Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change
By admin October 14, 2015


In light of the upcoming Conference of Parties 21, or “Paris 2015” (COP21/CMP11), a United Nations meeting which is to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015 to tackle climate change among all nations, this week’s blog emphasizes the role of climate change in global politics and economy and what scientific findings are being used to create a new international agreement.

On October 2, 2015, the UN held a summit meeting to begin the process of replacing the Millennium Development Goals, which were established in 2000 as a quantified and time-stamped method to address the reduction of poverty and all issues that root from it as well as environmental sustainability. The proposed new international agreement for the Sustainable Development Goals is being developed to apply to both rich and poor countries and is accompanied with 169 concrete ways in order to achieve them. Additionally, most of the goals in the proposed plan have a 2030 deadline while some have shorter ones. However, when 148 countries out of 196 submitted their sustainable development plans (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)) to the UN, one problem persisted: adequate climate compensation. During the summit, India stated within their plans that they need 2.5 trillion USD in order to achieve their goals. Quite similarly, the Philippines would like proper compensation for losses and damages incurred during the process of cutting emissions. The UN and analysts now have to redefine what ‘compensation’ is as developing countries are seeking more financial support and compensation from more advanced countries.

Climate change analysts estimated the social impact assessments of the proposed plans combined. Prior to the submission of the 148 countries, analysts found that the world is on track towards a 3.1 degrees Celsius temperature increase, which is 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than 2.0 Celsius, which was deemed as the standard for dangerous climate change in the Copenhagen Accord in 2009. However, in the submission of the total of 148 countries of 196, analysts calculated that the world is on track towards a 2.7 degrees Celsius temperature increase–a considerably respectable number in comparison to previous findings. The states’ representatives are meeting later in the week to draft improved proposals in preparation for the Paris 2015 next month.

In June, climate researcher Alice Bows-Larkin spoke in London at a Ted “Global” Talk, in which she explained the repercussions of current energy usage and emphasized that lifestyle changes are imperative to inhibit climate change.  Her main argument is based on a scientific finding which states that emissions are only in an increasing trajectory, and that the world is on track to a 4 degrees Celsius increase in temperature. She argued that the international community needs to learn how to mitigate current emissions, especially for more advanced countries whose economies produce the most carbon emissions and whose populations consume the most energy. Larkin emphasized the “subjective” impacts on climate change: she discussed how the infrastructure of both rich and poor countries will be unable to support the natural impacts of climate change, such as hotter or colder days and frequent storms. Furthermore, in certain parts of the world, food security will be threatened as crops, particularly maize and wheat yields, will be lower under the assumed temperature increase. Larkin proposed that the increasing carbon emissions must be mitigated in the future by proportionately reducing the emissions. To put it simply, the world has to make up for all of the mistakes it’s making now: the more carbon emissions that are released, and the more energy is being produced and used, the greater the reductions we will have to make both in emissions and in energy usage.

The upcoming COP21/CMP11 in Paris next month puts France at the forefront of the increasingly pressing issue of climate change. The United Nations is seeking to create a new, sustainable international agreement which will facilitate more cooperation to tackle this issue.

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