Changing Climate, Changing World at COP23

Our climate issues are international, and across the globe countries are standing up to take action. Emory students relate the challenges, responses and stories of communities confronting the realities of climate change. These projects were produced by students in the Climate Change and Society course and those who attended COP 23 as delegates.

Renewables in Latin America

-By Candelaria Bergero, a graduate student in Environmental Sciences

Few people in the globe can deny the threat that climate change represents to us, daily catalyzed by the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This short video focuses on a key mitigation strategy taking place in Latin America: the adoption of solar energy. In the region, changes in markets and policy significantly boosted growth in solar energy production between 2000 and 2016. Although renewable energies remain a small share of total production, they are growing at fast rates and receiving more and more attention from political leaders and markets. If this growth trend continues, the region could set an example for the rest of the world. 

Climate, Drought and the Syrian Crisis

-By Aspen Ono, '18C, Environmental Sciences and International Studies

The civil war in Syria that began in 2011 is a cautionary example of the worsening impact of climate forces on an already dire situation. A severe drought from 2006 to 2010 set in motion a volatile chain reaction that pushed the Syrian population over the edge and undermined the legitimacy of the al-Assad regime. The struggles in the countryside stoked the fires of government opposition and triggered the mass flight of refugees from the country. This podcast highlights the issues and lessons to be learned from the Syrian tragedy.

Climate Change and the Ocean

-By Naomi Boon 

The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, providing a primary source of protein for 2.6 billion people worldwide and supporting $2.5 trillion dollars of economic activity each year. Still, the ocean is often neglected when it comes to the disciplines of conservation and sustainable development, and dealing with climate change. In reality, 93% of the heat trapped by global warming is absorbed by the ocean, and ocean ecosystems are changing, in some cases, far more rapidly than terrestrial systems. Changing from an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude and taking immediate action to protect our ocean from the threat of climate change is now necessary. COP 23 raised awareness of the importance of ocean-climate and provided promise and hope for the future of our oceans.

Climate and Severe Weather in the Philippines

-By Rachel Pui Shi Loh, ‘18C, Economics and International Studies 

Developing countries are most vulnerable to climate change impacts due to the dearth in technological and financial resources. The Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable because of its heavy exposure to extreme weather events. One such event took place on November 8, 2013. Regarded as one of the strongest storms in recorded history, Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc on the lives of Filipinos.   Development factors have made it difficult for the Philippines to prepare for natural disasters. Research has found low levels of knowledge about storm surges among the country’s population. Before Haiyan, official information was too technical, underestimated the typhoon’s gravity, and discouraged evacuation. 

Water in West Atlanta and Pakistan

-By Maria Jolly, a graduate student in the Rollins School of Public Health 

These videos connect water and environmental justice issues in Atlanta to those happening in other parts of the globe. The first part focuses on the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and its efforts to tackle the issue of storm water and sewage outflow. The second part explores water issues from an international perspective and examines initiatives to curb flooding in Pakistan. Flooding can be induced by climate change and is among the problems facing the global community amid efforts to assist countries dealing with natural disasters.  

China's Efforts on Promoting Renewable Energy Use

-By Yezi Lyu, '18C, Environmental Sciences

China, the largest carbon emitter in the world, has been blamed for failing to contribute
to the Green Climate Fund to assist developing countries implement the Paris accord.
However, China has been pulling its weight on renewable energy and taking the lead in
promoting energy alternatives in the developing world.