The United Nations climate action summit failed to address important issues

The economic route to combat climate problems, the great pacific garbage patch, and alternatives and limitations to the net zero emissions plans were not discussed at the summit.

Madeleine Katz, Online Editor in Chief

World leaders gathered for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, traveling to New York on planes that emit harmful greenhouse gasses. Leaders of countries that promised change addressed greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, sustainability, and net zero emissions in their three minute speeches. 

Countries that presented at the summit showed their own plans to combat climate damage within their own country and suggested ideas that other countries could follow but no concrete deals to benefit the climate were made.The international community needs to create economic deals that will reduce carbon emissions to make sure that every country is doing their part, rather than each deciding on their own plan to combat climate change. 

If countries with large economies refuse to do business or trade with countries that do not follow climate regulations, they would be forced to follow the proposed climate regulations in order to remain economically stable. Economically powerful countries need to take a stand against pollution and refuse to do business with countries that allow factories to operate with high levels of pollution. 

It’s not too late to clean up parts of the mess we have already made. The great pacific garbage patch was not a talking point at the summit even though it is a major problem threatening sea life in the Pacific. Not only is it unhealthy for sea animals, but it can be extremely harmful to people who include seafood in their diet. 

Sea animals regularly consume the plastic and trash accumulating in the garbage patch and when those sea animals are served as food, people are also affected. Animals are also getting caught in the debris and losing their free range of movement which in many cases leads to death. The UN has the power and resources to clean up the great pacific garbage patch and prevent continued damage. A clean up of the great pacific garbage patch and other harmful garbage patches are necessary and worthwhile and should have been a main topic of discussion.

As stated on the UN Environment website, “Offsets are only part of the answer.” While net zero emissions is a good goal for countries to work towards, it’s more important to reduce emissions in the first place. Stricter regulations need to be enforced on machinery that causes pollution, anything from factories to personal cars. 

While the summit took a step in the right direction to work towards a cleaner environment, a number of important environmental issues were not solved or acted upon. Rather than giving each country time to make suggestions, the countries at the summit should be working together to create uniform policy to clean up the environment and ensure that the earth is in good condition for generations to come.