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Saturday, April 19, 2014 | Last updated: 8:33am

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Global Warming requires more action, less talk



Three days after the disastrous Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, the 19th conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change met in Warsaw, Poland, to discuss international environmental policies. However, despite this latest disaster looming over their heads, negotiators failed to make a substantial commitment to curb emissions and slow global warming.

These talks usually result in little to no progress towards a greener world, and this year’s meeting was no exception. Hundreds of people left early, frustrated with the lack of headway being made.

Greenpeace and ActionAid were among several influential non-governmental environmental organizations that abandoned the conference a day early.

“We left because the climate negotiations in Warsaw have been a farce from the start,” said Brandon Wu, senior policy analyst for ActionAid, in an interview with the Washington Post.

France 24, a French news organization, reported these organizations left because the talks were “on track to deliver virtually nothing.”

The steps being taken to protect our environment are just too small and too slow. Putting these difficult decisions off and giving nations over a decade to implement changes will be too little, too late.

“The scientific community now believes that, in terms of carbon dioxide, there’s a point of no return where you can’t reverse the impact,” said John Pollard, the director of general chemistry and biochemistry at the UA. “If we don’t act in a significant fashion soon, we get closer to that point where any action we take might not matter.”

The hot-button issue at the convention regarded compensation for developing countries, which are often affected by climate change despite their smaller contribution of greenhouse gases. Some demanded that developed countries provide aid and expertise to developing nations.

However, wealthier nations — including the U.S. — are unwilling to contribute the money that developing countries are asking for.

According to the New York Times, Todd D. Stern, the State Department’s envoy on climate issues, said there was the world’s richest countries would not be providing any considerable sum to these nations.

Instead, countries are hesitantly agreeing to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, which will help emerging nations curb emissions and deal with natural disasters that may result from climate change. Supporters would like to see $100 billion donated to the fund by 2020, a maximum amount and deadline initially pledged by developed nations in 2009.

But the fund simply won’t create a large enough impact to show how seriously climate change should be taken and the drastic changes we need to make if we care at all about our environment.

“Countries have accepted the reality [of the effects of climate change],” said Mohamed Adow, an activist with Christian Aid, in an interview with the New York Times. “[They] seem unwilling to take concrete actions to reduce the severity of these impacts.”

Climate change has been hotly disputed for years, with skeptics claiming that the warming of the globe is a natural process.

However, the recent jump in temperatures has resulted in several undesirable effects, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather, which will continue to escalate if nothing is done.

“The evidence that we are having global warming overall is overwhelming, and the vast majority of scientists agree on the basics, even if there is some debate on the specifics,” said David Breshears, a professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

The U.S. needs to acknowledge that our carbon emissions are seriously contributing to climate change, and that this is not only harming developing countries that lack the resources to take preventive measures or to rebuild after the consequences, but also damaging us right at home.

According to the Washington Post, Arizona is heating up faster than any other state.

The major impact of this is on our water resources, but it also contributes to an increase in drought and tree mortality, according to Breshears.

Seeing how this increase in temperature impacts American citizens as well as developing countries is the first step in helping ourselves and other nations around the world.

“If you are concerned about climate change, and I think we all should be, you can change your lifestyle and speak up about what you want to see done in terms of policy,” Breshears said.

The world has changed — likely permanently — and the worst may be yet to come. We need to take action before it truly is too late.

Elizabeth Eaton is pre-journalism freshmen. Follow her @liz_eaton95.


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