Combating climate change

Ila Prabhuram

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As climate change continues to wreak havoc, this year’s COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland focused on limiting rising temperatures across the world in order to put a halt to global warming. 

“We are coming to this conference with the clear message that the numbers we have in terms of emissions are not good (…) so that means that we really must come out of here with clarity on how we are going to move forward,” Patricia Espinosa, United Nations climate chief, said. 

By the summit’s end, delegates hoped to come to an agreement that solidified international priorities, such as limiting global warming, sticking to net-zero emission commitments, and helping countries that are most affected by the ongoing climate crisis. The goal was to cap global heating at 1.5 degrees Celsius—a target also referred to in the Paris Climate Agreement.  

“It is very important that the Glasgow Summit meets their priorities.  Keeping our Earth below a 2-degree Celsius change is crucial for us to have time to prepare or mitigate some of the consequences of climate change. Climate change is happening, and the world needs to get behind the initiatives set at Glasgow so that we can stop the warming of the earth and thus stop more extreme consequences,” Lara McDonald, Etowah Science teacher, said. 

Recently, many U.K. companies were accused of “greenwashing,” where they make false claims about the sustainability of their products or practices. As the summit continued, 95 U.K. businesses promised to reverse the negative environmental impacts their corporations caused by the end of the decade. U.S. businesses have yet to come forth with a similar announcement. 

“(… ) the very best companies are proud of their environmental commitments,” Liv Garfield, CEO of the Council of Sustainable Business, said. 

Former U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the importance of combating the climate crisis to the delegates at the summit and emphasized that time was running out. Obama later said that there has been meaningful progress since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.  

“As the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the U.S. has to lead, we have enormous responsibilities (…) and we still have a lot of work to do. We have not done nearly enough to address this crisis, [and] we are going to have to do more,” Obama said. 

Climate scientists emphasize that the best way to lower global temperatures is by reducing greenhouse gas and methane emissions. The United Nations warns that countries must urgently double their climate efforts to prevent disastrous global heating in the future. It is predicted that average global emissions will increase by 16% within the next ten years.  

“It is important for climate change to be talked about because if we don’t start acting now, our kids are going to suffer the consequences of our inaction in stopping global warming,” Joe Oburu, junior, said. 

Whether it is signing a petition or attending a protest, the fight against climate change can only succeed if everyone works together. Learn how to take action here.