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This report tackles the problem of climate change and the recent debates concerning the issue where the world's political leaders after long sessions of discussions finally agreed on what has come to be known as the 'Copenhagen Accord'. The author defines climate change and details how this phenomenon has developed from a fascination of the scientific community to that of political leaders and the change from a scientific dimension to a political issue. In this report, the author has also taken the United States as a case study and has detailed the measures that country has taken in order to combat climate change.
The issue of climate change has taken the world by storm in the recent past. For a long time, scientists have been researching on this phenomenon but it is interesting to note how climate change has taken another course to no longer be just a scientific issue but also a political one. Climate change has become such a controversial issue that even agreeing on a unanimous definition of the term has not been possible. From the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) definition, climate change is a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. A more general definition says that it is the change in climate which is characterized by the increment of carbon dioxide either due to human activity or natural change (Stephen, 11 - 21). Climate change could be a natural occurrence resulting changes in the energy of the sun or the Earth's orbital cycle. It could also occur due to persistent anthropogenic forcing, for example changes in the use of land, emission of greenhouse gases, increment of sulfate aerosols, or releasing of black carbon into the atmosphere
It is generally agreed that the increase of carbon dioxide emissions which has been increasing since the time of industrial revolution is the main cause of climate change. However there are those who still do not buy the idea of climate change despite all the evidence that the scientists put forward (Stephen, 11 - 21). Even amongst the scientist themselves, there is disharmony with some scientists disassociating themselves with the findings of their peers and asserting that those conclusions are mistaken. Some scientists still maintain that the changes that have occurred are purely natural and human activity has got nothing to do with it. These contradictory scientific views taken to politicians who are the makers and implementers of policy fans debates about climate change while very little is achieved in spite of the annual conferences (Adler, 230).
In December 2009, the United Nations chief Ban Ki Moon entreated global leaders to conclude a deal on climate at the climate change talks in Copenhagen in the 15th conference which was preceded by several months where negotiations were held led by industrial, the private sector and communities to try and persuade world leaders to make an urgent decision to combat the climate change monster. The talks were not in vain as they culminated in the
Copenhagen Accord. Several developed and developing countries outlined their intentions and committed themselves to check carbon emissions and made a pledge to support technology transfer. The leaders also acknowledged that forest systems had to be properly managed as forests are recognized as a means of combating climate change. The Copenhagen conference achieved some of the things UNFCCC had set out to achieve. These included the successful negotiations that brought the decisions that were set to implements rapid action on climate change to a conclusive completion, raised a global response to the problem, a political consensus on long term plans to combat climate change and also raising of the climate change issue to a priority level of government (Adler, 230).
In conclusion, the recent debates on the issue of climate change might at face value appear to have achieved something as there is now in place an accord binding world political leaders to commit their governments to tackle climate change. However, the accord will only have achieved this noble cause if the leaders are truly committed and strive to put in place the measures they have committed themselves to through partnerships and different proactive approaches to the problem.