In the present world, all countries are victims of climate change. Environmental degradation caused by humankind is capable of bringing extinction to the inhabitants of the earth.
The melting glaciers, rising temperatures, extinction of species, abnormal climatic conditions caused by spreading wildfires, unnatural torrential rains, unforgiving famines and droughts and shifting weather conditions has left the earth in due for vengeance.
What came to your mind when you read the above paragraph? Is it global warming? or is it ‘Greta Thunberg’
Impacts of climate change
1 – Climate change – Rising sea levels: A threat to the world’s end
During the period from 1880 to 2012, it has been observed that the average surface temperature over the earth and the oceans have increased by more than 0.85 degrees C. It has also been observed that from 1901 to 2010, the global average sea level has increased by 16 centimeters due to the amounts of snow and ice being melted in the polar and mountainous regions.
If the ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG’s) and increasing carbon emissions continue at an unprecedented rate the average sea level is predicted to rise 24-30 cms by 2065 and 40-63 cms by 2100 (source: UN). It is also known that most of the aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries, even if these harmful emissions are stopped.
The oceans are expanding at an unprecedented rate and these waters could gain the capability to dissolve the whole earth. It is one of the earliest ways in which the world can end.
2 – Climate change – Global warming: A burning issue
Scientists have observed remarkable changes in the seasons – the world is now experiencing earlier springs, variable monsoons and delayed falls. The increased heat is linked to a number of health issues, worsening common conditions like anxiety and depression.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found out that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C can ensure a more sustainable society compared to global warming of 2 degrees C.
The report also states that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C could slightly bring down the inevitable effects of global warming. By 2101, global sea levels could be 10 cms lesser than what was to be expected with global warming of 1.5 degrees C over 2 degrees C (source: IPCC). This could also strengthen the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
But this change/transition is not as simple as that. It would require quick changes in the energy forms used in industries, buildings, transports, and cities.
The carbon emissions would need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.
Most of the carbon emissions are released by some of the richest countries but yet its worst and adverse effects are bared by other countries that haven’t contributed an inch to global warming. For instance, Bhutan was declared as not only carbon-neutral but as carbon-negative and is facing floods due to the melting of ice caps and mountains. They are facing the threats and consequences caused by other countries of the world.
What worst can happen?
Indiscriminate destruction of forests, unplanned development and uncontrolled carbon emissions are paving way for Kiribati (Oceana), an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean to become the first nation to disappear from the world map. If this continues the waters can gobble up the whole earth bringing an end to the Humankind.
Climate change has its indirect effects also. It is known that the earth’s rotation has been slowing down for the last 2500 years. A part of this slowdown is estimated to be due to the rise in sea levels which increases the effective equatorial diameter of the earth and leads to the increase in the moment of inertia during rotation.
Consistent records have shown that atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG’s) have increased severalfold during the recent decades affecting all the inhabitants of the earth.
What can be done?
The earth’s atmosphere is estimated to hold about 1 trillion kilograms(about 830 petagrams) of carbon. Soils, on the other hand, hold about 4800 petagrams within a depth of 2 meters, which is six times the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists have also found out that soils have the potential to hold even greater quantities of carbon by altering the patterns of agriculture and by inserting biofertilizers deeper into the ground.
Carbon moves into the soil through roots. Increasing the carbon storage in soil, thus, would be an eco-friendly way of reversing climate change. More research is needed to establish the best way of achieving this.
Using renewable energy on a large scale basis as the way we are using exhaustible resources now and sustainable development is the way to minimize climate change.
The Evolved Options
These measures and awarenesses are never enough. There are only 2 options left with the dominant inhabitants of the earth to survive and ensure the continuity of our species.
1- Either enforce strict rules to protect nature. Example: Ban deforestation unless there is a precise reason for it, Enforce strict rules not to litter and increase the fine amount for actions of littering, etc. Usage of renewable resources, limit carbon emissions, develop sustainably and find technology to minimize climate change.
2- Fly to another planet before the earth is ready to wreak vengeance on humanity! But remember this, no other planet known to humanity tolerates as much as the mother earth does. So, before we even think of these ideas we must be well-trained to take care of our planet before we set foot on another one.