Humanity is about to pass the point of no return, according to scientists. The time for action to prevent permanent damage from the effects of climate change is now or never. The UN climate summit in Paris couldn't be coming at a more pivotal time in our planet's history. However, the COP21 conference isn't the first time the world's nations have come together to try and solve the climate issue — it's the 21st.
The history of these climate meetings has been long and full of false starts. One of the major hurdles that has become a theme of these conferences is coming to an agreement on what should be done. What each nation needs to do in order to reduce emissions and create lasting change.
French President Francois Hollande called on developing nations to take note of the coming crisis and step up:
"My thoughts go out to those islands that may soon disappear. ... Developed countries must take responsibility. They are the ones who for years emitted the most green house gases.”
Those developing nations have increased emissions, contributing the most to climate change, because of their use of coal to energize their growth. Some have gone so far as to propose the government buy up coal in order to never use it. This would make coal prices skyrocket, forcing countries, such as India and China to find other, cleaner fuel sources.
Compromise and sacrifice will be the most difficult part of this upcoming conference. The wealthiest nations of the world haven't had to deal with the brunt of climate change's most devastating effects until recently.
President Barack Obama said, “Let's secure an agreement that builds in ambition where progress paves the way for regularly updated targets. Targets that are not set for each of us, but by each of us, taking into account the differences that each nation is facing.”
Some of these changes will be a financial challenge for some of the poorer nations, but early reports indicate that the World Bank and other governments are willing to support them financially in their transition.
In other words, there's hope for the future, which will allow Bill Nye to finally get a good night's sleep.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Staff