The earth has gone through a lot of events and changes in the past and one famous massive asteroid collision that wiped the dinosaurs from the face of the earth and rendered it uninhabitable for centuries. A lot of extinction level events like super volcanic explosions, massive earthquakes, ice ages, the earth has gone through a lot, but life has always found a way to not just survive but thrive.
Now, we are on the verge of one of the biggest threats humanity has ever faced. Climate change can be catastrophic and if it is not dealt with and cured, it can have massive repercussions.
But, what is climate change?
Climate is the average of the weather and the temperature of a specific region generally calculated over a time interval of a year. Change in the average temperature is what climate change is in Layman terms. But there’s a lot more about climate change than just this. It is the warming of the earth’s surface and atmospheric temperature. These changes in temperatures can be caused due to a number of reasons.
Causes Of climate change
Climate change is majorly caused by emissions of greenhouse gases that just stay trapped in the atmosphere for thousands of years. These greenhouse gases trap the sun rays reflecting of the surface of the earth and heat up the atmosphere for centuries. Although, there are some natural reasons that can cause climate change too.
There can be numerous anthropogenic or natural reasons for greenhouse gas emissions. The reasons for emissions and climate change are:
- Energy Production:
The demand for energy is always increasing. To fulfil this demand, non-renewable sources like coal are burnt in massive quantities which emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
- Food Production:
Large forests are cleared for agricultural purposes and creating pastures for grazing cattle. These forests are the carbon sinks of the world and upon cutting them releases millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
Transportation through any means uses fuel like petrol, natural gas and diesel. Upon combustion of these fuels adds greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Also, digging up these fuels requires a lot of energy and this energy is provided mainly through non renewable sources.
- Manufacturing Products:
Manufacturing products use up a lot of energy and raw materials. This energy comes from non-renewable sources; trees are cut to obtain raw material like wood and timber or required metals are mined. Mining is a major cause of climate change which once again heats up the atmosphere.
- Natural Carbon emissions:
A volcanic eruption is a natural process which emits large amounts of harmful gases into the atmosphere.
- Changes in the earth’s irradiation:
The earth’s surface temperature will rise if there’s more sunlight received than what is currently received. This increase can cause heating up of the atmosphere and the surface temperature causing global warming.
- Change in the Milankovitch cycles:
These are changes in the axis of rotation of change in the orbit of the earth around the sun. There can be a change in the amount of sunlight received due to these changes and both these changes can cause warming of the temperature of the earth without any greenhouse emission.
Impacts of climate change:
Climate change can have devastating impacts upon the weather patterns, monsoon cycles, cause droughts and other natural calamities.
- More Severe storms:
In many places, the frequency and severity of damaging storms have increased as a result of climate change. This is because as temperatures rise, more moisture evaporation occurs, resulting in heavy rainfall and flooding. The frequency and size of tropical storms, which feed on warm ocean waters and include hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones, have also been affected by warming oceans. These storms have the potential to leave indelible devastation, including fatalities and significant financial losses.
- Rising Ocean Levels:
Most of the heat from global warming is absorbed by the ocean. All ocean depths have experienced a significant increase in ocean warming during the past 20 years. Water expands as it becomes warmer, therefore as the ocean warms, so does its volume. Sea levels increase as a result of melting ice sheets, endangering coastal and island people. Additionally, carbon dioxide is absorbed by the water, keeping it out of the atmosphere. However, additional carbon dioxide causes the water to become more acidic, endangering coral reefs and marine life.
- Loss of Species:
Climate change has a devastating impact on species both on land and in the ocean, and the threats get worse as temperatures rise. One million species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades due to the 1,000 times faster rate of species loss brought on by climate change than at any other time in human history. Among the various challenges that species face as a result of climate change are extreme weather, forest fires, and invasive pests and illnesses. While some species might be able to move and live, others might not, which would result in a major loss of biodiversity.
- Health risks:
The single greatest hazard to human health is climate change. Air pollution, sickness, harsh weather, forced relocation, stress on mental health, increasing hunger and inadequate nutrition in areas where people cannot grow or get enough food are only a few of the health effects of climate change. 13 million individuals every year are killed by environmental conditions. Extreme weather events increase fatalities and make it challenging for health care systems to keep up with the growing number of diseases caused by changing weather patterns.
Poverty and displacement, increased drought, not enough food, hotter temperatures are some more severe effects that can impact the earth due to climate change.
The impact on the world:
Global temperatures above 1.5C will have serious repercussions, according to the UN panel that oversees climate change, the IPCC. Climate change implications would differ from region to region. Due to the heavy rainfall in Europe, the UK and other nations are susceptible to flooding. Extreme heat waves and extensive droughts are anticipated in the Middle East, while rising sea levels might cause island nations in the Pacific to perish.
The west of the US is anticipated to see drought conditions, and other places may have more powerful storms. African nations are at risk of food shortages and droughts. Extreme heat and a rise in wildfire casualties are predicted to occur in Australia.
Potential solutions and what you can do:
There are numerous feasible ways to lessen the effects of climate change. These consist of:
1-Moving to clean, renewable energy sources including solar, wind, and hydro power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
2-Improving energy performance and lowering energy use in buildings, transportation, and industries.
3-Encouraging reforestation and afforestation to remove carbon dioxide from the air.
4-Improving farming methods and minimizing food waste to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and agriculture-related deforestation.
5-Using carbon capture and storage technologies to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide.
By altering their lifestyles to reduce their carbon footprint, such as by taking public transit, eating less meat, and using energy efficiently at home, people can also take action to combat climate change. Supporting political figures and initiatives that place a high priority on climate change can also have an impact. The fight against climate change can also be aided by raising awareness of the gravity of the climate situation and encouraging sustainable practices in local communities.
Climate change is a serious issue that has to be addressed right away. In the absence of serious measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changing climate, the effects of climate change are already being felt all over the world and will only get worse. Governments, corporations, and people all have a part to play in combating climate change through changes in policy, technological advancements, and sustainable practices. In order to maintain a sustainable future for future generations, it is crucial to give the health of the world and its ecosystems first priority.