Our guest blogger this month is Alison Lowe, a student at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Currently pursuing a masters in Global Finance, Trade and Economic Integration, she expects to graduate in June 2013. Let’s hear what Alison about this month’s global issues…

While you would be forgiven for not noticing (it’s hardly been topping the daily headlines), a two-week long meeting of most of the world’s nations is currently going on to avoid what some have termed the greatest threat facing the world as we know it. No, it’s not the U.S’ “fiscal cliff”. Surprisingly enough, it’s not even Rihanna’s decision to rekindle her relationship with ex-beau Chris Brown: it’s climate change.

As I type, 194 nations are currently meeting in Doha, Qatar, to try to hammer out a deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.  Many top scientists agree deep cuts in carbon emissions are needed to avert global climate calamity ranging in the form of heat waves, droughts, floods and rising sea levels. In 2010, agreement was reached to aim to keep temperature rises to less than 2 degree celsius by cutting emissions. Yet previous targets have not been taken seriously, leaving global temperatures to continue to rise, and today many feel it is beyond time for drastic action to be taken by governments worldwide.

Climate change is a global problem, with impacts on poverty, economic development population growth and sustainability. Those countries who can least afford to adapt to its ravages – more extreme weather, in the form of rising temperatures, drought, flooding, hurricanes and even snow storms - are those which are most impotent to do anything about it. For this reason, many agree it is up to countries like the US to lead the charge.

However, countries in different positions on the development spectrum have expressed different ideas about what is “fair” in terms of sharing the burden of responsibility for addressing global warming. To date, and at the latest meeting in Doha, this conflict has clouded the path to the consensus that is so desperately needed to avert climate calamity. But for the sake of everyone, a way forward must be found, and before it’s too late.

To find out more about the outcome of the conference and climate change’s global impact, check:http://unfccc.int or http://climate.nasa.gov/effects/.