by Ryan Molloy
During a press conference in New York last Thursday, the president of the United Nations (Antonio Guterres) delivered strong words about what this nation’s biggest threat is. Many were expecting answers similar to nuclear attacks, civil war, etc. Although Guterres stated his belief that the biggest threat to humanity is climate change, Guterres then mentioned that the economic cost of climate related disaster has hit a staggering $320 billion. He expresses concern of how many more “alarm bells” need to go off before the issue is taken as seriously as it should be.
Focusing on emissions, Guterres is holding a United Nations Summit on Climate change next year, specifically targeting government leaders to strengthen their pledges that they have made to curb emissions under the Paris agreement before 2020. Although Trump has announced the United States’ departure from the Paris agreement, it does not end until 2020. With that being said, not only do government leaders need to do their part but business leaders and powerful investors also play crucial roles as well. Guterres believes that all around the world the role of government is becoming less and less relevant and the role of the economy and society is playing a larger role. American businesses and society has done a great job in enforcing the Paris Agreement. Unlike American businesses, the government is doing the exact opposite and completely withdrawing from the agreement. Guterres still holds out hope that he can get the Trump administration to stay with the Paris Agreement.
This is definitely a step in the right direction for action on climate change. The UN has made it a goal to combat climate change for decades now. This speech seems like it was a push for more to be done. Since the US’s exit from the Paris Accord, the UN is going to be calling on other nations to up their commitment to make up for the loss. While it probably won’t amount to much more than a reaffirmation on the issue, it shows that the UN is taking climate change seriously, and will do what it can to make sure everyone else is as well. As for the US, this won’t amount to much, and whether they continue supporting the UN’s decisions at all is unlikely.
To have the president of the United Nations say that the biggest threat to the nation is climate change is very eye opening, because it shows how serious this issue has become. The fact that $320 billion is the cost of climate change disasters should be all the reason for society to take this issue seriously. Because climate change doesn’t affect us head on, it is always put on the back burner. I definitely think it’s a good idea for him to hold a conference, addressing this issue to government leaders, making it a priority for them to take heed to climate change.
Even though I feel that Antonio Guterres may have reached by stating that climate change is the number one issue this nation is facing, I do agree that it is extremely important. As we all know the United States will officially be withdrawn from the Paris Agreement in 2020 and I believe this will only cause more problems for our nation. The UN has made climate change a tiop priority and when Trump made the executive action it brought tension between the US and UN. The only way I see the US getting back on the same page as the UN is if “third party America” speaks up and takes action. Since this current administration will not budge on its stance dealing with environmental issues private corporations will have to make changes on their own to decrease the output of carbon emissions that they are ultimately responsible for.
Obviously recognizing climate change as an issue is a good thing, however what will it actually accomplish if a large majority of countries are not on the same page? Every little bit that is done to better prevent climate change is great and all, but the progress created by these countries and presidents will just be back-stepped by the detrimental environmental effects from the remaining countries. I do not think that it will be taken seriously as an issue until we end up in a Mad Max scenario.
Other countries are recognizing that climate change is a huge issue all over the world, yet the leaders of the United States are not. The Trump’s removal from the Paris agreement just put emphasis on how much Trump and his administration could care less about the environment and big world wide environmental problems. As the United States, we are suppose to be the example that all follow and when countries see us backing out of the Paris agreement, other countries are going to think that the agreement is not worth it and also going to back out. The Trump administration needs to be aware of their actions and how it looks on a world wide level.
This is another person who Donald Trump will again ignore. When Trump decided to exit from the Paris agreement it really showed us what his plans were, which was worry about the economy and the environment can get fixed by the next guy in line. What Trump doesn’t realize is that his actions could influence other countries in the agreement to back out as well. He does not realize how much influence he has around the world. Hopefully, since the agreement does not end until 2020 that we have a chance to return to the agreement and put ourselves back in it.
I believe it is beneficial to the world’s environment to hear someone like Guterres say this. It should be eye-opening for many deniers of climate change, and raise awareness worldwide. I do not think, however, this statement will have any effect on our president. Donald Trump has consistently said he believes climate change is a scam, and the way he has used the EPA has proved this. Trump should re-consider his withdrawal from the climate agreement, although it is a longshot to happen. It was also interesting to hear some of the facts Guterres stated, such as climate costing the world over $300 million dollars.
I agree that climate change is an issue and we all are going to have to work together to mitigate the impact it has on us. The Paris Agreement was a great start and it is a real shame that the United States chose to opt out of the treaty. Even though it is no longer mandated country wide, some states decided to form the United States Climate Alliance who agreed to follow the standards set by the Paris Agreement. This alliance is currently made up of 16 states and Puerto Rico, with several potential members soon to join. The fact that this alliance exists shows that there are still parts of the US that support the goals of the Paris Agreement. Even if the United States does not rejoin the Paris Agreement on a federal level, we still have a growing amount of state governments that are still trying to do something about climate change.
I think that we will see more action taken on the issue of climate change. Since more people are attempting to take the issue seriously, however, others are not completely on board. I agree with that while climate change is an issue, it will take a more collaborative effort to solve the issue.
Addressing that we have a problem at a national scale is in no regards not helping the situation, but saying it’s the most import situation to worry about is a little far fetched. The costs of repairing the climate will most likely add up over time but not compared to repairing an area from a nuclear attack. I think the subject of the matter is that we should develop a plan where we save tax money and apart of that plan is to invest in green solutions around the world. The United States can attack these issues with so many different resolutions, if we can get other countries aboard with their own insight. The withdrawal from the Paris agreement has been a step backwards in where we need to be in an environmental standpoint, but the efforts of the EPA can hopefully turn to a brighter outlook. Overall, The United States should organize a plan to create a partnership with other countries to assemble an environmental coalition.
I believe that climate change is the biggest issue for the UN, however I think that comment really down plays some of the struggles that nations and people have to face everyday, I understand that climate change will have a long term affect, and is currently affecting our world, but their are people dying all over the world over all sorts of other issues, like economic disparities and lack of food and water. The other issue with this is that we can make any number of agreements or plans for our 20 year goals, but presidents and prime ministers change, so does Congress and Parliament, so who’s to say whatever work gets put in doesn’t just get torn down after a couple of year. I think that if the UN truly wanted to get countries on their side with this, then they should educate the people who vote for the politicians that will go along with their propositions.