Everyone knows that climate change is happening, but do we know to what extent? Global temperatures have been rising significantly over the past century but have particularly accelerated over the past decade.
Carbon emissions such as carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere from various actions including burning fossil fuels for energy, farming and destroying forests. These emissions are what cause the greenhouse effect as they trap heat and increase the temperature of Earth.
Natural factors cannot solely explain the sudden changes in temperature as it wouldn’t make sense for such drastic rises in temperature without taking into account human factors. However, global warming itself only represents one aspect of climate change. It refers to any significant changes in climate lasting over an extended period of time.
The unfortunate reality of global warming is that human factors are significantly impacting global temperatures and things will get worse if we do not react. Weather patterns, habitats, plants and wildlife are all affected by climate change and often can’t keep up with the changes. Man-made carbon emissions need to be decreased dramatically. There are obvious solutions such as cutting down the use of fossil fuels including coal, moving on to renewable energy and tackling deforestation.
It is an increasing concern that Earths temperatures are rising so vastly in comparison to the last ice age which ended over 12,000 years ago. Although it may not seem dramatic that there has been a 1-degree increase over the last 150 years, climate experts predict that this temperature could increase more than 4 degrees within the next century! It is disturbing to think that this will impact our lives a lot more than we thought. Our children and grandchildren are likely to be affected by such climatic changes therefore it’s up to us to potentially salvage our global climate.
Climatic change organisations and regulations aim to keep global temperatures below 2 degree rises, preferably less than 1.5 degree changes in temperature. The evidence is clear as we have seen changes in weather and climate such as increases in flooding, droughts and frequent heat waves. Oceans are increasing in temperatures and are becoming more acidic which has led to the melting of ice caps and a rise in sea levels. If temperatures rise much more over the next few decades, there will be many challenges for our society and environment and huge consequences.
To minimise climate disruption, people can change their everyday lifestyle taking steps to eventually reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the many risks linked with climate change. Many changes can in fact improve your health too such as cycling to work or getting involved in supporting climate programs and campaigns. There are many online tools available to calculate your carbon footprint and many people are shocked at how much they contribute to climate change.
Although you may feel that your lifestyle is insignificant compared to others in the world, your day-to-day life does in fact play a vital role in global impact and can influence a slower increase in climate change. Through being informed about climate change, you can choose to be energy efficient, get involved in climatic decisions, chose renewable power, eat wisely, trim your waste and travel less. After all, it’s the little changes that count.