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Op-Ed: French president says this is our ‘last chance to save planet’

Hollande was talking about the CO21 Conference, a UN-led conference to be held at the end of November in Paris, where delegates hope to sign and seal an agreement to limit the worst effects of climate change.

Speaking before the assembled representatives from countries around the world, Hollande voiced some optimism over the “joint vision statement” signed by China and The United States a few days ago, with China agreeing to a domestic “cap and trade” carbon exchange.

“We have moved forward over recent months,” Hollande said. “Very strong declarations were made by those countries who are most responsible for global warming… the United States and China, which undertook commitments towards changing the situation.”

The market-based cap and trade agreement will be launched in 2017, reports Discovery News, creating a “carbon market’ for electric power generation, cement, and other industries producing most of the country’s pollution. China’s program is meant to complement President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, finalized in August this year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also announced what he calls a “green dispatch approach” in his country, as a means of reaching the goal of producing 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

Is this year’s meeting in November our last chance to save the Earth?
Without going into the pros and cons of climate change, or pandering to or ignoring the climate change deniers, if we look at the world’s past history, we can all agree there has been climate change in the past. But today’s problems don’t stem from what is considered by many people to be a natural occurrence.

Instead, let’s talk about air pollution, the destruction of rain forests, an ocean so polluted with garbage that 90 percent of seabirds have plastic pieces in their guts. Let’s also talk about the increase in respiratory illnesses caused by pollution, the loss of whole species of plants, trees, animals, insects and birds, not because of climate change, but because of our lack of stewardship.

Actually, I sometimes think we should throw out the phrase, “climate change” and replace it with “man-made destruction.” It certainly would be more to the point. And I think most people would agree that man is responsible for what is going on with our planet.

But I also look at the bigger picture, and it is more concerning. I have listened to the speeches by the world’s leaders at the United Nations the past several days, and with all the sabre-rattling present under the guise of talk about making agreements, there still is a fundamental mistrust among nations.

If we can’t even agree to live together peacefully on this globe, how does anyone think, even for a moment, that we will be able to come to an agreement over the amount of pollution we pump into the air. We can’t even agree to something as simple as being aboveboard in our manufacturing. I’m referring to Volkswagen’s blatantly criminal act of lying about the emissions parts on 11 million cars, worldwide, no less.

So do I think we’re a day late and a dollar short on cleaning up our act? It’s a question I really don’t want to answer, simply because I worry about the planet we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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