Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
change over the past seven months. The three reports present data that indicates we must
act soon to save our planet that is warming up dangerously quickly. However, it is yet to
be seen whether these reports will make any difference because individual countries will
need to act to slow down the process. If no one takes action, the reports will have been in
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the most recent climate
change assessment on Sunday. Their report revealed that if we take action now to sharply
cut the world’s greenhouse gas emission, by starting with a 40 percent reduction and
then increasing to a 70 percent reduction by mid-century we could avoid the very worst
of the climate change effects. However, if we don’t take action we could experience
horrible consequences. The head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres said, “We cannot play a waiting game where we bet
on future technological miracles to emerge and save the day.” Her department, the
UNFCCC, has been holding international summits about taking global action against
climate change since the 1990s. The next summit is scheduled to occur in Paris in 2015
and the UN is hoping that these reports will affect countries to the point that they will
be willing to discuss taking real action at the summit next year. Figueres stresses that,
“Above all, governments must strengthen and expand bold policy incentives to reduce
emissions at home and together construct a new climate change agreement in Paris next
The worst outcome of the Paris meeting would be inaction. The UN reports, written by
thousands of science, policy, and economic experts, includes existing climate research
and touts the “virtually certain” dire global impacts and the catastrophic effects for the
planet. Kelly Levin is an emissions tracking expert for the World Resources Institute
and says, “These are the most authoritative statements on climate science available…the
IPCC does not recommend policies; they lay them out for officials. But the reports play a
central role in policymaking.” We can but hope that the Paris meeting will be productive
and that world leaders will take the warnings of these reports seriously.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Animal rights groups have been trying to stop Japan’s Antarctic whaling for years by trying to physically stop ships in the ocean and lobbying for lawful action. The United Nations has fulfilled their later wish. On Monday the highest court in the U.N. ruled that Japan’s whaling efforts are not “scientific,” as they claim and therefore Tokyo must immediate stop the practice.
The International Court of Justice ruled 12-4 against Japan’s whaling practices. The court stated that Japan failed to prove that their practice of harvesting over 1,000 whales every year was for scientific purposes. The Japanese had a three-week trial to prove their case and failed to make sound arguments defending the slaughter of the wales in the Antarctic Ocean.
The investigation into Japan’s whaling practices began in 2010 when Australia lodged a complaint stating that Japan was in violation of the 1986 International Whaling Commission ban on killing whales. The Japanese tried to get around the ban by calling their killing science and painting “Research” in large, white capital letters on all the ships they used to capture and kill the majestic mammals. Since the 1986 ban there have been 14,410 whales harvested for research purposes and 95 percent of those whales were killed by Japan.
Although the U.N.’s ruling is a great victory for whales and environmental groups like Greenpeace, it only prohibits Japan from whaling in the Antarctic. They have a smaller fleet of boats that hunts in the Pacific and this whaling fleet is not affected by the U.N.’s call to halt the practice.
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