On today’s episode of Ocean Talk Friday, Andrew and I devote the entire podcast to discussing the COP21 Climate Change talks in Paris.
Our global economy is beginning to feel the effects of climate change. Politicians and policy makers are facing water shortages, natural disasters, fish kills, algal blooms, coral bleaching events, and many other phenomena that can be linked to our changing climate. It’s a promising sign, then, that over 180 countries have agreed to meet in Paris of the next couple of weeks to discuss ways to mitigate and address climate change. Specifically, the COP21 talks will be focused on working with diplomats and industry leaders to reduce carbon emissions. Many nations have made individual commitments in this respect, and this conference provides an opportunity for international collaboration and partnership to globally reduce emissions.
While this all sounds great in theory, many people are wondering what these talks will actually accomplish. The United Nations have not made any specific commitment to formulate an emission reduction plan, a financial framework for providing aid to small nations who cannot afford to utilize sustainable energy, or any sanctions should member states not meet their commitment. It does seem like a good possibility that some sort of agreement regarding cutting emissions globally will be reached in the next week or two, though it’s the nature of politicians to be optimistic.
Whether or not an agreement is settled upon, there are those who think this conference should not be a priority for our world leaders. With rising unrest in the middle east and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, some believe that spending two weeks discussing out world’s climate is a misuse of time and energy. While many poorer nations cannot afford to address environmental issues the same way many developed nations can, the effects of climate change could be devastating for our planet’s population. Large-scale flooding, economic instability, and decreased food security are not too far enough if we don’t address our changing climate now.
For all of the nitpicking Andrew and I do on today’s episode, we are both extremely relieved to see so many world leaders, CEOs, and nonprofits coming together to address climate change. Now, it is up to us in the environmental community to keep pressure on our elected officials to achieve reductions in carbon emissions and to continue to find ways to lead the charge against climate change.
Enjoy the Podcast!