Climate change has become a significant concern within the past several decades. Its effects are becoming more evident, and many local and national strategies for their elimination start to emerge. Every individual can contribute to decreasing the impact of climate change but may not be possible to eliminate it entirely without appropriate policies on higher levels. This paper argues that climate change should be the primary concern of the leaders on the local and governmental levels.
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Leaders are the ones who can establish regulations regarding air, water, and soil pollution and force companies to complete necessary certifications. The main purpose of the report is to show the effects of climate change, introduce the significance of the problem, and discuss what strategies leaders can implement to minimize its impact. In addition, the paper addresses an alternative perspective about the issues leaders should address. The report concludes that climate change should be the primary concern of the leaders followed by other problems of today’s global community.
Effects of Climate Change
To understand why climate change should be the leaders’ primary concern, it is necessary to address its effects on the environment and humans. Various studies reveal that climate change has become a significant concern for the world’s population. For example, Classen et al. report that the issue affects species distributions, interactions among organisms, and results in negative changes in ecosystems (1).
In addition, global warming gradually leads to water scarcity (Gosling and Arnell 371). Other effects of climate change include the rise of temperature and sea levels as well. These problems result in the gradual extinction of some plants and animals, melting of ice in Antarctica, drought, and changes in flora and fauna (Nunez). Unfortunately, there is a lack of public awareness regarding the acuteness of these problems.
Addressing Climate Change
Research shows that the majority of global communities have no initiatives aimed to address climate change. The study by Araos et al. shows that, of more than 400 local governments that were examined, only around 60 have developed change adaptation activities (375). In addition, approximately 70 of investigated communities reported that they were planning to implement adaptation policies. The rest of the local governments did not show strategies to minimize the effects of climate change (Araos et al. 375).
It is possible to say that some governments choose not to invest in climate change adaptation because such a measure requires significant financial placements. For instance, in case global temperatures continue to rise rapidly, the costs of adaptation may reach “between $70 billion and $100 billion per year” (Buurman and Babovic 137). However, it is necessary to address the issue not only on the national and local levels but on the individual one.
It is possible to say that many people have become aware of the adverse effects of climate change. Some of them perceive global warming as “a serious threat in their lifetime” (McCright et al. 341). However, there is still a significant level of skepticism related to the issue as some groups of individuals do not understand the potential consequences of climate change. Surveys show that in some counties, such as the United States, the population tends to perceive the issue as less significant compared to people living in the European Union (McCright et al. 343). These findings show that leaders should contribute to individuals’ awareness of the problem on all levels and implement strategies to minimize its effects because they have significant power and opportunities to do so.
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Leaders’ Role in Climate Change
Climate change can be managed by various stakeholders, including individuals, companies, and communities. However, local and national leaders should be the main regulators of the problem because they hold the most power to address it effectively. Pasquini et al. note that leaders have “a key opportunity” for implementing strategies aimed to reduce the effects of global warming (60). In addition, the problem of climate change has become highly political over the past decades, which means that it is vital for authorities not to ignore this issue. Global leaders have the power to increase individuals’ awareness about the topic by implementing necessary policies, while the initiatives of local groups and representatives of communities may not have such a strong impact.
It is notable that local leaders play the most significant role in addressing issues related to climate change compared to the national ones. Pasquini et al. report that local governments may be more aware of existing aspects that contribute to the development of the problem, such as a high level of pollution (60). For instance, urban communities in developing nations may experience significant losses due to their vulnerability to climate change.
As a result, they encounter various problems, including droughts, heat waves, and floods (Pasquini et al. 60). It is possible to say that the individuals in such communities may be unable to resolve existing problems through personal initiatives solely. For instance, a sustainable lifestyle of particular households is unlikely to eliminate the effects of climate change. At the same time, as mentioned above, leaders can force all enterprises and individuals to avoid behaviors that can contribute to the development of the problem. They can establish regulations requiring manufacturers to recycle redundant materials, outlaw pollution, and force companies to undergo investigations aimed to identify the negative impact of their activities on the environment.
It is evident that climate change cannot be the only leaders’ concern. There are other issues that require authorities’ attention, including poverty, migration, gender inequality, and racial discrimination. All of these problems require attention too as they lead to the decreased quality of many individuals’ lives. For example, almost 770 million people live on less than $2 per day, more than three million of which are citizens of the US (Deaton). This perspective shows that there are other issues that local and national authorities should address and consider apart from climate change.
Although the argument mentioned above presents a reasonable point of view, it is possible to say that concentrating on global warming and related problems is more feasible for leaders. The majority of global issues have an impact on only particular groups of individuals; they do not affect the whole population of the world. At the same time, climate change is one of the problems that may decrease the quality of all individuals’ lives, as well as affect other living systems.
It is evident that this issue can lead to destructive consequences for the global population as a whole. It affects people regardless of their social and economic positions, and individuals may be unable to minimize this impact without appropriate regulations on national or local governmental levels. Thus, climate change should be a primary concern of the leaders, followed by other challenging issues of today’s global community.
The report reveals that climate change is a significant problem that affects all of the world’s populations, unlike other existing issues. Leaders should address the effects of climate change as they have the power to eliminate its causes, such as high levels of pollution, by implementing appropriate regulations. It is evident that authorities should consider other challenges of the global community as well. However, as climate change affects all individuals and other living systems while leading to permanent damage to ecology, it is vital for leaders to make this issue their primary concern.
Araos, Malcolm, et al. “Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Large Cities: A Systematic Global Assessment.” Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 66, 2016, pp. 375-382.
Buurman, Joost, and Vladan Babovic. “Adaptation Pathways and Real Options Analysis: An Approach to Deep Uncertainty in Climate Change Adaptation Policies.” Policy and Society, vol. 35, no. 2, 2016, pp. 137-150.
Classen, Aimée, et al. “Direct and Indirect Effects of Climate Change on Soil Microbial and Soil Microbial‐Plant Interactions: What Lies Ahead?” Ecosphere, vol. 6, no. 8, 2015, pp. 1-21.
Deaton, Angus. “The US Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem.” The New York Times. 2018. Web.
Gosling, Simon, and Nigel Arnell. “A Global Assessment of the Impact of Climate Change on Water Scarcity.” Climatic Change, vol. 134, no. 3, 2016, pp. 371-385.
McCright, Aaron et al. “Political Ideology and Views About Climate Change in the European Union.” Environmental Politics, vol. 25, no. 2, 2016, pp. 338-358.
Nunez, Christina. “Global Warming: Is It Real? Get the Facts.” National Geographic. 2019. Web.
Pasquini, Lorena, et al. “What Enables Local Governments to Mainstream Climate Change Adaptation? Lessons Learned From Two Municipal Case Studies in the Western Cape, South Africa.” Climate and Development, vol. 7, no. 1, 2015, pp. 60-70.
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