Running out of time to save the world

Molly Daly

In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history – because they change the course of history. Copenhagen must be such a time,” said Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Copenhagen, Denmark is where a conference on the international change in climate will be held through December 7-18. With less than fifty days left, major political leaders are under pressure to make decisions essential to everyone’s future.

“There are now fewer than fifty days to set the course for the next few decades. If we do not reach a deal over the next few months, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement, in some future period, can undo that choice. By then it will be irretrievably too late,” Brown said.

With a huge decrease in public support, Brown’s aggressive approach on this matter could be questionable, nonetheless is inspirational. A strategic and decisive plan needs to be initiated now, and 50 days to do so is long enough.

Of the ten hottest years in the UK, eight have occurred just since 1990. In the last 50 years, sea levels have risen by ten centimeters. Since the 1970s, temperatures in the Artic have doubled the global average, causing immense thawing in permafrost and a large decline in the Artic sea ice. The Northern Hemisphere’s amount of snow cover has decreased by 5%  since the late 1980s, and is expected to continue to do so devoid of any crucial changes.

Enough time has passed with no immediate action made by governments, and with the Kyoto Protocol expiration date coming in 2012, Copenhagen will become a momentous land mark in history. Whether you believe in “global warming” or not is an insignificant matter. Every person who lives on this planet, and in this world, should expect to do their part in preserving it.

Even if there is a possibility of global warming being a scam, I would still want the world I spend every day in to be as clean, and maintained as possible. Whether it is the ocean or the air I breathe- I would like it clean please.

We want to see an agreement which takes action to limit global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, beyond which the risks of dangerous climate change become much greater,” said “Act on Copenhagen”, the UK’s government plan to create a global deal on this overwhelming climate change.

Within this span of two degrees Celsius, the world will ideally experience stability in public health, water levels, food supplies, global climate, and the environment.

Last week, new evidence shows that in just twenty five years the glaciers in the Himalayas, a water source for 750,000,000 people, could evaporate entirely. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notifies us now, “that by 2080, an extra 1.8 billion people- equal to a quarter of the world’s current population- could be living and dying without enough water,” Brown said. “And the recent report of the Global Humanitarian Forum…suggests that 325,000,000 people are already seriously affected by drought, disease, floods, [and] loss of livestock.”

In addition, the same organization, consisting of over 1200 scientists working under the review of another 2500 climate experts, says with “more than 90% certainty” that humans have caused the majority of Earth’s increase in global average temperatures since the mid 20th century.

Brown says that currently 300,000 deaths happening each year is due to an increase in global temperatures and this number is expected to reach 500,000 by 2030.

On Oct. 17 the Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, along with his cabinet members, held a meeting underwater at the island. This was an attempt to draw attention to their country, and to save it from being swallowed by the sea- a direct effect of the rise in global temperatures.

“The threat is not only humanitarian, and ecological, it is also an economic one,” Brown said. Three years ago, the Stern Report concluded that a failure in change could lead up to an economic cost greater than the loss caused by the two world wars and the Great Depression.

“We cannot compromise with the Earth, we cannot compromise with the catastrophe of unchecked climate change, so we must compromise with one another. This is our test of our ability to work together as nations facing common challenges in this new global era,” Brown said.

“We have shown this year in the approach to the global economic crisis how cooperation from all can benefit each of us. Now we must apply the same resolve and urgency to the climate crisis that faces us. We cannot afford to fail. If we fail now, we will pay a heavy price. If we act now, if we act together, if we act with vision and resolve…success at Copenhagen is still within our reach. But if we falter, the Earth will itself be at risk, and for the planet there is no plan B. So this is the moment, now is the time, and we must be the people who act,” Brown said

In the next fifty days, let’s hope that our governmental heroes or figures save our planet, for who knows what could happen if they just can’t agree.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email