Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Climate Change Summit - 6 Things You Probably Didn't Know

Posted by Amanda Villaruel |
The UN Climate Change Summit in Paris (also referred to as COP21) started on Monday, and lasts until December 11th.

Curious about the conference? What the conference is all about?
Streets of Paris, France. Photo courtesy of Andreios Belaza.
Streets of Paris, France. Photo courtesy of Andreios Belaza.

You would think that the terror attacks in Paris that occurred less than three weeks ago would result in cancelling the UN Climate Change Summit, in fear of new attacks. I'm glad that they didn't.

As president Barack Obama stated to the media - the COP21 is an act of defiance against terrorism.

Article continues below the picture.
View of Paris. Photo courtesy of Andreios Belaza.
View of Paris. Photo courtesy of Andreios Belaza.

Did you know that - 

1. The goal with the conference is to (once again) reach a universal agreement on reduction of greenhouse gases, to keep global warming below 2 degrees? There's a hope that the negotiations will result in a legally binding agreement that applies to all UN parties.

Check out the video: why 2 degrees?

2. India is the fourth largest polluter?

In today's Norwegian newspaper, the headline was "Poor countries have the right to pollute," a statement given by India's prime minister Narendra Modi.1 He also pointed out that the climate burden should be distributed fairly.
Street vendor in Varanasi. Copyright: paulprescott72 / 123RF Stock Photo
Street vendor in Varanasi. Copyright: paulprescott72 / 123RF Stock Photo

I partially agree on this point since poor countries often don't have the resources for new technology, and according to them - they rely heavily on non renewable resources like coal to achieve economic growth. I don't support coal at all, but the principle that poor countries should have the opportunity to lift the majority of the population out of poverty makes sense. And that developed (rich) countries should pay most of the price.

But must the step to economic growth be taken with coal? What about renewable sources like solar energy?

3. China stands for approx. 30% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, making China the largest Co2 emitting country? 
Thick haze in China. Copyright: hxdbzxy / 123RF Stock Photo
Thick haze in China. Copyright: hxdbzxy / 123RF Stock Photo

Next on the list is the US with 16%, followed by the European Union with 11%? 2 (no surprise there) 

4. The Copenhagen COP15 in 2009 has been widely seen as failure, a disaster?

According to Mark Lynas in the Guardian, it was China that wrecked the talks, "intentionally humiliated Barack Obama."

Read: Why did Copenhagen fail to deliver a climate deal?

5. In the UK, almost one in five people believes that natural processes are the reason for climate change?  According to a poll for Sky News that came ahead of the Climate Change Summit in Paris.3

What do you think? I've had discussions with my boyfriend (who's a geologist) regarding climate changes - are the changes caused by human activities or is there a natural process going on? His primary argument is that we can't exclude the fact that climate changes are occurring because of natural climate processes. I'm no scientist, but it's kind of difficult to ignore what most climate scientists agree on - that climate changes are extremely likely man-made.

Of course, there must be natural processes going on. But that doesn't mean that humans have to contribute to the acceleration of climate changes and mass extinction of animal species. In my understanding, that is exactly what we're doing to the planet.

6. In the Norwegian news today, the headline was that Indonesian authorities have omitted to include CO2 emissions from over 122 forest fires that occurred this fall, in their numbers for the Conference in Paris? This is according to a report from Greenpeace.5

Read: The rainforest - 9 things you probably didn't know.

If you're interested in more information about the Climate Change Summit, click here.

Read: 8 scary facts about climate change that will make you glad 150 world leaders are meeting about it right now.

Continue to read:
Guide to eco-conscious living.

What pollutes more - the cow or the car?


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