Written by Andrei Ramba
It has been well known for centuries that our earth is in danger and we have done much about it. Climate change is a much discussed topic, which brings us concern and melancholy. We live in 2019 and we still haven’t figured out how to stop our earth from dying. In this article I am going to present the most important issues regarding climate change.
Evidences — Why shall we believe that our earth is in danger?
The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last Ice Age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives. The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling: Global Temperature Rise, Warming Oceans, Shrinking Ice Sheets, Glacial Retreat, Decreased Snow Cover, Sea Level Rise, Declining Arctic Sea Ice, Ocean Acidification and Extreme Events are just some of the most known issues addressed to Earth nowadays … and the list could go on forever. “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”
The Causes of Climate Change
Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the “greenhouse effect”1 — warmth that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth towards space.
Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as “forcing” climate change. Gases, such as water vapor, which respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are seen as “feedbacks.” Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.
On Earth, human activities change the natural greenhouse. Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2. To a lesser extent, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other humanactivities has increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.
The Effects of Climate Change
Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.
Effects that scientists predicted in the past are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.
“Taken as a whole,” the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) states, “the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.”
Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities. The extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.
Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate is Warming
Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
“Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However, there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001).”
- Nasa official page of Climate Change