Climate change is a massive issue which affects each and every one of us. In the UK, most people are aware of this, and accept the fact that humans are having a detrimental effect on the planet.
However, this is not the case in America. There are high levels of scepticism about the subject, perpetuated by a poor representation of the issues by the media. America is the top emitter of greenhouse gases globally, producing about 25% worldwide with only 5% of the world’s population. However, there is no sign of imminent governmental action on the problem.
Trump: The Paris Agreement is “unfair to the U.S. at the highest level.”
A study of four major US newspapers showed that a fundamental form of scepticism, the denial of causes for climate change, appears in 59% of the articles that were analysed. The same study found that 11% of these articles encouraged readers to take action in line with this, therefore encouraging members of the US public to actively be against legislating to help solve environmental problems. This scepticism is reflected in America’s environmental policy making.
A notable policy decision reflecting this is America’s decision not to ratify the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty with 84 signatories with the aim to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases let into the atmosphere.
The public in America appear to be far more supportive of this action than the citizens of several European countries, where there was considerable outrage about the decision. Similarly, and very recently, is America’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
Trump believed that the agreement was not in America’s best interest, saying that it was “unfair to the U.S. at the highest level,” believing that it undermines U.S. competitiveness internationally and impairs traditional energy industries.
Although it may seem absurd to many Brits, a large proportion of Americans really do not believe that climate change is a real threat. Until they become aware of the problems it causes, it is unlikely that the climate change legislation needed to help save the planet will ever be achieved.