Research Proposal

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RESEARCH PROPOSAL 8

The People’s Climate March: Research Proposal

The People’s Climate March: Research Proposal

Literature Review

Climate Change Situation

Climate change is one of the major environmental concerns globally. Scientists indicate that the world’s average temperatures have increased significantly in the recent decades due to the global warming effect that has been linked to increased emission of carbon into the atmosphere. Staggenborg (2015) report indicates that the planet’s average temperatures have increased by about 0.8o Celsius since 1880 which the largest increase having occurred in the recent decades. According to Archer (2012), the increase has been caused by excessive emission of greenhouse gases that accumulated in the atmosphere and preventing the heat from escaping from the earth’s surface.

The increased emission of carbon in the atmosphere was confirmed by a recent study conducted in Hawaii that found that the annual mean concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere currently stands at 400 parts per million (PPM) up from 363.71 PPM in 1997 (Davey, Vaughan & Holpuch, 2014). This marks a significant increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the most worrying this is that the concentration of carbon is on the rise globally. A study conducted in 2013 found that the global carbon dioxide emission stood at 39 gigatons annually, which is causing a huge increase in temperatures (Davey, Vaughan & Holpuch, 2014) Scientists have repeatedly recommended that the global temperatures should be maintained at a level less than 2o C because evidences have suggested that the world could experience serious climatic changes that could have adverse effects if the recommended threshold is exceeded (Hoornweg, 2011). Some of the adverse effects of climate change that the world has begun experiencing include increased incidences of prolonged droughts, rising sea levels, increased flooding, glacial movements and wildfires among others.

To address the problem of climate change, efforts have been made by world leaders that have seen many climate change resolutions being passed, including the Kyoto Protocol, and the Copenhagen Agreements on Climate Change among other efforts (Leary, 2008; Schmidt & Wolfe, 2009). The latest such agreements on climate change is the Paris Agreement that has 27 parties and 180 signatories. These agreements have set carbon emission targets that countries are expected to achieve as a way of addressing the problem. Unfortunately, studies conducted globally indicate that, as much as many countries are making efforts in combating climate change, none has been able to meet its carbon emission target. Canada is one of the countries that have not met its carbon emission target. Nuccitelli (2014) of the Guardian reports that Canada has failed to achieve its carbon pollution targets and that climate change researchers are now worried of the extent of pollution in the country. Nuccitelli (2014) reveals that the Canadian government is badly exploiting the Alberta tar sands at the expense of global climate change. The same applies to Australia that has not been able to achieve its emission target as the country remains one of the largest emitters of carbon into the atmosphere. Similar high level emissions are experienced in all the nations throughout the globe, a trend that is worried climate change activists and researchers.

The People’s Climate March

Social movements play an important part in bringing about social, political, economic and environmental changes in the society. Till now, there are many social movements that have brought about change in the society, such as the American Civil Rights Movement of the mid 20th century that brought racism and discrimination to an end. As environmental problems continue to increase, social movements advocating for mitigation of climate change have been emerging in different parts of the world, key among them being the People’s Climate March of 2014. The People’s Climate March was a large-scale and historic activist event that was organized to champion was global action against climate change. The idea of People’s Climate March was coined by Bill McKibben, a founder of environmental organization after realizing that the countries throughout the globe were not showing commitment to combating climate change issue (Barrett, 2015). The protest occurred in New York City on 21 September 2014 in which more than 311,000 people participated (Davey, Vaughan & Holpuch, 2014). During the march, the activists demanded stronger action on climate change stating that the world was not doing enough to address the problem that will have adverse effects on the current and future generations. The protest reportedly occurred in many countries including Canada, Brazil, Germany, India, France, the UK, South Africa, Turkey and Philippines. In Australia, approximately 30,000 people reportedly marched through Melbourne city center calling on the Australian government to take stronger action on climate change (ABC, 2016).

Fortunately enough, reports indicate that the People’s Climate March has had positive impact globally as it acted as a wakeup call to most countries that have become more serious on climate change and are putting strong measures in place to address this environmental problem (Atapattu, 2015). Since the march, Australia has initiated a number of measures to minimize its carbon emission and hopes to cut its emission by about 28% by 20130. ABC (2016) news report indicates that Australia has set its 2030 emission target at 26% to 28% emission cut. The same applies to many countries like Canada, China, Brazil, the USA, Germany, the UK, and France among other countries that have also shown strong commitment to cutting their carbon emission since the People’s Climate March.

Purpose of Research

The purpose of this project is to investigate the global climate change situation and its impacts. Many search literatures have shown that climate change is real and is having adverse effects on the environment and the plant at large. As such, the research will investigate the climate change situation as it is and its effects on the planet. The paper will also investigate the impacts that the People’s Climate March as a social movement has had on the nations in fighting climate change. In this respect, the research will look at whether the People’s Climate March has achieved its objectives or not. Finally, the paper will make recommendations based on the findings on the best approach to the climate change issue.

Research Questions

The following research questions will form the basis of this research. Do you believe in climate change? What are the possible adverse effects of climate change that you see? Do you believe that the government is doing enough to combat climate change? Why did you participate in the People’s Climate March? Do you think the protest has or will achieve its objective of pushing governments to put stronger action on climate change?

Methodology

To investigate the climate change situation and the efforts that have been put by governments to combat the problem and the effects of the People’s Climate March on climate change measures, a representative sample of 100 environmental activists that took place in the march in Melbourne will be used in the study. The participants in the study will be picked at random from different environment organizations throughout Australia. Random sampling of the respondents is appropriate for this study as it will prevent the possibility of bias that might distort the study (Brace, 2008). Data will then be collected from the participants through a mix of open-ended questionnaire and interviews. Open ended questionnaire was found appropriate for use as it will help us get more responses from the respondents (Brace, 2008). The questionnaires will have a set of questions that will be posed to the respondents regarding their perception on climate change, its effects, government role, why they participated in the protest in Melbourne as well as their views on whether or not the social movement protest has helped force the government to take action on climate change. For purposes of easy understanding, the questionnaire will be simple and all the questions will be posed in English language considering that Australia is an English speaking nation. However, for foreigners that may not have good mastery of English language, we will have interpreters to help then in filling the questionnaire.

For purposes of confidentiality, the respondents will not be required to reveal their names or organizations where they work (Resnik, 2015). Maintaining confidentiality of the respondents will be important when conducting the study because it will give the respondents the confidence to provide us with comprehensive information without fear of their identity being revealed.

The data collected will then be analyzed to assess the activists’ opinions regarding climate change and whether or not the governments are doing enough to address the problem.

References

ABC. (2016). Fact check: How do Australia’s carbon emissions targets compare? Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-01/australias-carbon-emissions-targets-compare-paris-2015/6938844

Archer, D. (2012). Global warming: Understanding the forecast. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Atapattu, S. (2015). Human rights approaches to climate change: Challenges and opportunities. London: Routledge.

Barrett, B. F. D. (2015). Why I joined the People’s Climate March. Retrieved from https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/why-i-joined-the-peoples-climate-march

Brace, I. (2008). Questionnaire design: How to plan, structure and write survey material for effective market research. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Davey, M., Vaughan, A., & Holpuch, A. (2014). People’s Climate March: thousands demand action around the world — as it happened. The Guardian 22 Sept. 2016 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2014/sep/21/peoples-climate-march-live

Hoornweg, D. (2011). Cities and climate change: Responding to an urgent agenda. Washington D.C: World Bank Publications.

Leary, N. (2008). Climate change and vulnerability. Cambridge: Earthscan.

Nuccitelli, D. (2014). 50 Canadian climate researchers speak out in support of the People’s Climate March. The Guardian 20 Sept. 2016 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/sep/20/50-canadian-climate-researchers-in-support-of-climate-march

Resnik, D. B. (2015). What is ethics in research & why is it important? Retrieved from http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/

Schmidt, G., & Wolfe, J. (2009). Climate change: Picturing the science. Mason, OH: W.W. Norton.

Staggenborg, S. (2015). Social movements. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Incorporated.