What is being done about climate change?
In recent years, the issue of climate change - and what we can do to prevent further changes to the planet's natural eco-systems - has taken centre stage on the world political agenda. There's been plenty of talk, but what is actually being done to stop climate change?
From the Kyoto treaty to smaller commitments people are making to do their bit for the environment, here we set out what is being done to help prevent further damage to the environment, and the big challenges shaping the debate.
The Kyoto Treaty & International SummitsClimate change is a global issue, and so too has been the international move to support a long lasting solution to tackle the problems. A number of international summits - including the Earth summit in Rio and more recently Kyoto - have taken place in recent years to debate the principal environmental concerns and set out an agenda to help prevent further eco depreciation.
Kyoto has been one of the most influential summits to date, as it sets out a binding protocol for reducing carbon emissions. For countries in the EU, this involves a commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 12.5% by 2012. While the protocol is binding, it isn't compulsory for countries to actually sign up, and, notably, several large counties including the US haven't committed to signing up to the scheme as yet, despite growing international pressure.
The Big AskIn the UK, Friends of the Earth have been campaigning since 2003 for a climate change law that would make it a legal requirement for the government to cut the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by three per cent year on year. So far, 200, 000 people have registered their support for the campaign by contacting their MP on the matter. As a result, a climate change bill was tabled in 2007 as a long-term commitment to tackling climate change.
The Government's Climate Change BillThe climate change bill sets out the framework for the UK's long-term policy on climate change and in particular CO2 emissions. The government has agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 60% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), a previous commitment that will now become legally binding. The bill also proposes an independent committee on climate change to be established that would monitor and give advice on how to achieve these emissions targets.
This committee would be comprised of industry experts in science, energy and technology. Finally, the bill sets out new powers to enable future governments to implement stricter emissions policies going forward. The bill is yet to pass into law, but is expected to do so during 2008.
New Challenges For Combating Climate ChangeAs we become increasingly aware of climate change - particularly when its effects begin to affect us directly more than ever - new challenges continue to shape and complicate the debate.
Developing economies: countries such as India and China are experiencing unprecedented levels of growth in their economies, spearheaded by commerce and industrialisation. Levels of CO2 emissions have risen here accordingly, and continue to rise, thus cancelling out other nations' attempts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Reluctance of the US: The single-largest carbon emitter, the United States, has been less than enthusiastic to make a lasting commitment to help tackle climate change. Most recently, a UN conference in Bali reached a deadlock after the US refused to support a follow-up deal to Kyoto, which would have seen countries have to reduce carbon emissions by up to 40% by 2020.
Changing people's outlooks: there is still a lot we can be doing on an individual basis to help combat the effects of climate change. A small change individually equates to a large-scale change collectively, so turning around some of our bad habits around can make a lasting difference.
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ERIC - 22-Nov-13 @ 6:44 PMDon't buy import from China and it will help. Buy products from cleaner countries pay a bit more, but safe and helping to climate change. Chinese people are not aware, the money for them is more important then global situation.We don't have to pay for them our lives even if they say that Britain burnt their coal and got rich and they are going to burn their coal and get rich. It is not an argument, because they are too late burning their coal now.
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New Zealand and Australia have started to accept refugees/immigrants from Pacific Island who are being foced out by rising water levels.
The chain of small island is south of Hawaii, extend along the equator toward Australia. The name begins wiht K.
The importnat part is the social unrest in Australia where un-employment is an issue. NZ ont he other hand seems to handle the influx well.