Climate And The Global Climate Justice Movement

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Molly Culton
Dara O’Rourke/Laney Siegner 103
Environmental Justice
16 April 2015

Climate Justice in the United States

Climate change has been called “the biggest problem of the 21st century” by many scientists and government officials alike. Many classes at the university level cover some aspect of this complex and multifaceted problem. From the human rights that are at risk due to rising sea levels and food shortages to the environmental, geographical, and intergenerational inequities resulting from increasing greenhouse gas emissions; climate change is a serious and complex issue with little agreement on how to solve it. In this paper, I will analyze the impacts of climate change in the country that contributes most to the problem:
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This may not sound like much, but when one considers that the global temperature during the last Ice Age 7,000 years ago was only 5 or 6 degrees Celsius colder than it is today, then the numbers are pretty frightening (Freese). Sea level rise is another area of concern for scientists and the global community with respect to climate change. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the sea level has risen about 8 in. and continues to rise about 0.14 in. per year (National Climate Association). IPCC has predicted a sea level rise of 1m. (~3.3 ft.) by the end of this century (O‘Rourke), putting small island nations such as the Maldives and at risk of losing their land, as well as cities in the US such as Miami, New Orleans, and New York. Once again, this number may seem insignificant, but when one considers that approximately 5 million people live within 4 ft. of the high tide areas in the United States; and 1 in 10 persons live in low lying coastal areas around the globe, then the numbers illustrate cause for great concern. An estimated 634 million people will be impacted by rising sea levels (Greenfieldboyce) and 1 billion people could be displaced from their homes by 2050 as a result of climate change (O‘Rourke).
With a $2.2 trillion economy, California has the 7th largest economy in the world. California makes more money from agriculture than any other state in the US, totaling $50 billion in profit in 2013. We are the world’s
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