What You Should Know About the UN Climate Change Conference

Written by Vivian Shillingsburg

On December 2, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, better known as UNFCCC began hosting their 25th annual climate change conference. This year’s conference, COP25, is being held in Madrid, Spain, and they will be discussing many issues, including the increase of greenhouse gas emissions, the impact of climate change on society and our environment, and the consequences of being the first generation to deal with the harshness of climate change. 

Why is the conference important?

The climate crisis has had a huge impact on us and our environment, which is why this conference is extremely important. It seems like the climate crisis is the least of the United States government’s worries, which is scary. Climate change is a serious problem that our entire earth will suffer the consequences for. The conference will help to influence political leaders to take a step in the right direction to help slow the effects of climate change and, possibly, prevent them. 

As Sebastián Piñera, the president of Chile, said, “Science has spoken: we need more ambitious climate commitments.” This conference will help to make politicians and governments around the world aware of the changes that need to be made. 

What is the objective of the conference?

One of the main focuses this year is the amount of greenhouse gases being released. When released, greenhouse gases are absorbed into Earth’s atmosphere, and burn holes in it, allowing harmful rays from the sun to enter and increase temperatures. One of the primary goals of COP25 is finding ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Another one of their many detailed goals is to push the Global Paris Climate Agreement to move at a faster pace. Since the last conference, barely anything has changed, and this year they want to have more change to report by the next conference. Voicing these goals to powerful individuals in governments around the world is important because they have the power to make financial decisions to create a budget to amend the climate crisis. 

What is the United State’s role in the conference?

The U.S.’s role in the conference is very controversial. In 2017, President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Global Paris Climate Agreement. This is a global deal in which many countries that are a part of it will help aid poor countries who are struggling with the consequences of the climate crisis. This was a bad decision because we are a very powerful and wealthy nation, and we can make many positive changes in the world . This agreement would have been a great opportunity, but unfortunately, we are no longer a part of it. However, we do have many representatives attending the conference who will come back and possibly make a difference. 

Why is it important to me?

Being educated on the climate crisis, especially for young adults in their teens and early to mid 20’s, is crucial. We are the voice for the planet because we are the future, and if we don’t attempt to make a difference and use our voice, things will never change. Persistence is key. Nothing changes overnight. This conference is important to you because the people leading the conference and the world will take your feedback seriously and positive changes can be made. The climate crisis is not something that we can wait to fix. If we do not act today, our world will become darker and dirtier. We won’t have healthy air to breath. We won’t have clean water to drink or food to eat. It is important for the youth to act.

Multiple speakers mentioned young people are demanding change and we know that change needs to be made now–not later–because if we wait any longer, there won’t be a later. Keeping yourself updated on what happens at the conference over the next two weeks is a great way to learn about what is happening to our environment and what you can do to make a difference. Don’t ask what our planet can do for us; ask what we can do for our planet, and always remember that there is no “planet B.”

How can I stay updated? 

Most news outlets are covering what is going on at the conference until it ends on December 16. You can also follow UFCCC on Instagram and Twitter, @unfccc, or subscribe to their YouTube channel, UN Climate Change, where they will be live streaming throughout the conference . There are many articles from news outlets like CNN and BBC explaining what the conference is and if it’s really worth it. So, read up Huskies and take action!

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