To our future President,
I am a high-school student from Connecticut who would like to express my concern about the issue of climate change. Climate change, though not as visible as other issues, is one of the most potentially catastrophic problems facing the world. While it has not been emphasized in this race, it is really one of the most important issues in politics because of its scale and irreversibility. Its potential effects are vast and numerous, including mass extinctions, changes in weather patterns, and even the possibility of famine if temperatures become unfit for crops, but I will address two which are important to me as someone who lives near the coast: hurricanes and ocean rise. It is undebatable, considering the wealth of available data, that climate change exists and is caused by humans. Secretary Clinton, you have addressed the issue in depth and your policies will be highly beneficial, but the United States will need even higher goals and stronger regulations than what you have set. Mr. Trump, while you have not addressed the issue, I urge you if you become President to make the policies our country needs for a safe future rather than to avoid the issue. I urge the future President to work with Congress and the EPA to set goals for the US to drastically reduce carbon emissions, and implement policies to make this happen.
If our carbon dioxide emissions are not cut severely, sea levels will rise drastically. In only a few hundred years, levels will rise by at least 10 feet. The area that will be covered, about 23,000 square miles, is home to over 12 million Americans and trillions of dollars of property. It is an enormous global threat—the country of Kiribati, which lies almost completely below six feet elevation, will almost completely disappear within this century unless extreme carbon cuts are made. While sea level rise is not immediately threatening to most Americans’ lives, it poses a huge threat to our culture. Even with carbon cuts, for example, New Orleans will be entirely underwater in 200 years. Without severe measures to stop climate change, it will take only a few decades. Much larger areas of land, being closer to sea level, will be very liable to flooding. This would cause enormous economic loss as well as danger. Unless our government and others make extreme carbon cuts, buildings in places such as much of New York City will likely become so much at risk that they will be uninsurable or even unsafe, especially because of harsher storms.
In addition, climate change will make hurricanes much more common in coming years because of higher humidity. Storms like these can cause devastating damage: Hurricane Sandy caused $65 billion in damages and 285 deaths. Hundreds of people in the New York area lost their homes, their belongings, even their families, and unless extreme cuts are made climate change will make storms like this very common in the future. According to NASA, a warmer and thus more humid atmosphere will mean that any storm “has greater potential to develop into an intense storm.” Yet we will ironically be more likely to have droughts and thus crop failures and food shortages, because different temperature levels will also lead to fewer small rains.
Storms and sea level rise are merely two of the dozens of ways that climate change will cause death and destruction if governments do not take action. Humans can stop this problem that they have caused, and as a powerful nation America can make global change. I urge you to face the issue of climate change and work with Congress and the EPA to set goals to drastically limit carbon and use clean energy, and make policy to make it happen. I hope that you, the President of the United States, will make America a global leader in stopping climate change.