10 Things About Climate Change You Need To Know
Climate change is the result of global warming. Increase in greenhouse gases, deforestation, population increase and destruction of marine ecosystems are the primary reasons for global warming. Scientists agree that the Industrial Revolution was the turning point for our environment. Population growth, exploding resource use, increasing energy demand and production mainly from fossil fuels all contributed to the cause of global warming. The main impact was the increase in the global temperature of the planet and the mass extinction of wildlife and plants.
Climate change is real and we’re constantly contributing to it. At this point, almost all of us know that things like burning coal, oil and gas contribute to climate change. The world’s leading climate scientists have also given warnings that the measurements that we are taking right now aren’t enough. Little things like limiting the use of fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable and cleaner sources of energy can have a great positive impact. Getting rid of HFCs, a chemical used in fridges and air conditioning, is a great way to start. Here are 10 Things About Climate Change You Need To Know so you can also help to make our planet healthy again.
10 Things About Climate Change You Need To Know
1. We Are The Reason For Climate Change:
As we’ve said before the Industrial Revolution was the turning point for earth’s environment and modern technology. The average surface temperature of the earth is continuously rising interacting with the rise in carbon emissions. In the past earth has experienced record high temperature which even led to extinction for some species. But the high temperature and carbon dioxide emission that earth experienced some 800,000 years ago happened for a longer course of time. And the current warming is happening much more rapidly than in the past.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities such as burning oil, coal and natural gas and deforestation have increased the amount of carbon dioxide by more than a third. The greenhouse gases mostly carbon dioxide, which forms a blanket that traps heat at the Earth’s surface. 11% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation which is comparable to the emissions from all of the cars and trucks on the planet.
2. It’s Happening Right Now:
The results of climate change can be seen right now. In 2018, the concentration of carbon dioxide reached its highest in 3 million years. NASA and NOAA data showed that the global averages in 2016 were 1.78 degrees F warmer than the mid-20th-century average. 2016 was the hottest year on record and the 17th of the 18th warmest years that have occurred since 2000. On average the earth’s surface temperature has risen about 1.1 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century and it is projected to rise further in coming years. According to experts, the earth has been getting warmer – for 627 months in a row.
3. The Impact:
Global warming and climate change are affecting our planet in a way more dangerous than you think. 11% of the world’s population meaning 800 million people is currently vulnerable to climate change. It is causing droughts, floods, heatwaves, extreme weather events and rise in sea-level. The rising temperature is affecting rainfall and causing extreme weather. Since 1980, climate-related disasters worldwide have more than tripled. Our summers and winters keep getting warmer which is resulting in melting of glaciers and ice sheets.
The sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 3,000 years, an average of three millimetres per year. Many cities are starting to sink such as Indonesia’s capital Jakarta. And a few islands have been already swallowed by the sea. With more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than at any time in human history, the average wildlife populations have dropped by 60 per cent in just over 40 years and many species has gone extinct. And then there are diseases like the Dengue fever which is spreading more rapidly than ever.
Deforestation is one of the primary reasons for climate change. As we all know trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and cutting them down means no Carbon Sink for that region allowing more greenhouse gases to enter the atmosphere. We lose more than 50,000 square miles of forest each year. That’s comparable to 48 football fields every minute. Even 1% of the Amazon tree species sequester 50% of the region’s carbon but unfortunately, about 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years.
According to researchers, an area of coastal ecosystems larger than New York City is destroyed every year which is nearly 1 million hectares. Climate change influences plant breeding seasons impacting on the entire food chain. Tropical forests can provide at least 30% of action needed to prevent the worst climate change scenarios. And it’s way cheaper than human-made interventions but it still it receives only 2% of all climate funding.
5. The Effect On Sea:
It’s no breaking new that climate change and global warming has been affecting our seas majorly in all the wrong ways. Ice is melting causing sea levels to rise and fresh water is becoming contaminated with seawater. Since 1900, global sea levels have risen by 4 to 8 inches. Thermal expansion, melting glaciers, and melting of Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets are the three major factors of concern. Since 2002 the Greenland ice sheet has lost an average of 287 billion metric tons of ice per year.
The oceans are becoming not only warmer but more acidic. According to experts, the sea level will rise 52-98cm by the end of this century is the currents conditions couldn’t be changed. Arctic sea, the oldest ice is not only shrinking but also melting. The melting of Antarctica’s ice sheet could contribute about 20cm of sea-level rise this century. The bleaching of coral reef is another concern that has been rising rapidly for the last few years. The world has lost 50% of corals in the past 30 years. The extreme heat, pollution or low tides are the main reasons to cause the bleaching. If the change continues they will eventually die.
6. Impact On Wildlife:
Many plants and animals have gone extinct because of climate change. Because of rising temperature animal populations moved away from their geographical limits. Several species are on their way to going extinct. The giant mountain lobelia which is a plant native to Ethiopia is one of those species. Staghorn coral has declined up to 98% in the Caribbean since the 1980s. As a result of so many species dying, the ecosystem is losing its complexity and diversity. According to researchers, between 1970 and 2014, the average populations of wildlife species such as mammals, fish, birds and reptiles have declined by 60 per cent. The population of polar bears has dropped 30% over the next 35 years.
7. The Impact On Human:
Much of the earth’s population is suffering from the results of climate change. It is affecting agriculture negatively by rising carbon dioxide levels which causes extreme weather events, damaging our crops. Flooding is one of the most common effects. Which results in increasing prices. And not only agriculturally, but climate change is also driving people away from their homes. Reportedly, an average of 27 million peoples are displaced by climate and weather-related disasters each year. These people are known as climate refugees or environmental migrants. Drinking water has become more scarce and in some places, food will also become a major concern as crops and livestock won’t survive if conditions become too hot and dry, or cold and wet.
8. We Can Minimise The Impacts:
There are two known ways to deal with climate change- Mitigation and Adaptation. Mitigation involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or increasing the rate at which greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere and Adaptation involves adjusting in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic effects. We can reduce the use of fossil fuels and let the remaining in the ground. Coastal mangroves are also great as just 0.7% of the world’s coastal mangroves can store up to 10 times as much carbon per hectare as tropical forests. We can switch to electric cars or travel in local transportation.
9. The Paris Agreement:
In 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed to keep global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The agreement has been signed by 196 nations as of now. If all the countries stick to their promises then global warming can reduce significantly. They are supposed to limit global warming and adapt to climate change, partly by protecting nature in their countries.
10. Restoring Trees:
The best way to go to reduce climate change is to ending deforestation and restoring degraded forests. This not only reduces the effects of climate change but also will create millions of jobs, bring out people from poverty and will help in productivity growth. It’s the minimal thing we all can do apart from all the other things. Going car-free and taking fewer flights, switching to renewable energy, reducing the use of AC and refrigerators, cattle can be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases if they had their own nations, so cutting down a little on consuming meat and dairy product will also help. Increasing population is another contributor to global warming.