On Stopping Climate Catastrophe, We Can All be Change Agents


Trump. With or without him we can do our part. Photo– Flickr

Are you one of those people crying partisan crocodile tears because President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement? Instead of waiting for the politicos to take action, isn’t it time Black friends of the earth take basic matters into their own hands

Whether you are a believer, or not, the climate is changing, and black communities are on the front lines. From the New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward to the Rockaways in New York City and San Francisco’s East Bay, African Americans are bearing climate impacts. Blacks contribute much less to the problem than others—in fact, our households emit 20 percent less greenhouse gases than do Whites.

To maintain a viable environment for human civilization on earth is a task that calls all of us to action. Even in the era of Trump, each of us has to do our part toward finding common ground with others of our ideological perspective to address global warming. The Paris Agreement is within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaption and finance starting in year 2020.

Language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference in Paris and adopted on 12 December 2015. As of June 2017, 195 members have signed the agreement, 148 have ratified it. In the Paris Agreement, each country determines its own contribution to mitigate global warming.

Effective June 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement and seek a new deal. That was met with resistance, in a joint statement, France, Germany and Italy rejected Trump’s call to reopen climate talks. According to a National Economic Research Associates study, the agreement imposed a goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 30 percent over a decade.

We can’t stand on the sidelines and hope our political team wins the debate. The 80 percent reduction in U.S. emissions that will be needed to lead international actions to curb climate change won’t come cheaply. If present trends continue, the total cost of global warming will be as high as 3.6 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP). Global damage from hurricanes, real estate losses, and energy and water costs will come with a price tag of almost $1.9 trillion annually by 2100.

You can’t ignore that there’s a distinct human fingerprint on climate change. The world needs human actions to limit the magnitude or rate of long-term climate change. Climate change mitigation involves reductions in human emissions of greenhouse gases which can be achieved by increasing cleaner air through reforestation. Mitigation policies can substantially reduce the risks associated with human-induced global warming. In 2010, Parties to the UNFCCC agreed future global warming be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F).

What steps are you personally taking to save the earth? Humans currently emit 30 billion tones of CO2 into the atmosphere yearly. The main driver of global warming is raising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel burning.

To save the earth: 1.­ Pay attention to how you use water and: fix leaky toilets. Wash clothes in cold water. 2. Leave cars at home. Or, combine errands in one trip. 3. Walk or ride your bike everywhere you can. If you can’t walk or bike, use mass transit or carpool. 4. Help reduce pollution just by recycling that puts that soda can in a different bin. 5. Reduce amount of solid waste you produce toward taking up less landfill space. 6. Compost and make natural fertilizer. 6. Donate. Take stuff the family no longer uses to a Goodwill or Salvation Army.

7. Recycle. Locate a trash service that offers glass, plastic, and/or aluminum recycling. 8. Curb paper products use that place serious burden on landfills. 9. Grow a garden. 10. Commit to self-improvement. The challenge lies in all of us doing the little things on a consistent basis and actually changing the world – one little step at a time.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *