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Climate Change Takes Precedence at World Summit
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Dealing with climate change is a global prioriity - and nearly 200 countries have agreed on a specific set of rules to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions as part of enacting the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The rules cover how countries are going to track their own emissions, as well as how they'll communicate with each other about progress - but it doesn't require them to commit to the most serious reductions necessary to slow the climate change process. Prior to the most recent agreement, which world leaders congregated in Poland to discuss, scientists from all over the world issued research and reports that show global emissions are continuing to rise - and that nobody's on the right track to avoid climate change's most catastrophic effects. The U.S.'s support is critical, as is China's and several other large countries - but at the world's biggest climate conference, the U.S. tried to promote fossil fuels. Protesters chanted "Keep it in the ground" and laughed at a representative who said coal and other non-renewable sources of energy were vital. The rep also said that no country should have to put the climate or the environment over economic prosperity. A recent U.S. government report says that climate change will shrink the U.S. economy and kill thousands of people, though. The costs of climate change could skyrocket to hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and the American Southeast is slated to lose about a half-billion labor hours by the year 2100 due to the extreme heat there. Farmers’ quantity and quality of crops will suffer, and heat stress could cause average dairy production to fall drastically. Ocean acidification will kill off $230 million worth of fish by the end of this century, and red tides will become more frequent. Mosquito-borne and tick-borne illnesses, high temperatures and even asthma and allergies will become worse and kill more people, and wildfires, hurricanes and other catastrophic events will increase exponentially over the next 30 years alone.
What Do You Think?
I’d love to see what you think about climate change and the U.S.’s official position on it, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.