Climate change is a rising global issue that is affecting every state individually as well as collectively. The contributors to the rise of climate change are also these states that have to suffer the consequences later.
The USA is a superpower and one of the biggest states that play an essential role in the climate change issue. People do not realize the severity of the impacts climate change causes on their lives. Since the USA is the country that realized its importance and started working to counter this problem, it’s now the issue being addressed globally.
Various issues are rising, such as temperature rise, hurricanes, global warming, melting of glaciers, less rainfall, etc. Green theory is also implemented by the Greens to protect nature and fight climate change. The green theory can be defined as the impact of climate issues and the transnational problems they can cause worldwide. Climate change can not be dealt with by a single country; it has to be addressed globally.
Many agreements have been made among states to counter climate change, and the UN has been working on environmental issues. For instance, net-zero emissions by 2050 by pathways alliance.
Generally, Climate change could be defined as a notable variation of average weather conditions— as conditions become warmer, wetter, or drier—over several decades or more.
Climate change is a long-term phenomenon, which differentiates it from the variability of natural weather. Climate change shows itself in many ways and is capable by each living being, albeit not similarly. For example, in developing countries, climate change results in health and life tolls.
Around the world, the most terrible effect of climate change is being experienced by financially disrupted minorities. These people have contributed the lowest percentage effect to the main drivers of climate change. The countries like Pakistan, where basic needs are a far cry from the poverty-stricken majority, it’s impossible for them to sustain.
Climate Change has been a defining problem in recent years, and we are at a pivotal occasion. Climate change’s effects are global in scope and exceptional in size, ranging from changing weather that threatens food production to increasing ocean levels that increase the risk of destructive flooding.
Without today’s vigorous activity, which has been initiated by the US and the UN, adjusting to these impacts, later on, will become more troublesome and exorbitant.
Climate change is a major concern in today’s society that requires countermeasures. International conferences are being held in all countries, and this alarming issue is the top-level agenda for them.
Global warming has accelerated dramatically in the last three decades, owing primarily to the use of carbon-based fuels and deforestation. This has led to increased global catastrophes such as famines, floods, droughts, etc.
Climate change distinctly differs from other political objectives, that it cannot be controlled or resolved by a single country. It requires international coordination.
In 1972, the United Nations conference on the environment was held in Stockholm. it was the first conference on man’s involvement in climate change held, establishing that carbon dioxide is a source of global warming and could pose a severe hazard shortly.
Following that, a series of conferences were conducted in 1988, 1997, 1998, and 2001, and continue to this day, in which governments from all over the world met to devise rules and considerations linked to this serious issue. These conferences were held under the patronage of different undesignated groups.
Climate Change in the US
The previous decade in the United States was recorded as the hottest. It has been observed that those states that produce more carbon per person are more vulnerable to high temperatures and hurricanes.
In 2019, the United States produced over 6.6 billion metric tons of CO2, the second-largest quantity in the world after China.
Even though the country has progressed, gas emissions have remained nearly constant since the beginning of the decade, but they have climbed dramatically globally.
Despite all of this and the current weather conditions, only a tiny percentage of the population recognizes the gravity of the problem.
In 2017, for example, 15 or more natural catastrophes happened, costing billions, yet the number of people who were “Very Concerned” remained in the 40% range. With time, climatic changes are resulting in massive natural disasters, but the states are now putting large-scale policy shifts given climate change. So globally, it’s causing awareness.
This figure is comparable to previous data. According to the Gallup public opinion polling results, approximately 30-50% of individuals believe that global warming is not as serious as it is made out to be. The gallop surveys are periodical polls that can be found on their official web pages.
Natural calamities have a negligible impact on these figures. Following a series of natural disasters, just 42% of individuals stated they were very concerned, while this number was reduced to 22% in some cases.
Research demonstrates that the two parties, democrats and republicans, hold contrary opinions. The number of people who believed “global warming exists” was the same for both parties.
For Democrats and Republicans, this number has changed to 76 and 42, respectively. Despite all of the global changes occurring, the number of Americans concerned about global warming is falling short of what it should be.
In Gallup’s 30-year survey, the public rarely mentions the environment, pollution, or global warming. People consider the US’s poor government and immigrant issues to be more critical problems. Only a few people bothered to discuss global warming in the context of climate change.
After 1895, the average temperature in the United States increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F, with the majority of this increase occurring since 1970. The last ten years have been the hottest on record in the United States.
The country’s temperatures are expected to continue to rise. Because human-caused warming is superimposed on a naturally changing climate, the temperature rise has not been, and will not be, uniform or smooth across the country in the short or long term.
Throughout the last many years, there have been changes in specific types of severe weather events. Heat waves have become increasingly frequent and severe, especially in the western United States.
Cold waves have grown less frequent and more severe across the country. Floods and dry seasons have followed provincial patterns. Dry spells in the Southwest and heat waves everywhere are expected to be more severe, but cold waves will be less strong.
Since the mid-1980s, the force, frequency, and span of North Atlantic storms, as well as the frequency of the most destructive hurricanes, have all increased.
The extent to which human and regular causes are committed to these increments is still unknown. As the climate continues to warm, typhoon-related storm strength and precipitation rates are expected to increase.
Since the 1950s, winter storms have become more frequent and robust, and their tracks have shifted northward over the United States.
Different patterns in severe storms, such as the strength and recurrence of cyclones, hail, and damaging rainfall winds, are unknown and are being closely monitored.
Average precipitation in the United States has expanded since roughly 1900. However, specific locations have seen increases greater than the national average, while others have seen reductions.
Over the next few years, the northern United States will receive more winter and spring precipitation, while the Southwest will receive less.
Heavy downpours are becoming more common, especially in the last three to fifty years. The Midwest and Northeast had the largest increases. All U.S. districts may expect an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events.
Since the 1980s, the length of the frost-free season (and the corresponding growing season) has been steadily increasing, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States, affecting biological systems and agribusiness. The developing season is expected to continue over the United States.
Actions to Counter Climate Change
The discussion of these issues began in 1972 at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE). More than 100 representatives concluded that the only way to address climatic challenges was through international agreements and regulations.
They collaborated on a declaration containing approximately 25 control and development regulations. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted by UNCED in 1992, with long-term goals to regulate climate change by limiting the number of gases responsible for global warming, primarily CO2.
Every year since this conference, a meeting has been held to discuss future initiatives. The Kyoto Protocol was established at the third annual meeting as the first set of rules. Thirty-seven major industrial hubs signed an agreement to cut carbon emissions by 5%.
This protocol is viewed as the first step toward climate change mitigation. A subsequent conference of parties made some modifications to the basic protocol to address the flaws.
The Sixth Climate Change conference was held due to the rejection of the Kyoto protocol by the US, which was one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases.
The clean energy system for the Kyoto Protocol was developed at the 15th Conference of Parties, and participants expressed their desire to decrease carbon emissions and the greenhouse effect in the medium and long term.
The 16th and 17th conferences resulted in the adoption of a climate change instrument that was set to start acting in 2020. Another decision was made to assist developing nations by generating a $1 billion fund by 2020 to assist in the implementation of the regulations.
However, due to its success, the 18th UNCHE conference did not result in many benefits. Only around 19% of participants consented to adopt the Kyoto Protocol’s guidelines, which account for about 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Countries like the United States, Japan, and China were unwilling to reduce their emissions.
The Biden organization has mainly concentrated on the standards established at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, where nearly every country on the planet agreed to take steps to move away from grimy petroleum products and toward cleaner, more intelligent energy options to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius — or 1.5 degrees Celsius, over the very long period.
On Earth Day in 2021, President Biden committed to cutting carbon pollution in the United States by 50 to 52 percent from 2005 levels — nearly twice what President Obama had guaranteed — and to accomplish so by 2030, only five years after the fact than the first cutoff time set when the United States originally joined the agreement While ambitious, the new targets are achievable if Congress, states, and businesses work together to help get there by establishing a public clean energy standard, zapping our fleet of automobiles and trucks, reducing methane outflows, and improving building efficiency.
Nations began talks in 1995 to fortify the global response to climate change, and two years later, the Kyoto Protocol was signed.
The Kyoto Protocol legally binds newly created countries to emission reduction targets. The most memorable period of duty for the Protocol began in 2008 and ended in 2012.
The second responsibility period began on January 1, 2013, and ended in 2020. Currently, there are 197 Convention Parties and 192 Kyoto Protocol Parties. The United States rejected the protocol.
The rationale for the rejection was that the agreement hurt the US economy. After being signed by 191 state parties, the Kyoto Protocol was reactivated with specific changes.
After ten years of Rio+10, 192 countries gathered to renew Agenda 21, but also to make progress in implementing it. Big powers such as Canada and Australia agreed to consider it.
2019 Climate Action Summit
On September 23, 2019, Secretary-General António Guterres conducted a Climate Summit to bring together world leaders, the private area, and society to promote multilateral cooperation and accelerate climate action and aspiration.
Luis Alfonso de Alba, a former Mexican negotiator, was designated as Special Envoy to supervise the arrangements.
The Summit focused on critical areas where action may make the biggest difference: heavy industry, nature-based arrangements, urban communities, energy, strength, and climate finance.
World leaders discussed what they are doing now and what they want to do more when they gathered in 2020 for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Across the globe, we are currently facing one of the biggest environmental challenges we have ever seen, as climate change continues to affect the world we live in.
Developed countries such as the US, China, Uk, and others are the biggest producers of causes of climate change. The main problem comes when these countries do not take the due responsibility to take care of these issues.
Underdeveloped countries also contribute to climate-changing factors, but they face more consequences than they deserve. Also, underdeveloped countries lack the resources to solve climate issues at the global level.
Changing climates have already had a noticeable effect on our environment, with glaciers shrinking, ice melting, and wildlife changing patterns.
Climate change has been around for many years and is commonly referred to as global warming. However, many people across the US are yet to understand the impact it is having on the country and the rest of the world.
The fire seasons in the US have been getting longer as the climate has changed over the years. Wildfires have been burning for longer than ever before, and there has been a significant increase in the number of large fires that have broken out across the country.
It is expected that short-term droughts will intensify across the US, and longer-lasting droughts will worsen in large areas such as the South West, the southern Great Plains, and the South East.
Changes in climate change are the reasons behind these increasing droughts, as various lakes and rivers across the country see dropping water levels.
The US, as the major power and the most developed country at the International forum, needs to take serious actions. These actions should help control the effects of global climate change.
*The writer is a Fellow at The Diplomatic Insight, published by the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies
**The Diplomatic Insight does not take any position on issues. The views represented herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Diplomatic Insight and its staff.