- Climate change controversy - Mitigation and stabilization - Kyoto protocol - United States policy
The topic of climate change has evoked criticism, outrage and skepticism.
There are deliberate campaigns to undermine the study of climate change by many organizations that stand to lose influence if fossil fuels or carbon emissions are stopped or limited in any way.
Some skeptics deny the existence of climate change out of fear. There are many complex debates about the topic.
Stopping and minimizing the effects of climate change require concerted efforts with international cooperation.
Rising temperatures can get to dangerous levels where human beings cannot survive. To prevent this, scientists have advocated stabilization to limit the extent of GHG in the atmosphere.
The tipping point of a 2 degrees Celsius increase could destroy life.
International conferences have been held to address GHG in the atmosphere and come up with standards and a plan of execution. In 1997, leaders of 37 countries met in Kyoto, Japan and signed the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was designed to limit GHG in the atmosphere by reducing emissions to at least 60% to stabilize.
However, this was not as effective as hoped for since the world's largest producers of GHG - the United States, India and China - did not participate. The protocol weakened further when Russia, Canada and Japan also pulled out in 2001. The Kyoto Protocol now only affects 13% of world emissions.
Additional conferences with agreements such as the Copenhagen Accord and the Durban agreement were held but remain ineffective since the world's largest economies do not participate.
The United States has not adopted any of the agreements proposed at international conferences to address climate change.
Under President Obama, the U.S. agreed to reduce GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels at the Copenhagen Accord.
Efforts have been made to adapt to climate change effects such as natural disasters and to protect buildings and people from extreme weather events. There are many options available to mitigate GHG emissions even if they have not been enacted. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing human civilization in the 21st century and the actions we take to address it will affect generations to come.