By Alessandra Peia, Chiara Bonomo, Lorenzo Lucantoni, Marianna Ditria, Eugenia Puglisi, Miyabi Rosadi, Sara Tene, Melisa Apostol, Ludovica Cucca, Noemi Raczyla, Nadir Saraceni, Stella Cacciarella, Alessia Sorbelli, Romana De Giovanni, Sara Guidoni, Alex Santu, Ilaria Pinna, Chiara Murazzo, Enrico D’Amico, Helena Brigantino / FOCUS GROUPS 4, 5
We often believe that climate change is something that will not affect our daily lives, but change is already occurring. We decided to write this article because we are really interested in this topic and wanted to share this information with you.
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WHAT ARE COUNTRIES DOING TO HELP THE PLANET?
In 2016, nearly 200 countries signed the Paris Agreement, which has set specific targets, aiming at preventing global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius this century. Despite such promises, many countries are still not on track. Some of the globe’s biggest emitters have either left or not yet ratified the agreement. So, let us take a look at how different countries are fighting the climate crisis and are being affected by it.
As a member of the European Union, Italy has signed and is following the guidelines set by the Paris Agreement. Because of this international accord, important measures have been adopted, such as reducing black carbon emissions from the transport sector, ecological vehicles and low impact fuels have started to be used, electrical scooters have become a trend especially in metropolises like Rome and Milan. In the past few years, there has been an increase in recycled waste and emissions from oil and gas production have been reduced significantly.
The Italian diet is significantly helpful in fighting climate change because, as is commonly known, Italians eat healthy and balanced food and consume local and seasonal vegetables and fruits, so that fewer carbon emissions are caused by food production. Italy, as many other countries, has been affected by climate change, as the temperatures have risen significantly, while glaciers and the mountain ecosystems are extinguishing; additionally, precipitations have become scarcer.
China is one of the world’s most populous countries and the largest emitter of carbon. After severely suffering because of smog emissions in 2011, the Chinese government initiated a massive national action plan, which consists in halting the growth of coal consumption, improving air quality by reducing car traffic, and helping the country to limit carbon emissions. China has also given its growing electric car manufacturing industry a boost with large subsidies. Nevertheless, emissions have been rising for the past two years, whereas they were previously stagnant or falling, according to a report by carbon brief.
Japan has already been affected by climate change. Because of rising temperatures, water evaporates faster resulting in less frequent but more violent rains; moreover, the rising level of the seas is damaging the coastal regions. Rice has lost its previous quality, fishing has been reduced, fruits and vegetables are threatened by chemicals. Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is preparing to force the industry to make great cuts in greenhouse gases. Additionally, Tokyo’s governor has decided to independently act on it and therefore to create Japan’s first emissions cap system, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emission.
Australia is one of the world’s biggest per capita greenhouse gas emitter. Climate change has been a critical issue since the beginning of the 21st century, as Australia is becoming hotter, and thus more prone to extreme heat, bushfires, and floods. Australia is one of the most affected countries by climate change. In the last years the government has settled the goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by 26-28% by 2030 and they financed hundreds of renewable energy projects. Climate change can have serious consequences on our lives.
Since the beginning of his administration, Donald Trump has done plenty in order to reverse his predecessor’s, Barack Obama, pro-environmental policies. President Trump has often pursued the interests of coal and car manufacturing industries at the expense of the environment in his pursuit of job growth. As of 2017, President Trump has also announced that the US would drop out of the Paris Agreement and its commitment to reduce emissions. In conclusion, the US is one of the biggest carbon emitters. It is in the United States that climate change is creating new and extreme weather events such as hurricanes, which are progressively getting stronger and more violent and wildfires which are happening more frequently now. Additionally, the US’s West Coast’s temperatures are increasing significantly and dangerously.