News / Americas

UN Climate Change Conference, Activists Confront Global Warming

People sit in an exhibit on climate change during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Dec. 1, 2010
People sit in an exhibit on climate change during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Dec. 1, 2010

Multimedia

Global warming and how human activity contributes to it are front and center here.

Representatives from more than 190 nations are attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in the Mexican resort of Cancun. They're trying to reach accords on a number of issues but are leaving a comprehensive, legally binding agreement for next year. Environmental activists from non-governmental organizations also are there, pushing for action to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Many believe there is little time to lose.

As conference  delegates meet elsewhere, author Bill McKibben makes the rounds in the hotel lobbies, talking about the need for action now. In his best-selling book"EAARTH," McKibben argues that an eight-tenths-of-one-percent rise in temperature already has changed the planet irreversibly and that catastrophe awaits if it goes much higher.

"The arctic is melting quickly, Russia caught on fire this summer, Pakistan drowned (in floods), the ocean is 30 percent more acid than it used to be," said McKibben. "We are in tough shape with less than a degree of temperature increase."

McKibben said the threat is confirmed, continually, by scientific data, yet world leaders have yet to produce an effective plan to meet the challenge. "The scientific method has worked pretty well. The political method has not worked at all."

While delegates debate possible agreements, however, many people around the world, on their own, have developed plans to reduce emissions. Even private companies are contributing ideas.

Google is here with a large version of Google Earth that allows people to visit various parts of the world to check on the effects of climate change. Google representative Raleigh Seamster said a tribe in Brazil put its forest online to gain international support. "Now that these partners have their forest visualized on Google Earth, they can use this to create a Google Earth tour that explains why the forest is important," said Seamster. "They can show it to people, they can demo it to decision makers and they can also create YouTube videos."

The Internet also was key in drawing hundreds of young people from around the world to join a coalition called Youngo. They keep in touch by email and social media, and they came here to push for action.

Jeremy Osborn from New York City said his generation sees what needs to be done to curb climate change. "Young people are probably making those connections more easily because they have been brought up with the issue and with the science, much more so than older generations, but everyone is beginning to get on board""

One Youngo member who came here is Logaswari from Singapore. She said she connected with other young activists online and is now here with them, meeting with delegates and decision makers. "Over here, you are able to talk to the person. You get to meet everybody and you can work in a more relaxed manner because you can go out for coffee. It is a lot more efficient, really."

These young people hope their activism eventually will bring about change that could prevent the worst consequences of global warming.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Judge Orders Argentina, Creditors to Reach Deal

Lawyers for investors who declined to restructure bonds after country defaulted on about $100 billion in 2002 are warned that time is running out to reach a deal, avert fresh default
More

Trial Imminent for Detained Venezuelan Protest Leader Lopez

Lopez's wife, Lilian Tintori, says outside pressure needed on Venezuelan president to move case forward
More

Sex Workers Seek HIV Prevention

The Lancet publishes new series on HIV
More

Texas Gov. Perry Orders State National Guard to Border

Governor says he took extraordinary measure to help secure the border, his critics say it is a political stunt
More

Cuba Hopes for More Investment as Chinese President Arrives

Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day visit to Cuba on Monday evening
More

Video Shunned by Family, Haitian Orphan Finds Supportive Home

'We deal with [HIV] stigma by ... making life as normal for kids as possible'
More