The Climate Conference: What Did It Achieve?

Last year throughout the month of November, the official Climate change conference occurred in Paris, France. This event was attended by representatives from over 200 countries from all around the world including the United States, India, and China. So what did this conference which spanned two weeks prove? What must the conference accomplish and how will it affect us, especially as New Yorkers? Climate change is a big issue with many key aspects that had to be looked over and there were many issues that were hard to find a solution to even with many countries being involved.

So what did the climate change conference set to accomplish? The obvious answer is solving climate change, but there is more to the problem then meets the eye.  Paris has asked countries to submit pledges to reduce global greenhouse emissions in the years ahead.  According to The New York Times editorial “What the Paris Climate Meeting Must Do.”, “If the Paris meeting is to be a genuine turning point, negotiators must make sure that the national pledges are the floor, not the ceiling of ambition, by establishing a framework requiring stronger climate commitments at regular intervals every 5 years. This should be accompanied by a plan for monitoring and reporting each countries performance.” “The meeting also seeks to enlist investors, corporations, states and cities in the cause.” Because of this, Michael Bloomberg, who made reducing emissions a priority as mayor of New York attended the meeting. The article also states “Richer developed nations should help poorer developing nations reach their targets in playing their part in reducing damage to the environment and letting out harmful green house gasses. Stopping the destruction of tropical forests also plays a huge role in absorbing co2 and giving animals a place their natural habitats.

  Did the climate change meeting resolve much of what was supposed to be accomplished? Many issues were talked about such as how private donators can help in this issue. Bill Gates, who had made finding a solution to prevent climate change a priority, donated to countries such as India to help them start reducing harmful fossil fuels. The money used from the dotation will  help the countries switch to cleaner energy solutions. According to a CNN article by  John D. Sutter, Joshua Berlinger, and Ralph Ellis, “The accord achieved one major goal. It limits average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures and strives for a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). According to The New York Times article “ Nations Approve Landmark Accord in Paris.” by Carol Davenport “That is the point at which, scientific studies have concluded the world will be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms.” The core of the Paris deal is a requirement that every nation take part. Because of the Paris talks, governments of 186 nations put forth public plans detailing how they would cut carbon emissions…Countries will also be legally required to reconvene every five years starting in 2023 to publicly report on how they are doing in cutting emissions compared to their plans. They will be legally required to monitor and report on their emissions levels and reductions, using a universal accounting system.” Ultimately the decision wasn’t perfect, but it accomplished most of what was set out to solve. President Obama, who considers climate change a central element of his legacy, spoke of the deal in a televised address from the White House. “This agreement sends a powerful signal that the world is fully committed to a low-carbon future,” he said. “We’ve shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge.”

So how will this all effect the people of our country, and New Yorkers specifically?  According to Melissa Eddy from The New York Times “ There will be greater emphasis on more efficient  electrical products, homes, and vehicles. Even though this does not directly effect us it lets us use less carbon emissions, especially as a huge city with thousands of cars being used everyday to travel in and out and around the city.” This allows us to avoid some of the catastrophic events of climate change and allows us to live in a healthier planet. It will allow us to breathe in cleaner air and avoid pollution around us and avoid extreme weather conditions such as an overheated planet. Erick Jiang who goes to the Academy of American Studies said “ It is a great thing that the United States and the rest of the world is lowering their Carbon emissions. This would allow us to have less hot boiling summers that are in the 100s. I can’t take the boiling heat.” Also, according to Omar Hernandez who also goes to Academy of American Studies “ I like that we could be using electric cars which is  a cleaner energy transportation. It lets out no Co2 and allows me not to breath in polluted air.”

The Climate Change conference was a huge milestone with over 187 countries attending. Together they found ways to solve the issue of climate change. It helped these countries build relationships and be able to work together and solve issues without violence. It helped them agree on issues and solutions and show that the planet is in danger and needs help. It was great turning point in the world and hopefully it will help us make the world a better place to live in.

Written by Saima Khan

Photo Credits to Global Nation Inquirer 

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