We ended the last decade in bizarre circumstances. As of 31st December 2020, COVID-19 had claimed a total of 1.81 million lives. As if that were not bad enough. The same year saw many nations experience significant effects of climate change. From severe wildfires in the U.S and Australia to flooding in India, Pakistan, and China. Then the record-breaking hurricane season occurred in the Atlantic. And again, the droughts and food shortages here and there in almost every part of the globe.
Believe it or not, climate change effects occur in one form or the other around the globe. These effects create a significant wealth disparity. Communities already experiencing economic hardship and poverty have felt more impact of climate change. Be that as it may, they remain most vulnerable to future effects.
Why is climate change urgent?
More nations are beginning to get interested in climate change conversations. The extreme temperature and weather changes cause more discomfort. So more than ever, it is increasingly difficult for world leaders to play deaf to these effects.
9 facts about climate change
Here are 9 facts about climate change that can help make a difference.
Fact 1: Human activities are largely responsible for the increase in global temperatures.
While natural elements can cause climate change, the well-known factor is human activities. Burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and intensive farming produce greenhouse gases.
Fun fact: 11% of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are due to deforestation. Higher than the emissions from all the passenger vehicles on the planet. www.conservation.org
Fact 2: The greenhouse effect increases the average temperature of the globe
The greenhouse effect is a direct relationship between global warming and climate change. Here is how it works.
The greenhouse gasses trap radiation from the sun. Then prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere- the greenhouse effect. It helps to keep our planet warm for, without it, the earth will be too cold. In moderation, this is good. In excess, it traps more of the sun’s energy- meaning more heat for the earth and then global warming.
Greenhouse gases include Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4). How are greenhouse gases produced? You can read it here.
Fact 3: Global temperatures have seen about 1°C increase over the past century
In the past decade, the average temperature of the earth increased by 1°C. A rise by a few degrees may not scare you. But here is the thing. It has massive implications for our weather which will become more evident in a few years.
In 2019 we saw the global average temperature hit an all-time high of 1.15°C.
Depending on how we control our green gas emissions, the temperature rise may lie anywhere between 1.5°C and 5°C in 2100.
With the greenhouse gases at play here, we can expect any of the following changes in the coming future.
- Early predictions for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season published by meteorologists at Colorado State University suggest a 6 in 10 chance that the season will be very strong or above average.
- While it remains unclear if 2021 will set its record, increased wildfires may very well be a part of our future.
- The Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in summer 2035.
Fact 4: The United States is the heftiest contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2)
The U.S has contributed to atmospheric CO2 more than any country since 1760. Power generation, transportation, and industries provide dominant sources of CO2 emissions.
Although the U.S. undertook significant efforts to reduce its reliance on coal for electricity generation, it remains a major producer of crude oil.
Fact 5: Arctic sea ice and glaciers are melting
If you’re wondering why the Arctic sea ice and glaciers are melting, climate change is your answer.
The average yearly temperature of the Arctic region rose by 1°C every decade. A faster rise than other parts of the planet occurring this way for four decades. The effect will cause rising sea levels affecting people living in areas that get drinking water from melting glaciers.
Fact 6: Average sea level will be anywhere between 0.5 and 1.5 meters by the end of the century
Rising sea levels shouldn’t be a surprise. The melting Arctic sea ice runoff feeds into rivers and the oceans rising sea levels. As a result, low-lying areas around the world may experience flooding.
Fact 7: Rainforest destruction is a major cause of carbon dioxide release
A study of greenhouse effects shows 20% of the Amazon rainforest produces carbon dioxide. This reversal is a result of deforestation. Growing trees indeed absorb carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. But, dead trees release it. Hence with thousand-and-one deforestation practices, the rainforest has become a source of CO2.
Fact 8: Coral reefs are dying
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the oceans have taken up 90% of the excess heat generated by the greenhouse effect. The heating might continue at an accelerating rate for the next few decades. The increased temperature poses a threat to the coral reefs, ocean ecosystems, and the human economy.
Moreover, humans activities continue to acidify the ocean. An estimated 20-30 of carbon emissions dissolved in the oceans lowering their pH.
Fact 9: Global temperatures increase will cause some species to go extinct
A report shows spring, summer, fall, and winter in temperate areas are arriving on average 1.7days. Climate change and extreme weather are two peas in a pod. Already they affect plant and animal species and disrupt the ecosystem.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that 20-30% of plants and animals examined are at risk of extinction if average global temperatures reach the projected levels by 2100.
A Smart way to reduce your carbon footprints
When you think about it, climate change can be overwhelming, a complex science with its future bearing many uncertainties. Saving our beloved planet is a global effort. And there are choices you can make in your everyday life to lessen your impact on the environment.
The truth is, everyone is a contributor to greenhouse gasses in the environment. The carbon dioxide you exhale, your transportation, housing, and food contribute to your total greenhouse gas emission. In simple terms, your carbon footprint. An effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to reconsider how often you travel.