The changing climate is currently an ecological emergency. With global warming on the rise and the demise of many plant and animals because of it, politics surrounding climate change are finally heating up.
The 2014 Happenings
The year 2014 was a big one in terms of climate change gaining some political leverage. In September, the People’s Climate March took place across the globe. Protesters united in an effort to bring attention to the climate emergency in preparation of the United Nations climate summit meeting. The climate summit brought together 125 state and government officials in New York City. The summit invited world leaders to acknowledge the profound ecological and economic consequences of climate change and to set the precedence for change in the year 2015.
Both the climate march and climate summit represent a paradigm shift in the way the climate crisis has been handled the past several years. Previously the climate crisis has merely been acknowledged as an issue, without significant engagement by politicians or the general public. The year 2014 marks a significant change in the approach to this emergent issue; people are getting engaged and caring about the future of the planet.
China and the US
For the first time ever both China and the United States have agreed to reduce carbon pollution and make significant progress in increase the use of clean energy. While these goals are a great start, they will barely touch the surface of the current climate dilemma and its causes. However, they are indicative of the current political shift taking place. Historically, global climate meetings didn’t result in any changes because no country wanted to take the first leap in the direction of green. Now that some nations are leaping, others are taking the cue and following. This is a good start.
Now that we have a start, climate change activists are questioning how the actions can gain momentum. It’s a great time for nations to come together and compete for the “one up” in strides towards reducing emissions and increasing clean energy sources. These climate change aspirations are not only good for the environment, they will positively impact the economy by creating jobs and opportunities as well as improving the health of the nation.
Renewable energy sources are a huge focus in the upcoming year. Accessibility and reduced cost of renewable energy has made it a viable option. In the last year all of the new power capacity added in the US was renewable. Countries around the globe are making clean energy a priority; including Denmark and Germany. China has one-upped the United States when it comes to solar panels; they installed more solar panels in 2014 that the US has ever installed.
With 2015 expected to be the warmest year the planet has seen the need for climate change policies will become even more dire. The next climate summit scheduled for 2015 in Paris France, the world’s governments will be joining with the expectation of signing a global agreement to prevent further dangerous climate change. The details of this agreement were discussed in Lima, Peru December 1, 2014- December 12, 2014.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change met in Lima, Peru in December. The Lima call for climate action resulted in further progress towards climate changed with over 190 participating countries negotiating. The nations contributed to the discussion and identified new elements to add the agreement. The agreement is scheduled to be signed in Paris, 2015 at the next climate summit. Both developed and developing countries made pledges towards the initial $10 billion dollar budget.
The convention recognized the importance of National Adaptation Plans (NAPS) in the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition they discussed the importance avoiding deforestation and gaining funding for initiatives like the Reduced Emissions from Deforestations and Forest Degradation. Furthermore, the impact of climate change on developing countries was recognized and an effort to provide these countries with technology was discussed. The convention meeting was a successful one and it is expected that the signing in Paris will be equally as successful.
Between Now and Climate Summit 2015, Paris
The nations involved in the discussions in Lima are expected to begin the implementation process of emission reductions and clean energy, regardless of the document expected to be signed in Paris. The convention meeting concluded with a significant amount of progress made and the hope of more progress into the future. The world’s governments are holding the key big climate change action. They merely need to stick it in the door and open it. The future of our world depends on it.