A global priority
United Nations should implement climate change initiative
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 15:09
On Friday, leaders from Marshall Islands traveled to the United Nations to make a plea for action on climate change.
They know something about climate change. As a low-lying island on the Pacific Ocean, they have seen the effects of recent rises in sea levels. Numerous pictures can be found online of flooded land from high tides and ocean surges. Residents of Marshall Islands live with the impacts of something many choose to ignore.
Their testimony and the testimony of the other low-lying nations, who traveled to New York last week, should induce the international community to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that endanger the existence of certain islands.
Rise in sea levels have more than immediate negative impacts – it can damage agricultural development that is crucial to these islands’ economies. And isn’t it enough to say we want to preserve the land that people live in?
What we are seeing on these tiny islands on the Pacific Ocean verifies what scientists have been asserting for some time now: that climate change is real and is the result of human activities.
And places like Marshall Islands are running out of time. Action needs to be taken now.
Countries around the world need to make strong commitments to reducing the emissions levels that are damaging our climate and leaving our grandchildren’s generation to have to suffer the long-term consequences. Failure to act now is nothing short of asinine and irresponsible.
Look at what scientists around the world are saying.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists currently predict sea levels to rise as high as 6 feet by 2100 with the current emission levels that are being released.
And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change disclosed a report on Friday that expanded those predictions to an increase of 10 to 32 inches by the end of the 21st century.
We, as a global network, would be remiss in failing to start making changes now when research reveals the possible consequences to be so dire.
We are pleased to see that President Obama’s Climate Action Plan consists of concrete initiatives to address this problem. In 2009, he submitted a plan that pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by around 17 percent below the 2005 levels – if “all other major economies agreed to limit their emissions as well.”
It can’t be ignored that we are living in a global economy in which competition is tough and healthy, but what also can’t be ignored is the need for nations to come together on this very important issue.
Marshall Islands’ testimony on Friday should persuade the rest of the world’s leaders to accept that climate change is a global problem and that it will take a global effort to combat it.
As college students, we should be aware of certain precautions we can take in order to play a part in tackling this issue, such as consistently recycling properly and not driving when we don’t have to. There are also ways to use different products that use less energy.
It is important to begin developing good habits now so they become engrained in your behavior, so that what you do for the rest of your life does not contribute to what is damaging planet Earth – the physical space we inhabit and share with other human beings.
It is time everyone takes ownership of climate change and works to contribute in combating it. The U.N. should approve this initiative and we, the general public, should take some initiative, too.