Earlier this week, President Obama and China announced their pledge to reduce and put a cap on emissions.
Many people (including myself) are pretty pumped about this. It’s a big deal that the US and China are recognizing and acting on climate change, especially since the two countries are responsible for 45% of greenhouse gas emissions.
They are two powerful countries that don’t always get along or agree, but they put aside their differences. It sends a positive message to the rest of the world–lunchroom enemies can share a cookie.
Not only does it send a message to the globe as a whole, but it also sends a message to every individual, whether they agree about climate change or not.
But, I think it’s safe to say, change sucks. Things are going to change for us all if we put a cap on CO2 emissions, but things are going to change a whole lot more if we don’t respond to that change. The Earth will no longer be the one we know. We won’t be able to live here without struggle. Internal conflicts will rise as resources dwindle, hordes of humans could die from surges in vector-born diseases, populations will flood inland on the tides of the rising ocean as the ice sheets overflow into those steel gray waters.
We, the Millennials, will be the ones dealing with those unfortunate consequences. “It’s not our problem; it’s the next generation”—we are that generation.
Personally, I’m proud of Obama and Jinping’s promise because addressing climate change is not easy. Whatever happens in the future, since no one can truly know, it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy to talk openly about our future path as an entire species. It’s not going to be easy to transition the world’s societies to alternative fuels.
Even though this agreement is a powerful step, there’s some booby-traps and gigantic walls to scale.
First booby-trap: the US and China did not get their gold stars in emission reduction. Politicians throw around promises to reduce emissions, but then they end up emitting even more.
Second booby-trap: the media tries to be fair and show each side of a debate, but this fairness is screwing with the climate change debate because there really is only one side if you look purely at science.
When 97% of scientists collectively agree, it’s absolutely nuts. The nature of science isn’t to drink the Kool-Aid and agree with everything–beyond a shadow of a doubt, scientists need the data to support something before they agree with a claim.
As the booby traps show, an agreement isn’t a promise.