Penguins and me: why the U.S. – China climate announcement matters.

We have taken a step forward for the penguins!  What, you ask?  Nobody, especially penguins, want to see the ice sheets melting or the penguin population of Antarctica decline, but that could happen unless global warming is stopped. Researcher Bill Fraser tracked the decline of breeding pairs of the Adélie penguins of Antarctica from 32,000 to 11,000 in 30 years.

We are pleased to say that the United States is doing something, in coordination with China.  On March 31, the US and China- two of the world’s largest emitters- made a joint statement confirming that they would  commit to the terms of the Paris Agreement.  They agreed to sign on April 22 with hopes that their pledge would encourage many other countries to follow.  This will help operationalize the COP 21 Paris climate agreement to restrain greenhouse gas emissions.   In order for this agreement to go into effect 55 countries with 55% of emissions must jointly sign up.

Speaking personally, as a young adult, the specifics of the agreement are very complicated, but the need to stop the world from suffering from the effects of global warming is not.  Seeing the country I call home and another major country committing to be the first two countries to sign this agreement is monumental and gives me hope that other countries will soon follow.

Author: Abby Holland

(Photo Credit: US Department of State OES)