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Hey guys Julia here for DNews
Coming up in December of 2015, the UN will host the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris.
The focus of this year’s COP21 will be climate change. Most of the leading nations in the
world have been asked to pledge to keep the rise in global temperature under 2 degrees celsius.
It’s clear that a sharp curb in co2 and greenhouse gas emissions is needed.
Unfortunately, not all countries agree on how best to go about that.
There’s two main plans: one says everyone gets a per capita cut. Everyone, all nations,
have an equal responsibility to curb emissions. The other says that countries who polluted
more in the past have more responsibility to curb their emissions, so that those that
polluted less can have some wiggle room to still grow.
But one study from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO)
found that the US, EU, and Chinese emission pledges leave very little room for
other countries to emit in a 2°C world. Those countries say their pledges are “fair and
ambitious” but might not be enough to keep things cool enough.
The 2 degrees target was decided back in 2009 at another UN conference in Copenhagen, where
in the Copenhagen Accord countries recognized “the scientific view that the increase in
global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius". But why did they choose that number?
Well that number can be traced back to two papers published in the mid-70s by Professor
of Economics William Nordhaus at Yale University. In these papers he said that “If there were
global temperatures more than 2 or 3° above the current average temperature, this would
take the climate outside of the range of observations which have been made over the last several
hundred thousand years”.
Ice core sampling in the mid 80s confirmed that two degrees above pre-industrial levels
hadn’t been seen on the planet in at least the last 100,000 years. Another report in
the early 90s reconfirmed that the consensus that two degrees is “an upper limit beyond
which the risks of grave damage to ecosystems... are expected to increase rapidly”.
Since then, that number has had huge visibility as a “speed limit” of sorts. As we might
pass that number, the worse effects on the climate and the faster those effects will
Effects like global sea level rise. A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change
found that levels could rise 1.5 and 4 meters by the year 2300 if the Earth warms at least 2 degrees.
The effects of which we’ve talked about in previous episodes. Links for those
down below.
Not only could oceans rise, but rivers could run dry, according to a study published in
the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. In analyzing water scarcity,
researchers found that water supplies would dwindle thanks to more pressure from a growing population.
If the temperatures climb even higher, to four degrees, some river beds will
be drier but some might be wetter, which could put more pressure on stressed out governments.
As the temperatures get worse, the effects will be more extreme.
In another study also published in the same journal, researchers found other effects include
no sea ice in the arctic in the summer, coral reef die outs, melting of permafrost which
will release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and “die-back of the Amazon
forest”. The study also predicts that semi-arid and arid places, like sub-Saharan Africa will
be even drier, they predict the collapse of the agricultural system in that region.
So it’s safe to say that if the world warms up, as it looks like it very well might, Earth
is going to look a lot different.
We’re witnessing one of the effects of a climate change right now! Arctic ice levels
have been the lowest scientists have ever seen. So what happens if all the ice melts?
What changes have you noticed, perhaps longer summers?
Tell us about it down in the comments below
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richardwang 發佈於 2015 年 11 月 7 日    單凝 翻譯    Kristi Yang 審核
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