Allison Kvien, MJLST Managing Editor
Most often, climate change is discussed on the global, top-down level: what changes may happen all around the world as a result of increasing global temperatures and greater fluctuations in weather events. There are very interesting maps that can show you just how much coastline will be underwater depending on different levels of sea level rise. To see just how much sea level rise it would take to put any city in the world underwater, you can use this mapping tool. There are also plenty of articles discussing hundreds of other effects of global climate change, such as food production, human health, endangered species, and the global economy.
We talk about climate change from a bottom-up perspective far less often, but it is a perspective that really does deserve our attention. Myanna Dellinger, in a recent article published in 2013 by the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, discusses and analyzes “bottom-up, polycentric developments within national and international environmental and human rights law in general.” This approach to viewing the large issue of climate change could be very beneficial because, as Dellinger points out, “waiting for national- and supranational-level actors to reach a broadly based and substantively effective agreement on climate change mitigation is like waiting for Godot—unlikely to happen, at least at a substantively early enough point in time.” Dellinger’s article argues that bottom-up approaches could be very viable alternatives to waiting for the unlikely global, top-down action to occur. Read her interesting and novel article here.
I agree that we’ll never find consensus on climate change. Currently, 45% of global pollution is caused by China and the United States. Right now, it’s a matter of getting these two superpowers to cooperate with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Like the article states, that it’s very unlikely to happen.
Unfortunately, it’s not until we start seeing real consequences until action will be taken. As mentioned, this includes impacts from sea level rise, glacier melt, etc.
I know there was mention of mapping tools in the articles. NASA is mapping out most climate change through satellites such as in these maps showing climate change. https://gisgeography.com/climate-change-effects-maps/
One of the best maps in here is the one that shows the effects of a rise in 4 degrees of temperature. Countries that border the oceans suffer the most, and unfortunately a lot of developing nations will suffer the most.