Human activity is leading to a rise in temperatures; therefore, climate change threatens every aspect of human life. Climate change is the change in the average weather conditions of a place over long years. The usage of oil, coal and natural gases is the main factor for the abundant release of co2 in the atmosphere. (greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere. These gases trap the sun’s heat and cause the Earth’s temperature to rise. Greenhouse gases are at the peak levels they have ever been over the past few decades. This high temperature is due to climate change which is occurring at a rapid rate. Once these gases enter the atmosphere, gases such as co2 form a blanket around the planet; this blanket further traps the sun’s heat-causing the Earth to heat up. The rise in temperatures is not the only factor but also extreme weather events, decreasing wildlife and its habitats, rising sea levels and a range of other impacts.
What Causes Climate Change?
A blanket around the earth forms various harmful gases known as greenhouse gases. When the sun’s rays hit this blanket, it goes straight to the exterior of the Earth. The Earth then absorbs these sun rays and emits a different kind of light (infrared radiation) back to space. The greenhouse blanket absorbs some of the heat and causes the atmosphere to heat up. This process is called the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is essential to life on Earth. Without an umbrella of greenhouse gases trapping in heat, the temperature would get freezing, and humans would be unable to survive. However, by adding extra gases, the Earth would become hotter, creating an enhanced greenhouse effect. The blanket grows thicker by the day, causing the Earth’s atmosphere to heat considerably.
The Paris Agreement and its Decisions
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries seek to reach the global end of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate objective world by mid-century. The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding consensus brings all countries under one roof for a common cause to undertake determined efforts to fight climate change and adapt to its effects.
How Does Climate Change Impact the Earth?
- Human activity – People travelling and excessive usage of ACs and refrigerators emit greenhouse gases and aerosols into the atmosphere. This gas is the main contributor to climate change. This has a multitude of impacts on the climate system, ecosystems, and people.
- Rising ocean levels –Ocean levels rise due to the extra heat from global warming. Warm water expands, causing the water to take up more space and rise. Also, glaciers and ice sheets are melting due to the increase in temperatures, causing the ocean to rise.
- Ocean acidification – Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide and becomes more acidic.
- Extreme weather events – Extreme weather events become intense and regular such as heatwaves, floods and droughts.
- Submergence of coastal regions – Coastal cities is at a high risk of submergence due to the increase in the levels of the sea.
- Food Scarcity – High temperatures, extreme weather events, flooding, and droughts damage farms. This makes it challenging for farmers to grow crops and means that their yield of produce each year is uncertain and low.
- Increase in Migrants and Refugees – Climate change can cause intense stress to the people causing them to migrate due to a lack of food and shelter as the sea and temperature rise.
- Peril to Marine Life – A rise in ocean temperature and reduction in oxygen levels can cause severe damage to marine life, such as fishes and coral reefs.
The vital step in limiting climate change is to make significant and quick reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. It can be done in several ways. Governments, businesses, organisations and individuals around the world can all contribute.