The Carbon Crisis

Niamh Kane, Staff Writer

We all breathe air; in a world with cars and factories the global quality of air has come into question. In the United States, a bill is being proposed to combat the crisis.

Countries such as The People’s Republic of China and India are very polluted due to the presence of factories and lack of environmental regulations imposed by their governments. According to a study done by the medical journal The Lancet, “An estimated 1.24 million people died from exposure to air pollution in the PRC in 2017.” That is roughly 0.08% of China’s population. 

The People’s Republic of China is the leading country in air pollution in the form of greenhouse gases and mercury. The president of the People’s Republic of China, President Xi Jinping, has publicly committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. According to the US Embassy in Georgia, Contrary to his statement, the PRC has in fact increased production of coal fired power plants.

As the death toll rises and more people become aware of the harmful effects air pollution causes, governments around the world have issued a call for action. Solutions posed involve global leaders monitoring cities around the world and publicly disclosing their air quality. US Embassies around the world have begun operating, and in conjunction with the US Environmental Protection Agency, they have prompted the PRC to begin trying to improve their air quality.

Another posed solution for the global air pollution crisis is a tax on carbon use. A carbon tax targets carbon emissions that produce goods and services in order to show that while carbon emissions are invisible, they still come at a cost to the environment.

In the American government, a bill was just proposed by Democrats that would have the companies leading in air pollution pay a fee for every one ton of carbon they emit. However, Republicans who oppose the bill do not believe this is the solution to limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Potential downsides include inflation and higher prices for energy, which are already high as a result of Covid-19. That being said, according to the New York Times article, “Democrats Weigh Carbon Tax After Manchin Rejects Key Climate Provision,” by Coral Davenport and Luke Broadwater, economists call it “the most effective way to cut the fossil fuel emissions” and their detrimental effects on the planet. Only time will tell if the bill will pass, while we continue to breathe air. 

Alexander Pogrebizhskiy