What is Climate Change?
The theory of climate change dates back to the ancient Greeks. They believed that humans could change temperatures and influence rainfall by chopping down trees and irrigating deserts. In the 1930s, a scientist Guy Stewart Callender took note on how the USA and the North Atlantic regions have warmed significantly following the Industrial Revolution, and in the 1960s, advanced computer modeling predicted possible rises CO2 made evident by the Keeling Curve. The models showed that a doubling of CO2 emissions would cause a warming of 2 degrees celsius of the Earth’s surface within the next century. For more than a century, people have relied on fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas for their energy needs. Burning these fossil fuels releases the global warming gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
How Climate Change Affects Us Today
Climate change is a very general topic today. It has caused a number of modern-day problems such as global warming and extreme weather. Since the pre-industrial revolution, the Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by 1 degree celsius. Certain gases such as CO2 cause a greenhouse effect on the Earth, which is the trapping of the sun’s warmth below the atmosphere due to certain gases trapping the warmth. The excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases are speeding up the climate change process by melting ice caps, and making weather events more extreme. The 1990's was most likely the warmest decade in history, and 1998 the warmest year.The twenty warmest years on record have occurred over the past 22 years, which are examples of climate change taking its toll on the planet. Climate change is also causing rapidly rising sea levels that one day, might completely submerge some cities.
Why Climate Change?
Many people believe that climate change is indeed the greatest threat to humanity, however, a lot of people still do not believe in climate change, and they have very different opinions of what the greatest threat to humanity is.
Climate change is the greatest threat to humanity because humans rely on ecosystems for air, water, food, and shelter.
However, since the 1950s, deforestation and other damage to ecosystems has been lowering the habitability of the Earth at an increasing rate. Climate change is damaging our Earth, and it will make it soon be uninhabitable.
As explained by experts, our planet’s ecosystems are the foundation for human life, which perform multiple functions without which the human society cannot operate at their current level. If we continue pushing ecosystems beyond their tipping point, we could diminish our planet’s biodiversity which could lead to lesser freshwater supplies which would, in turn, cause our agricultural capacity to plummet.
Another horrible effect of climate change is Global Warming. The production of CO2 is causing the greenhouse effect, which is warming our planet at a frightening rate. Studies show the current reality is for CO2 emissions to continue climbing through 2040. This is due largely to Russia. China, and Canada's current energy policies that, if unchanged, will drive global warming above 5°C before the end of this century.
The warming of the planet is causing persistent heat, droughts, and wildfires.Higher temperatures cause heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hyperthermia and dehydration that in extreme cases can lead to death. What is more, they can worsen pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular, respiratory, cerebrovascular, kidney and diabetes-related conditions.
Warmer air increases the number of severe rain events, and climate change iscreating rising sea levels due to melting ice. 145 million people worldwide live 3 feet or less above sea level, and 10 percent of the world’s population lives 30 feet or less above sea level. 11 of the 16 megacities, those with more than 15 million people, are built on coasts, such as Shanghai, Osaka, Jakarta, Manila, Los Angeles, and Mumbai. If those cities flood, where will all the people go?
Although climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet, there are other problems that might be and even bigger threat to humans. Many people believe that a nuclear war is the biggest threat to humanity, despite the fact that only two nuclear missiles have been used before. The Cuban Missile crisis was very close to turning nuclear. If we assume one such event every 69 years, and a one in three chance that it might go all the way to being nuclear war, the chance of such a catastrophe increases to about one in 200 per year.
A full-scale nuclear war between major powers would kill hundreds of millions of people directly, through the near aftermath, through the nuclear winter that follows, and by all the diseases caused by the nuclear missiles.
The real threat of a nuclear war is the nuclear winter that follows. That is, soot lofted into the stratosphere causing a multi-year cooling and drying of the world. Modern climate simulations show that it could preclude agriculture across much of the world for years. If this scenario occurs billions would starve, leaving only scattered survivors that might be picked off by other threats such as disease.
In the future, people can release bioengineered pandemics, which are diseases that have been created in a lab. Natural pandemics have killed off more people than wars have, and simply imagining a sickness created by bacteria and viruses in a laboratory would be devastating.
Scientists explain that during the 5th and 14th century, Plague epidemics spread internationally and killed approximately 15% of the global population over the course of a few decades. The global spread of diseases can be extremely lethal and hard to control.
Climate Change, Again
Although climate change is the single most deadly problem humans face, our biggest enemy is the human race itself.
If we take a look at all the problems explained above, you will notice that all of them are caused, or mostly caused by humans. Climate change, nuclear war, nuclear winter, bioengineered pandemics, they're all cause by humans.
We must take a stand and right our wrongs before things get out of hand. Both political and social parties must recognize the dangerous effects of climate change and how disastrous they can be.
It all starts with taking a stand, and acknowledging the issue. Make your individual way of life more sustainable. Make eco-friendly swaps, and stop supporting brands and companies that are harming the environment.
© 2021 Lilly Liu