Climate change, if we define it, is directly related to the change in temperatures, weather patterns and atmosphere of our planet. Global climate change is one of the greatest threats to humans of our generation, posing a serious risk to the fundamental rights to life, health, food and an adequate standard of living of individuals and communities across the world. It is potentially the most devastating and hardest problem that we have faced during our existence. Global climate change encompasses rising temperatures, extreme weathers, shifting of wildlife population and habitats, rising of the sea levels and an array of other impacts. The effects of climate change on humans are far reaching and comprise effects on health, environment, displacement and migration, security, society, energy, human settlement, transport and so on. It is genuinely alarming to know that global climate change hasbrought about possibly irreversible alterations to earth’s geological, biological and ecological systems. The impacts of the climate change include hazards like extreme weather, increased danger of wildfires, loss of biodiversity, stresses to food producing systems and the global spread of infectious diseases.
CAUSES OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE :
Humans are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth’s temperature by burning excessive fossil fuels, cutting down forests and farming live stock. These activities add enormous amount of green gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming. The main driver of climate change is the greenhouse effect. Some gases in the earth’s atmosphere act a bit like the glass in a greenhouse, trapping the sun’s heat and stopping it from leaking back into space, thus causing global warming. Some of those gases are Carbon-di-oxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Fluorinated gases, etc.
The most common example of climate change that we hear about is the rising temperatures. In fact, it is predicted that by 2070, more than 3 billion people will reside in places with ” nearly unlivable” temperatures. Already, our planet’s global average surface temperature has risen by 2 degrees since the pre-industrial era ( 1880-1900). Some of the leading causes of climate change include –
• Burning fossilfuels like coal, oil and gas for electricity, heat and transportation.
• Industrial processes
• Livestock production
• Waste and food waste.
EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE :
Global climate change has already had significant effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal variations have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Some of the conspicuous effects of climate change are
• Temperature will continue to rise : Temperature will keep on rising, since human-induced warming is something super imposed. The temperature rise will not be uniform or smooth across a country or over time.
• Frost-free session as well as growing season will lengthen – The length of the frost free season ( and the corresponding growing season ) has been already increasing nationally and will continue to do so. The largest increases are predicted for western U.S.
• Change in precipitation pattern : Average precipitation in many countries across the world have increased as well as in some places, it has decreased.
• More droughts and waves : Droughts and heat waves ( periods of abnormally hot weather lasting for days to weeks ) everywhere are predicted to become more intense.
• Hurricanes will become stronger and more intense : The intensity, frequency and duration of hurrcanes as well as the frequency of the strongest hurrcanes will keep on increasing, as the climate continues to warm.
• Sea level will rise : Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since 1880. It is predicted to rise another 1 to 8 feet by 2100. This is the result of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms.