A Gentle Push: The Role Of Policymakers In Confronting Global Climate Change

Submitted By Frank-Han
Words: 2197
Pages: 9

Julia Wu
Global Environmental Change
November 4, 2013

A Referee, a Gentle Push: The Role of Policymakers in Confronting Global Climate Change As climate change is spotted, scrutinized, and addressed, the terms “policy” and “international diplomacy” have thus become essential. With the implications of climate change being ever more noticeable, the government serves as a potential propeller of awareness and decision-making. In order to address the role of policymakers on the issues at hand from an international perspective, this paper aims to observe some current and past diplomatic approaches adopted by policymakers, to then formulate potential changes or improvements in the manner through which governments and the population approach pertinent issues. The following research will conduct an analysis of the collaboration between policymakers and scientists, the potential private agendas of certain political acts, as well as the government’s role of assuring global security through the process. Finally, the conclusion proposes a moderate level of government regulation, followed by increased government facilitation and flexibility in the process of determining laws. The importance of policies that encourage keen action from the members of the global community will also be stressed. When measures aimed at climate change are drafted, it is imperative that policymakers and scientists—with varying opinions and knowledge backgrounds—cooperate to reach straightforward and viable plans. Currently, much debate revolves around the predominance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the body itself as well as the professionals attached to it are particularly concerned about broadcasting the dangers of man-made climate change. While the IPCC is a powerful coalition of policymakers and scientists who actively address the climate issue, there is also room for much controversy and skepticism when their voice stands out among that of many others. Without a diverse dialogue between lawmakers and various scientists, there is also less space for immediate, achievable, and desirable action. The IPCC publishes its findings in technical reports as well as summaries for policymakers. In these papers, alarming evidence of rising sea levels and greenhouse gas emissions are presented in relation to human activities. In the most recently published report (2013), emphasis is placed on the notion of “committed warming,” which suggests that “a large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period.” The IPCC further claims that even if anthropogenic emissions of CO2 are completely terminated, temperatures would remain constant at high levels for many centuries (Working Group I, 2013). The document proceeds with daunting potential consequences of continued warming, such as the “near-complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet… causing a global mean sea level rise of up to 7 m” over a millennium. Evidently, if politicians base their campaigns and legislations primarily on IPCC findings, their plans—although reflecting worthy concern—would inherit from only one extreme of the debate. In the blog “A Sceptical Mind,” the author challenges the foundation that paved the current perspective of many contemporary climate change advocates. In 1990, the IPCC report of climate change over the past thousand years portrayed a Medieval Warm Period around 1300 A.D. that featured significantly higher temperatures compared to the present, followed by a Little Ice Age. In the IPCC report from 2001, however, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age milestones disappeared from the temperature graph, which instead portrayed rocketing temperatures over the 20th century, which generated a “hockey stick” effect on the trend of global temperature. “A Sceptical Mind” claims that since the