Global Warming: 2017 and Beyond

As human society advances in its technological complexity, the global ecosystem pays the price. The year 2017, though cooler by a tiny margin than 2016, points to a clear trend towards a warmer planet Earth. In its first half, the average global temperature soars to 0.94 degrees Celsius above the 1950-80 average, and, unlike 2016, reached this temperature without El Niño (a climatic event that raises the surface temperature temporarily through warm ocean currents). An increment of over 1.5 degrees Celsius in global temperature, as decided on the Paris Climate Agreement, could incur irreversible damages to ecosystems.

The effects of global warming is becoming more and more tangible. Antarctica shrunk by 154,000 square miles more than the “previous record low” of 1986. The global average sea level rose by over seven inches since 1900 and is predicted to continue to rise. Rainfall throughout the world has increased in frequency, and heat waves are expected to more frequently cause forest fires and droughts.

However, under the Trump administration, the U.S. has requested to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. The president announced his decision in June. In his opinion, following the agreement would have cost America trillions of dollars, killed jobs, and hindered the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries. “The United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security,” the State Department said in a press release. Although it is possible there would be a revitalized economy in the short term, Trump’s decision might result in several negative consequences. True, the Paris Climate Agreement would not break down with America’s exit, but the developing countries, not receiving sufficient funds to carry out environment-friendly projects, would have difficulties in the fight against global warming. Without resources and any form of cooperation, to control the warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius might not be viable.

There are some who claim EU and China are the new potential leaders of environmental protection, but that depends whether their financial supply would match that of America in the foreseeable future.


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