View from Marrakech: It’s Up to Us Now

Ben Breslau, Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Upon entering COP22 on Monday I struggled with what to do next. What did any of this matter if the U.S. government refuses to help us? Fortunately, over the course of this week at the conference, I came to understand that I am far from alone in the pursuit of a healthier planet. Individuals, corporations, and governments from around the world are working harder than ever to solve the issues that lay ahead. And our young generation has a greater potential than ever to completely reshape our world for the better.

Christen Green Campuses 2.jpg

COP22 higher education panel. Photo: Christen Bellucci

On our first night at the conference, all of the UConn students entered a panel of faculty from around the world, discussing the role of Higher Education in future environmentalism. Professors spoke in French and English about how important it is that every college student learns about sustainability. As our generation is the one bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, it is vital that we are all equipped with the knowledge of how climate change and other environmental issues occur, how they relate to issues of social justice and economics, and how to create lasting solutions. It is important not only to teach sustainability, but also to make the lessons memorable; as with any subject, students are most likely to remember the lessons that are interesting, engaging, and relatable. Luckily, UConn students and faculty are pursuing this goal by promoting a new environmental literacy/sustainability general education requirement through a student-circulated petition and a faculty-led workgroup. It would be wonderful for our university to be on the short list of schools around the world that have adopted such a requirement. So how exactly can we, as students and faculty, construct these programs for more schools besides our own? Networking. Luckily, we had numerous opportunities to network and exchange ideas with a host of other people throughout the conference.

On Monday night, several of us were stuck waiting for our bus back to the hotel. Luckily, a potentially troubling situation quickly turned into a great opportunity. As we waited, we began to exchange information with some of the other conference attendees.

Mostafa, for example, is a journalist from Cairo. For the last few years, his work has granted him unique opportunities on the front lines of our changing world. Mostafa has seen the death and destruction caused by Syria’s civil war, and the plight of the now impoverished refugees trapped in Jordan and other countries. And of course, he was actively involved in the 2011 Arab Spring demonstrations that removed Hosni Mubarak from his decades-long rule. He also had to watch helplessly, first as the extremely conservative Mohammad Morsi was elected, then as Morsi was forcibly deposed by Abdel al-Sisi and his military companions. Now, Mostafa and his friends — who, like us, want a nation of more democracy and transparency — are stuck under military rule with no sign of an election in the foreseeable future. Interestingly, we observed how the Arab Spring, and other recent events like the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, share similar social trends: the population at-large seems to be sick of ineffective “establishment” governments, but there is a strong divide as to what should replace the current world order.


Students (Ben Breslau, Stephanie Hubli and Wyatt Million) and OEP Director Rich Miller learn about sustainable heating solutions at the COP22 Green Zone. Photo: Christen Bellucci

Before Mostafa boarded his bus, I asked him for advice about what we could do to counter our potentially regressive regime. He said: “Be patient. Unlike us, you’ll have a midterm election in two years, and another presidential election in four. Before then, we can all form a more connected international community.” We exchanged information, and will hopefully continue to build grassroots international support for climate awareness and action.

As the week went on, our group continued to ask ourselves what many Americans have recently been asking: How has our nation, and even our world, become so polarized? On Wednesday, we brainstormed this question with students from other American Universities and the Moroccan University of Cadi Ayyad. We gathered in one of the large university’s boardrooms with local students, as well as students from American schools such as the University of Denver, Columbia University, University of St. Louis, and several from Historically Black Colleges and Universities cohort. After introductions, UConn professor Oksan Bayulgen observed: In our generation, there are some teens and young adults who, like us, are incredibly passionate and active about a wide range of issues. But there are also many who show nearly complete apathy towards anything controversial or political. I, and some of the other American students, suggested that many of us are stuck in online echo chambers — we follow people and ‘news’ sources that align with our pre-existing ideas, and fear or condemn those with different outlooks. People also suggested that many American millennials need to be reached in areas of their life that matter to them. Examples include eco-friendly fashion, green community service, and sustainable diets. Some of the Moroccan students expanded on this notion and suggested that environmentalism is also a subject that too often is presented as abstract. Students need to learn, from a very early age, that sustainability is a real-world issue that affects us all.


Cadi Ayyad University, co-host of the Colleges United for Climate Action networking event

I spoke later with Zakaria, a local student who runs “Science Caravans” with some of the other students who were at the networking event. They travel to local high schools and demonstrate simple experiments that explain how climate change works. Other Moroccan students suggested more outreach with a stronger focus on human rights and social justice issues that accompany climate challenges. This promotes community service and engages poor and minority stakeholders in the battle to avert a climate crisis.

Throughout the conference, we spotted many more opportunities to improve our generation’s global networking. For example, one of the many NGOs presenting in the Civil Societies pavilion held student gatherings throughout one of the days. While we weren’t able to attend ourselves, we gathered information about the organization, called Sustaining All Life. A U.S.-based group, they encourage exactly the information exchanges and conferences that we support.

I’m happy to say that I feel much more positive about our generation after all of these networking encounters. This, coupled with a Northeastern U.S. college sustainability conference I attended two weeks ago, has shown me that our generation is very proactive, especially in the face of disaster. All it takes is a coordinated effort!

View from COP22 in Marrakech: An Uncertain Future

By Ben Breslau, Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


The UConn contingent arriving at Marrakech

As we flew into Morocco, my mind raced. Like many of my environmentally conscious peers in the United States and beyond, I was still in shock from the previous week’s presidential election. Among his many campaign promises, President-elect Trump has spoken of promoting policies that would be disastrous to the national and global environment. He has discussed reinvigorating the coal industry, which will translate into massive health hazards for the people of Appalachia. He has also proposed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency. This agency has improved countless lives by directly reducing the amount of pollutants in our nation’s rivers, air and soil. He has also suggested opening up our National Parks to private industries for exploitation. This would not only severely damage America’s tourism industry, but it would also destroy unique and irreplaceable ecosystems. And most dangerous of all, he is seriously considered abandoning the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Since the United States is Earth’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter (and may again become the largest as China seeks more renewable energy), this could mean that our country, which stands as a beacon for freedom around the world, may irreparably contribute to the largest global crisis in our generation.

Needless to say, I was less than optimistic before we touched down in Africa. I felt something that others less privileged than myself have felt for years or even decades: a strong sense of disillusionment and betrayal towards the officials that are supposed to represent the interests of ALL Americans.

View from COP22 in Marrakech: The Trump Opener

Kristin Burnham, Student, Pathobiology and Molecular and Cell Biology

The Trump Opener: A cultural phenomenon observed at COP22 in which, once the nationality of a U.S. citizen is established, the opening remark of the conversation is about President-Elect Donald Trump.

“You know I’ve never met a Trump supporter,” Mostafa, a well-spoken, twenty something journalist from Cairo tells us as we wait for the bus from the Green Zone back to the hotel.

We comment that people who voted for Trump don’t come to climate change conferences, or to developing countries for that matter. The statement is laced with condescension, the implicit message clear: they don’t know better because they haven’t seen the things we have, they don’t know the things we know.  It’s how we explain their seemingly inexplicable choice.

Rich Miller, from the UConn cohort comments that it’s interesting how close the rest of the world followed the U.S. election. Mostafa replies, “We’re all stakeholders – your elections affect us as much as they affect you, maybe even more.” And, to some degree, he is right. For better or worse, the U.S. is a global superpower. Our foreign policy brings not only humanitarian aid and other resources to developing nations, but also, all too often, our soldiers, our missiles, and our carbon emissions, which travel far beyond our borders.

Mostafa explains that he sympathizes, comparing many Egyptians’ dislike for their President of the past two and-a-half years, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to many Americans’ dislike of Trump. “I was a part of the Arab Spring,” he tells us. With pride and eloquence he says that our generation is more connected than ever before: How incredible it is that we can know the story and thoughts of a 16 year old girl in Palestine, a 41 year old man in Iraq… or a 20 year old girl from Connecticut.

kristin-mitigation-2There is a lull in the conversation. Ben Breslau, a fellow student from the UConn group, asks “So what do we do?” Mostafa emphatically replies, “You wait. Please wait.  You do nothing. You have patience,” almost pleading for the new US administration to stand behind the Paris Agreement, reached just last year at the historic COP21.  He cares what we do. He cares because it affects him too.

It’s not just what the president does that has a global impact. It’s what we all do. It’s the votes we cast, the revolutions we start, the passion of our convictions, and the causes we choose to champion.

A few minutes later we meet a delegate from Turkey, “You’re from America? I was here [at the conference] as the election results were coming in.” He says people cried and scheduled talks were abandoned to discuss instead the potential devastation Trump’s environmental policies could have on the world.

I hope that no matter what Trump does, no matter how drastic or inflammatory, we, as a country, can be more than his actions.

Let’s use the overwhelming feelings of frustration and helplessness to create a better United States. Let’s treat each other with more kindness. Let’s use the outrage and fear that surround Trump’s election to be a catalyst for change. Let’s join together to reduce our contribution to greenhouse gasses.

If we can’t take pride in our President, let us instead create a culture, country and carbon footprint we can be proud of.

View from COP22 in Marrakech: Hoping for a Better Donald

What the 2016 Election Means for Climate Change Policy

Klara Reisch, Student, Molecular and Cell Biology

klara-human-rightsI shuffled in and out of shops trying to find a souvenir in Marrakech when one merchant turned to me, chuckled and asked “you voted for Trump?” I was confused and slightly embarrassed that this election was following me deep into the Souks of the Medina, but I was not surprised. In fact, before that encounter, most panel discussions I attended at COP22 mentioned the election results back home, which named Donald Trump as our president-elect. Throughout the campaign, Trump argued that climate change is merely a hoax spurred by the Chinese and criticized the United States for spending money on environmental initiatives to minimize its effects. He had threatened to dismantle last year’s landmark Paris Agreement, and Trump and revoke the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which calls for a decrease in carbon emissions from power plants.

klara-human-rights-2Either way, this election left many delegates and panelists concerned and unsure about the future of our world. I spoke with a panelist from GIZ, Klaus Wenzel, about the U.S.’s resistance of climate change policy. He talked about how workers are concerned about how they will be affected by this transition to things like clean energy. “People are afraid,” he said. “People are afraid of what this means for their jobs.” One of Trump’s main issues with renewable energy is that it is too expensive. Wenzel argued that although the return on investment takes time, renewable energy decreases the amount of air pollution and green house gas emissions, both of which have major effects on the environment and human health. “What is the worth of a premature death?”

Of course, no one knows for sure what this election means for the United States and the rest of the world, but I heard opinions expressed by both sides in various panel discussions at COP22. Some said that the United States would not back out because of the geopolitical and trade implications, while others believe that the U.S. may step out of the game and perhaps force other countries to step up.

Hopefully, enough people will speak out against Trump’s environmental policies. If our president will not fight on our behalf, we will have to.

Myanna Lahsen Seminar, 21 September

photo-9Where is the Beef?  

Climate Change knowledge and communication in Brazil


Myanna Lahsen

Center for Earth System Science

The Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE)

Wednesday 21 September 2016

2:30 – 3:30 pm

AUST 163

Abstract: Skepticism about climate science is often identified as a key obstacle to effective decision making in the U.S. and other countries. Brazil has come to be celebrated as an enlightened counter-example because climate science is largely uncontested, as reflected in analyses of climate coverage in national newspapers and in a series of international surveys performed by the Pew Center and others. However, drawing on extensive analysis of Brazilian climate politics and newspaper coverage of climate change, I reveal a deep disconnect between Brazil’s emissions profile and how climate change and related solutions are defined, a disconnect that obstructs awareness of Brazil’s single most important source of emissions: cattle-raising. During the talk, I will also discuss broader environmental risks generated by agricultural expansion in Brazil’s biodiversity hotspot, the “Cerrado” savanna biome, highlighting how Brazil’s research agendas and mass communications structures bear on the challenge of responding to the threats of resource depletion and global environmental change.

Bio:  Myanna Lahsen is Senior Researcher II in the Earth System Science Center at the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE). A Cultural Anthropologist and STS scholar by training, she studies knowledge politics and other socio-cultural dynamics related to global environmental change, environmental sustainability and development. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and fellowship in the United States, including the Jacob K. Javits and EPA ”STAR” fellowships, and two postdoctoral Fellowships, in the Advanced Study Program at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research and in the J.F. Kennedy school of Government, respectively. Before assuming her current position in Brazil, she held positions as Science Officer with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, as Research Scientist in CIRES at the University of Colorado and as Lecturer on Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard University. She has served on review panels at the U.S. National Science Foundation and been called to participate in Expert Groups advising the United Nations on the dynamics of the science-policy interface and the formation of a global sustainability report. She currently serves as advisor to Nature Climate Change and as Executive Editor of WIREs Climate Change, responsible for the subdomain on The Social Status of Climate Change Knowledge.

This event is hosted by the University of Connecticut Atmospheric Sciences Group (ASG) and the Department of Geography.

Post-Paris: On Pricing Carbon

Alex Mayer

Coal emits around six times more CO2 per dollar than natural gas, and twelve times more than oil. The most effective way to cut carbon emissions is to cut coal, yet it is still a wildly popular source of energy around the world. This is because coal is the least expensive fossil fuel. The price of coal is externalized, meaning people do not pay the full social for it. In fact, carbon is actually priced at zero dollars, despite its dangerous side effects. Nordhaus tackles these issues in his book, The Climate Casino.

Let me back up.

CO2 is a prevalent greenhouse gas that acts as a blanket to warm the earth. Greenhouse gases do not interact with sunlight, also known as visible radiation. So, sunlight is able to pass through greenhouse gases from space on the way to earth. Then, the earth absorbs the visible radiation, and by heating the surface converts the sunlight into infrared radiation, also known as heat. Next, the earth emits said infrared radiation. Here’s where we get into trouble. Greenhouse gases love to absorb infrared radiation and emit it in all different direction. This means that some heat is pushed back down to earth. This heat, in turn raises earth’s temperature even more.

If you’re from a place with long, dreary winters like me, you might, at first, welcome the idea of a warmer climate. However increases in temperature have serious consequences. A 1°C increase in the world’s average temperature is predicted to cause water shortages, coral bleaching, coastal flooding, and amphibian extinction. A 2°C increase is on track to do all of the above, as well as lead to the spread of diseases. It will also put 20-30% of species at high risk of extinction. At 3°C higher, in addition to the above, we expect to see a decrease in food production, sea level rise, and a “substantial burden on health systems.” A change of 5°C is catastrophic, causing mass extinctions, an enormous drop in food productivity, a 30% decrease in coastal wetlands, fatal floods, a change in coastlines, and huge changes in ocean circulation. Each prediction listed above is likely to spur a chain of destructive occurrences.

The scientific community has stated that we should not let the world’s temperature rise above 2°C. However, Nordhaus argues that we should let the earth warm 2.5°C. He comes to this conclusion through his own cost benefit analysis, in which he measures the cost of decreasing carbon emissions against the cost of adaptation to a new climate, arguing that if we spend too much now to reduce carbon emissions, we would put the health and safety of all humans at risk.

Okay, so now that you’re all caught up, the question is… what policies can incentivise the reduction of carbon emissions? Nordhaus has the answer: Climate pricing. He writes, “governments must ensure that people do pay the full costs of their emissions. Everyone, everywhere, and for the indefinite future must face prices that reflect the social costs of their activities.” There are two approaches to setting a price for carbon. You can either calculate the social cost of carbon by evaluating the risks of climate change, or you can base your price off of a temperature ceiling goal. According to a US Governmental approach, the social cost of carbon is $25 per metric ton of CO2. Nordhaus insists that if one were to follow the second approach of pricing carbon and limit the average global temperature increase to 2.5°C, carbon would start at $25 per metric ton of CO2 and increase about 5% annually due to estimated CO2 emission swells in the future.

Pricing carbon would greatly influence the costs of electric power generation. The cost of creating electricity from coal, for example would rocket. Natural gas production would also see a steep increase in cost, though it would be less dramatic. Nuclear power and renewable resources would be the cheapest energy sources.  This would encourage refineries to shift away from emitting carbon in mass and in turn would inspire researchers, inventors, and investors to put time and money into innovating more sustainable and efficient ways to extract and use low carbon energy sources. Furthermore, a carbon price would ensure that carbon rich products and activities would be more expensive for the consumer. This, of course, would encourage people to buy carbon-low materials.

There are two common approaches for pricing carbon: the carbon tax and cap and trade. A carbon tax would have companies, individuals, or the source pay a tax on their emissions. Cap and trade at the national level is a system in which the government allocates or sells carbon emissions permits to corporations. In this approach, all of the country’s businesses, firms, refineries, etc. cannot exceed a total quantity of carbon emissions. However, they are able to trade their carbon permits. Say a business is looking to go green due to public pressure. This company can sell it’s carbon permits to a refinery that wants to release more carbon than it has permits. The intersection of interests between the two companies sets the price for said permits. The corporation, of course would be looking for the highest payer, while the refinery would seek the lowest bid.

Hypothetically, these two approaches have the same effects, but in real life, each carbon pricing scheme has specific benefits and downfalls. Let’s take a closer look. Quickly, you may be wondering who actually pays for CO2 in a carbon tax scheme.  The consumer could pay, as could the refinery or gas station. Economically, it makes no difference. The consumer, will pay the price of carbon no matter what. However if say, the refinery is taxed directly, the consumer may not see the price surge as their own burden. Thus, many advocate for taxing away from the consumer. Nordhaus argues that “a carbon tax would yield $168 billion of revenues in 2020, equal to about 1 percent of GDP. Because the tax rate would soon shoot up, the revenues would also increase substantially over time.”

One benefit of the carbon tax is that taxes are universal. While every country has some sort of tax system, many have limited exposure to cap and trade systems. Thus, the carbon tax may be easier to implement on a larger scale. Furthermore, a carbon tax would not be vulnerable to price volatility. The cap and trade system on the other hand, lends itself to intense fluctuations in cost, which we see when looking at the EU model. An added bonus of the carbon tax is that it can produce money for the government, which can then spend said revenue on environmental initiatives. In a cap and trade system, permits are usually given for free (though there has been some recent resistance to this). This decreases revenue for government, but would keep the American public on board. This is because special interest groups have flooded America with the idea that taxation, especially of corporations, is heinous, anti-capitalistic, and oppositional to free trade.

The carbon tax does have it’s weaknesses, however. In countries like the US, tax plans are difficult to pass and easy to repeal. A changing partisan tide can reverse these environmental initiatives in a heartbeat. Here, cap and trade comes into play. In the US, environmental regulation seem to have staying power. For this reason, cap and trade can be more beneficial in the long run. Also troubling is that a set carbon tax does not in itself curb carbon use. In the cap and trade system, there is a set quantity of carbon releasable. No matter how much money mega-corporations have, they are unable to burn more carbon than they can buy, and they can only buy carbon permits allocated to firms by the government. Here’s a silly analogy to help comprehension:

Say there is a mega-wealthy supervillain who wants to destroy the world by releasing all the carbon he can excavate. Under the carbon tax system, with enough money, he could burn all the carbon in the world. Under the cap and trade system, he could only buy everyone’s permits. This latter plot, would not allow him to destroy the world via climate change because the government would allocate carbon permits based on how much carbon is emittable for a safe world.

Unfortunately, this is oversimplified. Carbon “offsets,” actions that supposedly reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, are often used to game the cap-and-trade system. When a company offsets carbon pollution, they get an offset permit, which they can sell or trade. Though sensical in theory, offsets are not always carefully monitored and can actually result in extra greenhouse gas emissions. For example, in Indonesia, Sinar Mas Corporation, a palm oil producer, chopped down indigenous forest. In the barren space, the company planted palm oil trees. This, of course, harmed the environment and released carbon emissions. Yet, the corporation still applied for and received offset permits, which they were then able to sell for more profit.

Hypothetically, there is no way of ensuring that a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade can curb carbon emissions enough. Still, it’s all about incentive. Of course, a country could opt to do a carbon tax/cap and trade hybrid. Because each nation has a unique set of political and economic challenges, no one policy will work for every country.

Of course, climate change does not discriminate based on nationality. It will hurt everyone and everything. Therefore, mitigating climate change must be a global effort. This seems rather challenging, as without a unifying treaty or discussion, countries are apt to price carbon in different ways and perhaps at different costs. If the difference in the pricing of carbon is vast, complications will arise at borders over how to translate one country’s carbon pricing to another’s. Nordhaus outlines two ways to harmonize global carbon costs. First, there could be an international cap and trade scheme. Second, all countries could hypothetically agree on a minimum carbon cost instead of an emissions ceiling. In this scenario, countries could legislate higher carbon prices than the agreed upon minimum if they wanted. These ideas are great concepts, but a major question remains: How do we get all countries to stick to their deals without international enforcement authorities and systems?

Nordhaus skeptically advocates for tariffs.Yet, it would be too difficult (and ineffective) to tariff only the carbon rich products. It is near impossible to trace supply chain, and therefore near impossible to know how much carbon is emitted in the production processes of a good. If a Furthermore, many carbon heavy products are used domestically, which renders tariffs irrelevant. It seems more sensical to tariff a specific percentage of all products coming from a noncompliant country. In this way, those countries who shoulder the costs of climate change mitigation get to participate in free trade. Noncompliance countries do not. Ideally, countries would tax carbon at the source to avoid the above mess. Counties that do not, would be tarrifed.

This is a lofty goal, that many will reject ideologically due to the historic struggle against protectionism. Although this simple regulation is radically different from protectionism, the lines could be blurred by a self interested country. The fact that a conservative economist such as Nordhaus even entertains tariffs, much less pushes for them, proves how costly climate change will be if we continue business as usual.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC livestream at Dodd Center

image002A Future Free from Fear: Why We Must Act on Climate Change Today
Christiana Figueres
Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
Christiana Figueres has served as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and has piloted the UN Climate negotiations since 2010, culminating in the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) last December. Christiana worked tirelessly to convince nearly 200 countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and has called the  Paris climate accord a “historical achievement.” But she also knows that the hard work has just begun. Her talk will focus on the critical next steps after Paris.
 Monday 25 April 2016
 12:00 – 1:30pm
Konover Auditorium  [Storrs, Dodd Center]
Avery Point Auditorium [Avery Point Campus]
RM 132  [Stamford Campus]
This event is hosted by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and will be live streamed to UConn with support from the Atmospheric Sciences Group (ASG) and the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering (CESE).
Questions may be submitted in advance via the web (scroll to bottom) at

April 22 Earth Day Celebration: James Porter

image001The UConn Environmental Working Group has orchestrated an engaging Celebration of Earth Day on 22 April 2016, that includes three events: 

  • A seminar by Dr. James Porter (Solving Environmental Problems in the 21stCentury:  Who Will Lead the Way?”);
  • A Discussion Forum and Reception for Graduate Students; and
  • A Discussion Forum and Reception for Undergraduate Students.

see flyer for details.

Fragile Framework


Shelby Brelig

Hi my name is Shelby Brelig and I am an Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Environmental Law at the University of Connecticut. I am a fifth year senior which is mainly because I couldn’t figure out which environmental path I wanted to take in life, I just knew I wanted to help. The course that I am taking, GEOG 4098 Variable Topics: The UN COP21 Paris 2015 Climate Conference Wrap, is all about the Paris Climate Conference, how we got to this point, and where the results of the conference will take us.

As my first look into this topic, I read a comic called “The Fragile Framework” by Richard Monastersky and Nick Sousanis. This comic discusses the history and events leading up to the Paris Climate Conference as well as discusses the major problems associated with global warming. The entire process started in 1990 with talks about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and since then there have been efforts to make a change in 1992, 1997, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2013. These efforts have not been successful for one of two reasons, because people did not agree to treaty terms or the simple fact that no one wanted to take the blame and would rather put the blame on others.

The biggest issue always discussed is the problem with greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. The way greenhouse gases work is the sun gives off a large amount of radiation to the planet, this radiation reaches the Earth by visible light. The visible light is absorbed by the ground and then given off back to the atmosphere as heat (which is infra red radiation). The atmosphere then absorbs this radiation and then emits heat radiation of its own in both directions, some up into space and some down back to the ground. The radiation sent back to the ground from the atmosphere heats the ground back up causing the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse emitting nations are also contributing to this process by deforestation which destroys a large amount of carbon sinks which in return releases and allows more carbon dioxide to be in the atmosphere.

Countries know that this is happening and that this the main cause for global warming. In recent years, they have decided they wanted to tackle the problem but that creates a problem in itself because of the amount if blame that must be distributed among these countries in order to solve the problem. None of the countries want to reduce their emissions buy such a substantial amount because, according to Naomi Klein in her book This Changes Everything, this would cause the oil and gas companies to collapse, society would have to change their consuming habits, and this would challenge the foundation of our economy which tells us we need to constantly consume. The developing countries believe that they also deserve a small emissions cut if any cut at all because they produce a very small amount of emissions and, in order to become a more developed country, will need to release more emissions into the atmosphere.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 3.05.52 PMEven though this work is in a comic format, it actually teaches people more than a simple essay. By seeing the text and the images side by side it puts into perspective how big of an issue this truly is. This comic showed me that there have been a large amount of attempts to help solve this problem but all attempts have been incredibly late. This problem has been going on for more than the past 25 years. Greenhouse gases became a large problem during the industrial revolution which was a lot longer than 25 years ago.

I believe that the authors decided to put this information in the format of a comic to show people visuals of what exactly is going on. The comic showed graphic drawings of forests being destroyed by fires and it showed graphs that put into perspective the severity of the problem at hand. The graphs are able to provide a substantial amount of information without having to put the information into words. Also, peoples’ eyes are more drawn towards short, graphic novels over long essays because most people want to read something entertaining rather than something important. Our society today is all about instant gratification and wanting everything to be short and to the point or entertaining. By putting important information in an entertaining medium, it allows for a larger audience as well as creates a higher chance of people being interested in reading the information. This type of medium was definitely interesting when addressing an issue like this and I would highly suggest that everyone take some time to read this short comic at http://www.nature.com/news/the-fragile-framework-1.18861 . Who knows, maybe it could inspire you to help.