% of Germany’s power.
Germany is currently #8 in global coal consumption, although the nation only accounts for 2% of such emissions.
There are roughly 60,000 jobs with ties to the coal industry. Consequently, phasing out coal would put those jobs in jeopardy. There will likely be negative economic repercussions which will fall upon the companies and workers, as well as the families of workers. However, the commission allocated for $45 billion in aid to ease the economic hardships caused by their decision to end the industry. The aid includes an adjustment fund, as well as pension compensation for all employees aged 58 years or older. Younger workers out of a job will also receive aid in the form of education and training for jobs in renewable energy sources.
As we move towards the future, coal is being phased out on a global scale. Climate change is progressing. Therefore, many believe the shift towards renewable energy sources is a must.
By Adam Burdzy | United States
In the 16th century, the Catholic Church experienced a Reformation. Martin Luther, the chief architect behind the religious movement, didn’t agree with the Catholic Church about some key beliefs and practices. Luther published his 95 Theses, a list of controversial topics and discussion points in the Catholic Church at the time. King Henry VIII of England just wanted to divorce his wife because she wouldn’t provide him with a baby boy to be the next king (current science shows that it is entirely his fault that he couldn’t have a son). The Pope told him he could not divorce, so Henry ignored the pope’s decision made the Church of England. These individuals saw a problem with the Church, so they took action into their own hands and attempted to fix it.
It is now 2018, and the Church still needs fixing. Corruption at the core has turned officials evil. The primary example is the Pope. As the head of the Catholic Church, the infallible Pope is supposed to be a role model to all Catholics. He is the spiritual leader who has one goal: to get as many people to convert and stay Catholic. He also must do so with the intention of getting as many people to be saved by God’s grace (in layman terms, not burn in Hell). Today, however, many people do not like or approve of what Pope Francis is doing. Most religious conservatives and libertarians disprove of how the Pope puts his nose into matters involving politics. Pope Francis has been seen discussing policies with popular and powerful liberals, such as former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry. He made it known through these encounters that he supports such policies such as the Iran Nuclear deal and the large intake of refugees from the Middle East by Europe. The Pope also is a strong believer in global warming and climate change.
These main three issues that the Pope discussed had many right-leaning Catholics infuriated for justifiable reasons. Even though the Pope has the right to believe whatever he want to, he is abusing his papal power. The Pope is believed to be completely true when he speaks of religious matters. This does not make him infallible when he talks politics. The way he presents his politics, however, is done in a way where the political issue is connected to a Catholic teaching or value in a vague way. An example is the refugee issue. For many years, people from the Middle East, mostly fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, have been entering into Europe as refugees. These men, women, and children use up a ton of taxpayer euros, and while this has caused a fiery debate inside and outside of Europe, the Pope has decided to take a side, saying it is a Catholic’s duty to take care of others.
We cannot, however, blame the Pope for everything. The Catholic Church as a whole has done some questionable acts. For example, the Chinese government has had a feud with the Catholic Church for decades now, in which they appointed bishops without the consent of the Pope. Instead of the Church simply saying no, the Vatican allowed for seven bishops to be appointed, not by the Church, but instead by the government of China. The Church, who has no political power, has been sleeping with foreign governments, which has led to the deterioration of trust. It is believed that every priest and bishop in the Catholic Church has something called Apostolic succession. Christ gave St. Peter the power to appoint religious men to the priesthood, and this line of succession can be traced down to every priest, except for these 7 bishops. This gives the Church a bad reputation for not sticking to their Canon Law, which is equivalent to the United State’s Constitution. For the Church to do this would be the same as disregarding the confirming power of the Senate.
What happened to the Pope? Isn’t he supposed to be a spiritual figure instead of a political pawn for the left? Of course, Pope Francis wasn’t the only bad Pope the Catholic Church has had. Pope Boniface the VIII was a pedophile, Alexander VI bribed his way into becoming Pope, and Leo X allowed for the Church to sell indulgences, which promised heaven to those who bought them. Pope Francis is just a byproduct of the already corrupt system that the Church has become. This is to blame for the failure of the Church to keep people going to Church. A new study from the PEW research center shows that 21% of Americans are Catholic and that 13% of adults who were born and raised as Catholics have become either Protestant or not religious.
So what can the Church do? They can toughen up and mind their own business. They can focus on being a spiritual force and going back to their Canon Law. They should stop trying to be “hip” as many modern Catholic Churches have tried and failed. People want a true, non-political place of worship where they can grow in faith and become part of a community where they feel welcomed. If you are reading this, Pope Francis, do us all a favor and fix the corruption, not for Catholics, but for God.
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