Climate change is the result of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by human activities like burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The average temperature of Earth has increased by approximately 1.1°C since 1850. This has resulted in melting glaciers, rising sea levels and changing precipitation patterns. Climate change has affected biological systems and caused species to change their ranges, migratory patterns and behaviours. It is imperative to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the effects of climate change. The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, but global progress has been slow.
The Earth’s Changing Climate
Climate change is a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular, a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
The Earth’s climate has been changing since its formation approximately 4.6 billion years ago. However, over the last century, this change has accelerated due to human activities like burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agro-industrial processes.
The average temperature of the Earth’s surface has increased by approximately 1.1°C since the pre-industrial era (1850-1900). Although this may not seem like a significant increase, the impacts of this rise in temperature are profound. It has resulted in melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and changes in precipitation patterns.
The effects of climate change are also being felt on the biological systems of the planet. Species are changing their ranges, migratory patterns, and behavior in response to warming temperatures and altered precipitation patterns.
There is an urgent need to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the effects of climate change. Scientists from around the world have repeatedly warned that we have a limited time to take action before the effects become irreversible.
The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but global progress has been slow, and the current pledges are insufficient.
The Earth’s changing climate poses a significant threat to our planet, and it is up to us to take responsibility and act now.
1. What causes climate change?
Climate change is caused by a range of human activities, including burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and intensive agriculture. These activities produce greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which trap heat in the atmosphere and lead to a rise in temperature.
2. How is climate change affecting the planet?
Climate change is causing a range of impacts on the planet, including rising sea levels, melting glaciers, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, and changes in precipitation patterns. These impacts are causing significant damage to the natural systems of the planet and are putting human communities and economies at risk.
3. What can we do to combat climate change?
Immediate action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the effects of climate change. This includes more investment in renewable energy, reducing fossil fuel use, implementing energy efficiency measures, and adopting sustainable agriculture and forestry practices. Individuals can also make a difference by reducing their carbon footprint, for example, by reducing their energy consumption, using public transport, and eating a plant-based diet.
4. Why is climate change so urgent?
The effects of climate change are already being felt on the planet, and they are likely to worsen significantly in the coming decades. The impacts of climate change are putting human communities at risk and causing significant damage to natural systems. Immediate action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the effects of climate change to prevent irreversible damage.