The Global Citizen: climate change
On the 16th of June, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a panel to discuss healthy solutions to climate change with Dr. Paul Esptein and Dr. Amanda Staudt.
The first issue raised was the realization that the current development path exceeds worst-case scenario models that were previously projected. The developing world's emissions are growing faster than was expected, and the efficiency of carbon sinks (oceans and forests) is less than what was thought. At this rate, the south-west U.S. and other places are on track to become arid, and 50% of the world's wildlife species will be extinct in the next few years. Dr. Staudt warned that this was the critical moment to avoid many of the irreversible effects of climate change, and she called for solutions such as the provision of wildlife corridors to allow species to migrate when their habitats are threatened, and support for H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act.
Submitted by Becky Tan, Manhattan Beach Chapter Leader
A few years ago (Nov.
Former President Jimmy Carter spoke at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 12. During the hearing it seemed the panel's main goal was to hear what Carter had to say about the current climate crisis and how it affects United States foreign relations.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] may not begin until December 7th but the preparatory talks are already underway. The Framework Convention on Climate Change consists of 192 countries, including the United States and China. All parties meet once a year in a Conference of Parties. Since the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will end in 2012, a new Climate Change agreement will need to be negotiated immediately.
Climate change is often discussed as a global problem. We constantly hear catch-phrase warnings such as 'melting ice caps,' 'rising sea levels,' 'desertification,' and 'greenhouse gases.' What we don't often hear about are the real problems pollution and climate change are creating today in small communities across the globe.
Global warming seems to be a reality that can be more accurately described as "global disruption." John Holdren, professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, claims that the effects of global warming are not merely a matter of temperature; although increased temperature is a the root of many of the problems.
Every generation has its cross to bear. Those born at the turn of the 20th century survived two world wars. Baby boomers practiced hiding under their school desks in case of a nuclear attack during the peak of the Cold War. While I consider bad hairstyles and horrendous wardrobes the downfall of the 80s, most would probably point to the emerging popularity and complexity of technological devices. Our current generation has two vital challenges that now lay before us: ending the proliferation of nuclear weapons and stopping global warming.
So far, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Barack Obama have returned Global Solutions Candidate Questionnaires. Much of what they have to say is predictable, but there are a lot of important differences in rhetoric and even some key differences in substance. They're worth a read through.
As of this writing, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Bali have not yet produced a final agreement. That's ok. The tectonic shift in international climate politics has already occurred.
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