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What is Being Done to Stop Climate Change?

By: Kelly Fenn - Updated: 26 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
Climate Change Environment Green Carbon

In recent years, the issue of climate change - and what we can do to prevent further changes to the planet's natural eco-systems - has taken centre stage on the world political agenda. There's been plenty of talk, but what is actually being done to stop climate change?

From the Kyoto treaty to smaller commitments people are making to do their bit for the environment, here we set out what is being done to help prevent further damage to the environment, and the big challenges shaping the debate.

The Kyoto Treaty & International Summits

Climate change is a global issue, and so too has been the international move to support a long lasting solution to tackle the problems. A number of international summits - including the Earth summit in Rio and more recently Kyoto - have taken place in recent years to debate the principal environmental concerns and set out an agenda to help prevent further eco depreciation.

Kyoto has been one of the most influential summits to date, as it sets out a binding protocol for reducing carbon emissions. For countries in the EU, this involves a commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 12.5% by 2012. While the protocol is binding, it isn't compulsory for countries to actually sign up, and, notably, several large counties including the US haven't committed to signing up to the scheme as yet, despite growing international pressure.

The Big Ask

In the UK, Friends of the Earth have been campaigning since 2003 for a climate change law that would make it a legal requirement for the government to cut the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by three per cent year on year. So far, 200,000 people have registered their support for the campaign by contacting their MP on the matter. As a result, a climate change bill was tabled in 2007 as a long-term commitment to tackling climate change.

The Government's Climate Change Bill

The climate change bill sets out the framework for the UK's long-term policy on climate change and in particular CO2 emissions. The government has agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 60% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), a previous commitment that will now become legally binding. The bill also proposes an independent committee on climate change to be established that would monitor and give advice on how to achieve these emissions targets.

This committee would be comprised of industry experts in science, energy and technology. Finally, the bill sets out new powers to enable future governments to implement stricter emissions policies going forward. The bill is yet to pass into law, but is expected to do so during 2008.

New Challenges For Combating Climate Change

As we become increasingly aware of climate change - particularly when its effects begin to affect us directly more than ever - new challenges continue to shape and complicate the debate.

Developing economies: countries such as India and China are experiencing unprecedented levels of growth in their economies, spearheaded by commerce and industrialisation. Levels of CO2 emissions have risen here accordingly, and continue to rise, thus cancelling out other nations' attempts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Reluctance of the US: The single-largest carbon emitter, the United States, has been less than enthusiastic to make a lasting commitment to help tackle climate change. Most recently, a UN conference in Bali reached a deadlock after the US refused to support a follow-up deal to Kyoto, which would have seen countries have to reduce carbon emissions by up to 40% by 2020.

Changing people's outlooks: there is still a lot we can be doing on an individual basis to help combat the effects of climate change. A small change individually equates to a large-scale change collectively, so turning around some of our bad habits around can make a lasting difference.

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@Samuel Sklar - if you are very passionate, studying environmentalism and finding a job that helps you convey the message may help. It's a tough call to do it single-handedly, but you could help by joining a team. There are many niche jobs and every little helps.
TomB - 27-Jul-18 @ 10:50 AM
I have a lot of anxiety about global warming. And i'm afraid that trump isn't doing anything to help it. So, what can I do to help reduce the amount of Global Warming. What advice do you have for me, because I really really don't want the earth to be destroyed and the point of no return. I want people to realize that this is a real issue. What do I do to convince people that this is a big issue that needs to be solved?
Samuel Sklar - 26-Jul-18 @ 12:56 AM
Climate changes is in the atmosphere
Albertthe III - 20-Mar-18 @ 1:51 AM
Climate change doesn't exist you properly think the earth is round to it is clearly a cube get your facts right I am clearly smarter. I AM A GOD
Lies - 13-Mar-18 @ 5:18 PM
water isnt wet, earth isnt round
mike hawk - 13-Mar-18 @ 5:15 PM
what has been done in the past and what is being done now to stop climate change aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
global warming is he - 13-Mar-18 @ 4:24 PM
what is done by individuals to reduce global warming????
lanaxx9 - 26-Nov-17 @ 5:46 AM
The thing is right, climate change in straya is useless cos its always hot as hell down here anyway but you northern hemisphere citizens should probably something aye
brando_b - 19-Sep-17 @ 2:45 AM
this aint real none of it is we fine dooods i can gerranteee it my boiiis lets just calm down and kill tom robinson cause he guilty af
miss mayella ewell - 7-Jun-17 @ 2:33 PM
so i'm a folk from alabama and i have er a solution for da global thingy. everyone just, vote for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii baazza
bobby - 7-Jun-17 @ 2:29 PM
YAHOO - 26-Apr-17 @ 3:16 PM
I understand that the worldwide nations, the UN and scientists are saying global warming is real and is going to keep getting worse, but why are we just sitting back, extending pipelines, and extracting oil when we KNOW its bad.The nations aren't doing ANYTHING to combat global warming, they're just saying that we need to.It's like saying you're going to go to a party and just snake them and not go.I hope that some people like myself are attempting to do something about this.There is no STOPPING global warming, because it is scientifically proven that the Earth naturally warms and cools, which is why ice ages happen, but we are rapidly increasing the speed of global warming and if we do not try to do anything to slow this process down, the temperature of the Earth will continue to increase.This will increase precipitation and cause more frequent and much more stronger rainfall activities.I hope someone takes this seriously, as we all should care about the Earth.BTW it doesn't matter your age.I'm 15 and trying to make a difference in the world.
luke - 8-Apr-17 @ 7:14 PM
@yeet what do you think the problem is with oil and coal? when you extract it and burn it, it produces CO2.CO2 is literally the biggest reason why climate change is happening.
luke - 8-Apr-17 @ 7:04 PM
Global warming does exist. Look at the changes in the climate, the climate is becoming much more warm. Even our harmattans aren't as cold as they used to be
Joken - 31-Jan-17 @ 11:22 PM
I think rising temperatures are fake because of co2 but what I think is oil and coal is still bad due to oil spills and mining which cause fish and reefs to die. And deforestation is bad because trees regulate the climate and water and give medicine and oxygen and they are habitats. And the oceans dying due to over fishing and oil spills and mining is the problem and not rising temperatures.So we should focus on replanting trees. making it illegal to fish in most parts and making it illegal to mine for coal and oil. Also solar panels and green energy is good to.
Yeet - 23-Jan-17 @ 2:47 AM
@Cthulhu - Some polar bear numbers are stable, some seem to be increasing, and others are decreasing. There is not as much hunting of them anymore and there is also a big gap in data. Just because they are surviving it doesn't mean there isn't global warming, other factors have to be considered too. Jaime.
JBR00 - 29-Nov-16 @ 12:47 PM
People are so stupid. Global warming doesn't exist. Look at the ice caps and polar bear numbers. The government spends 1.5 trillion dollars a year on fixing an imaginary problem. This is the biggest scam in history.
Cthulhu - 29-Nov-16 @ 3:44 AM
So the big problem is not that we don't know how to stop the climate changes, but that we don't do anything about it. Are people to blind to see, how their ways of living is causing the damages? Or is it just because we don't care what is going to happen to the Earth in 100 years from now? It doesn't matter how much we think about it, but it matters what we do about it. Thank you for your time.
Just trying to under - 7-Nov-16 @ 5:24 PM
Ive seen so many articles saying that we're doomed and we have no chance at slowing down global warming but I don't Believe that's true, there are things we can do to help slow down global warming. I've been freaking out about this for a long time now and I think it's time we did something about it!! Don't put it off until next year!! We need to do something now. Even if it's just a small community, that community will grow and make something beautiful happen!!
Lydxxia - 4-Jun-16 @ 5:48 AM
Ok so what I don't get is how so many world leaders have such big plans as how to deal with our environmental issues why is nothing being done. If I as a 13 year old can see how wrong all this is surely these people can see as well. Honestly I think if they are making big plans they shouldn't announce them if they don't plan on seeing them through.
Em - 3-Jun-16 @ 7:21 PM
What talks and meeting have the government made to stop this because they don't relise that if it keeps on going we will die .They are focusing to much on running the world then saving the world.
hazzaboomboom - 24-May-16 @ 3:09 AM
@Help earth - some people as individuals are greedy and will continue to do the things they do without concern for others and those more giving will help try to do as much as they can to save the planet. The question is who will win out over us as collective.
BenJe88 - 20-May-16 @ 10:42 AM
Why are people so stupid. Whole countries are sitting here watching earth die because of us but no one will stop it. If things keep going like this we might as well put a gun to our heads and pull the trigger
Help earth - 19-May-16 @ 3:36 AM
Global warming is a big problem in the world and needs to be fixed ASAP because if we don't do some thing soon we won't realise until it is to late
the boss - 15-May-16 @ 11:10 PM
joejoe - Your Question:
I have one question? why is nobody doing nothing about our climate we need to take action.because the arctic ice shelf is melting and i've been studying the climate for about 3 weeks, and things arent looking to shabby for the world, if the world wants to stay how it is please cut the Co2 emissions, its easy or make something like white panels that deflect UV rays from the sun. or turn power off for one day out of 2 weeks perhaps. like I walk outside and I feel the humidity and the hot its global and polluting the air needs to stop. its like a suffocating feeling on ur skin and its all to blame because of global warming.

Our Response:
Many thanks for your interesting comments. Renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal and building cleaner energy system are being put in place. However, it is agreed none of this is being done quickly of efficiently enough to currently make a significant difference, nor reverse the process.
PreventClimateChange - 13-May-16 @ 12:01 PM
i have one question? why is nobody doing nothing about our climate we need to take action.because the arctic ice shelf is melting and i've been studying the climate for about 3 weeks, and things arent looking to shabby for the world, if the world wants to stay how it is please cut the Co2 emissions, its easy or make something like white panels that deflect UV rays from the sun. or turn power off for one day out of 2 weeks perhaps. like i walk outside and i feel the humidity and the hot its global and polluting the air needs to stop. its like a suffocating feeling on ur skin and its all to blame because of global warming.
joejoe - 12-May-16 @ 3:01 PM
hey i am a student and i was wondering if anyone know if there are any new restrictions on CO2 for the USA thxs for your help anyone
Ian - 22-Apr-16 @ 1:57 AM
When people talk about global warming they say that we can't do anything about it, but in truth we can do as much as we want to. If we get enough people we can help get the government to help us talk to the other governments of the world and see what the world is willing to do to stop global warming. All it takes to build a nest is one ant to start working and then others will join in.
Roy - 19-Apr-16 @ 6:40 PM
Climate change is an inevitable thing but we cannot just stand there and watch the earth burn around us. Many may argue that global warming is a natural phenomenon but with humans, they bring forward the date of when the earth will end forward by centuries. i am a human but i am disgraced to see so many people just thinking that climate change is not his or her problem. well it is everyone's problem. People it is time to make a change once and for all. this is coming from a 10 year old boy. i really hope that we will get to live on this planet for as long as it was originally planned and longer. remember that change starts with one goal, one plan and one action.
Hello first time doi - 15-Apr-16 @ 3:27 PM
woh - Your Question:
To combat climate change, it would be helpful to become vegetarian or vegan. Global warming is caused by methane from over populated cows (due to businesses force breeding). Every single minute a football field of the amazon forest gets taken down for cow farms and agricultural reasons. Factories, etc. or not the reasons why theres global warming (it does affect it though).

Our Response:
Many thanks for your interesting comments.
PreventClimateChange - 26-Feb-16 @ 2:30 PM
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