Nahlah Ayed · CBC News
When the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies — and its two biggest polluters — finally saw eye to eye on climate change, they paved the way for a historic global agreement to fight it.
“We have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action,” then-U.S. President Barack Obama said in 2015, with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his side.
Three years after they helped forge the landmark Paris agreement, representatives from some 200 countries meeting in Poland have yet to agree on a final rule book to implement it. This time, the U.S. and China are effectively on opposite sides of the climate discussion, which isn’t helping.
And of the two countries, China is now seen as the reliable one.
China — the world’s leader in green technology — is seen as being ahead in the fight against climate change. Leading environmentalist Al Gore told the Washington Post that “China’s role is complicated, but in some ways, they’re moving the ball in the right direction.”
by Megan Mayhew Bergman
While climate change scenarios have all the hallmarks of biblical narrative – violent storms, epic floods, plagues, resource scarcity, the displacement of people – it’s considered liberal political terrain. Scott Coleman, a practicing Baptist and the amiable environmental manager of Little St Simons Island, a mostly undeveloped strip of shoreline off the coast of Georgia, tells me that “environmental stewardship is often associated with liberal politics, thus looked upon negatively”.
I spoke with people of faith in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, and it became clear that the primary barrier to climate action is the fact that it’s been yoked with the liberal agenda. Climate activist and author Anna Jane Joyner, whose father is the pastor of a megachurch in North Carolina, writes that she grew up lumping “environmentalists in with hippies and liberals and all the other people who were probably going to hell”.
Ariel Cohen Contributor
In the last few weeks, two important climate reports were released – the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) and the UN Emissions Gap Report 2018. Both studies highlight the risks of rising greenhouse gas emission (GHG) concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the potential consequences should these trends continue. The threats posed by a warming world are not just dangerous for the climate-dependent sectors of our economy (crops, livestock, and global fisheries), but bad for global security as well. The Trump Administration’s Pentagon calls climate change a ‘threat multiplier’ because it aggravates pre-existing societal stress factors. Instances of state collapse, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources, including food and water attributable to climate change, have already been studied.
But battling climate change will not be easy – or cheap. Since the era of a steam engine, the global economy has been inextricably linked to fossil fuels – from the oil that powers the world’s vehicles to the coal and natural gas that illuminates our cities – which means that a transition to cleaner alternatives will need to be managed with care. Too sudden a shift — and we may risk introducing economic, social and geopolitical shocks that could dwarf the worst outcomes of climate change.