Policy Review: Climate Change Initiatives in the Deep South

by Anushree Gade | LHC Intern 

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Last year in late October and early November, we saw many news articles pertaining to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference. Counties across the world are collaborating with one another to address the international crisis of Climate Change. At the Glasgow Climate Change Summit, 151 countries submitted climate plans for emission reduction in order to maintain their goal of preventing temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, there was also an agreement to significantly reduce coal consumption as it serves as a major source of CO2 emissions. It is important to note that developing countries lack funds to adopt sustainable practices. Developed countries have agreed to financially aid developing countries.


It’s imperative to address climate change on an international level as it is a global crisis. However, what are we doing as a nation to be mindful of our contribution to this crisis? Recently, President Biden announced plans to reduce the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by 2030. The United States is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, the United States emitted 6,558 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming as they trap heat in the atmosphere and cause atmospheric temperatures to increase. Increasing greenhouse gas emissions has been a major cause of the observed global warming. Therefore, Biden’s plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions comes with importance. Furthermore, the US has vehicle and aircraft emission standards set in order to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are regulated. To learn more about these emission standards, click here. To learn more about greenhouse gases, click here

Did you know?

Health effects of Climate Change include, but are not limited to:

  • Heat-related illness
  • Respiratory illness (i.e. asthma)
  • Water-borne diseases
  • Noncommunicable diseases
  • Malnutition

To learn more, visit this link

         You have probably heard about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act was first introduced in 1955, however, the act introduced in 1970 is the one that is most often referred to as the Clean Air Act and was one of the first policies that pertained to climate change. This act is one that “regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources.” The Act also sets deadlines for state and local governments to achieve the goals set forth by the Act. There are more components to the act that you can explore here.

         We have discussed initiatives and policies targeted at climate change on the national level, but what are some ways climate change is being addressed at the local level? One way in which this is being done is that local and state governments are adopting standards in alliance with national standards to address local power plants and vehicle emissions. Additionally, there are various organizations that are aiming to address climate change from the local level. A primary example of such an organization is the Greater-Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution (GASP). They are an organization based in our city. GASP came about in the late 1960s when there was resistance to the ideals set forth by the Clean Air Act. This organization advocates for clean air policies right here, in Birmingham. GASP played a significant role in exercising the Act in Birmingham. 


The Lister Hill Center for Health Policy recently hosted a seminar with GASP discussing the Birmingham Green New Deal and how to get involved in local advocacy with climate change called Local Action: How the Urgency of Climate Change is Impacting Birmingham. GASP is a non-profit climate advocacy center dedicated to creating cleaner air for the city of Bimringham. A full recording of the event is available below.