Climate Change was once considered a hoax is spreading across the world. Some people still think of climate change as some rumor spreading all around. But some people take this topic seriously, as it should be taken. We live on this beautiful planet Earth, and it is our sole responsibility to maintain its beauty and judicially use its resources.
There have been more than enough incidents within the past that happened due to climate change. The most dangerous one is Global Warming. Global Warming tends to increase year by year, and most of the world’s population seems not to care.
What is climate change? What does it look like?
In particular, this change is noticeable from the mid-20th century to the late 20th century. It is attributed to a high rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels.
Although there was Global Warming before the 20th century, humans have consistently played a vital role in increasing Global Warming levels since the mid-20th century.
Global Warming and Climate Change – The Difference:
While some might think that Climate change and Global Warming are the same, let us clarify the fundamental difference between the two.
- Climate change
Climate change is the increase in climate measures like temperature, precipitation, wind patterns, weather, etc., over a long period.
- Global Warming
Global Warming can be defined as the increase in the global temperature due to greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. So, Global Warming is an aspect of Climate Change.
The Causes Of Climate Change:
Since we have already discussed what climate change calls are all about, let us briefly introduce the causes behind climate change.
- Greenhouse Gases and Its Effects
Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and do not let it escape into space. It absorbs and releases radiant energy within the thermal infrared range and leads to the Greenhouse effect. The Earth’s leading greenhouse gases are CO2, Methane, Water Vapors, Nitrous oxide, and Ozone.
These gases act as a cozy blanket around the Earth. Greenhouse gases either naturally occur in the atmosphere or are produced by humans. Gases like methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, etc., are naturally occurring, whereas human activities produce gases like CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons).
- The Greenhouse Effect
Whenever short-wave radiation coming from the sun reaches the Earth, its most part passes straight through and hits the surface. The Earth absorbs the radiation and releases longer-wavelength infrared radiation. The infrared radiations are absorbed by the greenhouse gases instead of passing out in space. Our atmosphere then emits radiation in all directions, throwing some of them back to the surface, leading the planet to heat up. This process is called the Greenhouse Effect. This effect is vital for our existence. It helps in maintaining the Earth’s temperature.
Without this effect, Earth would be 30 degrees colder than it is now. It would have been impossible for us to survive in that condition. Although the Greenhouse effect is essential for our survival, we have been releasing more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. This Earth is trapping more heat, and instead of keeping a stable temperature, Earth is heating up at a faster rate. This phenomenon is called the “Enhanced Greenhouse Effect.”
- Man-made Causes
Today, we can find more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than there ever had been in the past 800,000 years. Humans are causing climate change by producing an increased level of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. During the 20th and the 21st century, the level of carbon dioxide has increased by a rate of 40%, which is quite concerning.
There are numerous ways in which humans are producing greenhouse gases. Some of them are mentioned below:-
- Burning of fossil fuels
- Agriculture (animals produce methane)
- Natural Causes
Although we humans are leading in the list of ‘causes of climate change,’ there are several natural causes. Natural cycles may lead to sudden changes in the temperature of our surroundings. It can vary from warming and cooling of climate consistently.
These force the climate to change and are thus termed as “forcing.” Some of the natural cycles are mentioned below:-
- Milankovitch cycles
- El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
Natural or Man-made causes – Which One Is Dominating
Even though there are many natural causes for this climate change, we cannot deny that humans are the leading cause. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported some stats with 95% certainty that human activities are the leading cause of Global Warming, Climate change. After looking at all the shreds of evidence of past and current human activities, we cannot neglect that we humans are destroying our home by our greedy nature.
Although natural climate cycles can change the Earth’s temperature to some extent, the changes we observe are happening at a speed that cannot be explained by biological processes. The natural cycles affect the global climate for months or years, not the 100 years that we have observed. Thus, we can undoubtedly say that human activities like the burning of fossil fuels and industrialization are the root cause of climate change.
Effects of Climate Change
The direct effects of climate change include the following:-
- Rising in the level of temperatures
- Rising in the sea level
- Shrinking of glaciers
- Higher ocean temperature
The indirect effects of climate change include the following:-
- Food and water crisis
- Heatwaves and rise in temperature increasing health risks
- The spread of pathogens and pests
- Loss of biodiversity
- Ocean acidification
Below mentioned are some ways by which you can prevent climate change.
- Spread awareness: – Talk to your relatives, friends, colleagues, and tell them about the importance of climate change. Climate change is a concerning issue, and we need to heed it.
- Power your home with renewable energy: – We all are familiar with the fact that change begins at our home, so start with yourself first. Reach out to firms that produce electricity from solar or wind energy and power your house with them.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances.
- Reduce wasting water.
- Use public transport.
- Use paper bags.
- Practice Afforestation.
- Reduce the use of plastic.
- Conserve, restore, and improve the management of land.
Since we all have gained a little bit of information about the whole concept of Climate change, we must look at some preventive measures to heal the very planet on which we live and not cause more and more damage to it.