The United Nations released a report last Monday, where the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that there is only 12 years left to maintain the global temperature at 1.5 Celsius. Even half of a degree can mean that the chance of droughts, floods, fires and extreme temperatures can affect the lives of people all over the world.

For those who may not be environmentally knowledgeable, there is a distinct difference between global warming and climate change. Climate change is described by NASA as when an area’s weather is changed. Global warming is explained by NASA as when the Earth’s global temperature is being raised dangerously high.

Global warming has been forewarned by scientists decades before. Thirty years ago, a former NASA scientist named James Hansen informed the Senate Energy Committee that global warming was going to be an issue. While not predicting the exact temperature drop, he made notes that are extremely relevant today. The Earth has gotten warmer, and this warmth can be derived from the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is good; it is how the Earth is warmed by the sun. But we are facing the enhanced greenhouse effect, which is when humans burn fossil fuels for purposes like oils and agriculture, and the energy emitted on the Earth is dangerously high.

According to Hansen, 1988 should have been the hottest year. That record was broken by 1990, 1998, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Countries united to fix this and the Paris Accords is proof. However, in the United States, the president has taken down programs raising awareness of climate change, retracting the country from the Paris Accords, and critics of Hansen claim that because his estimated temperature doesn’t match the current temperature, climate change is not real.

With the announcement from the UN, climate change is now a topic that was discussed for a few days, but then ignored once more.

In a well-meaning matter, news outlets are trying to provide tips on how to lessen one’s individual impact on the world. In a tweet, CNN reportedly said “Scared by that new report on climate change? Here’s what you can do to help: eat less meat (about 30%), swap your car or plane ride for a bus or train, and use a smart thermostat in your home”

It brought fire with a user commenting on how “100 corporations are responsible for 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions and presenting the problem as a moral failing on the part of individuals without noting this fact is journalistic malpractice.”

Other users agreed with this user’s stance. It perpetuates the wrong concept that these simple tasks all combined together could end climate change, when these acts individually don’t specifically lessen the greenhouse effect.

Another media outlet is trying to provide information to increase the importance of global warming. New York Post interviewed a professor who claims that when the extreme heat weathers away the Earth old bacteria like the Black Plague could crop up again. 

Although very informational, this also uses tactics of emotional manipulation and persuasion to make people more interested in this issue.

People need to be educated on this issue, understand the consequences of actions society does, and want to better the situation. No one wants to hear that there is twelve years left of treating this planet in a clean and recyclable manner. It starts at the top. It starts with who your political leaders are and how they want to work with others to better the environment. Communicate with them, and hopefully they too will unite with others. This is not an individual problem that can be solved by one person, but by nations who connect over this and try to do better. The world is dying, and although it was brought upon by us, maybe its healing can be brought upon by us, too.

Photo: Getty Images

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