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Our Future With Global Warming

The first time I heard about global warming was when I was in middle school. Al Gore was on every news outlet warning people about the effects of pollution and how if the pollution persisted, the Earth would face consequences. This awareness changed how consumers purchased their homes, cars and appliances. Eventually, global warming became globally recognized.

In 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiated the Paris Agreement between 196 state parties to achieve the overall goal to keep average global temperature below 2*C pre-industrial levels and to limit the increase to 1.5*C by 2100. The treaty specially holds each party accountable for greenhouse gas emissions, finances, and adaptation. The final version of the treaty included 181 state parties, including major powers such as the United States, France and the European Union, and became effective November 4, 2016.

Although some countries are making implementations such as taxes on gas emissions, there is still a lot to be done with smaller countries. This responsibility lies within the hands of larger and richer companies to help support the efforts, however, with power houses such as the United States withdrawing from the agreement, the efforts are becoming more difficult.

The goals of the Paris Agreement may seem minute in numbers but could make an incredible and drastic difference. The 1.5*C limit for instance, could be the difference of sea levels rising more than eight inches, a fast decline with the ice in the Arctic sea, and extreme weather events that could becoming more threatening with weather change.

The current projection predicts that we’ll be well over 1.5*C by 2030 and may even hit 3*C by 2100. At 2*C, the availability of fresh water to drop twice as much as 1.5*C. Additionally, the sea level would rise another 4 inches, decrease wheat production and may cause 150 million deaths.


Keeping the global warming below 1.5*C will be extremely difficult, but precautions are necessary for the betterment of future lives and the Earth. This means that there needs to be cleaner forms of energy to replace fossil fuels, reliance on electricity and enforcing taxes on emissions such as carbon. Most importantly, there needs to be more awareness of little things that we can do in our everyday lives to change the planet.

Check out more about global warming: https://www.vox.com/2018/10/5/17934174/climate-change-global-warming-un-ipcc-report-1-5-degrees

Hannah Zhang is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Economics and on the pre-med track. She has a deep love for Frank Ocean, flaming hot cheetos, and food. She enjoys Dad jokes and a good read!
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