There are individuals who genuinely believe that climate change is a myth or a government conspiracy. There are also government officials who, though they do not forthrightly deny the issue of climate change, through their actions and policies have adopted stances that aggravate the urgent situation that we already face. By way of illustration, Mr Abbott’s efforts to exclude climate change as a core economic and government issue that needs to be addressed shows his stance on climate change as a less significant issue.
Combatting climate change is an uphill task that needs to be addressed now. As I have elucidated in the previous posts, everyone – regardless of geography, wealth, socioeconomic status etc. – are affected by climate change, it is just the degree of impacts that vary. I have illustrated that it is the poorest countries that are the primary recipients of the harshest impacts of climate change and the resulting food scarcity, and that we have to act to secure a better future for the generations to come.
Despite the climate change denialists, it is assuring to see their numbers shrink, and more individuals are aware of the colossal task ahead. Leaders of highly influential countries such as President Obama of the United States, Chancellor Merkel of Germany and President Xi Jinping of China are drawing attention to climate change issues by raising them in forums. Consequently, climate change has been made a focus on the global arena.
In what is considered revolutionary in the arduous path of slowing and reversing climate change, President Obama and President Xi announced a joint commitment, just before the G20 summit, to reduce carbon emissions beyond 2025. Furthermore, to aid poorer countries with coping with climate change, President Obama has pledged US$3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. These leaders have also urged other countries to act on climate change.
The United Nations have also made ensuring environmental sustainability one of the Millennium Development Goals. Specifically:
To “Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources” (Target 7A, United Nations).
As global leaders and organisations pay attentions to climate change, the level of awareness raised will eventually tilt the balance, wherein a greater proportion will strive to address the problem of climate change. That is the primary aim of advocacy, to increase awareness. By targeting the root of the problem – climate change, we will also address the resulting food scarcity.
In addition to recognising the root problem, aid is also given to poorer countries through direct and indirect means. An individual worried about his own survival will not be concerned with climate issues if he is unable to procure his next meal. Food packages are provided directly to areas stricken with severe poverty and food scarcity. Furthermore, funds are provided by banks to allow poorer countries to adopt environmentally sustainable methods of food production and sustenance.
There are many intertwining factors in climate change. Boundaries cannot be distinctly drawn between the different problems, nor can one problem be given more weight and another dismissed. In my personal opinion, I genuinely believe that to tackle climate change, we need a generation of individuals with a mind-set that acknowledges the urgency of climate change and its repercussions. Raising awareness alone is insufficient if an individual is stuck upon his belief of climate change being a conspiracy or that his actions will be too little to make a difference. Education is the most productive way through which we can achieve the greatest benefit to our environment. By means of dissemination of information and skills required, younger generations can be given the tools and the motivation to make a difference.
- Lever Tracy, C. [editor]. Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society[Internet]. Nature. 2010 [cited 31 March 2015]. Available from: Google eBook.
- Antonio, R.J., Brulle, R.J. The unbearable lightness of politics: climate change denial and political polarization. The Sociological Quarterly [Internet]. 2011 [cited 31 March 2015]; 52(2)195-202. Avaiable from: < http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1533-8525.2011.01199.x/epdf>.
- Chappate for International Herald Tribune [Image]. [Internet] [cited 31 March 2015]. Available from: < http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/environmental-issues/climate-change-denial-14032013/>.
- Rowell, A. Exposing the Climate Change Denial Machine [Image]. [Internet] Oil Change International. 2013 [cited 31 March 2015]. Available from: < http://priceofoil.org/2013/09/11/exposing-climate-change-denial-machine/>.
- Wong, A for Associated Press [Photo]. [Internet] [cited 31 March 2015]. Available from: < http://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/image/11122014_china-us-obama-28201jpg/>.
- Harvey, F. World’s poorest will feel brunt of climate change, warns World Bank. [Internet] The Guardian. 2013 [cited 22 March 2015]. Available from: < http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jun/19/climate-change-developing-countries-world-bank>.
- The United Nations. Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015. [Internet]. 2013 [cited 31 March 2015]. Available from: < http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/>.
- Ricci, C. Tony Abbott’s climate change policy goes global. [Internet] The Sydney Morning Herald]. 2014 [cited 31 March 2015]. Available from: < http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/tony-abbotts-climate-change-policy-goes-global-20141130-11uwr0.html>.