No Borders for the CCP

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Cities are some of the most populated areas around the world, which make them a practical starting point for raising awareness and initiating action towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cities are an important area of concentration for production and consumption, therefore a number of environmental issues arise in cities around the world. The Cities for Climate Protection is a transnational network, which concentrates on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in urban spaces. “The ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection program originated as both climate change and sustainability began to become significant issues for local authorities.”[1]This network effectively advances its objectives with respect to governing climate change by promoting renewable energy and clean development in cities worldwide. The actions performed by the Cities for Climate Protection emphasize how critical local governments are in the response to global climate change.

Participation in the Cities for Climate Protection is different than other transnational networks, in which the CCP is not an exclusive organization and they “seek to recruit as many members as possible.”[2] Once a program member, the CCP network is committed to assisting in the reduction of local emissions through, “a series of five milestones of progress, involving conducting an emissions inventory, setting an emissions reduction target, formulating an action plan, implementing policies, and monitoring progress.”[3] The ICLEI’s offers assistance for cities to pursue these five milestones. The Cities for Climate Protection program, as a transnational governance network, is both beneficial at local and international levels. Cities that are members of the program have access to financial resources, interact in a support network compromised of international cities, and have the ability to voice their environmental concerns. The CCP Australia, for example, has access to national funding specifically set aside for the program. Success has been seen through the CCP Australia resulting in, “saving 4.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2007/8 and a total of 18 million tonnes since the program started.”[4]

The campaign of the CCP focuses on a collective effort made by cities, which creates a more effective route rather than having cities competing with each other. The CCP encourages membership by focusing on appealing strategies such as cost reductions. The U.S. city of Denver, Colorado has its own success with the CCP, “Denver’s municipal government invested $1.6 million into installing light-emitting diodes into all red traffic lights and ‘don’t walk’ signs across the city. The LEDs, having longer life spans and lower energy requirements, led to a $5million savings in energy use and maintenance for the city.”[5]The success of the CCP shows that tackling the issues of global climate change can be extremely productive even at a local level.

Growth of the CCP has also led to a global effort against climate change. “Today the CCP has 674 members responsible for 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.”[6] Teamwork seems to be a recurring theme in governance for global climate change. The CCP and other transnational networks can collectively contribute to mitigation of global climate change. The ICLEI has set up a network compromised of strong, diverse local organizations, which together will improve communities around the world and work together against the larger threat of climate change.

 

 

 

[1]Bulkeley, Harriet, and Peter Newell. Governing Climate Change. London: Routledge, 2010. 55, Print

[2] Ibid,68.

[3] Ibid, 62.

[4] Bulkeley, Harriet, and Peter Newell. Governing Climate Change. London: Routledge, 2010. 67, Print

[5]Fay, Chris. “Think Locally, Act Globally: Lessons to Learn from the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign.” Innovations: A Journal of Politics 7 (2007): 1-12. Web.

[6] Ibid.

James Balog Presents Ice: COOLER than expected

One of my initial reactions to watching James Balog’s Chasing Ice was that I didn’t know ice could be photographed in such a magical way. My second reaction was holy $#!% this is really happening at such an astonishing rate. This documentary is different than other climate change related films I have seen. Many climate change documentaries are very scientific and factual which doesn’t address the “average” moviegoer. Balog’s documentary is very relatable to the average student, citizen, grandmother, whoever. His film is attractive in the way that it captures incredible visuals in a time lapse of what is happening at this very moment. People tend to only believe what they can see and James Balog is able to express climate change occurring in real time through photographs of melting glaciers.

When Balog met with our class on Tuesday September 23 I felt star struck after such an intimate classroom conversation covering topics about his personal interests, family references, and what he thinks we can contribute to climate change. Later that day, I was in the library and I found myself distracted looking at his photographs on display in our library. Still in awe about how magnificent and lifelike these glaciers were portrayed by James Balog. I definitely have a different perspective about natural landscapes, like glaciers, that are disappearing from out planet, faster than we think.

James Balog successfully used his interest in photography and his passion for a cause, climate change, to spread awareness and activism. I think this is a really important message that shows no matter your background, scientist, politician, activist, or student, we can all contribute in some way to the global issue of climate change. james-balog-web

Actors pretend for a living, the rest of the population does not.

 

Tuesday morning actor Leonardo DiCaprio addressed world leaders at the UN Climate Summit. What was this product of hollywood doing in a room full of heads of states? Well, he compared his acting career of “pretending for a living” and “solving fictitious problems” to how humankind is confronting climate change, pretending it is not happening to our planet. I’m sure many of us has seen hollywood “climate-fiction” films such as The Day After Tomorrow, but we must be able to differentiate fact from hollywood’s fiction. Is getting the fictitious world of hollywood involved in the fight against climate change an effective wake up call? How do we get the people to stop pretending and face reality?

 

Read DiCaprio’s full speech here

 

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Hobbes vs. Rousseau: The State of Nature

 

Philosopher Thomas Hobbes had a pessimistic view of mankind; he argued that humans are naturally self-centered. On the other hand, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau takes a more opportunistic approach and argues that humans are innately good and it is civilization that is destructive. What does this have to do with climate change? Hobbes would say that the greedy nature of mankind drives us to deplete our natural resources. Whereas Rousseau would say that capitalism is the root of evil! So which philosopher should we take after? Will changing the greedy systems within society put an end to global warming or will other issues arise? Or do we change humankind to be less self-centered?

Climate change has a global effect regardless of which countries are contributing or emit the most greenhouse gases. Historically, changes in the environment were not of a geopolitical concern until changes in the natural weather patterns were discovered. Since then, climate change has been a topic of international politics. The consequences of climate change are going to affect each region of the world differently. When these issues arise there becomes a more important question of who takes responsibility, who pays for action, and who bears the cost all without furthering inequalities between nations. Climate change has the ability to widen the inequality gap between nations, especially developing nations who are the most susceptible to the adverse effects of global warming. Action on climate change has mostly been focused on the industrialized world, for example the UNFCCC states developed countries should take initiative towards climate change, but should developing countries be allowed to continue to emit greenhouse gases in order to gain a higher socioeconomic status?

As a globe, we share the environment therefore there should be a global effort at cooperation. There are different approaches to international regime such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Realism is driven by self-interest and power, comparably a Thomas Hobbes perspective. According to Dr. Russell Bova, “For realists, the expectation that global environmental crisis will lead to cooperative responses is both naïve and contrary to the record of human history.” (Bova 249-250) The liberalist approach involved a more mutual understanding of sharing the costs and interests, advocated by Rousseau. Constructivism is a knowledge-based approach that analyzes climate change at a social level. If we take the liberalist approach then we must question societal structures that create this constant competition for power and wealth. In a world without forces of competition we could reduce our emissions and potentially live in a better world. In order to fight against climate change, we, as a global community, must take a more selfless approach and start making sacrifices because we are in this  together. Dealing with global climate change is essentially a problem of cooperation and solving issues of interest and power. We must all be allies and prevent global warming from turning into world war III.      iStock_000019699158XSmall

Climate change or no climate change? That is the question.

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There is a group of people who are a climate scientist’s worst enemy: Climate Change Deniers. But what happens when the climate scientists become the deniers? Merchants of Doubt tells that story. A group of scientists effectively misled the public and denied scientific truths by using their deep ties in politics. The denial of climate change is similar to the denial of tobacco smoking linked to lung cancer. Merchants of Doubt shows that people will believe what they want to believe despite any scientific evidence.

Tobacco Smoking and Global Warming have a lot more in common than you would think; they are both intertwined with the global economy and both the smoke from tobacco and the manufacturing of tobacco are detrimental to the environment. Global warming is intertwined with global politics and the global market. Energy usage, a main environmental issue, is what keeps the economy going.

Scientists concluded evidence that tobacco smoking can cause lung cancer, which sent the tobacco industry into a panic. In fear they would lose profits from the new evidence released about the negative health effects of tobacco smoking, they hired a group of scientists to disprove these facts. The tobacco industry used science to manipulate consumers. This manipulation of science only delays the progress of climate change mitigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does History Repeat Itself?

In The Discovery of Global Warming, Weart describes a timeline of events and achievements surrounding the study of the Earth’s climate. While the first publication of global warming from human emissions of carbon dioxide was documented in 1896, a century later and it seems as if the global understandings of climate change has been entirely too gradual for the last hundred years. Interestingly, Weart relates the discoveries of global climate change to historic events. Research of climate change was able to advance with technologies from World War II and the Cold War. Scientists learned to track the movements of carbon with radiocarbon dating. The onset of the Cold War also brought a global cooperation and interest in the sciences. The establishment of the United Nations was one method of a forming a global alliance.

Throughout the discovery of global warming, there have been similar patterns of a lack of funding for research efforts and a very nonchalant approach to a problem that seemed so distant. While this book does not cover the most recent years of the twenty-first century, I like to stay optimistic. In more recent years it seems there has been a more committed effort towards being green; plastic bags have been banned in various cities, organic agriculture is on the rise, and there have been more energy efficient cars and products on the market. I think my generation is more committed to conserving our natural resources and reversing climate change than previous.

I’ve lived in the New York/New Jersey area my entire life and even I have noticed peculiar weather instances. The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy devastated the areas surrounding my hometown. My community usually does not have to prepare for strong storms. The rising sea level and increase in surface temperatures can be to blame for the intensity of the storm. Due to climate change and shifting weather patterns, different areas are becoming susceptible to more forceful storms. If this is not a wake up call, then it should be used as a model.APTOPIX-Superstorm-Sa_Carr15

Recipe For Climate Change

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Upon hearing the phrase “climate change” most people would then associate it with the emissions from gas-guzzling Hummers. What they don’t realize is whether you drive a Hummer, a Prius, or ride a bike, as humans we are all contributing to climate change.. three times a day actually, starting with breakfast, lunch, and dinner (dessert counts too!) While the transportation sector might be thought as being the most detrimental to climate change, in reality it is the food sector that is the most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming. In fact, livestock alone contributes to more GHG emissions than the worlds TOTAL transportation emissions. People have heard the whole “reduce, reuse, recycle” as a common guide to solving the climate crisis, however they are unaware of another way to lessen climate change.. starting right from our dinner plates. Greenhouse gasses are involved in every step of the food sector: production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste– we are all guilty of that! With the entire process of food production being hidden from the modern eater it is no wonder why it is commonly forgotten to be seen as a HUGE contributor to global warming. In her book, Diet For A Hot Planet, Anna Lappe maps out a recipe for change in seven principles to follow in order to have a climate-friendly diet. 1. Eat Real/Whole Foods 2. Fill your plate with plants 3. Go Organic 4. Go Local 5. Eliminate your food waste 6. Consider packaging 7. DIY Food. This seems like an easy enough recipe to follow, and it certainly is beneficial to not only the planet’s health but our individual health as well, so why hasn’t this recipe for change caught on by all producers and consumers?