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Global Contributions to Climate Change

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Published: Wed, 02 Aug 2017

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In biology, it is the ability of our biosphere and lithosphere to continue their interactions through their different cycles. In ecology, it is how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. For the human civilization, it is the ability to use the resources currently available for self-preservation while also allowing future generations to benefit from the same advantages. It is generally divided in three categories. The environmental dimension which dispute that a healthy ecosystem will always provide vital goods and services to humans and other organisms. The human population should be able to manage natural resources to remain sustainable. We also have the economic dimension which states that actions posed by the current human population should not reduce the potential wealth, advantages and quality of life of the next generation. The current generation should not be one to enjoy or consume all the resources available, therefore indirectly affect the next generation’s potential economic well-being. The last dimension is the social one. Life on earth is governed by social interactions between different civilizations which can lead to different potential outcomes. The social dimension advises us to maintain peace, security, and social justice to prevent social disruptions like war, crimes, and corruptions from staining human relationship and therefore potentially stop the creation of a next generation.

Climate change is probably one of the most trending topic of the 21st century. How do we keep the earth sustainable if every action that we pose seems to decrease the lifespan of our biosphere? Kiribati is an island republic in the central pacific ocean comprised of 33 coral atolls and islet stretching along the Equator. Many of its island are inhabited, offering a remote setting for fishing, diving, and bird watching. The crowded capital south Tarawa made up of small islets retains remnants of world war two battle fought on its shores, and is known for its cultural folk dancing and handicrafts. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kr.html) Recently, it has been observed that the island is slowly drowning under the effects of climate change. The question was raised as to know if the United States should provide asylum to Loane Teitiota, a resident of this island. Residents of Kiribati islands have their own way of life. They are well known for their culture, their traditions, their folkloric dances, and their artisanal products. Providing asylum to Kiribati resident will not solve the issue at hand but only increase the dependence of its population slowly pushing them to their own demise.

It is true that the earth’s climate has changed over the course of history and that we, as human species, are in part responsible for the current state of our environment, but we should be able to differentiate myths from facts. According to NASA, evidence for rapid climate change is compelling. Results from several of their researches have shown that sea level rose about 17 cm  in the last century this rate has doubled over just the last decade. They have also proved that earth temperature has warmed seen 1880 consequently warming the oceans. The arctic sea is declining and the ice sheets are shrinking. Oceans have acidified and several other natural events have occurred. The combined effect of all these single events have led to some extreme events with disastrous consequences. All those facts being true, it would be totally unreasonable to bestow responsibilities for these events to a single country. The United States should not be held responsible for the result of a joint effort of the human civilization.

According to the Climate Central, the United States come second when it comes to contribution of climate change. China produced almost twice the amount of global CO2 emissions than what was produced by the United States. Also, countries such as India, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia, and Germany also contributed to global CO2 emissions. Therefore, we can see that asking to the United States to provide asylum to residents of Kiribati islands is a responsibility that should fall upon all these countries. Unfortunately, we live in a complex society, with pre-established order and regulations. The United States and its citizens, recently have been shaken by the topic of war refugees. Immigrations regulations are really complex and do not allow anybody to enter the territory even under the worst circumstances. There are strict procedures and level of clearances that need to be passed before getting a right to stay. This show how providing asylum to Kiribati’s resident could get quite complicated if even approved.

According to Friends of Science, humans are not the only cause of climate change. Global warming is also caused by some small deviations of earth from its orbital trajectory. In the past hundred years, no catastrophic warming has been recorded. In fact, earth’s temperature has not varied significantly enough to claim the global warming effects. It is true that significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout  geologic times but since the end of the 17th century, the average global temperature has been rising at a low steady rate, with cooling periods noted from 1940 to 1970. Carbon dioxide levels have in fact changed but also for other reasons than humans. Some geologic events also contributed to the increase of CO2 emissions such as the fluctuation of temperature due to solar radiation and galactic influences causing the surface layer of oceans to expelled more CO2. Moreover, CO2 only constitute about 0.04% of the atmosphere, therefore humans CO2 emissions could not possibly be the only factors that cause climate change. This prove that climate change at some point are no longer under human control.

According to National Geographic, a language dies every two weeks. The world is diverse and our society has been built on cultures, religions, traditions, and past civilizations which defined the current human civilization. Geneticist Spencer Wells states in his speech on the human journey, that cultural extinction is the process by which a pre-established culture dies through accommodation of a migrating population to another population culture over time. Over generation, the migrating population lose its identity. As a human civilization, losing a culture is losing a part our own identity, a part of our knowledge, our history, and our potential gain for the future.

It can be concluded that it is not the responsibility of the United States to grant asylum to any of the residents of Tarawa, Kiribati. Climate change is a global issue in which many countries contribute, and the downfall of the Republic of Kiribati should be the responsibility of all rather than just one. Global warming is the main concern regarding the atoll because as a result of warming, glaciers and ice sheets are melting and water is expanding causing sea-levels to rise at a dangerous rate for an island like this one.


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