CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS AFFECTS
What Is Climate Change?
We are regularly observing shift in temperature and weather pattern especially the erratic and uneven rainfall. The human activities are main driver of climate change primarily due to burning fossil fuel such as coal, oil and gas. Burning of fossil fuel generates greenhouse gas acts like a blanket around the Earth, tapping the Sun’s heat and raising temperature. Example of greenhouse gas emission includes carbon dioxide and methane.
The level of carbon dioxide increasing regularly due to use of gasoline in vehicles and burning coal and burning residue of harvested crops in the fields.
Clearing of land by cutting trees for farming and building the infrastructure increases level of carbon dioxide. It reduces level of oxygen in atmosphere.
Poor management of garbage in residential areas is a major source of methane emission.
Greenhouse gas concentrations are at their highest levels in recent decade
The emission of greenhouse gases is continued results in the warming of Earth. Earth is now about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s. The last decade (2011-2020) was the warmest on record.
Many people think climate change mainly means warmer temperatures. But temperature rise is only the beginning of the story. Because the Earth is a system, where everything is connected, changes in one area can influence changes in all others.
The consequences of climate change are as under.
Erratic and uneven pattern of rain;
Severe fires in forests;
Rising sea levels;
Melting polar ice;
People are experiencing climate change in diverse ways
Climate change can affect our health, ability to grow food, housing, safety and work. Some of us are already more vulnerable to climate impacts,
such as people living in small island nations and other developing countries. Conditions like sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion have advanced to the point where whole communities have had to relocate, and protracted droughts are putting people at risk of famine. In the future, the number of “climate refugees” is expected to rise.
Every increase in global warming matters
Based on current national climate plans, global warming will reach 2.7°C by the end of the century. The emissions that cause climate change come from every part of the world and affect everyone. Some countries produce much more than others. The 100 least-emitting countries generate 3 per cent of total emissions. The 10 countries with the largest emissions contribute 68 per cent. In this alarming situation, everyone must take climate action. But, due to ignorance about the subject, people and countries creating more of the problem. Now, they have greater responsibility to act first.
We face a huge challenge but solutions available
Many climate change solutions can deliver economic benefits while improving our lives and protecting the environment. We also have global agreements to guide progress, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. Three broad categories of action are: cutting emissions, adapting to climate impacts and financing required adjustments.
Switching energy systems from fossil fuels to renewables like solar, wind and biowaste will reduce the emissions and ultimately the climate change. But we have to start right now. The growing coalition of countries is committing to net zero emissions by 2050, The Sustainable Development Goal - 17 (7) having the target of “0” carbon emission by 2030. It requires that fossil fuel production must decline by approximately 6 per cent per year between 2020 and 2030. It is demand of time to adapt and aware about climate consequences to protects people, homes, businesses, livelihoods, infrastructure and natural ecosystems. It covers current impacts and those likely in the future.
Adaptation will be required everywhere, but must be prioritized now for the most vulnerable people with the fewest resources to cope with climate hazards. Early warning systems for disasters, for instance, save lives and property, and can deliver the larger and sustainable benefits.
Present investment on climate issue can save from higher cost to human race
Climate action requires significant financial investments by governments and businesses. But climate inaction is vastly more expesive. One critical step is for industrialized countries to fulfill their commitment to provide sizable fund to developing countries so they can adapt and move towards greener economies.