What are our Leaders doing to create a sustainable world?

We are all being told to do this and do that when it comes to changing our lives to be more sustainable and Eco-friendly. Constantly told we need to travel less, Eat less, throw away less and upcycle more you begin to wonder what our leaders are doing? When Donald Trump in the news for denouncing the Paris Agreement and the UK leaving the EU is enough being done to protect the world for future generations? Are we on track to hit targets set out by the Paris Agreement (The PA represents the first time in history that all countries of the world have agreed to work together towards the joint mitigation and adaptation goals outlined in the Agreement, without a rigid distinction drawn between developed and developing country participation.). 

The UN

In 2016 the UN launched the Paris Agreement, The UN will hold another summit in September 2019 discuss pushing forward with the Paris agreement and currently, the US has to remain and in and fulfil its promise till 2020 and the UK and EU confirmed they are still committed to the agreement set out. In the last few years, the UN  has used the Globally recognised Environment day on 5th June each year to raise awareness of current global issues the theme for 2019 was clean air, and in 2018 it was plastic pollution both very important issues across the globe. Alongside raising awareness through marketing campaigns, they also help countries and scientist access funding and grants to help tackle global environmental issues. 

Recently Sweden, UN Environment and the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) announced efforts to combat marine litter and plastic pollution in Southeast Asia over the coming four years, through a project that endeavours to ensure that less plastic escapes through waste management systems. 

Dechen Tsering, regional director for UN Environment in Asia and the Pacific, said, “Plastic pollution is a global problem, yet 60% of all plastic that ends up in our oceans comes from only 6 countries in Asia. By addressing the problem here, we can make great strides toward a planet free of plastic pollution. We are pleased to have the support of the government of Sweden to tackle the issue.”

The EU

European Union is working really hard with the UN and all the other members of the Paris Agreement to reduce EU emissions from fossil fuels by 20% and increase the use of renewable energy by 20%. The EU plan to reduce its carbon footprint by 85 - 90% by 2050, the rise in renewable energy will not only help the world but will provide new jobs and improve the economy. 

The EU announced in a press release what they will be doing to combat plastic pollution, The Single-Use Plastics Directive voted on by the European Parliament today tackles directly marine litter thanks to a set of ambitious measures:

A ban on selected single-use products made of plastic for which alternatives exist on the market: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and on all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.

Measures to reduce consumption of food containers and beverage cups made of plastic and specific marking and labelling of certain products.

Extended Producer Responsibility schemes covering the cost to clean-up litter, applied to products such as tobacco filters and fishing gear.

A 90% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2029 (77% by 2025) and the introduction of design requirements to connect caps to containers, as well as target to incorporate 25% of recycled plastic in PET bottles as from 2025 and 30% in all plastic bottles as from 2030.

The proposed Directive follows a similar approach to the successful 2015 Plastic Bags Directive, which brought about a rapid shift in consumer behaviour. When implemented, the new measures will bring about both environmental and economic benefits, such as for example:

- avoid the emission of 3.4 million tons of CO2 equivalent;

- avoid environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030;

- save consumers a projected €6.5 billion. 

The USA

The U.S. introduced The Clean Power Plan a federal policy under President Obama, this policy aims to combat climate change by limiting emissions from the energy sector. Though this policy is under review and the Trump administration has stalled on other national-scale efforts to combat global warming, and other environmental issues, climate action in the U.S. continues through regional, state and local initiatives.

Since 2016 Clean energy has continued to make rapid progress in the U.S. and globally. The year 2017 saw the second-highest amount of renewable energy capacity get built in the U.S. Power prices from renewables continue to reach new lows and in some places are already competitive with fossil fuels. And the expected growth in the electric vehicle market is threatening to upend the oil industry's stronghold on transportation. Below, find the latest facts and figures that show just how fast, clean energy is growing. 

The U.S. and Japan were the only nations that refused to join the G7 agreement to tackle plastic pollution, it appears that Trump was not even present at the meeting. He reportedly skipped out on the G7 climate change and environment talks, sending a U.S. representative in his stead. At the meeting, the U.S. also refused to sign a G7 commitment to the Paris accord and a carbon-neutral economy. At the bottom of the charter is a footnote, stating, "The United States strongly supports healthy oceans, seas and resilient coastal communities. The United States has announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and reserves on the climate-related language in the Blueprint." The white house even pulled back the ban on plastic bottles in national parks this year. 

Thankfully the USA has a lot of charities and local states fighting against Trump to help promote the need for change in the consumption of plastic and CO2 with States such as California, Hawaii. Hopefully, the President can be persuaded otherwise things aren't looking good even with the rest of the world effort. :(

Is it enough?

It may not be enough to fix the problem but it is certainly a step in the right direction and as much as it may seem that we are constantly being badgered to recycle better, wash our clothes less etc. It important that we do these things. It won't matter what our world leaders do if each one of us does not follow the advised changes. Every massive movement that ever happened across the globe has always started with the people. It may seem like a big fight but you can read out article on a small change to make to live sustainably.