Take a look at some of the statistics below from NASA’s Global Climate Change website…

  • 9 out of the 10 warmest years have been recorded since 2000
  • The Earth’s temperature on average has increased 0.85ºC since 1880
  • 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded
  • The temperature is predicted to rise another 2 to 6ºC in upcoming years
  • The sea level is increasing at a rate of 3.24 mm each year
  • Carbon dioxide levels are at the highest right now

What do these numbers mean to you? How do they make you feel? Even after seeing these statistics, are there people who still believe that climate change is not real?

With the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, more commonly known as COP21 or CMP11, officially beginning on November 30th, the word “climate change” has been all over the news. Over the next couple of days, government officials from all around the world will gather in Paris to address the issue of climate change. The conference is currently the center of attraction as an universal agreement is predicted to be signed at this year’s conference. In order to fully understand the events happening at the conference, it is essential for all of us to be aware of what is going to be discussed.

The theme or the goal for this year’s conference can be described in three simple symbols, 2ºC. According to research, scientists have found out that global warming of more than 2ºC will have serious effects on Earth. With the goal of limiting global warming to 2ºC until 2100 set in 2009, worldwide greenhouse gas emissions must be cut down by 40 to 70% by the year 2050. This year’s conference is going to be all about figuring out how this is going to be accomplished.

Take a moment to really consider the gravity of what we are currently facing. Cutting down global greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70% by 2050… How is this going to be achieved? The fact that many countries still consider climate change as national problems, only thinking of it in terms of their national interest does not help solve this problem at hand. In order to fight climate change, it is necessary for all countries to get rid of their mindset of “we have already done our part”, “we aren’t contributing to climate change as much as other big countries”, or “we can’t help it because we are still in the process of developing!”. Climate change is a global issue that needs to be dealt with by the whole international community. We do not have time to be arguing because if we do not take action now, it is going to be too late.

Currently demonstrations are taking place around the world as citizens are raising their voices to kick start the conference, expressing their strong desire for unity amongst countries and an effective action plan to combat climate change. Can we stop here though? No, we can’t! We cannot let the government do the job, sitting back to watch things happen. Whatever the final agreement is going to be amongst countries, nothing will happen with the government officials discussing and signing documents. That is only the beginning. From there on, it is up to us, the citizens of the world, to take action along with the rest of the human population to make a change.

Conserving water, conversing electricity, using renewable energy resources, the 3Rs, planting plants, composting… Do these all sound too old for you? If so, create your own projects! With climate change affecting all forms of life on Earth, any project can be related to climate change in one way or another.

Climate change is often a global issue that is pushed back to the very back of our minds when it is one of the biggest global issues that needs attention. With COP21 beginning shortly, this is a great chance for all of us to think and face the problem of climate change. We have already harmed our planet too much. What can we do now before everything is going to be too late to mend?

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