Climate Change May Force World Leaders’ Hands in Paris

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This winter, nations spanning the Earth will meet in Paris for a conference to assess their respective roadmaps for limiting their contribution to global warming to less than 2°C by the year 2100.

As of October the 1st of this year, 195 states were to submit plans to meet this standard for preliminary analysis of these plans’ potential veracity before the nations reconvene in Paris for a new convention to combat global climate change, to begin November 30th.

So far, eight of the ten greatest CO2 emitting nations have volunteered their contribution to meet this goal. Ranked in order of emission volume, these countries are China, the United States, Europe (N.B., one contribution represents the entire 28-state regional nation), India, Russia, Japan, South Korea and Canada. The next respective two nations on this list, Iran and Saudi Arabia, have not as of yet published their contribution to this international goal.

World leaders are coordinating their efforts to push for international cooperation in the fight to stave the growing threat of climate change. In Côte d’lvoire, the Prime Minister sent his completed plan to the President for approval; the Japanese Prime Minister announced the Japanese contribution back in June at the last G7 Summit, and the the Kenyan contribution was announced by President Kenyatta during Barack Obama’s official state visit back in July.

Alternative, renewable forms of energy are acknowledged by most scientists as a very important means for copping the deleterious effects of carbon emissions we’re all beginning to suffer together. In light of this, many nations are refusing to sit this negative rodeo out, and are investigating ways to reduce dependence on energy sources which do not exacerbate the planet’s ecology. In so doing, each nation brings itself closer to the agreed upon emission reduction goals. E.g., Japan means to produce 22-24% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and the EU aims at a 27% minimum for its renewable energy consumption.

However, lesser developed countries are doing their part in the bid to reduce global climate change, despite their economic handicaps: 40% of non-G20 nations who’ve submitted their contribution have set targets which rival and in some cases surpass the well-to-do nations mentioned above. Côte d’lvoire can make 16% of its energy mix renewable by 2030, adding that 32% is possible with international support, and Algeria is matching the EU’s goal of 27% by the same year.

This represents a legitimate step toward conscientious ends by nations both affluent and not, but as we know well from catastrophes like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, the growing list of endangered species, the increasing sea level following the collapsing arctic ice shelf conjoined with an ironic onslaught of worldwide droughts, it’s clear we need to respect new perspectives in order to prepare for the inevitable changes in global climate we’ve already ensured by the late figurative hour of our collective ecological awakening.

Roughly 10 countries want to design and install early warning systems to anticipate natural disasters as they continue to occur with increasing frequency. The aim of such systems is to detect and predict the development of extreme climate events, and to give populations enough alert time to take necessary precautions. These systems are relatively low in cost. The Climate Risk Early Warning System (CREWS) initiative, led by France, intends to speed up the deployment of early warning systems.

If the very fact of our having arrived so late on the ecological scene as a species means that we already have the better part of this 21st century’s worth of ecological perils to confront, the blank irony found upon reflecting on how inadequate current international steps towards reversing our carbon transformation of the Earth’s atmosphere is enough to make a nihilist out of any present latecomer to ecological reality.

Despite massive international support to meet the standards set down in 2014 for each nation to plan the reduction of total greenhouse gas emission by less than 2% and increase renewable energy efficiency, all these labors may simply be insufficient to reverse the crisis.

This is why the upcoming Paris talks, to run from November 30th to December 10th, must include a serious discussion on how we can make greater short-term adaptations in preparation for genuine, viable, long-term struggles. Such issues were raised at the Heads of State lunch in New York City on Sunday, September 27th, as we can read here.

Momento, despite the temptation to revel in misanthropic chagrin, we need to remember that climate change is real because this planet is interconnected. We can’t rely on the pretense of kinship with nations or cities or religion because we live in a real, vulnerable ecosphere. The surest way to confront this antagonism is to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels in favor of other, renewable energy sources. For many world leaders, this won’t happen short of a major paradigm shift concerning very basic assumptions about what it means to be a human being today. We ought to thank our stars’ faults that the Paris Convention is a go, but if we can’t convince policy makers, governments and private investors to put the lion’s share of resources to work for the good of the planet, and not profit, power or entertainment, their survival is not guaranteed.

 

-Statistics and preliminary analysis originally collected and published here.

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Bradley is an essayist from Iowa living in Brooklyn. Since returning from Vietnam, he enjoys attending public readings, poetry, fiction, philosophy and interesting strangers.
You can follow him by searching for filterthesnow on Google, or by adding him on Facebook @ facebook.com/remederi.

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