As floods, heat waves, and other climate disasters ravage our world, national governments have promised more action and urgency on the issue of climate change. But, in reality, these governments are only perpetuating the problem. Their idleness in carrying out concrete solutions is not only disappointing, but also ineffective.. 

In 2021, from October 31 to November 13, when all countries at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26[Conference of the Parties] met in Glasgow, Scotland, agreeing to reanalyze and strengthen their climate plans. Though it seemed like an optimistic sign, and one that showed a heightened commitment to action, only 24 out of 193 countries ended up submitting revised plans to the UN.

This not only shows a lack of desire to reform, but also a sense of complacency among nations. Climate change is currently one of the most pressing issues plaguing our world, and its severity will only increase with time. If most governments aren’t pushing for change, our world will suffer as a result.

Simon Stiell, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, warned that the decisions of governments “must reflect the level of urgency, the gravity of the threats we are facing, and the shortness of the time we have remaining to avoid the devastating consequences of runaway climate change.”

According to a recent UN report, Earth is on pace to warm by 2.1 degrees celsius to 2.9 degrees celsius by the end of the century. In 2015, the Paris Agreement set the benchmark to 1.5 degrees celsius. This may seem inconsequential, but even an increase of 1 degree is enough to provoke more climate disasters.

One could argue that having agreements in place is a sign of progress, especially in a world where climate change is often denied or seen as a myth. These agreements are a solid foundation to build off of and do provide some level of accountability.

But agreements are meaningless if the parties involved do not follow through with the objectives, and if revision and improvement are an afterthought. 2 to 3 degrees is an improvement over 5, but it’s certainly not enough to fend off the detrimental effects of climate change, especially as carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses emissions continue to rise.

We all have a responsibility to address climate change. The burden doesn’t only rely on federal governments, but it also relies on people’s awareness and response to the truth. Confronting the issue is the first step towards progress, and many have done this. But, it’s up to everyone to promote dialogue and ideas on how to further address climate change.

Complacency and denial are powerful enemies against change. When world leaders deny or sit still on the issue of climate change, everyone suffers as a result. Change can only be accomplished through action, and a recognition of the problems our world faces.

Action can be investing more into sustainable infrastructure, including the use of renewable energy, along with protecting ecologically important land. But, the lack of effort to produce more climate-friendly reforms will only lead to dire consequences, which is why implementing solutions is critical for the safety and future of our world.

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