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  • Within the next fifty years, many of the islands that make up nations like Kiribati, and the

  • Maldives, may be completely underwater. Additionally, in just 100 to 300 years, Venice could be

  • completely submerged, along with major parts of Amsterdam, Miami and New Orleans. So what

  • is the world doing about rising sea levels?

  • Well, unfortunately, not that much. In 2013, the world pumped out a record 35.3 Billion

  • Tonnes of CO2. Since pre-industrial times, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has

  • risen by 40%. Most scientists agree that this is eroding the earth’s ozone layer, exposing

  • it to harmful UV rays, and increasing insulatory gases. Overall the earth is getting hotter,

  • the polar ice caps are melting, and international sea levels are rising.

  • China, the United States and India are the world’s largest polluters. But for years

  • they have been reticent to cut back on their fossil fuel industries. What cutbacks they

  • HAVE agreed to have been unenforced, and often ignored. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 established

  • target emission reductions for major countries. Yet the United States refused to ratify it,

  • and China and India were ultimately exempt from making emission cuts due to theirdeveloping

  • nationstatus.

  • In recent years some slowly-sinking countries have taken legal action against major contributors

  • to global warming. In 2002, the island nation of Tuvalu threatened to bring charges against

  • the US and Australia for their roles in climate change. In 2011, Palau announced that it would

  • also seek legal counsel from The International Court of Justice for similar reasons. Even

  • in the Netherlands, which is another nation at risk for flooding, some 900 people recently

  • signed a petition to sue the Dutch government for pollution.

  • But are lawsuits really going to work? Well, some islanders allege that other polluting

  • nations are violating a legal precedent established by the United Nations, known as theno

  • harm rule”. This principle obligates a nation to prevent, reduce and control the risk of

  • environmental harm to other states. However, it’s proven difficult to sue countries for

  • climate change. Harm from rising sea levels is usually indirect, unintentional, and hard

  • to pin on just a few nations.

  • Still, some lawsuit threats have garnered lots of media attention and increased public awareness.

  • The next UN Conference on Climate Change is in late 2015. Global warming activists

  • are expected to be there in full force. A new, legally binding agreement between ALL

  • nations is the ambitious goal for the upcoming convention. And until an agreement is reached,

  • rising sea levels will be an unabated threat to many seafront communities.

  • One element of the rising sea level problem, is the melting of our planet’s ice sheets.

  • To learn why these behemoths of ice are so crucial to our planet's ecosystems, check

  • out this video from DNews. There’s a link to that video in the description below if

  • youre on your phone. Thanks for watching! And,don't forget for subscribe.

Within the next fifty years, many of the islands that make up nations like Kiribati, and the

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