The world has faced many critical issues since its existence. The issues escalated with the presence of human beings in the form of both natural and human-made issues. Global issues occur as a result of interdependence, which turns into united problems of many forms. The United Nations is putting efforts into solving these issues with peacekeeping campaigns and resolutions created by UN’s specialized agencies; and also provides us with information about the issues.
The importance of awareness of these issues is key in order to keep evolving and creating possible solutions. But these matters are not as easy to solve with “solutions” as it may sound. There are some critical points that have to be kept in mind in terms of the approaches to the issues. The main factors being different protocols of countries, divergent conditions of nations also play a big role in how each country handles these issues. But it must never be forgotten that Global Issues, at the end, should be dealt with by keeping the “global” factor in mind.
One of the issues is climate change, and this article will give some brief information about what it is, and what the UN does to fight against it.
Climate Change is the exact definition of the state we are in at the moment. It causes our weather patterns to change, it threatens food production and also causes sea levels to rise as a result of the ice melting in the poles. The risk of catastrophic floods is getting higher, all as consequences of the unprecedented scale of change in the natural climate. If no actions are taken by us today, and if the mentality around it does not change, the results will be devastating and costly for all of us.
The reason for global warming is mainly gases. Now, the Earth normally produces a certain amount of gases, we all do. Animals, plants, humans, soil, water, and basically every living creature needs gases to live and also produces different gases in return to complete the cycle. However, with the drastic growth of population which brought along industrialization, deforestation, and large scale agriculture, quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen to record levels not seen in three million years. Basically, as populations, economies, and standards of living grow, so does the cumulative level of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions.
In the charts and maps below, you can see how drastic the changes are in a matter of years. The exact areas that are warming up have been reflected on these maps, and as a comparison, 3 different years have been put next to each other. While it is clear to see that in the year 1940 the northern parts of the globe started to warm up, the temperatures are clearly rising on a global scale as we get closer to our present day.
To get the overview and timeline of all years, visit this website: https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/
As an addition to the World maps, here is also a clear chart prepared by the climate department of NASA, which shows the exact rise in the average temperature on a global scale.
What does the UN do to deal with climate change?
The United Nations has some serious protocols on climate change and concentrates to bring close attention to the issue and to remind the world that the situation is real.
There is the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment. The IPCC provided clearer information about the issues and the role of humankind in this field in 2013 and released the Fifth Assessment Report. It is categorical in its conclusion: climate change is real and human activities are the main cause.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets its goal as preventing the “dangerous” human interference with the climate system. The Kyoto protocol is another joint protocol that countries launched as a global response to climate change.
A healthy climate and a liveable planet are one of the main aims the UN wants to achieve. Every nation within the UN takes different measures, but under the roof of the UN, the best advice and measures are provided to countries.
Goal 13: Climate Action – UN Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations Development Programme has a series of goals set for a better and sustainable future. According to UNDP, 2019 was the second warmest year ever recorded, and this decade (2010-2019) was in fact the warmest decade ever.
The UNDP states that even though greenhouse gas emissions have dropped for about 6% as a result of travel bans due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, this does not mean a “pause” on climate change. And the normal effects are expected to return once the restrictions are eliminated and life slowly goes back to normal.
The Paris Agreement which was adopted in 2015 aims to keep the general warming under 2 degrees Celsius in comparison to pre-industrial times around the globe and thus, aims to strengthen the global response to climate change. The Agreement also aims for countries to respond to climate change in innovative ways with the development of new technologies.
What can we do to “Take Action”?
1. Use energy wisely. It is simple to start by unplugging electronic apparatus like your computer, TV, speakers, lamps, heaters, etc. By doing so you can help saving energy for nature while also saving money for yourself.
2. Wash your clothes with cold water. There are many additional saving tricks when it comes to every-day household habits. For example, hang-drying clothes instead of using a dryer machine, winterizing your home with internal and external isolation, looking for high-quality products with certain “Safe energy”, “Green Energy” and/or “A+ Energy” signs, etc.
3. Use renewable energy sources. Installing solar panels on your roof to produce energy is the best way to start.
4. Talk about climate. Get your friends to open up about their experiences, brainstorm about solutions, inform and educate people who are not alarmed by the importance of the issue. Talk and spread awareness. Model United Nations conferences are very important gatherings to inform young people about climate change and its global effects, and thus should be highly supported.
5. Choose transportation wisely. Use a bike, use public transportation, walk the short distances, share your cars, if you have an inefficient vehicle swap it with a more eco-friendly one, fly less.