Brutal truth of climate change (Part 02)

14. Brutal truth of climate change (Part 02) - The 10 Most Promising Clean Tech Startups 2022

Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. Climate change is a shift in those average conditions. The rapid climate change we are now seeing is caused by humans using oil, gas, and coal for their homes, factories, and transport. When these fossil fuels burn, they release greenhouse gases – mostly carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases trap the Sun’s heat and cause the planet’s temperature to rise.

According to the latest report from the United Nations Climate Panel, the negative effects of climate change are accelerating much faster than scientists predicted less than a decade ago. Many of the impacts are inevitable and will affect the world’s most vulnerable populations the most, it warns – but the collective action of governments to both curb greenhouse-gas emissions and prepare communities to live with global warming has yet to take place. can prevent the worst outcomes.

“The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal,” says Maarten van Aalst, a climate scientist who heads the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre in Enschede, the Netherlands, and is a co-author of the report. “Any further delay in global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

One of the most visible consequences of a warming world is an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. The National Climate Assessment shows that the number of heatwaves, heavy rains, and major storms has increased in the United States, and the strength of these events has also increased.

One measure of the economic impact of extreme weather is the increasing number of disasters worth billions of dollars, shown below. The map shows all types of weather disasters, some of which are known to be affected by climate change (floods, tropical storms) and some for which a climate impact is uncertain (tornadoes).

How will different parts of the world be affected?

Climate change has different effects in different regions of the world. Some places will be hotter than others, some will receive more rainfall and others will face more drought.

  • The UK and Europe will be vulnerable to flooding caused by extreme rainfall
  • Countries in the Middle East will experience extreme heatwaves and farmland could turn to desert
  • Island nations in the Pacific region could disappear under rising seas
  • Many African nations are likely to suffer droughts and food shortages
  • Drought conditions are likely in the western US, while other areas will see more intense storms
  • Australia is likely to suffer extremes of heat and drought

What can we do?

Major changes need to come from governments and businesses, but scientists say some small changes in our lives can limit our impact on the climate:

  • Take fewer flights
  • Live car-free or use an electric car
  • Buy energy-efficient products, such as washing machines, when they need replacing
  • Switch from a gas heating system to an electric heat pump to Insulate your home.

Does What We Do Matter?

Yes. When human activities create greenhouse gases, the Earth heats up. This matters because energy from the ocean, land, air, plants, animals and the sun all affect each other. The combined effect of all these things gives us our global climate. In other words, Earth’s climate acts like one large, connected system.

If society continues to rely on fossil fuels to the extent that it is currently doing, then carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere are expected to double from pre-industrial values by about 2050, and triple by about 2100. This ‘high emissions’ pathway for CO2, coupled with rises in the other greenhouse gases, would be expected to result in global-average warming of around 4.5°C by 2100, but possibly as low as 3°C or as high as 6˚C. A ‘low emissions’ pathway, based on a rapid shift away from fossil fuel use over the next few decades, would see warming significantly reduced later this century and beyond.

Amrin Ahmed

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