Earth's Rising temperatures
Global warming means that the earth's surface temperature has increased more than the average. The rising temperatures lead to the climate crisis and the destruction of natural ecosystems.
Developing countries like India and China rely heavily on coal for their electricity production. Gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are known as greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon footprint is a parameter that is used to measure the impact of lifestyle choices on our climate system.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions are at an all-time high. One of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions is consumerism. CO2, CO and methane emissions are known as heat-trapping gases. They prevent the sun's rays from leaving the Earth's atmosphere.
It is essential to spread awareness among kids and young adults about mitigating climate change.
Climate scientists have been ringing their alarms ever since 1896 when Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first talked about global warming in his assessment report. He later went on to win the Nobel prize in 1903 and is related to the young climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Developing countries like India rely solely on burning fossil fuels like coal for their electricity production. Moreover, developed countries like China are the leading producer of greenhouse gas emissions and also heavily relies on coal for their electricity production.
Furthermore, the united states government has lobbied for sustainable development in order to combat global warming. Thus 25% of total electricity production comes from renewable energy like hydroelectricity, nuclear and biomass.
Leading Causes of Global Warming
Air conditioning and refrigeration
It is one of the largest causes of global warming. 1/6th of the electricity is consumed by the refrigeration and freezer. Meanwhile, Air conditioning and heating constitute 12% of total home expenditure.
Meat Based Diet and Cattle Farming
Animal farming of cattle leads to high methane emissions since a lot of methane is produced during their digestive process. Animal farming is a resource incentive and consumes a lot of natural resources which leads to the destruction of natural ecosystems in the surrounding region.
More than 80% of the food grown is used to feed animals, the best way to tackle climate change is to quit a meat-based diet and switch to a plant-based or vegan diet.
Global temperature has risen by 1.5 °C compared to the pre-industrial era.
Harmful Modern Agriculture Practices
The commercialization of agriculture turned farming into a profit-oriented business. Farming while using heavy machinery kills the soil moisture and makes it more prone to soil erosion.
What is the Scientific community saying?
The scientific community has been alarming us that our global greenhouse gas emissions. Our global greenhouse emissions have been on the exponential rise for a number of decades.
IPCC Panel on climate change
IPCC, a panel on climate change, has made it clear in their report in 2007, that climate emergency should be taken as a priority. Burning fossil fuels is the leading cause of climate crisis and global temperature rise.
To reduce emissions we have to limit the population growth. The global population has exploded due to industrialisation, which took place in the 1800s.
Environmental impacts of Global Warming
Following are the effects of climate change or Global warming -
Melting of Ice cores
- Ice cores of Iceland and Antarctica have been melting at an unprecedented scale. Researches show that the recent global warming has been caused by human-induced warming. This year's highest temperature was 40 degrees which is quiet a bad sign. The more polar ice caps will melt, the more the sea level will rise.
Global temperature rise has been the only constant event for the last few decades. The decade of 2011 to 2019 was the warmest year on the Earth.
Sea level rise
The sea level will rise up to 1 foot. Due to sea-level rise, various cities like Mumbai, Shangai, New York City, Miami etc will be underwater by 2050. There is significant proof that shows that rising sea levels are due to human activities, and it is not caused by any natural ecosystems. The negative impacts of global warming transcend the rising sea level and will affect humans in various ways.
Countries that are at risk of disappearing
The Maldives is an island country located in the Indian ocean. Island countries like the Maldives fall in the category of middle-income countries. Global emissions are responsible for this
There is a dire need to combat climate change. Island countries like Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tuvalu will face the worse effects of climate change.
Climate action refers to the immediate and urgent action that we need to take in order to combat global warming. The climate action plan started in 2015 under the supervision of then-President of United States Barak Obama.
According to Climate action, these world leaders came to a global agreement to reduce carbon emissions and figure out ways to adapt to the effects of Global warming.
Effects of climate change
The effects of climate change will also have a negative impact on countries located in the northern hemisphere.
Fossil fuels produced by fossil fuel companies have been pushing the idea of green oil, which can be classified as propaganda.
Rising sea levels and Melting of Icecaps
Polar ice caps are melting at the rate of 9% per decade. If this trend continues we will have no ice left in the Arctic by the summer of 2040. To prevent any further loss of artic or polar ice caps we need to drastically cut down our global carbon emissions.
79% of Earth's surface is covered with water and 29% is covered by land. Furthermore, only 0.3% is covered by land ice.
The greenhouse gases trap the heat in the upper regions of Earth's atmosphere, which results in the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps. This further leads to rising sea levels and flooding of coastal regions.
IPCC is a panel of scientists that presented a report on global warming to the united nations. Although the UN recognizes global warming as an imminent threat, no concrete action has been taken till now.
In the most recent summit, COP 26, countries like India and China backed out from an agreement that focused on reducing emissions and stopping using coal which is the leading cause of greenhouse gases.
The air quality index is a scale that measures the number of pollutants present in the air. Countries with high population density rank the worst in the air quality index. Countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal have been ranked lowest in the air quality index.
Tourism and Travel Industry
In the years 2020 and 2021, global emissions were reduced by 6%. If people switched their unnecessary travels to public transport like buses and trains.
Bad Waste Management Practices
Less than 10% of the total plastic produced globally has ever been recycled. Most of the waste ends up in landfills where it slowly rots and eventually ends up in the sea.
Waste dumping and open burning are mainly used as methods of waste disposal in most developing countries like India. China follows the same approach even though it has seen economic development in the last few decades.
Even developed countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway incinerate up to 50% of their municipal waste. Japan recycles a very small percentage of its plastic waste, meanwhile, 78% is incinerated.
Germany recycles 70% of the waste produced by it. This helped in the reduction of waste by over 1 million tons each year.
To combat climate change companies from the private sector have taken the initiative upon themselves. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Boyan Slat are doing their best to lead humanity towards sustainable development. Elon musk has focused on renewable energy and improving the energy efficiency of lithium-ion batteries.
Elon musk has another renewable energy startup that creates solar roofs which generate electricity throughout the day and store the excess energy in battery packs. Initiatives like these from the private sector which implement climate science will help in the mitigating rise of greenhouse gases caused due to human activities.
Reducing emissionsOne of the best ways to counter the rise of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and Carbon Monoxide is to reduce emissions produced by automobiles, although it is not the complete solution.To further reduce emissions we would have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, like coal and petroleum along with petroleum-based products.
Net Zero emissions
Small countries like Bhutan have reached a Net Zero emissions, and have further accomplished the status of the only country with negative carbon emissions.
We are facing consequences that are known as climate impacts. Examples of climate impacts are sea-level rise, increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean acidification, intense drought, extreme weather events like extreme heat and extreme cold and rise in sea level.
There are numerous other countries that have the 'Carbon Negative' status which is as follows -
- Saint Helena
- Wallis and Futuna Island