The UN Climate Change Conference Agreements won’t save the Post-Millenials
Or the planet
This winter, the world converged in Le Bourget, a small suburb of Paris, France, to discuss something we’ve long neglected. The 21st UN climate summit brought together world leaders from every continent. These powerful figures were mostly middle aged men, who have long lived without fear of losing the earth’s well-being. Their views on this issue are definitely well advised yet lack the perspective of younger generations who have the fear of an unlivable world in their lifetime. As France’s president François Hollande put it: “We have a single mission:to protect the next generation.” As millennials and post-millennials, we have lived our whole lives hearing about global warming. Our generations know of the damage which has been caused by human disregard.
Each country put forth their plan to cut back on their individual emissions, all differentiating as the development and economy of countries vary strongly. The global goal was set to cap the world’s average temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. This is the temperature scientists have found that once surpassed, major natural disasters will occur resulting in worldwide crisis. The global summit set this limit to save the globe, but their plan to insure that we won’t surpass the maximum is unfeasible.
Scientist say the temperature increase goal agreed upon fails to coincide with the pull for zero emissions by 2050. Zero emissions would have to be reached by 2030 for us to cap the worlds temperature increase at 2°C. This would be especially difficult to achieve due to the fact that not all countries will follow through with emission cut backs that were promised. Industrial countries such as India and China’s economies are fueled entirely by fossil fuels. According to Steven Jiang, a Chinese-American reporter at CNN, the Chinese government decided to build a dozen coal-fueled power plants just a week before the climate summit. It costs way too much for them to even consider renewable energy an option.
It is in the hands of our generation's environmentalists, biologists, chemists, engineers, and everyday people to bring change. We are the future and it is our job to correct the mistakes our parents and grandparents have left us with. We will cancel this faulty gene by 3 main transitions.
Transition to renewable energy. This has been long discussed but never implemented because of fear of big energy companies. They control the world’s oil, coal and other fossil fuels and have seemingly endless wealth. The idea of losing all of their business to natural energy sources scares them. The energy they produce is cheap and accessible compared to solar wind and water power, which is much more expensive and inconvenient. We need government to put larger fees and taxation on these companies, driving their energy costs way up. The government, in all countries, should also subsidize and offer more opportunities for households to obtain solar panels.
Recycling and composting initiatives. The world is so overly populated and unable to keep up with the exponential growth in inhabitants. We consume more food, clothing, plastic and other trash then ever before. We need to regulate composting initiatives such as recycling programs and clothing donations. Sadly, depending on the city, only 60–80% of recyclable goods actually end up in recycling centers. We are producing more than we need of things we don’t need. Landfills are overflowing with recyclable and compostable goods.
Lastly, reforestation. People often neglect the natural power trees have to reverse our carbon emissions. As we burn more fossil fuels we pump CO2 at unhealthy levels into the atmosphere. While this is happening we are cutting down trees which cuts out the earth’s natural power of converting CO2 back into oxygen. This oxygen keeps all living organisms alive and it keeps the atmosphere from trapping heat. An estimated 18 million acres of trees are cut down by loggers each year. Reforestation is the simplest way to begin reversing the damage we have done to the atmosphere.
The change our generation have implemented to begin the journey to a cleaner planet are tremendous. We must embrace the change and universalize techniques to reduce waste in landfills and in the air.
In 2008, the Youth Climate Summit was created to allow American young adults to work in the same ways the members of the UN climate initiate change to help reverse global warming. There are initiatives like this in 150 other countries in the world who collaborate with ideas and have the opportunity to display them to UN leaders. This year the American youth climate summit participants traveled to Paris for the UN summit. They participated in separate events to voice their opinions and desperation for change.
A cleaner, healthier world is definitely achievable. However this isn’t the goal of all leaders. Many adults who participated in the Climate summit in Paris aren’t as passionate about the future health of the world as they are about current economic endeavors. If we keep the inconsistent goals they implemented, the loose rules will be neglected. As millennials and post millennials, we must turn the fear of the year 2050 into a better plan to be sure we’re better off then than now.