Previously, we discussed some definitions of climate change; a basic understanding of it. However, we all do not tie upon all theories but at least we agree on the changing climate rapidly as we are experiencing many unusual weather phenomena. The scenario of climate change is often picturized as vast and complicated.
Here we will try to break down simply, how the leading climate organizations and climatologists are projecting future calamities with the data and evidence.
HOW DOES IT LOOK LIKE?!
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) states; that while the earth’s climate has changed throughout history, the current rate is happening at a rate not seen in the past 10,000 years.
Scientific information taken from natural sources such as ice cores, rocks, and tree rings and from modern equipment like satellites and instruments all show signs of changing climate.
The melting of ice and extreme rise in global temperature around the globe show that the climate is changing almost everywhere.
Scientists predict global temperature increases from human-made greenhouse gases will continue. Severe weather damage will also increase and intensify. But the severity of effects caused by climate change will depend on the path of future human activities. More greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more climate extremes and widespread damaging effects across our planet. However, those future effects depend on the total amount of carbon dioxide we emit. So, if we can reduce emissions, we may avoid some of the worst effects.
Again, according to NASA, the change in climate is not new, it is happening throughout history. In the last 800,000 years, there have been eight cycles of the ice age and warmer periods. With the end of the last ice age about 11,700 years ago that major human civilization began or we may call it the modern climate era.
Though we talked about that the earth has warming and cooling phases or periods over time, the current warming trend is different because it is clearly the result of human activities since the mid-1800s and is proceeding at a rate not seen over many recent millennia.
It is undeniable that human activities have produced the atmospheric gases that have trapped more sun’s energy in the earth’s system. This extra energy has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and widespread rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, mountain, and terrestrial ecosystem.
NASA also indicates The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report, published in 2021, found that human emissions of heat-trapping gases have already warmed the climate by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since pre-Industrial times (starting in 1750). The global average temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees C (about 3 degrees F) within the next few decades. These changes will affect all regions of Earth.
Again, if we look at the 2022 report, IPCC warns we are set to pass the 1.5°C thresholds by 2040. It also states the if we are not about to change in habits it will be a state of urgency.
Some factors that have been suggested are:
- Use of fossil fuels,
- Change in diet habits,
- Greener cities.
Because of the intensifying population growth, it is very hard to accomplish the needs of everyone. This is the reason human is overusing natural resources. Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources and overriding has left a disastrous landmass not only this, burning fossil fuels is the single most large reason for emissions of Green House Gases (GHGs). And apparently, we have no choice but to choose greener residential areas and choose green options whenever possible.
In contrast, IPCC sees no options to prevent the 1.5°C global temperature rise unless we cut the carbon emission drastically which will only help to slow down environmental disaster.
Taking the high-carbon pathway, the worst of the scenarios would see the global temperature rise by more than 4°C by the end of the century. To add some perspective to that scenario, the world has not seen temperature increases of more than 2.5°C over a short space of time for more than 3 million years.
The IPCC has always confidently projected that the Arctic Sea ice pack was safe at least until 2050 or well beyond 2100. But summer sea ice is thinning faster than every climate projection, and today scientists predict a largely ice-free Arctic Ocean in years not decades.
Though, rising GHGs levels seem to be unpreventable IPCC recommends it requires decrease carbon pollution by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero carbon emission by 2050. (Net zero refers to balancing the number of emissions put into the atmosphere with the amount taken out.
WHAT CAN BE DONE:
Though the terrifying situations are being felt around the globe. Scientists have suggested that this is just the starting of a series of disastrous events much likely with large-scale consequences.
Melting glaciers cause sea level rise and the coastal cities are already in danger. Global warming is causing negative effects on agriculture which ultimately may lead the rising starvation all around the world. Some nations are already facing this problem and others are just the next. Cooler winter and warmer summer (please refer to https://livingreenlife.com/polar-vortex-a-new-climate-science) are kind of weather patterns we may or are facing in upcoming years.
Though the data presented above may seem a load, it is not that it’s not something that is out of our hands. We still can act and minimize the level of consequences. Going green is a concept that is widely spoken and practiced. But going green; is not only a movement it is more the mentality. The mitigation part really is vigorous but what we may face is not really something we desire.
Again, NASA assumes that going sustainable is the only option we have now, and implementing this would protect the environment for both current and future living conditions.
Going sustainable can look like this:
- Increase energy efficiency.
- Use of renewable energy.
- Conserve and protect water resources and watersheds.
- Reuse, reduce and recycle.
- Eliminate waste, and prevent pollution.
Maintain coordination with all federal, state, local, or territorial laws and regulations related to energy security, a healthy environment, and eco-friendly options.