Climate action: A global issue requires an international effort
November 23, 2013 12:00 AM
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Recent severe storms across the globe and the United Nations-sponsored climate change talks in Warsaw have focused new attention on the world’s approach to that problem.
Unusually destructive weather in the Philippines, the American Midwest and Sardinia are more examples that something may be going on climate-wise. Data does not exist, however, to establish that the events are unprecedented or induced by human activities.
A 195-nation conference which ended Friday in Warsaw was intended to prepare positions prior to a meeting set for 2015 in Paris to consider a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Some progress was made, but serious issues also surfaced that could stand in the way of an agreement.
One of these is the idea that because rich, developed countries are considered largely responsible for global warming because of their air emissions, they are obliged to pay poorer, developing nations for damage suffered and for protection from further harm.
In reality, if climate change is truly occurring, it must be confronted by developed and developing countries alike. The world’s population is in this battle together and should not divide itself into camps over it.
Another problem is China, perhaps the world’s biggest carbon polluter and its second-largest economy, has insisted on being considered a developing nation. That’s a ridiculous assertion, given China’s advanced state of industrialization.
As pollution there gets worse and President Xi Jinping addresses it as a matter of policy, China, the United States and Europe must put aside their individual interests and begin to see eye to eye on dealing with this global problem.
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