United Nations Holds Climate Change Conference in Paris

This graph demonstrates the global temperature increase over the last two centuries.

U.S National Climate Data Center.

This graph demonstrates the global temperature increase over the last two centuries.

Claire Taylor, Contributing Writer

Climate change is currently a major issue worldwide. It’s so important that recently the United Nations initiated a Paris Climate Change Conference, where leaders from various nations have come together to discuss and debate solutions for this global issue. Taking place in the capital city of France, the conferences began November 30 and will continue until December 11.

The greenhouse gas effect is the burning of fossil fuels and the large emission of chemicals into the atmosphere which resulted. Climate change is a consequences of this.  Increases in population overtime have also contributed to climate change as more people means the use more energy. Some argue that climate change is a natural process, and although that statement is true to a certain extent, our increase in usage of technology has also accelerated climate change.

In the last century, climate change has escalated and many locations around the globe have reached historically high temperatures. If we continue burning fossil fuels at this rate, it will lead to drastic worldwide affects: sea levels will rise which will affect coastal cities and increasing global temperatures will cause precipitation rates to fluctuate. The Arctic is also predicted to become ice-free sometime in the frighteningly near future which will result in the extinctions of several species, including polar bears. Additionally, more extreme weather including heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and floods will increase in strength and occur more regularly. The only real upside of climate change is a lengthening of the growing season for crops, a result of approximately a month of frost being eliminated.

At the Paris Climate Change Conference, President Obama was one of the many world leaders to begin the talks. He discussed the urgency of creating a solution and remarked that, “the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other” and furthered his claim with, “climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time.” A twisted irony can be found in the fact that conference is occurring in Paris, France, a city that recently faced devastating terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015 leaving more than 120 people dead. Most would guess world leaders would find terrorism to be the most pressing issue and they would be coming together to discuss the tragedy and how to prevent future attacks, but that is not the case; although several other meetings about such topics have been held. It is hoped that through the discussions held in these next two weeks solutions to eliminating causes of climate change will bloom.

There have been several past attempts of trying to reform the “climate change challenge”, as the New York Times calls it, but none have been successful. Powerhouse countries, including the United States, have promised on multiple occasions to take charge and change actions that are hazardous to the environment. Although some slight reforms have been made, the talk has never become an impacting reality.

Because of these unreliable promises, Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh, a fifteen year old climate change activist, is currently suing President Obama. The fifteen year old claims that climate change will have the worst effect on his generation and he demands that the president of the United States take more intense and immediate action on this incredibly important global issue.

Climate change can and will have a more deeply devastating effect on the planet if we do not step up and change our hurtful ways. To start, we can simply try to limit our car-use and find alternative ways of travel. At Hingham High, we demonstrate caring actions towards our planet by recycling and the very active Green Team which educates us on our global effect.

As the Paris meetings continue during these next few weeks, think about what you can do to prevent the devastation of climate change and spread the word about saving the planet.


To learn more about the Paris Climate Change Conference: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en/climate-generations-areas-official-opening