Climate change is a divisive issue. Many believe manmade climate change will be the end of us all while others don’t think it exists as a problem at all. As GenZ’s Onar Åm explained, the science isn’t settled, and for now, we’ll have to wait and see. If manmade climate change is an imagined problem, then there isn’t much to worry about. If, on the other hand, it’s destroying our world, then something certainly has to be done – but what?
Climate activists around the world are trying to answer that question, and it seems the solution most favor is government intervention.
This is a busy week for climate change news, as the United Nations met for a summit to discuss the issue, and young people across the world are skipping school to protest environmental problems.
Global Climate Strikes
From September 20-27, students around the world are being encouraged to walk out of school in protest. It all began with Greta Thunberg, a student from Sweden. She first got the attention of the world by skipping school and staging sit-ins at the Swedish Parliament. This eventually became a movement called Fridays for Future.
Now Fridays for Future has become a worldwide trend, and demonstrations are happening, according to the Global Climate Strike website, in over 150 countries. The students who skip class to protest and the adults who support them hope to inspire lawmakers to write and pass new laws to control pollution.
There are those, however, who don’t support this action. Many don’t believe in manmade climate change as an issue at all. Others do, but don’t believe it can be fixed. Still others support the belief but not the action, feeling either that the students shouldn’t skip school for protests or that the lawmakers won’t be swayed.
UN Climate Summit
Leaders from around the world met Monday, September 23, for the UN Climate Action Summit. The goals are carbon neutrality by the year 2050 and convincing the nations involved to increase their spending toward achieving this. UN Secretary-General António Guterres wasn’t interested in just pretty words, warning world leaders not to come to the summit with “beautiful speeches,” but to bring “concrete plans.”
According to a press release, the summit seems to have been a success, as 77 nations committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. Over 100 business leaders also delivered action plans. France announced a refusal to enter into trade agreements with any country with policies that contradict the Paris Agreement. Germany committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The United Kingdom promised to double its overall international climate finance for the period from 2020 to 2025. China pledges to cut emissions by over 12 billion tons annually. The European Union (EU) claims that 25% of its next budget will be devoted to climate change, and Pakistan intends to plant ten billion trees over the next five years. Russia agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement, bringing the total number of signatories to 187.
Will all of these contributions be met? If so, will it make the difference that climate activists hope it will? And finally, does it even matter? These are the questions to keep in mind in the years to come while watching this issue – and the promised plans to address it.