Every day the issues surrounding our climate are in the news, which shows just how much the subject is at the centre of attention; in newspapers, on the news, on radio or television, in schools and universities. In recent days Madrid has become the focus of attention, as it plays host to the latest climate conference.
The environment and media attention
There is now a much greater exposure of environmental issues, thanks in no small part to activists such as Greta Thuberg (recently elected as Person of the Year 2019 by Time magazine) and her Fridays For Future protests.
Within a political impasse that seems to be slowly giving way, progress is evident. Perhaps more on a media level than on a factual one. However, it is precisely through pressure from individuals that the course of events can be changed.
What happened at the climate conference?
The climate conference in Madrid is of fundamental importance in this respect.
Now in its 25th year, the climate conference brings together the 200 countries that are part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This convention, signed some 27 years ago, establishes the common commitment of the signatories to reduce CO2 emissions. The conference, which takes place annually, serves as a way of assessing the progress made and has the involvement of more than 25,000 people, including heads of state and other central figures.
As was said, the main objective is to agree on protocols limiting the use of fossil fuels, in favour of the use of renewable sources with the central issue being that of emissions. And as has been reported widely in the media, it seems that the results of these negotiations are not very satisfactory. Encapsulating this outcome, Antonio Guterres – head of the United Nations – speaks explicitly of “a missed opportunity”.
The change is us
That is why political choices, before reaching the global level, must be individual. On the issue of emissions, everyone can do their part; for example, by focusing on heating systems that use wood or pellets.
These fuels have benefits that go a long way to meeting the challenges that have emerged from this conference. They are environmentally friendly, they are renewable, they are very low cost, and they are readily available locally. In our small way, everyone of us can commit to helping reducing emissions.