Project Topic: In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss the effects of a changing climate on government policy. Your project should answer the following questions: What are the specific effects of climate changes on government policy? What can be done by governments to deal with problems caused by climate? What needs to be done by government in the future in light of a continually changing climate?
"About 150 years ago, the earth's atmosphere had remained unchanged for several thousand years. Since the mid-1900's, people's actions have been changing the heat ability of the atmosphere. Scientists who study the earth's atmosphere and climate have been talking about the greenhouse effect and finally about "global warming".
Changes in climate have an effect on the Earth's landforms. The soils of regions also depend on climate. Sea level rise presents a serious threat to some coastal regions in the different parts of the world.
Politicians, who for years have ignored the warnings of scientists and environmental protection movements, are becoming alarmed. They are announcing and making decisions on an international scale. A conference on the environment took place in Stockholm in 1972. The first world conference on climate gathered the scientists almost from all of the world in Geneva in 1979. During these meetings, the scientific world began to talk seriously to the political world. In 1988, in order to protect the stratospheric ozone layer, 120 countries agreed to limit their use of CFCs and signed the Montreal Convention. In 1989, several heads of state and heads of government of the industrialized nations signed the Hague Appeal to turn public opinion to threats to the environment. Government authorities realized that climatic change is one of the questions on which the planet's future depends. The United States and Sweden had already prohibited the use of CFCs in aerosol cans towards the end of the 1980s; Germany has announced that it will have reduced its use by 95%.
The Clinton administration believes that scientists stand against devastating effects. Three years ago U.S. joined the international community in signing the historic Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was the beginning of a process to design a kind of insurance policy. It was a treaty that called on all nations to work together in an effort to protect the global environment. The industrialized countries were urged to take the lead by stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000.
The International community has a serious problem, which has direct relation to global climate change. This is the problem of ozone depletion. Ten years ago the nations of the world came together in Montreal to take wise steps toward protecting the Earth's stratospheric ozone layer. These efforts were expanded in the scientific discovery- a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, which was the size of the North American continent.
After that discovery was confirmed the world's political system began to sign any agreement much easier than before. Copenhagen Agreement was signed in 1990. Nations have agreed on the nature of the climate change threat, and we have taken the first initial steps to destroy that threat. All the nations of the world will need to work together to develop our steps after the year 2000. So we must achieve a new aim for the future.
The great poet William Butler Yeats wrote, "I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams". Unless we tread softly, our dreams for the future will be nothing but dreams. Let us make sure that our next steps are the right ones."
Essay Topic: Considering all the information you have gained from this unit, how have politics impacted efforts to contain the problem of global warming? What role have major world powers such as the United States, England and Russia played in this political process? What role have the developing nations played? Do you think that international meetings such as those held in Montreal and Kyoto have been successful? Explain your responses.
Considering all the information I have gained from this unit, I can put together some facts about how politics have impacted efforts to contain the problem of global warming. Many countries are worrying about the greenhouse effect that's taking place in our days on our planet. To do something about it these countries were called a couple of times to discuss the problem. Every call has its own name, mostly after the name of the city where the meeting was held. The most recognizable meetings are those held in Montreal and Kyoto. However there were also a lot of meetings about the greenhouse effect held in the 70's, 80's and 90's. Governments of countries all over the world have signed couple of protocols to limit the production of carbon dioxide because this gas is the major killer of ozone.
Major world powers such as the United States, England and Russia have each played their own roles in this political process. The United States, for example, "walked out" of the Kyoto protocol in July, 2001 because President Bush said that it will be bad for the US economy to limit the production. England showed everyone a good example by using wind power. "Wind power in the UK currently produces enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 250,000 households and saves the emission of almost 1m tons of carbon dioxide" (BBC News, Thursday, 5 April, 2001). Russia, however, has way too much clean air according to the Kyoto protocol, and the country can sell the clean air to some high industrial countries such as Japan and Canada. So, every country has its own strategies and goes its own way to help to reduce the emissions on the planet.
The developing nations have also played some role. They are mostly innocent victims of global warming, not the perpetrators. They face major climate changes while having per-capita emissions much lower than industrialized countries. Under the Kyoto protocol, developing countries have to report on their emissions, but many want to go further and help industrialized countries meet their targets. The protocol allows industrialized countries to plant "carbon sink" forests in the tropics, for instance, where they will grow faster.
They can also invest in clean energy technologies in the developing world, and claim carbon credits for doing so. The US has demanded, both before and after Kyoto, that developing countries should accept their own specific emissions targets - even if those targets allowed emissions to increase. While that idea was quietly dropped by the Clinton administration, it might well become a crunch issue if and when the US decides to return to the protocol." (AOL Search Engine, The Greenhouse Effect, protocol).
I think that international meetings such as those held in Montreal and Kyoto have been successful because so many countries took serious steps to prevent the greenhouse effect. At the Kyoto meeting, over 150 countries signed a document where they agreed to decrease emissions level by at least 5% for each country by the year 2010. Also, the countries agreed to met periodically and to take "appropriate action" on the basis of the best available scientific, technical, and socio-economic information." (Climate Change Information Kit, Sheet 21).
So many countries in our days are taking serious steps to prevent the Earth from global warming. To succeed in this program different countries have set up special meetings where they discuss the problems and try to find the ways to resolve them. In today’s world a lot of different countries have already taken these steps and done very successful work. By discussing all the problems and responsibilities these countries are helping a lot in saving the world from the ‘greenhouse effect’.
AOL Search Engine. The Greenhouse Effect, protocol.
BBC News. (Thursday, 5 April, 2001 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK). Wind farms to fight 'greenhouse effect'. Available online: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/wales/newsid_1261000/1261882.stm.
Climate Change Information Kit, Sheet 21. Available online: http://unfccc.int/resource/iuckit/fact21.html.