Our home is changing
Many in the scientific community would describe the qualities that make our planet sustainable as a sort of ‘Goldilocks effect’. Meaning everything is just right for us to live in harmony with the natural world, it’s not too hot and likewise, it’s not too cold. However, increasingly our Goldilocks planet is indulging in a porridge of extreme temperatures due to changes in the climate. Every year, all around the planet, people experience extreme changes in their normal weather. From flash flooding to droughts, sharp winds to hurricanes. These drastic changes in weather can and have destroyed homes, they have taken everything away from families, even in some cases, their loved ones. As humans, we affect our planet by what we do, our history of burning fossil fuels has led to an increasingly hotter planet pushing all forms of life to adjust to a new climate. The evidence is concrete, it should not require any more homes to be destroyed in floods or any more lives to be lost in hurricanes, for people to believe that climate change is one of the single most devastating threats facing our species.
The main question is, what can be done? Are we past the point of no return or can we stop and evaluate the situation, and then takes steps to make it better. It would be a truly defining moment for humanity if one day we took care of the planet if we took care of our home and the only place in the known universe we can live.
Au Revoir Paris
The Paris Accord was probably one of the most unprecedented rounds of negotiations ever to have taken place. At the end, it resulted in almost every sovereign state on the planet signing up to it and agreeing to meet its targets to help combat climate change. It is because of the enormity of that agreement that U.S. administration is facing international backlash for pulling out. Trump proclaiming, he was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh and not Paris. In this statement, the commander in chief must have glazed over the fact that Hillary Clinton received 80% of the vote in Pittsburgh.
The U.S. has taken the formal steps to remove itself from the Paris Agreement by firstly informing the United Nations of its decision. Although they are stepping away from the climate change commitment the administration added the caveat that they are ‘willing to “re-engage” if terms more favourable to the U.S. are met’ Any re-engagement with the Paris Accord is something that will always be welcomed was the statement echoed by U.N Secretary-General António Guterres.
Despite the Trump administration formally announced the U.S. intends to pull out of the agreement, individual states and businesses have said that they will defy the President and ensure that they maintain the Paris Agreement to meet the targets they set. The states of California, Washington, and New York all announced that they were going to work hard to curb climate change. This further shows that the threat of climate change transcends the bounds of political point scoring as different states and mayors come together.
Putting the message out there
Through pulling out of the Paris Accord, President Trump has inadvertently highlighted the growing issue of climate change whilst not wanting it to be a priority of his administration. As it remains such an urgent problem, former Vice-President Al Gore has released a sequel to his 2006 climate change documentary, ‘an inconvenient sequel’. Al Gore, who also won the popular vote when running against George W. Bush, returns with another hard-hitting production highlighting the emphatical need to protect our environment. It is said in a review by the New York Times that the film, ‘delves deeper into the arcane details of compromise than its predecessor.’
It is in no doubt that the actions of the President have spurred Gore on to continue to educate people of what is happening to our planet. Not too long after the election, Gore had a meeting in Trump tower with the soon to be next U.S. President. Since then, the administration has gone down the route of climate change denial and indulging in this very real threat as nothing more than a hoax.
Brave new world
As we develop new technology, we will find better methods to replace our archaic systems of survival that have already done devastating damage to the environment. Through the introduction of renewable technologies, industries will be able to swap out old and obsolete models for more cleaner technology. Recently, there has been a surge in the demand for the use of renewable technology to deal with the pressing issue of climate change. Renewable energy capacity in 2016 rose 17% to 921GW, excluding hydropower, and rose 8.7% to 2,017GW when including hydropower. Furthermore, basic economics shows that high demand will also make it cheaper, though the competition within the renewable industries. This, therefore, makes it more of a viable financial investment for businesses to get behind renewable technology in their sector.
The road to dealing with climate change is a tough one. It involves replacing many systems that do nothing more than destroy our ecosystem and stand as a tall grey cylinder pumping out fumes demonstrating itself to be a relic of a time when we did not truly know better. To quote former President Barack Obama;
“The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”