A Documentary, and the Paris Summit about global warming
Three months ago, on October 30, 2016 the movie Before the Flood, which examines all the issues bearing upon climate change and global warming, debuted on the National Geographic Channel. The movie – in the production phase for three years – explores the whole globe; and the main character, Leonardo DiCaprio, reports on many issues that the planet is having but also many problems which are now occurring and which will occur in the future if people don’t take action to do something about the situation. A year before the movie was completed, the United Climate Change Conference was held in Paris, in November and December of 2015. At the Summit, people discussed the Paris Agreement, which formalized a global consensus on bringing climate change under control. The Paris Agreement was ratified in April, 2016 at a ceremony in New York, and it was signed by 174 countries. The goal is to reduce and limit greenhouse gas emissions, which 195 countries have agreed to work towards, with a target of reducing carbon and to keeping global warming below an upper limit of 2 degrees Celsius. They Agreement stated that Seychelles and the Philippines were threatened by a rising sea level, as are many other islands.
Global warming is already observable
Aleksandar Bajic, photo from personal archive
As there are many voices opposing global warming, a freshwater biologist and research associate at the University in Novi Sad, Serbia – PhD student Aleksandar Bajic – explains that global warming took hold decades ago and that we can, for example, easily google pictures of various glaciers at the beginning of the twentieth century and compare them with pictures of the same glaciers a few years back. He explains that this is the easiest way to become aware of global warming.
“As a scientist I can say that most scientific data is unfortunately telling us that the earth has continually been warming for more than a century. Even though I am not a climatologist, but a biologist, I tend to be informed because global warming is affecting all life on Earth and also marine species, which are my particular field. This is a complex problem, and there are many scientists from a wide spectrum of scientific fields who are working on resolving the global climate model”, says Aleksandar Bajic.
He states that as he is a freshwater biologist, in his particular field the problem of global warming is already visible and for example in coral reefs – which are quite temperature-sensitive ecosystems – and which are suffering worldwide. He explains that the planet could be facing a global dying off of coral reefs in the near future. Bajic also gives information about the present climate situation in Europe.
“Global warming models predict great climate change worldwide, and for example they predict that Europe will be colder in the future because of disturbances in the Gulf Stream. These problems, as a European, make me wonder during these cold winter days. On the other hand, some wetlands will dry out and become deserts and vice-versa“, explains Bajic.
What should we do to solve this problem?
Bajic refers to the Kyoto Summit in 1992, an important event where this problem was addressed by many world nations and where the theory of greenhouse gas reduction was first accepted. He explains that the main causes of global warming are greenhouse gasses, especially CO2 (carbon-dioxide), and since the beginning of the industrial revolution we have continuously released more CO2 than the biosphere can process.
“The world’s leading nations have unfortunately been ignoring this problem for a very long time. The Summit in Paris that was held in 2015 was a good starting point, where many of the biggest world nations promised to work together to resolve this problem. The main focus should be on reducing greenhouse gas emission, and we can achieve this by focusing on alternative sources of energy, mainly renewable energy. It is funny to think about it, but the Sun that is warming us could also be our savior if we would use more solar energy instead of burning fossil fuels“, he notes.
“As world citizens, we should be aware of global warming”
Aleksandar Bajic states that first of all we should become aware of global warming and inform ourselves what is causing it and what we can do to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Each of us can contribute individually, and if all join in the effort then there would be no problem that we couldn’t resolve. Leonardo di Caprio’s recently released documentary – “Before the Flood” – is great source of ideas about how ordinary citizens can contribute. As funny as it sounds, for starters we could eat less beef and put a solar panel or two on our roofs. This is an issue that involves us all, and if we become informed we can pick leaders who will address this issue more seriously“, said Bajic.