“There’s no planet B” read one of the most popular slogans at the March for Science, where thousands of scientists, activists and supporters took to the streets around the world to raise their voice in favor of science-based policies and warned about man-made climate change.
But, do we still have time to save the planet?, will it matter in a world where high temperatures are already transforming the way we live?
According to one of the most prominent speakers at the march in D.C., yes, we still have a chance. “We cannot be late, science has established that we must bend the curve of emissions by 2020. We will rise to that challenge,“ said Cristina Figueres -- the Costa Rican diplomat that engineered the 2015 Paris Agreement -- in front of a packed National Mall.
Bending the curve of emissions refers to cutting the Greenhouse Gas emissions to ultimately put a stop to climate change. By doing so, we can, allegedly, flatten the upward temperature trajectory and bring it down to a sustainable level.
Why 2020? Because doing so any later will put the planet at risk of triggering major and irreversible changes to the Earth system.
In other words, it’s our last chance to save our way of life.
While it appears that most nations are on board with the plan, -- as evidenced by the Paris Climate Agreement, where more than 190 nations made a commitment to hold the increase of the global average temperature well below 2 °C -- many worry that the Trump Administration’s policies and positions regarding climate change could derail the agreement.
And they have good reasons to worry: Donald Trump has categorized the concept of global warming as “bullshit” and “nonsense”. He named a climate change-denier to lead the agency in charge of fighting it. He signed an executive order to get rid of the Clean Power Plan -- which required the U.S. power sector to cut carbon emissions by a third. He proposed a budget that would remove $7 billion in science funding. And, it has been suggested that Mr. Trump could withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.
The logic behind Trump’s environmental policies is simple: by cutting regulations, many jobs will be created. He’s choosing jobs and economic growth instead of looking at the long-term effects of global warming.
As flawed as his reasoning is, -- many economists say that coal mining jobs will not return -- he still has the support of the Republican Party and most of his voters.
That’s why the March for Science was successful, that’s why it was replicated in more than 600 cities around the world. Trump has startled the scientific community and they’re fighting back. “The president changes his mind quite frequently,” Bill Nye, scientist, engineer and TV personality, told The Guardian. “We want to influence the people who influence him. That’s our goal for the march.”
The ultimate question is: will it matter? Will it be enough to change Trump’s mind?
About the author: Mauricio Holguin is a Mexican journalism student currently at The Washington Center in D.C. He's been a staff writer at Shout! since January 2017.
Feature Image: (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)