Climate Change and Potential Generic Public Policy Solutions

Climate Change and Potential Generic Public Policy Solutions

Climate change is the gradual change in weather conditions over a long period of time. Human-induced climate change is becoming more of a concern. There have been several potential generic public policy solutions that have been suggested to solve this problem. One of these solutions is adapting a clean energy policy, which emphasizes the importance of replacing fossil fuels with cleaner energy alternatives (Yin). To achieve this, measures to reduce the energy required per output unit are necessary. Adaptation has also been suggested as a potential policy solution, especially for the more vulnerable countries. Other measures include taxes on emissions and regulation (Stern 7).

The extent of climate change currently in process is enormous. Not only does it affect the current world population but also the future generations. Current effects include the sharp increase in food prices, which are at a historic high. This leads to global food crises which have increased in the last five years leading to riots in Haiti in 2008 and contributing to the Arab Spring in 2011(Anderson and Reilly). Greenhouse gas emission has caused global warming leading to a rapid decline in the arctic sea ice. Forest fires are more frequent now than ever before while droughts are getting worse. The coming generations are also likely to experience a bleak future, with sharp increases in the sea level, leading to human population displacement(Lonergan 7). Economic disaster is also inevitable along with humanitarian crises due to mass starvation and water shortage (Pittock 12). This is the reality that we are facing as the human race.

Energy reforms as a public policy solution would be effective in reducing this problem since it effectively works towards reduction in the elimination of greenhouse gases. This involves reducing the substitution of fossil fuels for clean energy (Yin). Since greenhouse gases emission from energy use is attributed as being the principal cause of global warming(Hughes 56), this effectively controls the rate of climate change by reducing its effects. A fine example is the construction of district heating systems in Sweden to reduce the dependence on energy from fossil fuels. They depend on biofuel power which is not only cleaner but more efficient (Henry and Foy). Though this may not help much in reducing the damage already caused, it helps in reducing further damage and safeguards the future of generations to come.

Taxes on emissions have also been touted as a potential solution. This works towards solving the problem by effectively increasing the cost of economic activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions (McMorran and Nellor 20). This also stimulates the adoption of various technologies with low carbon footprints. Taxes as a public policy decision, therefore, enhance the solving of the climate change headache (Grantham Research Institute and Clark).

Adaptation to the inevitable climate change is also a viable alternative. This is necessary since climate change is already happening and inevitable at this point in time(Helmuth, Atkinson, and Suarez). This policy response is especially relevant to vulnerable countries, which are forced to suffer the consequences of the industrial emissions the production activities of the more developed countries. An investment in adaptation is likely to enhance survival, for example, better crop varieties that are able to withstand rising temperatures effectively ensure the effects are less in the future (Stern 6).

Climate change is a reality that has to be dealt with before its obviously harmful effects become intolerable. A number of general public policy solutions can be implemented by various governments, especially to reduce the effect on vulnerable countries. These policies should be implemented as soon as possible in order to curb the problem before it becomes too late for further action.

Works Cited

Anderson, Molly D., and John Reilly. “Climate Change Series: The Future Of Food.”             Cognoscenti. N. p., 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.

Grantham Research Institute, and Duncan Clark. “Why Do Economists Describe Climate           Change as a ‘Market Failure’?” The Guardian 21 May 2012. The Guardian.Web. 11       Mar. 2014.

Helmuth, Brian, Larry Atkinson, and Pablo Suarez. “Climate Change Series: Adapting To A            New Reality.” Cognoscenti. N. p., 8 Apr. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.

Henry, Dick, and Douglas Foy. “Climate Change Series: Energy Efficiency.” Cognoscenti.   N. p., 14 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.

Lonergan, Steve. “The role of environmental degradation in population             displacement.” Environmental change and security project report 4.6 (1998).

McMorran, Ronald, and David Nellor. “Tax Policy and the Environment: Theory and             Practice.” (1994): 1-50.

Pittock, A. Barrie. Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions. Routledge, 2013.   Print.

Stern, Nicholas, ed. The economics of climate change: The Stern review. Cambridge                        University Press, 2007. Print.

Yin, Clifton. “Energy Policy as the Solution to Climate Change | The Energy Collective.”     N. p., 27 Jan. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.