The 2019 United Nations convention, also referred to as , wrapped up this past weekend in Madrid. Although the meeting was the longestrunning conference in its history, little was accomplished. The purpose of the climate change conference was to gather world leaders together to discuss various regulations to help nations stay on track with the commitments laid out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Rather than moving forward in this way, the climate change conference highlighted deep divisions between larger nations and smaller, more vulnerable ones 

Considering surface appearances, the final declaration to wrap-up the climate change conference was positive. It was agreed that there is an urgent need to cut greenhouse gases if Paris Agreement goals are to be met. However, many world leaders and climate change activists found themselves outspokenly disappointed with the end result of the convention. 

António Guterres, Secretary-General for the United Nations, had this to say on his twitter account following the conference: 

The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis. But we must not give up, and I will not give up. I am more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5 degree temperature rise.” 

Vice President of Climate and Economics at the World Resources Institute, Helen Mountford, stated that the “negotiations fell far short of expectations.” She hoped that some of the larger carbon-emitting countries would lead the way for more ambitious goals to fight climate change. Much to the dismay of Mountford and other leaders, it appeared that most larger nations were apathetic and disconnected from the urgency of the climate change situation. 

Extinction Rebellion’s Embarrassing Tactics Escalate 

Climate change activists and protestors were present outside the climate change summit proceedings in Madrid. Most notably, activists from the movement Extinction Rebellion made their presence known in their typical disruptive and immature fashion. Just this past April, Extinction Rebellion activists in London glued themselves to trains, as well as entrances to the London Stock Exchange during one of their protests.  

This time? Extinction Rebellion activists in Madrid dumped piles of horse manure in the streets outside the meeting venue, claiming that the “horse **** stops here,” as a message to political leaders present at the summit.  

Although there is no excuse for world leaders to continue to fund industries that contribute negatively to climate change, it is questionable whether or not Extinction Rebellion and other groups are doing anything meaningful enough to alter climate change for the better. To block city streets with horse manure seems both counterproductive, and frankly, silly. 

The UN’s Latest Report on Climate Change 

All excrement aside, according to a new report released by the UN, it was declared that the “commitment gap between what we say we will do and what we need to do to prevent dangerous levels of climate change,” must be closed. Emission projections are making the goal of reducing to 1.5°C appear increasingly unattainable. The report predicts that we are now “on the brink” of missing our opportunity to limit global warming, as temperatures have already increased by nearly 1.1°C.  

Ten years ago, an emissions reduction of only 3.3% would have made global warming reduction goals achievable. A decade later, the reduction target has more than doubled to 7.6%. By 2025, it is predicted that this number will reach 15.4%, making it nearly impossible for our world to achieve anything less than a 1.5°C increase. 

What is Next for Climate Change? 

Whether you look at data from the UN, or to the protesters in the streets, it is clear that climate change is getting worse. And not just for our planet – but our emotional and social lives. One side of the spectrum is compelled to do nothing by way of willful ignorance, while another is irrationally emotional enough to block city streets with animal waste. Until appropriate action can be taken by the entirety of society, we are sure to witness more disappointing summit outcomes in the future. 

Read the latest UN report on climate change here: https://www.unenvironment.org/interactive/emissions-gap-report/2019/ 

Resource: 

https://www.npr.org/2019/12/15/788241846/u-n-climate-summit-goes-to-extra-time-but-ends-with-major-questions-unresolved 

 

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