According to the UN Weather Agency, 2014 was described as the hottest on record. Fourteen of the fifteen warmest years have all occurred in the 21st century. This is consistent with what can be expected from climate change.
And yet, a reminder that it is time to reduce (if not stop) this rapid acceleration of climate variability often falls on deaf ears. In December of this year, world leaders, scientists, officials, and environmental activists from 200 countries will meet in Paris with the intention of reaching a deal on climate change. This is perhaps our last chance to save the planet.
The question is no longer whether the climate is changing. This is settled: the climate has always changed and always will. Nor is the question whether humans are influencing the climate. There is little doubt that carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for several centuries. Today, the impact of human activity appears to be analogous to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself. Nevertheless, the real question remains the same: what can be done?
Therefore, we have to be aware of our common as well as individual responsibility: to think of state of planet we want next generations to inherit.
The myriad of choices we make every day (transportation, goods and services we buy, etc.) have an impact on our overall welfare and contribute to climate change. A general overhaul of our individual practices could help, but even small things – for example we tend to take a plane from Berlin to Copenhagen, when we could instead just take the train – are beneficial.
There are individual actions that help create political will for policy change, and as liberals, we can create a space to share our vision. Having strong beliefs leads, first and foremost, to action. Communities who believe that they are part of the climate solution will support a wide scale solution to the issue at hand. Hopefully, this statement will apply to how we choose to act on curbing anthropogenic climate change.
Junior Sikabwe from Denmark, via France, is a member of Radikal Ungdom’s (Danish Social Liberal Youth) International Committee and a part of the Climate Change Programme.
You can find the IFLRY Climate Change Programme here