Action on climate change

Action on climate change

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Individual and political action on climate change can take many forms, most of which have the ultimate goal of limiting and/or reducing the concentration of greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es in the atmosphere, toward avoiding dangerous climate change
Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...


Political action

Political action can change laws and regulations that relate to climate change, such as tax incentives, greenhouse gas emissions limits or establishing a regulatory framework within which carbon trading markets can operate. Political action can also gain media
Media coverage of climate change
Media coverage of climate change has significant effects on public opinion on climate change, as it mediates the scientific opinion on climate change that the global instrumental temperature record shows increase in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of...

 and public attention to climate change. Political action from the community, however, is often challenged by interests within the fossil-fuel industry. Some climate change sceptic groups are independent of the fossil-fuel industry, such as the Australian Youth Climate Change Council (AYCCC).

There are many forms of political action on climate change including letter writing, direct lobbying
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

, and public sham
Shame is, variously, an affect, emotion, cognition, state, or condition. The roots of the word shame are thought to derive from an older word meaning to cover; as such, covering oneself, literally or figuratively, is a natural expression of shame....

ing of politicians and media organizations. Political action campaigns require building a base of support at local level.

Protest movements

There is an increased awareness of the importance of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 as a factor in a range of issues. Many environmental
Environmental policy
Environmental policy is any [course of] action deliberately taken [or not taken] to manage human activities with a view to prevent, reduce, or mitigate harmful effects on nature and natural resources, and ensuring that man-made changes to the environment do not have harmful effects on...

, economic, and social issues
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

 find common ground in mitigation of global warming
Mitigation of global warming
Climate change mitigation is action to decrease the intensity of radiative forcing in order to reduce the potential effects of global warming. Mitigation is distinguished from adaptation to global warming, which involves acting to tolerate the effects of global warming...


A number of groups from around the world have come together to work on the issue of global warming. Non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

s (NGOs) from diverse fields of work have united on this issue. A coalition
A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant...

 of 50 NGOs called Stop Climate Chaos
Stop Climate Chaos
Stop Climate Chaos is a climate change coalition of primarily environmental and international development NGOs that was formed in September 2005. The coalition ran the big I Count campaign in 2006–07 and organised The Wave - a campaign focused on the climatic impacts of energy production which...

 launched in Britain (September 2005) to highlight the issue of climate change.

The Campaign against Climate Change
Campaign against Climate Change
The Campaign against Climate Change is a UK-based pressure group that aims to raise public awareness of anthropogenic climate change through mobilizing mass demonstrations...

 was created to focus purely on the issue of climate change and to pressure governments into action by building a protest movement of sufficient magnitude to effect political change.

Critical Mass
Critical Mass
Critical Mass is a cycling event typically held on the last Friday of every month in over 300 cities around the world. The ride was originally founded in 1992 in San Francisco. The purpose of Critical Mass is not usually formalized beyond the direct action of meeting at a set location and time and...

 is an event typically held on the last Friday of every month in various cities around the world wherein bicyclists and, less frequently, unicyclists
A unicycle is a human-powered, single-track vehicle with one wheel. Unicycles resemble bicycles, but are less complex.-History:One theory of the advent of the unicycle stems from the popularity of the penny-farthing during the late 19th century...

, skateboard
A skateboard is typically a specially designed plywood board combined with a polyurethane coating used for making smoother slides and stronger durability, used primarily for the activity of skateboarding. The first skateboards to reach public notice came out of the surfing craze of the early 1960s,...

ers, inline skaters, roller skaters and other self-propelled commuters take to the streets en masse. While the ride was originally founded in San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

 with the idea of drawing attention to how unfriendly the city was to bicyclists, the leaderless structure of Critical Mass makes it impossible to assign it any one specific goal. In fact, the purpose of Critical Mass is not formalized beyond the direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 of meeting at a set location and time and traveling as a group through city or town streets.

Kyoto Protocol

The primary international policy framework currently in existence is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 (UNFCCC), specifically the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

, which sets emissions limits for many of the world's most economically developed nations.

The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

Under Kyoto, countries with targets can elect to reach these targets in co-operation with other countries. The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 has decided to work as a unit to meet its emissions targets. The European climate change program attempts to do this by utilising an emissions trading scheme known as the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme. The principle of this scheme is quite simple: to make their legally binding commitments under Kyoto, countries can either make these savings within their own country, or they can buy these emissions reductions from other countries. These other countries would still need to meet their Kyoto targets, but the use of a free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 system ensures the reductions are made for the least possible costs. Most reductions are made where these reductions are cheapest, and the excess reductions can be sold on to other countries where such cuts would be less economically viable.

Contraction and Convergence

The concept of Cap, Contraction and Convergence
Contraction and Convergence
Contraction and Convergence is a proposed global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. Conceived by the Global Commons Institute [GCI] in the early 1990s, the Contraction and Convergence strategy consists of reducing overall emissions of greenhouse gases to a...

, as a replacement to the Kyoto agreement, has been recently gaining ground. The idea here is that the limits to carbon emissions need to be capped at 350-450 parts per million, currently considered to produce a raise in world temperatures above pre-industrial levels of between 1 to 2 degrees Celsius. It is currently believed that further increases would bring about major positive feedbacks (the burning of forests and the loss of carbon from soils and oceans) which currently limit greenhouse gas emissions, and would lead to a run-away global warming similar to the Eocene period, during which there was no ice at the poles.

To sustain this figure, it is proposed that on equity grounds, all people should be allocated an equal carbon footprint (currently about 2 tonnes per person, which by 2050 could fall to 1.5 tonnes per person through population increase). World per capita carbon emissions, currently in excess of 4 tonnes per person needs to contract to those levels, if these targets are to be met. As a result, in the name of global and inter-generational equity, policies needing to be instituted need to converge, over a fixed period towards this figure for every country. A trading regime, whereby which countries in excess of these figures (from example the US at 20 tonnes per capita
Greenhouse gas emissions by the United States
Until 2006, the United States was the largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions. China has been the top emitter since 2006. However both the emissions as a result of manufacturing exports and the emissions avoided by product imports are not considered...

), purchase carbon credit
Carbon credit
A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the mass of another greenhouse gas with a carbon dioxide equivalent equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide....

s from a country using less than its allocation (e.g. Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 at 1.3 tonnes per capita), is considered by many as the best way of solving this problem.

For example the Contract and Converge strategy has now been adopted by India, China and many African countries as the basis for future negotiations. The UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in the United Kingdom was created under Royal Warrant in 1970 to advise the Queen, Government, Parliament and the public on environmental issues...

 said in 2000 "the UK should be prepared to accept the contraction and convergence principle is the basis for international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions".

Sub-national level action

Some states, regions, and cities in the world are taking the lead on developing emissions reduction methods in the absence of federal policy, and may provide models for future national efforts. Their efforts are achieving real measurable emissions reductions and by pursuing policies and programs that have climate benefits, they have promoted state economic development, improved air quality and trimmed their vulnerability to energy price spikes. In the long run, addressing climate change will require comprehensive national policy and international agreements. However, in the absence of federal policy, states and regions are taking the lead on developing policies that may provide models for future national efforts.


The city promotes a meat-free day on Thursdays called Veggiedag, with vegetarian-only food in public canteens for civil servants and elected councillors, soon in all schools, and promotion of vegetarian eating options in town (through the distribution of "veggie street maps"). This campaign is linked to the recognition of the detrimental environmental effects of meat production, which the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

' Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

 has established to represent nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

United Kingdom

The town of Totnes
Totnes is a market town and civil parish at the head of the estuary of the River Dart in Devon, England within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty...

 in Devon through its "Transition Town Totnes" Project has adopted an Energy Descent Plan, as a response in answer to the twin problems of greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 emissions and peak oil
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

. As a result of a series of large, well attended public gatherings with key experts from around the world, and the organisation of a number of special interest groups, the community has come together with lecturers and trainers shared with Schumacher College
Schumacher College
Schumacher College was founded in 1991 in Dartington, Totnes, Devon, UK by Satish Kumar, John Lane and others. It was named after E.F. Schumacher. It is an international centre offering transformative learning for sustainable living, and runs holistic education courses...

, through a process of participative strategic planning, to hone their skills in project development. As a result of the initiatives in Totnes, a large number of other communities have started "Transition Town
Transition Towns
Transition Towns is a grassroots network of communities that are working to build resilience in response to peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability...

" projects, and there are now more than 100 around the world, ranging from small communities to whole cities (e.g. Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...


The concepts of including food miles
Food miles
Food miles is a term which refers to the distance food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer. Food miles are one factor used when assessing the environmental impact of food, including the impact on global warming....

 or carbon neutral labels on packaging has been gaining interest in the UK.

See also

  • 10:10
    Drono Acharya composed the film's songs and Ritam Sen, Sandip Chakrabarty, Padmanabha Dasgupta, Rana Basu Thakur and Rangeet wrote the lyrics.-External links:* IMDB Title* * *...

  • 1Sky
    1Sky is a United States based campaign in support of federal action to stem global warming and promote renewable energy.1Sky was founded in the spring of 2007 when thirty climate campaigners were on a retreat in the Hudson Valley of New York state...

  • is an international environmental organization, headed by author Bill McKibben, with the goal of building a global grassroots movement to raise awareness of anthropogenic climate change, to confront climate change denial, and to cut emissions of one of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide,...

    , Step It Up 2007 and International Day of Climate Action
  • Alliance for Climate Protection
    Alliance for Climate Protection
    The Alliance for Climate Protection was founded in 2006 by Nobel laureate and former United States Vice President Al Gore. The Alliance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to educating the global community about the urgency of implementing comprehensive solutions to the climate crisis...

  • Anthropization
    In geography and ecology, anthropization is the conversion of open spaces, landscapes, and natural environments by human action.-Description:Anthropic erosion is the process of human action degrading terrain and soil....

  • Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
    Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
    The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

  • Business action on climate change
    Business action on climate change
    Business action on climate change includes a range of activities relating to global warming, and to influencing political decisions on global-warming-related regulation, such as the Kyoto Protocol...

  • Carbon Diet
    Carbon Diet
    A carbon diet refers to reducing the impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas production.Individuals and businesses produce carbon dioxide from daily activities such as driving, heating, and the consumption of products and services...

  • Climate Action Plan
    Climate Action Plan
    Climate Action PlanThe Climate Action Plan is a set of strategies intended to guide community efforts for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Those strategies have focused on improving energy efficiency and conservation in our homes and businesses—the source of nearly three-fourths of local...

  • Climate change mitigation scenarios
    Climate change mitigation scenarios
    Climate change mitigation scenarios are possible futures in which global warming is reduced by deliberate actions, such as a comprehensive switch to energy sources other than fossil fuels...

  • The Cool War
    The Cool War
    The Cool War refers to the debate about the next-generation refrigerant in car air conditioning worldwide, with an ongoing dispute between the Alliance for CO2 Solutions supporting the uptake of sustainable carbon dioxide as a refrigerant in passenger cars, and chemical giants developing new...

  • COP16
  • Global Climate Network
    Global Climate Network
    The Global Climate Network is an alliance of influential think tanks and research institutes in different countries that collaborate on research into climate change policy and whose stated aim is to help address the political blockages to ambitious action to tackle global warming.The Network has...

  • Global Day of Action
    Global Day of Action
    Global Day of Action is a direct action protest format. Environmentalism initiatives begun to use it in 2005 in connection with Global Climate Campaign. They aimed to focus world attention on the anthropogenic effect that humans are having on global warming...

  • Hypermobility (travel)
    Hypermobility (travel)
    The term hypermobility in regard to travelers arose around 1980 and is a concept that has increased in useage since the early 1990s: Damette ; Hepworth and Ducatel ; Whitelegg ; Lowe ; van der Stoep ; Shields ; Cox ; Adams ; Khisty and Zeitler ; Gössling et al. ; and Mander & Randles...

  • The Great Warming
    The Great Warming
    The Great Warming is a 2006 documentary film directed by Michael Taylor. The film was hosted by Alanis Morissette and Keanu Reeves and even before its November 3, 2006 première helped establish an alliance between Democrats and Evangelicals trying to shake the administration out of its inertia on...

  • Large Cities Climate Leadership Group
    Large Cities Climate Leadership Group
    The Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, now officially known as the C40 is a group of cities working to reduce urban carbon emissions and to adapt to climate change. It believes it has an important role to play as cities contain around 50% of the world population, consume 75% of the world's...

  • Low Carbon Diet
    Low carbon diet
    A low carbon diet refers to making lifestyle choices to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy use. It is estimated that the U.S. food system is responsible for at least 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases. This estimate may be low, as it counts only direct sources of GHGe....

  • Low-carbon economy
    Low-carbon economy
    A Low-Carbon Economy or Low-Fossil-Fuel Economy is an economy that has a minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions into the environment biosphere, but specifically refers to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide...

  • No Impact Man
    No Impact Man
    No Impact Man is a 2009 American documentary film directed by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein. The film, which premiered September 4, 2009, follows Colin Beavan and his family during their year-long experiment to have sustainable zero impact on the environment.-See also:* Appropriate technology*...

     (Colin Beavan
    Colin Beavan
    Colin Beavan is an American non-fiction writer and internet blogger noted for recording the attempts of his family to live a "zero impact" lifestyle in New York City for one year...

  • One Watt Initiative
    One Watt Initiative
    The One Watt Initiative is an energy-saving initiative by the International Energy Agency to reduce standby power-use by any appliance to not more than one watt in 2010, and 0.5 watts in 2013, which has given rise to regulations in many countries and regions.-Standby power:Standby power,...

  • Online Carbon Management Tool
    Online Carbon Management Tool
    An Online Carbon Management Tool is an interactive website which gives the user specific information relating to how they can reduce their carbon footprint, either their personal footprint, or that of a particular building such as a domestic, business or other property...

  • Power Shift
    Power Shift
    For the book by Alvin Toffler, see Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century. For the driving technique, see Powershifting....

  • Youth Climate Movement
    Youth Climate Movement
    The Youth Climate Movement or International Youth Climate Movement refers to an international network of youth organisations that collectively aims to inspire, empower and mobilise a generational movement of young people to take positive action on climate change.- Formation :Since the Rio Earth...

    • Indian Youth Climate Network
      Indian Youth Climate Network
      The Indian Youth Climate Network refers to an youth organizations in India that aims to raise the voice of Indian youth on the global platform as South Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions affected by potentially catastrophic climate change & environment issues.IYCN members work to generate...

    • UK Youth Climate Coalition
      UK Youth Climate Coalition
      The UK Youth Climate Coalition is a grass-roots, non-profit youth organisation in the United Kingdom. The organisation is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, who are all under the ages of 25....

    • Australian Youth Climate Coalition
      Australian Youth Climate Coalition
      The Australian Youth Climate Coalition is a youth organisation in Australia. The coalition consists of 25 other youth organisations, which includes the National Union of Students amongst many...

Religious action on climate change

External links

  • Air travel, climate change, and green consumerism at Appropedia
    Appropedia is a website for collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development, with a particular focus on appropriate technology. Appropedia is a wiki-based website like Wikipedia, a website where a large number of participants are allowed to create and...

  • Is coercion necessary for mitigating climate change?
  • Anderson, K. Multi-media of a July 2011 presentation. |Climate Change: Going beyond dangerous -- Brutal numbers, tenuous hope, or cognitive dissonance? The presentation concludes with a perspective on personal choices and collective effect on climate change. See also: Kevin Anderson (scientist)
    Kevin Anderson (scientist)
    Professor Kevin Anderson is the Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research; holds a joint chair in Energy and Climate Change at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester and School of Environmental Sciences at University of East...


Further reading

Regarding Climate change policy of the United States, see "The Climate War" (2010) by Eric Pooley deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek ISBN 978-1-4013-2326-4