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Climate Change Facts: The Dirty Truth & The Consequences


Climate change analyzes the long-term repercussions of weather patterns and occasioning changes in the land surfaces, oceans, and ice sheaths. The weather pattern encompasses all the elements impacting the state of the atmosphere such as wind, rainfall, temperature, and humidity. The weather changes can be forecast up to one week in advance while the statistical properties of climate change typically take decades to evaluate. The majority of climate scientists believe humans are responsible for the ongoing climate crisis. Human activities can lead to direct increases in nitrous oxide, CO2, methane, and manufactured greenhouses such as halocarbons. 

Climate Change Facts: The Dirty Truth & The Consequences

Carbon pollution arising from fossil fuels burnout is one of the main culprits for planet warming. There are also several natural processes that contribute to climate change such as internal variability in the climate system and changes in the sun’s radiation. A climatology excerpt published in Wired magazine reveals that greenhouse gas emissions attributed to humans emanate from a variety of engineered sources, including factories, vehicles, and planes. In terms of statistics, the concentration of CO2 on the planet’s lowest atmosphere layer stands at 407 parts per million. This figure is much higher compared to the 380 ppm recorded just 10 years ago. 

The consequences of global warming can be detrimental to the survival of humans and other life forms on the planet. Scientists believe up to 75% of all humanity could be exposed to deadly heat waves by the year 2100 if concerted efforts are not made to reduce CO2 emissions. The rise in sea surface temperatures is a huge concern to environmentalists. The warming can cause serious problems to the coral existence. Corals release photosynthetic algae that aid in extracting energy from the sun. The sea surface temperature rose 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit between 1901 and 2015. Scientists began tracking climate change back to the Industrial Revolution. 

The Devastating impact of climate change worldwide

It is worth noting that the US and other Industrial nations started using coal-fired factories to produce steel and textiles in the late 1700s. The fumes from coal are rich in carbon. To analyze the net effects of climate change, we must understand how global warming occurs. The phenomenon starts when the concentration of the gases in the atmosphere creates an insulating blanket that makes it difficult for the heat from the sun to escape. The resulting pressure causes the warming of the air and global warming. It is important to note that the energy from the sun plays a pivotal role in determining the earth’s climate. One of the factors is the intensity of light. 

When solar energy hits the surface of the earth, it reverberates to space as heat or infrared radiation. Greenhouse effects arise when infrared radiation is impeded by gases present in the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases, mostly constitute methane, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. The signs of global warming are clearly evident across the US in states such as California, New York, and Texas. California has recorded a spate of wildfires that have caused untold suffering, from loss of life and property damage to serious environmental degradation. According to researchers, the state receives little rain that helps rehydrate the vegetation.

However, the precipitation is not nearly sufficient to ward off the effects of warming. The situation is made difficult by the dryness that coincides with the seasonal winds from the eastern shores. Besides wildfires, scientists are also worried about the rising cases of flooding and anomalous hurricanes. Concerns regarding global warming have forced governments across the world to seek lasting solutions to climate change. Case in point, the much-touted Paris Agreement set out the goal for a maximum global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. However, there are fears the temperatures go as high as 4.9 degrees Celsius by 2100. 

The Paris accord came into force a few days before the election of Donald Trump as the President of the US. During the campaign period, the president promised to pull the country out of the Paris accord. He made good his intentions in June 2017, but the country technically remains a party to the agreement. The earliest opportunity the US can formally withdraw from the accord is in the year 2020. The Trump administration and the recently elected government in Brazil are widely seen as hostile to the Paris Climate bid. The other industrialized nations across the world are not faring any better when it comes to conforming to climate action. 

According to the Guardian newspaper, 15 countries in the G20 reported a rise in emissions in 2017, a development that is out of step with the Paris Climate Agreement. The study established that as much as 82% of the energy used by the G20 nations is derived from coal, gas, and oil. The development comes at a time when G20 nations committed to spend about $150 billion on subsidies aimed at increasing the use of renewable sources of energy. The energy sources being targeted by the ambitious program include wind, geothermal, and solar. According to the report, the worst offenders of the Paris Accord were Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

China remains the biggest emitter in spite of its efforts to reduce dependency on coal. India was the only country on course to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement of 2 degrees Celsius. Climate experts believe internal political pressures and growth in fossil fuel subsidies will remain key impediments to the realization of the climate action goals. The situation may prove unattainable if governments are forced to reduce emissions in agriculture and the transportation sectors. Most of the solutions being advanced by experts to fight climate change encourage a shift from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy. The latest entrant is energy from hot hydrogen fusion. 

A UN Climate talk dubbed the COP24 conference is slated for Poland at the end of the year 2018. The UN hopes to use the conference to push governments to deliver on the promise to minimize carbon emissions. According to Wired Magazine (2), the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC) 5th assessment report released in 2014 set out over 100 scenarios for keeping the global average temperature at below 2 degrees Celsius. The strategies largely depend on yet to be released, carbon dioxide-sucking technologies. However, several carbon-sucking geo-engineering models are being tested to gauge their effectiveness and commercial viability. 

Adrian Rubin
Adrian Rubin
Adrian Rubin is a climatologist, based out of Philadelphia, with 30 years of experience studying the weather. She intends to spotlight climate change awareness among members of the public. 

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