Climate change has been a hot topic around the world today. The word climate change sparks many questions and opinions from people all over the globe. One of the topics that have been widely debated was whether the cause of climate change was natural causes or mankind's. A report that was issued in the year of 2008, namely, “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate”, states that the warming of Earth is mainly due to natural causes. However, an immense range of previous climate transformations recorded by many researchers states that mankind is the primary driver of changes happening to our climate.
Before diving deeper into the topic, we need to inquire how the Earth’s atmosphere responds to external radiative forcings in order to comprehend previous climate transformations. The contrast between incoming and outgoing radiation is identified as the planet’s radiative forcings. When pressure acts on the atmosphere, it may potentially alter the climate system due to the vitality disparity experienced by the planet. Similarly, when we apply a pushing force on a physical item, it will cause the item to become unbalanced thereby moving it. Until a vitality balance is reinstated, the temperature around the globe will keep on fluctuating due to relentless climate forcings. The Earth warms when incoming vitality is larger than outgoing vitality and cools when vice versa.
Over the span of 2000 years back, alterations in the radiation of the Sun reaching the planet, steady alterations in Earth’s orbital cycle, and eruptions of volcanoes are the key external climate forcings experienced by the planet we are living in. The total vitality obtained by the Earth from the Sun fluctuates on a wide range of timescales. In correlation with the recurrence of events of dark sunspots and brilliant faculae, the Sun’s emanation of radiation also alters. For instance, the temperature ascends as the sun lights up brilliantly and falls as the sun's rays diminish. Alterations in the parameters of the Earth’s orbital brought about by the gravitational attraction of the Sun, Moon, and other planets have impacted the amount of vitality from the Sun reaching the highest point of Earth’s atmosphere. These impacts consolidate to alter not only the tilt of Earth’s axis of the pivot but also the eccentric circle’s direction. The Earth’s distance from the Sun is impacted when Earth’s orbit varies from elliptical shape to circular shape. When Earth’s orbital is circular in shape, the planet becomes warmer since it is nearer to the Sun. Conversely, if Earth’s orbital is elliptical in shape, the planet becomes cooler since its distance is greater from the sun.
Explosive volcanic eruptions discharge particles with light-reflecting characteristics into the atmosphere, namely, an enormous amount of ashes and sulfuric gases thereby diminishing the amount of solar radiation from reaching the surface. This will make the Earth experience a cooling impact. The surface temperature over a small region will be cooled generally for a few days up to several weeks when bigger ash particles settle swiftly to the surface. The smaller sulfate emitted from the enormous explosive volcanic eruption shoots up high into the Earth’s atmosphere where they last for quite a few years. Albeit huge emissions can prompt huge cooling following the eruption, the impact can be isolated to a couple of years occasionally. This was the case when Mount Tambora in Sumbawa Island, Indonesia erupted on 10th April 1815 which totally wiped out Sumbawa island culture. The volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora was known to be the biggest as of the 19th century. The particles containing ashes that exploded into the upper Earth’s atmosphere were spread all over the world by robust air currents. London began to experience the impacts of the volcano eruption by the fall of 1815 when uncanny-colored sunsets were seen appearing. In the year 1816, Europe and North America experienced a radical change in climate patterns. In these two years, winter was genuinely common however the climate turned peculiar during the spring of 1816 when the increase of temperature that was relied upon to happen did not occur and a few places continued to experience freezing temperatures in their summer months. This incident caused 1816 to be acknowledged as “the year without a summer”.
It is clearly evident that natural forces are the main driver of past environmental change. Nonetheless, today, that is not the case as there are numerous aspects contributing to climate change aside from natural forces. The emanation of enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an alarming rate is one of the factors contributing to climate change. It is also considered an external climate forcing as the rising emanation of greenhouse gases traps heat within the ozone layer thereby causing the Earth’s atmosphere to develop heat.
Do scientists agree that rapid climate change is occurring universally and that human activities are its fundamental driver? 97% of scientists agreed that rapid climate change is occurring universally and the primary culprit behind it are humans a climatologist’s survey conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Science arrives at a resolution when discussion among scientists came to a halt. Not 100% understanding is required for a hypothesis to be substantial as complete endorsement is only from time to time accomplished. Certain parts of science might be disputed by specific researchers, nevertheless, this is a fragment of systematic procedure where no indication is shown that a hypothesis is erroneous as speculations are lines of reasoning that researchers acknowledge as accurate and consistently account for an exemption or for science to make an appearance with new disclosures that can discredit recently acknowledged hypotheses.
An accord in science is not the same as a political one as there is no vote. In light of the fact that the sheer weight of reliable proof is excessively convincing to go against, researchers cease the discussion and an accord was developed after some time when they began to alter their perspectives based on the proof. Aside from the fact that scientists ceased the discussion, they too begin depending on one another's work. The work on a particular topic that goes before it is heavily relied upon by all science and when a particular researcher starts research by relying on the research done by others, credit is given to that particular researcher by recognizing their research through references. The research that underlines the establishment of environmental change is referred to with a whopping recurrence by numerous different researchers, showing that the hypothesis is broadly acknowledged and depended upon.
Not one paper dismissed the accord's position that climate change is man-made in a survey of all evaluated papers issued between 1993 and 2003 regarding global climate change issues. Three-quarters of the papers, or in other words, 75% concurred with the accord position whereas the remaining 25% offered no remark in any case but concentrated more on scrutinizing the strategies instead. Likewise, the opinion of official scientific institutions regarding environmental change ought to be taken into consideration too. Similar deductions were made in different research done by the National Academy of the Sciences. Not a single national or major scientific institution around the globe questions the hypothesis of anthropogenic environmental change. It is crystal clear that in the area of environmental science, the accord is “human activities are the main contributors to climate change”.
Human activities, namely, burning fossil fuels, deforestation, fertilizing crops, raising livestock, and last but not least storing waste in landfills are causing rapid climate change. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are utilized as a source of heat and energy for transportation, energy production, manufacturing, and home heating. The combustion of fossil fuel emits ozone-depleting substances containing carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide directly into the Earth’s atmosphere. Mass felling of trees relinquishing the perpetual advantages of standing trees for transient income is one of the major contributors to climate change. 30% of the world covered with forests is disappearing at an alarming rate. As indicated by the World Bank, an area larger than South Africa tallying up to 1.3 million square kilometers of forest around the globe was lost between 1990 and 2016. Wood and timber, farming, grazing of livestock, mining, urbanization, palm oil, and paper are the main reasons behind deforestation. For instance, due to the sole reason for palm oil plantation, forests are being cleared in Malaysia and Indonesia. Manures utilized for horticulture activity add to the emanation of ozone-depleting substances such as nitrous oxide from organic and mineral nitrogen composts. The increasing request for farm animal products due to the expanding human populace prompts the expansion of livestock farming. Increasing livestock farming is imperiling the Earth’s climate as a huge amount of methane is formed from livestock assimilation processes and stored animal excrement. For instance, when cows and sheep digest their food, enormous amounts of methane are produced. The waste produced and disposed of by humans which was then put away in landfills contributes to climate change. The garbage set in landfills decays gradually in an oxygen-free environment and microscopic organisms found in organic waste produce methane gas which is one of the major greenhouse gas contributors due to the absence of oxygen. Since the waste in landfills mostly comprises organic trash, namely, food and paper, large amounts of methane gas are emitted into the atmosphere.
Why should we be bothered by climate change? Presently, an abundant amount of dependable statistical information with regard to climate change effects is available in light of the fact that environmental change is a subject that has been and is of rising worry. At least over 100 years ago, technological advances have warranted that much. Therefore, at the very least majority can say they have caught wind of it as the majority of the human populace can access this statistical information through the Internet. However, does everything truly matter even when environmental change issue has been brought up around the globe but up till now not much has been done to combat this issue? This is fathomable particularly when everyday challenges in life appear to be more urgent and requires their undivided attentiveness, one might ask why they ought to mull and be bothered over climate issue. It might appear to be simpler to build up this mentality, however, research proposes that without extreme actions taken to combat this issue, our populace's well-being and comfort could fundamentally diminish. Before that, we must first understand the effects of human activities on the Earth’s climate.
According to an analysis of temperatures that is still in progress led by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the normal worldwide temperature on Earth has increased by a little over 1° Celsius since 1880. A little more than one degree may not appear to be alarming for humans; however, a one-degree global change is indeed significant as it takes an immense amount of heat to warm the seas, atmosphere, and land. Most people are busy chasing short-term gain without a single care about the implications of their activities towards a climate in the long term. For instance, the summer sea ice has diminished significantly uncovering the Northwest Passage between Northwest Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. This open passage benefitted the people in terms of monetary gain since the shipping distances diminished by more than 4000 miles. However, the side effects include the rise of floating icebergs in shipping routes and polar bears in danger of losing their habitat due to the rapid melting of polar ice caps. As more heat is absorbed by the sea, glaciers and ice caps begin to melt. The melting of glaciers is detrimental to the world as it can cause contamination of fresh water that humans rely on. Melted ice caps cause low-lying areas to flood and eventually low-lying areas such as islands become permanently submerged as the sea levels rise. Warmer oceans would prompt permanent damage to many of the world’s coral reefs as they are in danger of bleaching.
Besides, rivers are in danger of depleting completely as the mountains lose most of their glaciers due to the rising global temperature. Mountainous regions are in danger of avalanches due to the melting of permafrost. Locales that used to experience extremely high temperatures may become desolate. Many areas around the globe will become hotter and drier which would result in drought and the growth of stable harvests will be impacted severely. The growth of stable harvests is vital to sustaining the increasing human populace around the world. Truth be told, humans are not safe from the negative effects of climate change and their contribution to rapid climate change is coming back to bite them. For instance, Europe’s 2003 heatwave resulted in more than 20000 heat-related fatalities.
When extreme weather events that we don’t usually relate to climate change such as wildfires were to occur, the subject of the halting of climate change is brought up frequently. For instance, a recent bushfire raging on more than 40000 square miles of land in Australia between September 2019 and early February 2020 was due to extreme heat and dryness originating from climate change.
Climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately with drastic measures. For the well-being of future generations, we need to battle against the negativities that are obliterating our climate so that they can experience the beauty of our planet and not its side effects of it. We still have time to stop the impacts of environmental change to save our planet. Maybe the changes made today to decrease the ozone-harming substances, namely, greenhouse gases will not be seen by the present generation as it could take hundreds of years to reverse the negative impact of climate change, however, that does not make the improvement as pointless since our future generations will be able to enjoy the positive changes. So why should we be bothered by climate change? Perhaps in light of the fact that all life on earth relies upon it.