UN Climate Change Conference - could it result in real change?

2nd December, 2015

Possibly the most important meeting of leaders has just begun, are you aware of the danger?

Yesterday 147 World leaders kicked off the Paris Climate Conference event to try and achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, with an aim to keep global warming below 2°C of pre-industrial levels.

The Conference of Parties (COP) is aiming higher than it usually would as many of the more vulnerable countries plea for help as they struggle with starvation and drought which is becoming even more evident due to the climate change. Areas in Africa are really feeling the effects of the changing climate as they are also running out of arable land with the fertility to grow the food they need to survive.

The biggest contributors from the G20 countries are as expected with China causing a massive amount due to their current industrial revolution. In fact China and the US together are responsible for over a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than evident with the smog in some areas of China (pictured below). The US and China made a recent agreement that China would cease to grow, or peak their output of greenhouse gases by 2030 and the US are looking to reduce it by 28% by 2025.

The smog in Beijing is terrifying with the air quality more than ten times worse than then centre of London. Levels of PM 2.5 (Particulate Matter), considered the most hazardous pollutant, crossed 600 units in Beijing (AQI), which is nearly 25 times the acceptable amount according to the standards set by the World Health Organisation. PM 2.5 is the toxic particles in the air and is the cause of aggravated asthma, lung damage and even premature death in certain individuals with existing heart or lung diseases.

This has hit home to most around the world and is why COP21 is expected to attract 25,000 official delegates. The dangerous state we have arrived at is almost at a point of no return. Essentially according to scientists if the greenhouse gas emissions rise by more than the desired 2°C then we will pass the threshold that beyond which global warming becomes irreversible.

Are you doing your bit? I hope so, in the words of Helen Lovejoy, “Won’t somebody please think of the children!!”