Effects of Global Warming
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.
The largest driver of warming is the emission of gases that create a greenhouse effect, of which more than 90% are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. Fossil fuel burning (coal, oil, and natural gas) for energy consumption is the main source of these emissions, with additional contributions from agriculture, deforestation, and manufacturing. The human cause of climate change is not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing. Temperature rise is accelerated or tempered by climate feedbacks, such as loss of sunlight-reflecting snow and ice cover, increased water vapour (a greenhouse gas itself), and changes to land and ocean carbon sinks.
Temperature rise on land is about twice the global average increase, leading to desert expansion and more common heat waves and wildfires. Temperature rise is also amplified in the Arctic, where it has contributed to melting permafrost, glacial retreat and sea ice loss. Warmer temperatures are increasing rates of evaporation, causing more intense storms and weather extremes. Impacts on ecosystems include the relocation or extinction of many species as their environment changes, most immediately in coral reefs, mountains, and the Arctic. Climate change threatens people with food insecurity, water scarcity, flooding, infectious diseases, extreme heat, economic losses, and displacement. These human impacts have led the World Health Organization to call climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Even if efforts to minimise future warming are successful, some effects will continue for centuries, including rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification.
Way to stop Global warming:
- Where possible, we can switch to renewable sources of energy (such as solar and wind energy) to power our homes and buildings, thus emitting far less heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.
- Where feasible, we can drive electric vehicles instead of those that burn fossil fuels; or we can use mass transit instead of driving our own cars.
- Where affordable, we can conserve energy by better insulating our homes and buildings, and by replacing old, failing appliances with more energy-efficient models.
- Where practicable, we can counterbalance our annual carbon dioxide emissions by investing in commercial services that draw down an equal amount of carbon out of the atmosphere, such as through planting trees or carbon capture and storage techniques.
- Where practical, we can support more local businesses that use and promote sustainable, climate-smart practices such as those listed above.
- We can consider placing an upper limit on the amount of carbon dioxide we will allow ourselves to emit into the atmosphere within a given timeframe.