COP21: “If it’s not now, when?” asks Richard Branson

An article by Vinita Kinra (@VinitaKinra)

Global-Warming-3For the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, the 2015 Paris climate conference, popularly referred to as COP21, aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

France is playing a leading role in hosting one of the largest international conferences ever held in the country. Close to 50,000 participants, including 25,000 official delegates are expected to attend this seminal conference.

Al Gore, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 alongside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asked, “Do we really have to change the energy, transportation, agriculture and forestry systems in the world to shift to a low-carbon pattern? Answering his own question he said, “…Yes, because the answer is coming from nature itself.”

Poor countries attending COP21 are warning that talks would not be successful if the rich tried to limit their right to grow to protect the climate. Island nations, on the other hand, are worried that if the world warms more than 1.5°C, their homes may be lost to rising seas.

“A political moment like this may not come again,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told leaders gathered for the conference. “We have never faced such a test. But neither have we encountered such great opportunity.”

So, what is the test? Why is climate change such a big deal? Here are some disturbing facts related to global warming:Global-Warming-2

  • Increased wild fires
  • Melting glaciers
  • Rising sea level
  • Severe droughts
  • Catastrophic storms
  • Frequent avalanches
  • Drastic flooding

Here’s how we can all pitch in to save our planet by adopting these simple approaches:

  • Being energy efficient by turning off lights when not in use
  • Taking public transit to commute instead of your non-electric car
  • Flying less to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Recycling waste and helping landfills reduce the dangerous methane gas
  • Planting as many trees as possible!

Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.


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