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Fossil fuel subsidies are incredibly expensive; in 2020 alone, they cost global governments $5.9 trillion. Yet, these subsidies fail to effectively achieve the policy goal of easing the burden of energy costs. Instead, fossil fuel subsidies enrich the fossil fuel industry and waste public money, while harming public health and the environment. With the catastrophic effects of climate change looming, governments must eliminate the fossil fuel subsidies wreaking havoc on both Earth and the taxpayer’s dime.
As the presidential nominee process for 2024 barrels towards us, future candidates are deep into planning their campaigns, refining their messages and scheduling rallies. As Governor Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and his staff do the same, they ought to consider the governor’s somewhat brilliantly dexterous environmental policies. Governor DeSantis’ environmental strategies appeal to environmentally-conscious conservatives, giving him an edge over other Republican presidential candidates come 2024. DeSantis has successfully avoided being painted as economically damaging or leftist, which causes Republican and Republican-leaning voters to balk at voting for moderates or Democrats with strong climate change policies. In stark contrast to Democrats, Governor DeSantis’ environmental policies instead capitalize on fears of economic damage and “leftist” labeled policies. By assuring Republicans that his environmental policies will exclude leftist beliefs, DeSantis quiets these concerns.
Winning the votes of environmentally-conscious Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters would be a huge boost for Democrats in 2024. According to the Climate Center in 2020, 68% of all Republicans between the ages of 18 and 54 report climate change as an important factor in casting their vote — a camp large enough to bolster the Democrat’s support base in the upcoming election. But securing that cohort’s vote will require Democrats to adjust their party’s messaging around climate change policies — specifically, the party should assuage Republican concerns surrounding any potential negative economic impacts of environmental efforts and the issue’s politicization. To do so, they must emphasize the popularity of President Biden’s climate policies among non-Democrats, as well as their economic benefits — particularly the benefits they could bring to blue-collar workers.
Dialogue around poor mental health on campus largely centers around Dartmouth as an institution, focusing on the administration’s failings, faulty healthcare and lack of academic support. The College deserves this scrutiny, and these criticisms have successfully pushed for institution-wide positive change, as seen by the College signing a four-year partnership with the youth mental health nonprofit JED foundation. Yet, these conversations around mental health frequently omit crucial parts of students’ well-being — peer support, perceived acceptance and belonging.
As climate change increases the frequency and magnitude of extreme temperatures, the need for climate adaptation places growing pressure on infrastructure. In the past few years, several power outages have occurred throughout the United States as city residents turned up the air conditioning or heating. Fossil fuel supporters blame renewable energy for the blackouts and propose increased use of fossil fuels to reliably meet higher energy demands. However, relying more on fossil fuels as a temporary solution will only exacerbate climate conditions causing blackouts.
In response to horrifying mass shootings, pro-gun activists have pointed toward the mental health crisis plaguing the United States as the underlying cause of gun violence. Despite this rhetoric, the evidence is clear – mental illness is not to blame for gun violence. The idea that mental illness causes gun violence is harmful, as it encourages prejudice towards those with mental disorders and discourages them from seeking proper medical help. Pro-gun activists use this unfounded claim to distract from the policies that would actually decrease gun violence in the United States.
As national and local concerns mount over contamination from perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — a class of over 4,700 synthetic chemicals that are resistant to environmental degradation and are commonly referred to as PFAS, or “forever chemicals” — states are working to address the PFAS contamination found in soil, water, air, wildlife and humans with more comprehensive regulations and regard for environmental and human health. Indeed, in the absence of federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency and Congress regarding PFAS, states are taking the lead in addressing PFAS issues. However, the U.S. military — one of the largest PFAS polluters — is not beholden to state standards and can escape responsibility for their role due to lackluster federal standards. To hold the military responsible for its actions that damage both the environment and human health, states must subject the military to their respective PFAS regulations.
The Biden administration has committed to a green energy plan powered by solar energy, but Biden’s human rights agenda in China may interfere with those goals: Because solar energy is to some extent dependent on products mined and manufactured in China, Biden may be forced to look the other way as China commits major human rights violations in order to maintain access to these critical resources. In doing so, Biden will fail to deliver on his promises to globally enforce human rights. To rectify this, Biden must shift his focus from solar energy to nuclear energy, allowing him to solve both this human rights dilemma and set the U.S. on the best path toward clean energy.
Throughout the pandemic, in an effort to express their discontent with social distancing and vaccination policies, some people and politicians have repeatedly drawn stunningly ignorant parallels between COVID-19-related policies and the Holocaust. These attempts to use the Holocaust to push an anti-lockdown agenda are reprehensible and minimize the atrocities committed against Jews, the Roma people, the LGBTQ+ community, disabled people and all others who were the targets of Nazi genocide. If one thing is clear, it’s that government pandemic policies informed by science and intended to save lives are not in any way comparable to the Nazi government’s brutality.
Only a month after taking office, President Joe Biden’s administration has already shown that its policy approach to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia marks a distinct shift from the previous administration’s policies.