Phew, is it getting hot around here? With global temperatures up 1.8ºF (roughly 0.05ºC) since 1880, we’re sure that not only is climate change real, it’s threatening life on this planet as we know it. Sea levels are on the rise, each year seems to be the new hottest year on record, and ice sheets are melting faster than an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.
It’s clear: we need to act on climate.
Can Somebody Turn Down The Heat?
But it’s going to take a whole lot more than bicycling to work to slow down this runaway freight train. It’s going to take cooperation among all the world’s nations. Together, we need to curb greenhouse gas emissions and commit to renewable energy.
World leaders realized decades ago that climate change was creeping closer and closer to our daily lives. So, back in 1992, the UN created the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and countries signed on to be a part of the solution, committing to do what they could to curb runaway climate change.
Starting in 1995, the countries that were part of the UNFCCC started meeting each year to talk about what they’re doing to address climate change and what still needs to be done. The meetings consist of scientists, policy-makers, government officials, academics, and activists. In a different city each year, they talk about the nuts and bolts of conquering climate change.
Each of these yearly meetings is called a COP, or a Conference of the Parties. And this December 2-14, they’ll be holding the 24th COP in Katowice, Poland.
We’ll Always Have Paris
But let’s go back: Remember COP21? Back in 2015, the UNFCCC nations met in Paris to hammer out a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, 195 nations agreed to the most ambitious plan ever to keep global warming within safe levels. It was huge! But to meet those comittments, countries were going to have to get serious about their greenhouse gas emissions.
To achieve the goals set in Paris, we need to ensure that global temperatures stop rising by 2050. That means countries will need to invest in renewable energy sources, cut ties to fossil fuels, and offset emissions by planting trees and maintaining green spaces.
Katowice or Bust!
This year in Katowice, the aim of COP24 is to work out the specifics for making the Paris agreement a reality. They’ll decide how countries should set their reduction targets, how the UN will verify that they’re keeping their word, and how they’ll reconvene again in five years to set even striter guidelines.
While the targets that countries agreed to in Paris are really exciting, the real question is how they’ll make them a reality. After all, it’s easy to say you’re going to replace that pint you stole from your roommate, but it’s a lot harder to actually do it. The meeting in Katowice is the world getting together to figure out how to replace that pint. It may not get quite the same fanfare as COP21 in Paris, but it’s hugely important.
Together, we can make progress on keeping climate change in check. Let’s work together to keep our leaders focused on meeting the goals they set in Paris and making climate action a priority in their policy decisions. Stay tuned for more updates as COP24 commences!
This blog post was written by our climate activist pals over at 10:10.