Quick Briefing of Options
As stated in the previous post, three possible alternative options to handle the issue of deforestation related to climate change in the United States are: rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, introducing federal forestry laws, and creating more national reserved forest land.
What Should be the Priority?
When considering which options to look at further, it’s important to establish the top priority and find which policy solution aligns most with that priority. The issues of climate change and deforestation are directly connected, so the focus of the chosen policy needs to take both issues into account. One of the more pressing issues at the moment seems to be the rising average temperature around the globe (Dunne, 2018). Because of the connection between climate change and deforestation, the rising temperature is one of the biggest contributors to the net tree loss in the United States. It’s also important to recognize that any policy option related to this issue will not yield results overnight. Because this issue involves the environment and is on such a large scale, all options for moving forward with this issue are looking at long term goals and results.
Which Option has the Same Priority?
Let’s look at each of the three options and figure out what each option prioritizes the most.
The first option, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, is prioritizing the long term goal of slowing down the increase of the Earth’s temperature. This collaborative option with other countries in the world is aligned in priorities, and has set long-term goals of reducing emissions.
The second option, introducing federal forestry laws, has a couple possible priorities. This option prioritizes a more hands-on approach to federal regulating of forests across the nation and aims to acquire more control of forest land. This option would involve states and local governments losing some autonomy over their forestry laws, which might become an objection for this possible policy option.
The third option that was discussed, creating more federal reserved forest land, seems to prioritize increasing protection for the existing forests in the country. Since more than half of the country’s forests are privately owned, creating more reserved forest land would mean that the government would have to buy some of the privately owned forest land.
Out of the three discussed possible alternative options, the option that best fits the established top priority is the option of rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.
Drawbacks of this Decision
With any change in policy or talk of introducing public policies, there are always drawbacks to consider. With this specific policy option, it’s important to remember that this is not just involving the US. This Agreement is dependent on the cooperation and success of all the countries involved. When looking at the environment or Earth in general, it is a group effort for all countries no matter what.
Some objections to this decision could come from what President Trump listed as his initial reasons for wanting to withdraw from the Agreement. The White House released a statement saying that the terms of the Agreement were unfair for United States workers and businesses (Pompeo, 2020). However, rejoining the Paris Agreement could be a way for the United States to hold itself accountable for the reduction of emissions and research into cleaner energy sources.
Dunne, D. (2018, April 23). Deforestation has driven up hottest day temperatures, study says
Pompeo, M. (2020, September 25). On the U.S. Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement – United States Department of State.