[ Introduction ]
Climate change isn’t something new, Climate on earth has been changing ever since it’s existence. Natural factors like Volcanic eruptions and movement of tectonic plates have caused widespread changes for thousands of years but the way our climate has changed in the past few decades is something that hasn’t happened ever before.
In this essay we will discuss what’s causing this change and what would be its effects.
Causes of Climate Change
From the 1800s Climate change has mainly been caused by human activities.
Increased Carbon emission
Fossil fuels like coal and petroleum which supply 84% of total world’s energy produce Co² as a by product when they are burnt and large scale burning of these fossil fuels to produce mechanical and electrical energy has led to rise in the proportion of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
Rapid increase in carbon emission over the last few decades is the single largest factor responsible for climate change. Carbon dioxide (Co²) is a very important gas that traps the sunlight falling on earth and keeps our planet Warm and liveable but Increased composition of Co² in air gives rise to global warming and a complete bunch of other problems.
Deforestation – Cutting down of trees on a large scale for expansion of cities, farmlands and industries have led to loss of millions of hectares of forest cover. These forests help in absorbing carbon dioxide, attract rainfall and prevent soil erosion. They maintain the overall balance of the ecosystem and their loss accelerates Climate change.
Agriculture – Planting crops and rearing animals releases many different types of greenhouse gases into the air. For example, animals produce methane, which is 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. The nitrous oxide used for fertilisers is ten times worse and is nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide!
Fluorinated gases ( F – gases) – These man-made gases are the most dangerous type of Greenhouse gas as they can stay in the atmosphere for centuries and can contribute to Climate change. Chloro-fluoro-carbon, a type of F – gas, was responsible for the massive hole in our Ozone layer.
Effects of Climate change
Climate change has devastating effects on the environment, ecosystem and all living beings.
Increase in the proportion of Co² in the atmosphere leads to trapping of more sunlight which leads to an increase in average surface and ocean temperature.This phenomenon is known as Global warming.
Heating up of land and ocean surfaces has following effects –
Melting of Glaciers and Rising sea levels – Rise in temperature leads to melting of Glaciers and large ice sheets which results in rising sea levels.
Extreme weather conditions – Irregular heating of air above the land and ocean surfaces causes disturbances in air currents leading to extreme weather conditions like: prolonged droughts, flash floods, hurricanes etc.
Wildfires – The destructive combination of prolonged droughts and high temperatures is responsible for the ever increasing cases of Wildfires.
Loss in biodiversity
One-third of all plant and animal species could be extinct in 50 years due to Climate change. Acidification of oceans is killing marine species like corals. Floods, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes etc are killing the land animals. Rising temperature and pollution have proved to be a killer for Ariel species.
Climate change in its worst form could lead to collapse of the complete system of rules and regulations that our human society is based on.
Rise in temperature and years of drought in some regions have led to drastic decline in groundwater levels and water stored in rivers and lakes. But people everywhere will need water to live on.
300 – 600 million people are at the risk of coastal flooding due to sea level rise and these people will need new homes.
30% of the total agricultural land could become unproductive, Critical global ecosystems including the Amazon rainforest, coral reefs, and the Arctic would collapse and many countries would be unable to cope up with these changes. There could be mass migration, riots and wars which would make your world highly unstable.
After a thorough analysis of the causes and effects of Climate change, we can conclude that it is a product of human need and greed. It is a calamity that we humans have invited on us. Climate change affects every living being on this earth. It can lead to destruction of our ecosystem and eventual fall of the whole human civilization.