Cardin and Van Hollen aim for net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050

By: Anna Hovey, Capital News Service

Tailpipe emissions are major contributors to greenhouse gases. Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are proposing a bill to get the United States to “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Photo Credit: Anna Hovey/Capital News Service

WASHINGTON — A bill aimed at achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by no later than 2050 has been introduced by Maryland Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.

The United States produced 16% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2016, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. That is second only to China, the world’s most populous country, which accounted for 29%.  

“As the climate crisis, which threatens the health and well-being of my constituents in Maryland and Americans across the nation, becomes increasingly apparent, people are rightfully demanding action from their federal government,” Cardin said in a statement.

The senators’ Clean Economy Act was introduced in the wake of last month’s United Nations annual Emissions Gap Report, which revealed that current efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally are not yet sizable enough to avoid a potentially catastrophic increase in the global temperature. 

The new measure also follows a series of environmental law rollbacks under President Donald Trump. Some 95 air pollution and emissions laws have been eased in the last three years, according to The New York Times.

Trump has also announced his intention to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, a decision that will not take effect until November 2020. 

Prospects for the bill are uncertain in the GOP-controlled Senate, which has not been receptive to major environmental legislation. 

Besides Cardin and Van Hollen, the legislation is co-sponsored by a total of 30 other senators – 29 Democrats and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

The senators’ bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to set emissions targets for 2025, 2030 and 2040. 

“This legislation provides EPA with important tools to confront carbon pollution change while promoting economic growth,” Van Hollen said in a statement.

“The Clean Economy Act recognizes that the EPA lies at the center of America’s climate future and empowers it to address climate change proactively,” Cardin said. “Making the necessary investments to reach net-zero will strengthen our economy, create good-paying jobs, and protect public health and national security.”

“It’s past time we get serious about addressing climate change,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democrats’ 2016 vice presidential nominee and one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

“The success of our economy is directly linked to our ability to develop innovative clean energy technologies and avoid the escalating costs of climate change,” Van Hollen said. 

Among the bill’s supporters are the United Steelworkers, the American Federation of Teachers, Clean Water Action, the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Fund and Environment America.

Andrea McGimsey, senior director for Environment America’s Global Warming Solutions Campaign, said in a statement that it was essential that the federal government follow the many states that have made addressing climate change a top priority. 

“By cosponsoring and supporting the Clean Economy Act, senators will put the American government’s might behind the great work that’s being done in states across the country,” McGimsey said. “Record-breaking extreme weather is devastating families and communities… Before it’s too late, members of Congress who haven’t already done so must step up and counter the existential threat of climate change.”

Presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, are among the bill’s other co-sponsors.

“In California, we’re ahead of schedule to meet the ambitious goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045, “ Feinstein said. “At the same time, our economy has grown to be the fifth-largest in the world. That’s proof positive that fighting climate change supports a strong economy.”

Trump’s Short Sighted Tax Bill: Don’t Be Fooled

By Bryonna Jay


I thought we all agreed that trickle down economics do not work? Which is why I’m weary of the additions in President Trump’s tax plan that will make the richest richer and leave us with the scraps.

This bill permeants tax cuts for corporations and will lower deductions for state, local and property taxes. Trump ran on a campaign that villainized former Secretary of State Clinton and former President Obama for hanging out in the notorious “swamp” filled with corporations and corrupt politicians that were out to further disenfranchise the work- ing and middle classes. But it appears that Trump’s base has caught a case of amnesia because what’s also in- cluded in this bill will “give $2,000 to families” this tax season, which Trump insistently repeats. Don’t get me wrong. I am a broke graduate student, so any extra money is great and could mean the difference of if I have to wait a few months to have enough to get some cavities filled or if I can do it sooner.

However, the changes to the tax plan feels like a really expensive sedative to try to make Americans forget that they are being prodded from behind. After 2025, the deductions that will primarily benefit the middle class, will go away and there will be a significant decrease in yearly income after taxes. What’s more is that this bill will add $1.4 trillion to the national debt. Who is the bill collector that calls the White House? Because $1.4 trillion seems like a criminal amount of money to owe.

In a perfect world, this tax cut for corporations could be a good thing; big business could create more jobs, give employees better wages and benefits, and invest more into communities. However, this is America; there is no ceiling on how much money anyone or any entity could acquire. Regardless of what the 99% or even the government is lacking in resources; such as universal health care, globally competitive public education, or changing infrastruc- ture to help keep our world from shriveling up because of, you know, climate change.

Trump’s Misguided Approach to Fighting Terrorism

During President Trump’s election campaign, he continued to say that he was going to be tough on terrorism. However, when Trump said terrorism he really just meant foreign Islamic terrorism. This is evident from his repeated use of the term “radical Islam.” Although foreign terrorism kills several Americans every year, it doesn’t make sense to place so much emphasis on just Islamic terrorists when other issues, such as domestic terrorism and gun violence, can be just as harmful if not more harmful than foreign Islamic terrorism. Additionally, Trump’s current plans for fighting what he calls “radical Islam” are quite bad when you consider that his plans could actually lead to an increase in terrorism.

Foreign Terrorism vs. Homegrown Terrorism

Trump may think that terrorism comes mostly from Islamic countries, but that is simply not true. The truth is that there are more instances of home grown terrorism than foreign terrorism. Research has also shown that police departments are more worried about homegrown terrorists than foreign terrorists. However, with the San Bernardino attack that occurred in 2016, the total amount of Americans killed by Islamic inspired terrorists is close, but still lower, than the total amount of Americans killed by non-Islamic inspired terrorists.

Guns vs. Terrorism

The amount of people killed by guns is a lot higher than the amount of people killed by terrorists. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2013, over 33,000 Americans were killed by guns while 21 Americans were killed by terrorists. The CDC also said that for every American killed by terrorists more than 1,000 Americans were killed by guns.

Number of American Deaths Caused by Terrorism VS Gun Violence

How Trump Has Fought Terrorism So Far

During President Trump’s campaign he said, “When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.” He also said that he would “go after the [terrorists] wives.” As president, he continued his fight against “radical Islam” by signing an executive order that instituted a travel ban on several Muslim majority countries. The travel ban involves stopping people from Muslim majority countries from seeking visas and traveling to the US.

Many of Trump’s actions, especially banning Muslims from entering the US, play into the hands of terrorists. In particular, instituting a travel ban on Muslims could increase feelings of hatred towards the West. It could also increase disenfranchisement in many Muslim majority countries since people in these countries would be provided with less economic opportunities as a result of the travel ban. This reduction in economic opportunities could lead to people being nearly forced to work for ISIS because they may have no other means to support their family. The travel ban could also mean that more people will be persecuted by ISIS and other extremist groups.  Overall, the travel ban would likely lead to increases in both disenfranchisement and hatred toward the West, two variables that lead to increases in terrorism.

What We Should Do

If you look at the statistics, then you can clearly see that it would be a far better idea to address gun violence and homegrown terrorism than foreign terrorism. If the US decides to continue to divert more and more resources into combating foreign terrorism, instead of homegrown terrorism and gun violence, then the US should at least address foreign terrorism in a logical manner. For example, the US could increase communication with foreign countries, increase intelligence sharing, and increase funding in counter terrorism research. As of now, the steps President Trump has taken to address foreign terrorism do not actually address the issue, they exasperate the problem.

We all stayed up

UB’s reaction to the unexpected election results

By Zachary Nelson

“I stayed up till 3:30.” That was the case for a lot of students at UB the morning after the election. I have noticed that students here have a lot of heart and a lot of passion for political matters and how the proceedings might affect themselves and those they love. I spent some of Wednesday morning asking people on campus what they thought and felt about the election results. So, instead of telling you my opinion, I will give you their thoughts.

At UB, the conversation began with non-verbals. One professor observed, “There was definitely kind of a dark vibe – there was definitely a lot of tension.” One of my classmates recalled, “Five o clock in the morning and I checked my phone and I felt sick to my stomach.” It seemed that a cloud of despair had descended on Mount Royal and Charles.

Then people started speaking up. Their first reaction was one of surprise. Phrases like, “It was mind boggling,” “I am just surprised in the outcome,” and “I was just completely shell shocked” were commonly used. One student ruminated, “I am surprised on how misrepresented the youth are… I think that the way things are going is controlled a lot by the way they view the world and since they were under represented – I feel like we had a loss.” One professor explained, “My first thought was surprise but as I reflected on it I realized that I probably shouldn’t have been that surprised and then I kind of reflected a little bit on how we kind of isolate ourselves and surround ourselves with similar belief systems. I don’t personally know anyone who is going to vote for Trump, therefore is discounted the power of what he [President- Elect Trump] was bringing to people.”

The conversation turned to concerns for the future. A student explained, “At first I was worried, and now I’m a little afraid. I always considered myself a proud American… and now I am kind of embarrassed… He is not predictable… I don’t know what he’s going to do”. Things like are my friends marriages going to become invalid are people going to lose access to healthcare. Or a supreme court justice who gets it in their heart to overturn Roe v Wade.

When people say they’re scared for their life because Trump now has the nuclear codes… he has the mouth of an eight year old but I don’t think he has the mind of an eight year old. He’s not gonna go bombing people… I don’t think he’s going to cause any wars or anything like that just cause of his antics. I started with optimistic fear to like fearful optimism.

Amidst the gloomy dreariness which permeated Mount Vernon, there were a few sparks of hope. One student admitted, “This is really surprising… but since it’s happened already, I am eager to see what is going to happen next.” Another student said, “Maybe he can bring something different.” Another student says that we must, “Have more comfort in knowing that God is the person that makes the final decision.”

Many students stayed up until 3:30. Most students participated in the passionate discussions which inevitably sprung up in classrooms across campus. All students must come to grips with the election results and decide how they will respond. We will see what the future holds.