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Top-down or bottom-up: How do we combat climate change?

By Aaron Purba

Where do we look for the solution of climate change; inwards or upwards?

The best solutions to the climate emergency have been hotly contested over the last couple of decades, in various summits, conferences and events have taken place across the globe. But are governments and multinational organisations using them effectively?

Perhaps, there are ways to combat climate change; certain things we can do, use and apply to start or continue moving in the right direction. Without a doubt, people in power – governments, politicians, businesspeople – have a key role to play when it comes to deciding what to do, solely because they have one especially important entity: money. The allocation of money is undoubtedly indispensable when it comes to finding mechanisms to counteract current climate issues, but what have the people in power suggested that we do? 

For starters, eat less meat. The production process, how meat gets onto the shelves, involves the mass pollution of carbon dioxide, with billions of tonnes entering the atmosphere, which is said to be rapidly accelerating global warming. On top of this, driving less can help significantly. Pollution from vehicles, especially larger vehicles such as HGVs, releases up to 1.5 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. Lastly, to help support the movement, get involved in your local community.  Showing your support to local groups, audiences and communities can help make a change, whether it  be little or large. 

But unfortunately, real change comes from the top-down. COP28, which (suitably) took place in the billion-pound oil production district of Dubai, was a mixed success. One positive aspect seen in last year’s conference was that politicians finally addressed the elephant in the room: fossil fuels. The final outcome to this issue has been outlined in an ambitious target to achieve net-zero by 2050. A further target established from the global conference was countries pledging to invest in carbon reduction technologies. In depth analysis carried out by Maxine Joselow in The Washington Post has revealed that the world is already on track to achieving its  renewable energy expansion goals, and that should it remain at its current level of growth – 17%  annually – the goal will be reached by 2030.

Furthermore, a fund was created by wealthier nations for  developing nations affected by climate change. The biggest contributors to this fund were the USA, the UAE and the EU. This fund aims to support countries who struggle to commit finances towards  climate improvement in their respective states. 

Despite all of these resolutions being set, it appeared particularly obvious that the 1.5-degree Paris Agreement – set back in 2015 – remains pretty much unachievable. COP28 highlighted to all politicians and conference members that we are incredibly far off track towards this goal. It will take a lot of work and time to counteract this lack of progression. 

Change is something that may not come easily, but with support from people bonded by one passion, their ideas can be heard from those in power and force governments to take action.


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