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Responses to Climate Change
The US never ratified the Kyoto Protocol and so had no obligations to reduce their emissions.

Responses to Climate Change

Climate change is one of the main topics covered in GCSE Geography. This is one of four quizzes on that subject and it looks specifically at the international responses to climate change, such as the Kyoto Protocol.

Since the end of the 20th Century the world's nations have been attempting to formulate effective responses to the threat of global climate change. In 2007 the United Nations Bali Climate Change Conference was attended by representatives from 180 countries - this was the next step after the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.

The European nations suggested that by 2050 emissions of harmful gases and all greenhouse gases should be halved. However, the United States of America, Japan, Canada, Australia and Russia objected, meaning the wording is now ‘deep cuts in global emissions’ rather than 'emissions should be halved'.

In addition to cutting the emission of greenhouse gases, the conference included a road map looking at deforestation and forest management. This is about technologies that can assist developing countries and financial assistance that developing nations can take advantage of to help prevent their development leading to an increase in global emissions.

The World Meteorological Society is working to bring together the science, data and policy makers to ensure that data is interpreted and delivered in a timely manner. They are also working to improve the tools used in responses to disasters and to make people on the ground better informed of future and present situations.

Beyond governmental policy changes and treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol, hard and soft engineering solutions are being put in place for sea level rises and for predicted extreme weather events. One of the largest and most famous is the Thames Barrier. Sea walls, reinforcing coastal defences and moving transport such as road and rail away from the immediate coast is also helping protect the vulnerable parts of out settlements and infrastructure.

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1.
Why is developing new types of crops and food technologies key to adapting to climate change?
Rapid increase in human populations as the climate warms will lead to food shortages
Changing diets means that people want to eat more. With added environmental pressures, crop yields will need to be increased
Changing conditions, flooding, and desertification may lead to reduced capability for crops to grow
Increased temperature means only genetically modified crops will grow
Changing conditions will stretch global agriculture beyond what it can produce at present. This, and a steady increase in human population, means that new food technologies will be required to feed demand
2.
What is the Green Climate Fund?
A fund to allow for the development of green technologies by universities and other publicly funded bodies. The aim is to allow technology to become carbon neutral within 20 years
A fund for the replanting of trees and plants in formerly deforested zones
A fund within the framework of the UNFCCC founded as a mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change
A fund that can be accessed by activist groups to help them spread the word about climate change
As a country develops, its carbon emissions rise. Nations like those in the EU have already gone through this stage and, to help reduce overall carbon output, are providing funding to nations that are still developing
3.
Some nations have begun to use carbon sinks to meet their targets for emission reduction. What are carbon sinks?
Underground locations where trapped carbon is stored
Natural fissures or holes that allow carbon to escape, thereby reducing the country's ownership of the issues created
Special charged plates installed in chimneys to remove particulates from the air as they pass over them
Forests, oceans, or other natural environments viewed in terms of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
It is likely that new technologies, including the use of genetically modified algae, will help to increase the rate of carbon capture and improve our chances of using carbon sinks to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere
4.
Which superpower announced its intention not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol?
EU
US
China
Iceland
Since the US have never ratified the treaty, despite signing in 1998, they had no obligations to reduce emissions in the period that ended in 2012
5.
If CO2 levels remain below 550ppm climate change may be small enough to allow both human populations and plant and animal species to adapt and adjust - rather than facing extinction. Which is not a way countries are reducing the rise in CO2 levels?
Reducing burning fossil fuels
Deforestation
Developing new carbon-neutral technologies
Working on carbon capture technologies
Reducing carbon output by developing new technologies, as well as planting trees and developing carbon capture techniques, can reduce the rise in average global temperatures
6.
What are the UK Climate Change Agreements?
A reduction in the Climate Change Levy (a tax on electricity and fuel bills) for companies that agree to meet certain targets
Agreements between the UK and other European nations to reduce emissions across the EU
Agreements between the UK and the USA to reduce climate change
A reduction in the tax bill for small companies that are in sectors that do not produce carbon emissions
Climate Change Levies are designed to encourage energy dependent sectors to improve their carbon footprint. Climate Change Agreements encourage them to improve even further
7.
What protocol was adopted on 11th December 1997 in Japan as a part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, committing the parties to internationally binding reductions in emissions?
Bali Road Map
Kyoto Protocol
Warsaw Protocol
Cancun Agreements
The Kyoto Protocol was seen as an important first step - even though not all industrialised nations agreed to or met the emissions targets
8.
What do the letters UNFCCC stand for?
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Field Council on Climate Change
Undeveloped Nations Field Council on Climate Change
United Nationals Final Convention on Cimate Change
The UNFCCC is best known for the Kyoto Protocal, and later, the Bali Road Map. Their website is a good source of material for revision purposes
9.
Which of the following is not a way that you can reduce your carbon footprint and so do your bit to reduce the impact of climate change?
Walking rather than using a car for short journeys
Recycling
Turning off electric devices when not in use
Keeping your old TV and other older equipment rather than upgrading
New equipment uses far less energy, reducing your carbon foot print although some people argue that this is offset by the emissions from manufacturing the more energy efficient appliances
10.
If greenhouse gas emissions stopped today, for how much longer would man-made climate change continue to occur?
30-40 years
300-400 years
3,000-4,000 years
It would stop immediately
Even if somehow governments managed to stop emissions today, it would still take decades for the climate to recover. It's unlikely that governments will reach a consensus in the immediate future. Whilst the rate of increase in greenhouse emissions is slowing, there is still an increase occurring
Author:  Ruth M

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