Climate change is getting worse – and China is to blame

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Policy-makers pushed for solutions at the United Nations climate talks when presented with new figures from scientists

The study of anthropogenic climate change has come a long way since the idea was first proposed in the ninteenth century, but unfortunately the environmental implications are spiraling downwards, and many despair that improvements are impossible to achieve: in a world where the US President is “not a believer” in global warming, there seems little hope.

However, some policy-makers are willing to listen. Take, for instance, those who attended the United Nations climate talks in Germany this November. Scientists from the Global Carbon Project presented their findings that global carbon emissions are likely to increase by 2% in 2017, mostly due to China’s failure to meet its goals of reducing its coal usage, leaving it as still the largest CO2 emission contributor in the world. In fact, China’s continued reliance on coal has ended the three-year period of hope that preceded 2017 where global CO2 emissions levelled out, partially due to worldwide attempts to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Politicians at the talk discussed how to implement their 2015 plans to limit overall global warming to a rise of 1.5–2 °C.

In the midst of all this, there is something we should celebrate.

In the midst of all this, there is something we should celebrate. Climate change has gone from the scientific sidelines to the tongues of policy-makers worldwide. Allowing any scientific issue to be taken into politics can lead to disagreements based on misunderstandings, but what’s remarkable is that politicians are looking for solutions to an issue whose problems will not become fully apparent until long after their terms in office. “We’re not safe yet” in the battle against climate change, as Glen-Peters of the CICERO Center for International Climate Research commented, but at least in the fight for a voice against ignorance in politics, Science is heading for a win.

“We’re not safe yet”