Is UN right "world is on the verge of the abyss" because of climate crisis?


Fact Box

  • On Monday, April 20, 2021, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “We are on the verge of the abyss [...] We are seeing record levels in tropical storms, in the melting of ice sheets or glaciers, in relation to drought, heat waves and wildfires.”
  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report on April 19, stating 2020 was “one of three warmest years on record.” The global average temperature rose 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial age temperatures. 
  • On President Biden’s first day in office, he rejoined the Paris Accords, which is a global pact created in 2015 to “address climate change” to limit the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius around the world.
  • On March 26, Biden invited 40 world head figures to Leaders Summit on Climate to “tackle” the climate crisis to take place on April 22 and 23
  • On June 1, 2017, then-President Trump announced the United States’ removal from the Paris Accords reasoning the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

Kevin (Yes)

A report from the World Meteorological Organization shows that 'indicators of climate change like increasing land and ocean temperatures' have all worsened throughout 2020. The WMO also warns that oceans 'absorb 90% of the excess heat as well as 23% of the annual carbon dioxide emissions from human activities,' leading to marine life dying off and other issues. They further cite 'record high temperatures' in the Arctic, which has set off faster melting of ice sheets than previously predicted. The global situation has already deteriorated to the point that 'Heat now causes more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes or floods in most years,' as noted in a 2020 Guardian article. Another report from The Lancet notes that children born today 'could live in a world that's four degrees warmer than in preindustrial times,' which will lead to catastrophic heatwaves and wildfires, as well as increasing deaths from disease and famine.

Some still try to suggest that the subject of climate change itself is up for debate, but this isn't really true. As pointed out on NASA's climate science website, '97 percent or more' of scientists in relevant fields agree that human activities are responsible for the changing conditions, as do 'most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide.' Although there are ongoing discussions on achieving a sustainable future—such as what place there could be for nuclear energy—another point of agreement is that renewable sources must be pursued. Phrases like 'the verge of the abyss' may seem hyperbolic, but the situation is indeed that dire.


Stephanie (No)

The United Nations dramatically claimed that earth is 'on the verge of the abyss' if countries do not work to reduce carbon emissions that may lead to climate change. However, such panic-inducing statements declared by the UN and other climate change activists, such as Greta Thunberg, are not grounded in scientific consensus; it is still an open discussion, despite what climate activists wish we believe. They seemingly only desire further control by prophesying the earth will face climate-related catastrophes if mankind does not take immediate, usually progressive, action to protect the environment. This scare tactic provides no benefit and is unwelcome to society following a pandemic. Even if the earth faced such a fate, it certainly would not be according to any arbitrary, human-made deadline designed to create urgency, such as 2021 suddenly being 'the year for action' to tackle global warming. Just as the earth is currently stable, despite Al Gore's 2006 warnings, this will likely be the case again.

Unfortunately for the cause, eliminating carbon emissions by opting for 'cleaner' sources of energy, such as wind or solar, are not necessarily effective in reducing the global population's carbon footprint. Examples include wind turbines that need oil to operate and electric cars that require both electrical charging and batteries containing heavy metals acquired by mining.

Due to issues with alternatives, it is unclear how countries will realistically 'cut their emissions to net zero by 2050' and still function. Coal demand is already expected to rise this year, which can be expected with much of the world returning to pre-COVID normal. The earth's climate is currently healthy, so the pressure to address it is not as urgent as the UN is portraying it.

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