Due to climate change, the sustainability of the planet’s ecosystems and the future of humankind are under threat.
According to NASA, climate change is defined as “a wide range of global events caused mostly by the combustion of fossil fuels, which releases heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. These phenomena include changes such as sea-level rise, ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic, and mountain glaciers around the world, variations in flower/plant blooming, and extreme weather events, in addition to the increased temperature trends outlined by global warming.”
What are the Causes of Climate Change?
Climate change is caused by natural and human activities.
Natural Causes of Climate Change
The natural forces include the intensity of the Sun, volcanic eruptions, and changes in naturally occurring greenhouse gas concentrations. However, the impact of natural causes is too low to explain the rapid warming seen in recent decades.
Human Causes of Climate Change
Greenhouse gasses emitted by fossil fuels, specifically by humans, are the leading cause of the Earth’s rapidly changing climate.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), concentrations of nitrous oxides, carbon dioxide, and methane have increased to unprecedented levels in the last 800,000 years.
The second major source is deforestation (logging, clear-cutting, and forest fires), contributing up to 20 percent of global carbon emissions.
The other causes of climate changes are:
- Fertilizers - the primary source of nitrous oxide emissions.
- Livestock production - cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats are major methane emitters.
- Industrial processes that release fluorinated gases.
What are the Effects of Climate Change?
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Risks Report, the failure to adapt and mitigate climate change will affect the global ecosystems. It affects everything from the air we breathe to the places we live to the water we drink.
The effects of climate changes are:
- Extreme weather
- Air pollution
- Human health risks
- Rising sea levels
- Warmer and acidic oceans
- Imperiled ecosystems