THE STORY The globe is going through the change. The climate change. It’s been a growing issue for decades, but only recently did the US join the squad of world leaders trying to do something about it. THE WHAT You may have seen a photo of a skinny polar bear on your news feed. Or heard of the Syrian Civil War. Or read about record flooding in US cities like Houston, TX. UN scientists estimate that in recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have died in extreme weather events related to global warming. And the roots of major conflicts are in part thanks to global warming too (see: droughts in Syria before the civil war broke out). Scientists also say it’ll get worse over time. Great. WHAT IS THE US DOING ABOUT IT? Back in the ‘90s, a climate deal called the Kyoto protocol was written and eventually agreed to by almost 200 countries. But US lawmakers – annoyed that it didn’t include developing countries like China, and worried about how it could affect the US economy – said ‘no thanks.’ Without the US, one of the world’s gassiest countries, global climate change efforts were put on pause. When President Obama came on the scene, he made climate change a huge part of his agenda. After a couple of false starts, and lots of talking and hand-wringing, world leaders finally came up with a global climate deal last year. WHAT’S THIS DEAL? Each country gets its own targets to stop passing so much gas. Developing countries (like India) will get a little cash $$$ from developed countries (like the US) to help make it happen. At least 150 countries are expected to sign the deal, and everybody has to submit progress reports. The point? To keep the rise of global temps under 2 degrees Celsius. WHAT REPUBLICANS SAY... This deal doesn’t do enough to make sure developing countries like China and India are being held accountable. Plus, Obama’s “writing checks he can’t cash” (hint: Congress controls the purse strings). WHAT DEMOCRATS SAY... Two thumbs up. This deal is a long time coming. WHAT DO THE CANDIDATES SAY? Hillary Clinton…climate change is real, and it’s a problem, and the US needs to be the world’s clean energy superpower.
Donald Trump...climate change doesn’t exist “in any major fashion.” But I'm open to someone proving it to me. theSKIMM This is an issue that affects every person on Earth. Who the US elects to be in charge for the next four (or maybe eight) years will have to deal with it. The question is how.