After researching the effects of climate change through the lens of foreign policy as well as examining the responsibility that certain countries play in the problem, I found how significant the current warming trend is because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. Some astonishing information is, in 2011 far beyond all other countries the top carbon dioxide emitters were China, the United States, the European Union, India, the Russian Federation, Japan, and Canada. This information alone is disheartening, but that along with this statisitc makes it even more challenging to face. While most Americans believe in climate change, when asked if climate change was a “major threat” only 40% found this to be true while an even lower 38% of Chinese citizens found this statement accurate.

This is so astonishing to see the two most powerful economic countries in the world with these discouraging beliefs. The UN and others around the world have tried to gather together to fight the battle as a group, but each time most countries around the world value the economic benefits that come along from not worrying about the climate. As most countries see that if  value the environment too much that it would negatively affect that country’s economic status. An example of this was when the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Kyoto, Japan in December of 1997 and is known as the Kyoto Protocol. Over 150 nations attended and adopted the first international treaty on controlling and reducing greenhouse gases. The The deal was fairly simple; industrialised countries would be legally obliged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions 5% from 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Developing countries – including China, India, Brazil and South Africa – would face no restriction on their emissions but were encouraged to adopt policies to promote greener growth. The United States, the primary producer of carbon emissions in the world at the time, never ratified the treaty, rendering it ineffective because the US accounted for a quarter of the total international carbon output. The US Senate voted 95-0 against the treaty, and Clinton’s successor George W Bush withdrew US support in 2002, labelling it “fatally flawed”.

This is so demoralizing to me that nations around the world have such little value for conserving the earth for future generations to have a chance. Although there have been not nearly enough positive steps made, there has been a treaty recently signed by the US and China called The Paris Agreement. While this small step made by the Americans and Chinese to come together surrounding this issue of climate change is positive, to combat climate change people need to first recognize global warming and the role that humans play in it.  

 

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