Carbon emission is the main cause of deteriorating environmental conditions that have led to global warming. The effects of global warming are so immense that world leaders have organized global meetings to curb environmental concerns. There was the Kyoto Protocol and the recent Copenhagen World Summit that aimed at solving the climatic change challenges. These sorts of meetings are geared towards finding consensus on measures to curb environmental degradation at the global level and the eventual effects of greenhouse gases on global warming. Laws and policies have been set, some of which make no significant impacts on the overall goal. In this essay, therefore, we are going to look at recent laws and policies that can deal with these effects of carbon emission and global warming in general.
The G8 Summit
Gleneagles, Scotland, was the venue of the July 2005 meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations (G8) on measures to curb climatic changes (Maltby, Kenneth & Rummery, 71- 76). The meeting resolved that the G8 embark on scientific research to establish the causes of environmental degradation rather than streamlining a given course of dealing with the problem which has not yet been identified. Critics of the meeting were also dissolution by lack of discussion to tackle the increasing level of Green-House Gas (GHG) emission. On the contrary, the meeting realized some positive results as the leaders, including the United States, agreed that human activities are the main causes of environmental degradation and changing climatic conditions. They also resolved to change action plans: adopting the use of cleaner energy for sustainable development and having a dialogue on the same proposal.
The G8 summit was followed by the Stern Review that was commissioned by UK’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown as part of Dialogue on Climate Change. It is argued that the Stern review was the best ever produced action plan that would address climate change given its concentration on economic assessment and how these economic activities influence climatic changes. The Stern Review was also criticized; however, it is significant because it has influenced the setting up of new policies on the environment. Among the policies set are the implementation of carbon pricing via building regulations, climatic change agreements, climatic change levy, and carbon trust, among other pricing policies for businesses. There are also policies developed for agricultural activities, the transport sector, domestic and public energy use monitoring.
In the US, the federal-state has not developed any package to curb climatic changes, more so, in dealing with the emission of carbon. The Bush administration did little towards achieving a reduced carbon emission but all that is bound to change under President Obama’s reign. US Supreme Court seems to have included a discussion of climate change on the government agenda (Bouthillier, Richardson & Rummery, p. 364). Climate Security Act (CSA) made a proposal to the Congress on the climate agenda, and following adjustments to the bill by Senator Boxer, it was defeated, fronting its reintroduction in the year 2009. Since then, the US seems to be getting more and more concerned with threats posed by changing climatic conditions. The citizens of America want the federal to come up with legislation that would ensure businesses adopt measures aimed at curbing environmental degradation.
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Most stakeholders in the industrial sector made a proposal that the US administration imposes stringent measures for developing countries whose products enter the US market. These groups suggest that the countries’ manufacturing processes adhere to climate change policies comparable to the ones applied in the US. The US House of Representatives formed a sub-committee from the Energy and Air Quality wing to prepare White Paper on Competitiveness. The committee came up with recommendations that would responsibly check climatic change challenges. The three recommendations are the use of green technologies in the production of goods and services by developing countries, setting up of energy use and performance standards that must be complied with by all sectors of the economy, and Border Adjustment Measures (BAMs), and (Bouthillier, Richardson & Rummery, 364-365).
In New York City, the City Council passed legislation aimed at reducing the emission of GHG, especially from buildings that are the main source of heat-trapping gases. According to Mayor M. Bloomberg, this measure would see a reduction of carbon footprint by 30% by the year 2030. The bill contains a section requiring building owners of more than or equal to 50,000 square feet to review their energy audits after a ten years lapse (Kugler). In the whole of the US, this move by the City Council of New York is the first to come with climate change policies applicable by building owners so as to attain green buildings that are friendlier to the environment than the typical ones.
The United Kingdom is one of the nations that are at the forefront in curbing climate change resulting from GHG emissions. It has well-developed building standards policies that even include the imposition of levies. The most striking and modest step the British administration has taken recently is to cut their carbon emission by 60% by the year 2050, which surpasses the European Union’s 20% reduction of GHG by 2020. For the same time frame, Britain’s target is a 26-32% GHG emission cut. Britain’s draft Bill on Climate Change, if passed, is bound to affect the lives of its citizens. Britain’s environment minister, David Miliband, said the bill was the first of its kind in the world over, given that its carbon footprint reduction targets are legally binding (Cowell).
The measures that have been taken by Britain and other European nations comply with the recommendations made at the Kyoto Protocol. Indeed, they surpass the GHG emission reduction recommendation of the Kyoto Protocol. On the other hand, the US signed the agreement, but the immediate former president was against the agreement. Indian and Chinese economies are growing at a very fast rate. This makes them potential polluters in the near future. Due to these unfolding events, Britain’s bill recommended that her authority be given the power to influence other countries to come up with similar policies and laws.
The entire globe is faced with the challenges of curbing climate change. Our world leaders have demonstrated efforts to curb the challenges at hand via the climate summits that have been held (Copenhagen and Kyoto Protocol) in a bid to resolve the debacle. As time passes by, legislation and policies that are put in place must be reviewed to meet emerging climate challenges. Hence, there is a need to come up with cutting-edge environmental sustainability measures to be adopted by all industrial players, the public administrations, and at the domestic/household level. If we all take responsibility and ensure we comply with set policies and observe law binding remedies, the carbon footprint would be put in check, and our environment will be sustained for future generations.