Global warming: a worldwide concern

The time to deal with climate change is now.
Flickr: Christopher Michel

Just over a month ago, world leaders gathered in Paris to take a hard look at one of the most pressing threats humanity has ever faced. 

For many of us, terms like “climate change” and “global warming” are issues too far in the future to worry about. But while many have held this view, the global temperature has continued to rise rapidly over the past half century.

2016 is set to be one of the hottest years ever recorded globally, and it’s for this reason that goals have been set for the 187 countries that signed up for their Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs).

The question on a lot of people’s minds is, “will it really work?” Well, it’s been projected that even if every country who signed up meets their INDC, that would only keep the planet’s warming to 2.7° C. To put this in context, the goal of the Paris Agreement was to prevent our world from increasing the global temperature more than 2°C, after which point we’d begin to see dangerous and irreversible changes not only to our geography, but to the way we live. 

But wait, there’s more! Instead of imposing legally-binding INDCs on each country according to their emissions, every participating nation has been allowed to choose their own goal, however large or small they like.

The real gist of all these boring statistics and figures is this: developed countries, like Canada and the United States, need to start making great strides in reducing emissions now, or we may be personally responsible for the deaths of millions of people. It sounds harsh, but this is primarily because climate change was left unattended for so long that we’ve reached a point of no return. 

You may be wondering why this issue wasn’t widely presented to the Western public before the climate conference in Paris. In truth, it’s because most of us in the global north will not have to worry about climate implications for another decade or so. 

However, countries without the infrastructure or measures to withstand the increasingly violent climatic events — tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods — will be thrown into chaos in the coming years.

Here’s the rub. The top 10 emitter countries, eight of which are considered “first world” nations, including Canada, make up 68.2 per cent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. Seeing how there’s a grand total of 196 countries in the world today, we really can’t keep saying, “it’s not my problem.” Climate change is a result of our actions. People are already suffering. Take an interest, and start making this the next thing we talk about on the Internet.

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