Balancing Vaccine Hesitancy with Proper Precautions

The nationwide vaccination program has begun in earnest. To date, at least 15 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and one-third has received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the New York Times. However, there are some (such as surgeon and immunologist Hooman Noorchashm) who claim that vaccinating people with Covid-19 antibodies could potentially cause negative side effects, even death. While this concern is valid, we already have systems in place to report, monitor, and assess complications resulting from vaccination. More importantly, such well-intentioned warnings could actually prove to be counterproductive and confuse the public, generating heightened vaccine hesitancy that will end up putting more lives at risk. Ultimately, we must pursue the option that saves the most lives, and in this case, that option is widespread vaccination. While we should always promote the truth, we must be wary of exaggerating details or sounding unnecessarily large alarms.

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The Untapped Value of Carbon Capture Technology

In his first week in office, President Biden has begun to implement new climate policies such as rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. According to Marco Tedesco, a professor at Columbia University, Biden’s plan could “reduce global warming by about 0.1°C,” which is a huge step forward. Part of Biden’s plan is to develop various types of green technologies including carbon capture and storage (CCS).

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A New Way Forward: Human Rights and Climate Policy

On November 30, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) announced that a climate change case arguing that Portugal’s current climate regulations that endangers the welfare of children could proceed with priority status. The lawsuit comes in response to wildfires that killed 120 people over the summer. Very few similar cases make it this far, signaling another milestone in climate change litigation. The fact that climate change actions are moving from the streets to the courts signals that more effective climate legislation is occurring. Moreover, these legislations have also begun to adopt a new dimension: using human rights to increase the significance of claims. The increase in human rights related cases signals that a much more powerful, and varied avenue is now available through which the passing and enforcement of much needed climate change legislation can be promoted.

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