As the summer came to an end, headlines about thousands of residents losing access to water swept the nation. The news came first out of Jackson, Mississippi. But although the southern city’s complete loss of access to water dominated the new cycle, it was far from the only place dealing with this issue. A few days later, reports of boil water advisories in Baltimore and NYC hit the news cycle. Unfortunately, these are only the latest instances in a long string of issues with access to safe and clean drinking water across the country.
In his proposed American Jobs Plan, President Biden has stated that if the United States wants to achieve its decarbonization targets and get climate change under control, cutting off government support to the fossil fuel industry is a crucial first step. Eliminating government subsidies for fossil fuels is the most logical step in fighting back against climate change, but Biden is facing an uphill battle to get his American Jobs Plan passed through Congress.
One of President Joe Biden’s promises to America if elected President of the United States was to be more proactive to fix the increasing issue of climate change. Previously, during his tenure as Vice President, in 2010 disclosures were mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that ordered publicly traded companies disclose their climate change related data in their filings to help investors make more informed decisions. More than ten years later, and only a month after President Biden’s inauguration, the SEC released a statement regarding their intentions to revise these disclosure requirements and bring a greater focus to investment decision regarding climate change issues.
Climate change directly and indirectly impacts a range of human rights including the basic rights to life, food, water and housing. Along with all developed countries, the United States has an affirmative obligation to take measures to prevent and address climate change impacts thereby not only mitigating its dire effects, but ensuring that all displaced persons have, at a minimum, their basic needs met. These displaced persons are more often than not those who have contributed the least to climate change and are now disproportionately suffering from its harm.
In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations issued a special report on the impact of global warming. The report shared extensive research about our changing atmosphere and issued a grave warning: we must act immediately. The harrowing news came just over one year after President Trump ordered the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017. This begs the question: how will changes be made when the world’s most powerful and impactful hegemon refuses to cooperate?
Under the Obama Administration, the EPA passed Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium-Duty and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. The regulation aimed to reduce climate change-causing emissions from the transportation sector, particularly the pollution caused by trucks. However, following the voiced concerns of stakeholders in the glider and trailer industry, the Trump Administration has issued a notice of repeal of emission requirements for glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits.