On 3 April 2014, Debating Europe co-hosted Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, as part of our Debating Europe Schools initiative. The debate focused on mobilising action on climate change, and Ban Ki-moon answered questions from a selection of students from across the EU.
Torrential rains battered Western Europe earlier this year, causing floods, damaging property and eroding coastlines. At the same time, North America was being frozen by unprecedented cold temperatures, whilst a record-breaking heat wave was sizzling Australia. According to a recent report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we should all get used to these extreme weather patterns because they’re here to stay.
UN negotiations are currently under way to develop a new international climate change agreement for the Paris climate conference in 2015, to be implemented from 2020. Activists are hoping for a comprehensive, ambitious and legally-binding agreement – but high expectations have been dashed before, most notably at at the Copenhagen conference in 2009, which was widely seen as delivering less than promised. This time, however, the EU hopes to reclaim its reputation as a global leader on climate change.
In preparation for the event with Ban Ki-moon, we put together some facts and figures about climate change and its impact in the infographic below (and you can click on the image for a larger version). Can Europe help lead the world in the fight against climate change? Or is it already too late to avoid dangerous global warming? Will extreme weather events be more common in future? And can economies be adapted to resist climate change, or is prevention the only option? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.