GOOD

What Kenya and Peru Can Teach the United States About Fighting Climate Change

Even without an international agreement, governments around the world are trying to fight climate change.



When Barack Obama told Rolling Stone last month that “I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way,” the environmental community breathed a sigh of relief. The president hadn’t completely abandoned the fight against climate change. He may make no mention of the problem in his campaign materials. He may avoid any references to it in his Earth Day proclamation. But at least he hasn’t forgotten it exists.

While that alone is big news in the United States, other nations' governments are tackling climate change head on. South Korea’s parliament recently approved a bill to create a cap-and-trade scheme. Last month, Mexico’s legislature passed a bill that promises to reduce emissions 30 percent by the end of the decade and includes a requirement that 35 percent of the country’s energy come from renewable sources by 2024.


These aren’t the only nations looking to address climate change in the absence of an international agreement. China is also moving towards a cap-and-trade scheme; the country has already launched seven pilot projects. The European Union’s emissions trading program achieved a major victory in March, when U.S. airlines dropped their challenge against the requirement that they pay for emissions created by flights in and out of Europe. The governments of Peru and Kenya, which are deeply worried about how climate change will affect their citizens' access to water and ability to grow food, have passed laws designed to combat climate change as well.

The plans that these countries are putting into place aren’t perfect, of course, and they’ll require work and oversight to become reality. But unlike the U.S. Congress, the governments of these countries are making progress, and overcoming similar obstacles to the ones America faces. Countries like Mexico and South Korea produce huge amounts of greenhouse gas, just like the United States, and it’s difficult for business to see a different way. In South Korea, industries that will have to change their ways under a cap-and-trade system fought against the proposal, just as they did here.

The steps these countries are taking are exactly the types of steps the United States could be taking if climate change and clean energy had not become politically untouchable issues. Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico is working on a clean energy standard not unlike Mexico’s. Kenya’s strategy for managing emissions includes an eminently practical green energy development plan that focuses on developing geothermal energy and wind resources. It also calls for bus rapid transit systems, light rail expansion, bikeways and pedestrian walkways.

These aren’t crazy or novel ideas: their success has been proven elsewhere. The difference between the United States and South Korea (or Mexico or Peru or Kenya or China) is that while our politicians are barely willing to talk about climate change, other governments are trying to do something about it.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user outofideas

Articles

This article was produced in partnership with the United Nations to launch the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of cooperation in building the future we want.

When half of the world's population doesn't share the same opportunity or rights as the other half, the whole world suffers. Like a bird whose wings require equal strength to fly, humanity will never soar to its full potential until we achieve gender equality.

That's why the United Nations made one of its Sustainable Development Goals to "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls." That goal includes providing women and girls equal access to education and health care, as well as addressing gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

While there is still much work to be done, history shows us that we are capable of making big leaps forward on this issue. Check out some of the milestones humanity has already reached on the path to true equality.

Historic Leaps Toward Gender Equality

1848 The Seneca Falls Convention in New York, organized by Elizabeth Lady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, is the first U.S. women's convention to discuss the oppression of women in sociopolitical, economic, and religious life.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first self-governing nation to grant national voting rights to women.

1903 Marie Curie becomes the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She is also the only woman to win multiple Nobel Prizes, for Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911.

1920 The 19th Amendment is passed in the U.S. giving women the right to vote in all 50 U.S. states.

1973 The U.S. Open becomes the first major sports tournament of its kind to offer equal pay to women, after tennis star Billie Jean King threatened to boycott.

1975 The first World Conference on Women is held in Mexico, where a 10-year World Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women is formed. The first International Women's Day is commemorated by the UN in the same year.

1979 The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also known as the "Women's Bill of Rights." It is the most comprehensive international document protecting the rights of women, and the second most ratified UN human rights treaty after the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1980 Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland becomes the first woman to be elected head of state in a national election.

1993 The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first international instrument to explicitly define forms of violence against women and lay out a framework for global action.

2010 The UN General Assembly creates the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to speed progress on meeting the needs of women and girls around the world.

2018 The UN and European Union join forces on the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

www.youtube.com

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is redoubling its commitment to reach all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality. But it will take action and effort from everyone to ensure that women and girls are free from discrimination and violence. Learn more about what is being done to address gender equality and see how you can get involved here.

And join the global conversation about the role of international cooperation in building the future by taking the UN75 survey here.

Let's make sure we all have a say in the future we want to see.

Communities
via WFMZ / YouTube

John Perez was acquitted on Friday, February 21, for charges stemming from an altercation with Allentown, Pennsylvania police that was caught on video.

Footage from September 2018 shows an officer pushing Perez to the ground. After Perez got to his feet, multiple officers kicked and punched him in an attempt to get him back on the ground.

Perez claims he was responding to insults hurled at him by the officers. The police say that Perez was picking a fight. The altercation left Perez with a broken nose, scrapes, swelling, and bruises from his hips to his shoulder.

Keep Reading
Communities

According to Investopedia, skrinkflation is "is the practice of reducing the size of a product while maintaining its sticker price. Raising the price per given amount is a strategy employed by companies, mainly in the food and beverage industries, to stealthily boost profit margins."

Keep Reading
Culture