The phenomenon of climate change has existed since the time of Aristotle. Clearing of forests for agriculture during ancient times, for example, resulted in the warming up of the land due to exposure to sunlight. Ideas and thoughts speculating that human intervention affects the weather and climate of an area were also common. Climate change has been prominent throughout history. Examples are glacial activity in places too warm for glaciers in current times. Proof of glacial activity in the Val De Bagnes valley in Switzerland was discovered, even though currently, the temperature is too high for glaciers. It is visible proof of climate change. The discovery of climate change happened in 1896; when Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius rightly predicted that changes in carbon dioxide levels in the air could affect surface temperatures through the greenhouse effect. This was proven by a discovery in 1938 by Guy Callendar, who linked the increase of carbon dioxide to global warming. Over time his predictions have been very accurate.
Further research in the future fortified this phenomenon. In June 1988, a climate change conference in Toronto concluded that unless global emissions were pushed back by 20% of the 1988 level, harmful changes in the atmosphere would occur. However, there haven't been any visible improvements through efforts from people or the government. Various treaties and agreements like the UNFCC and Paris Agreement had been chartered and ratified. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a significant reduction in emissions.
The failure to bring about appropriate changes has adverse effects that are visible today. Natural disasters are occurring more frequently, and the costs that go with them too. The cost for climate change caused by natural disasters in 2020 was 95 billion USD. This is due to anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. The earth warms up naturally due to the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gas emissions have made the heating faster. A higher temperature has deadly consequences for various species, ecosystems, and most importantly, us humans. A few degrees can make a life or death difference for some species. Sea turtles, for example, require a certain sand temperature (31.1℃) to hatch females, and 27℃ to hatch males. What will happen to sea turtles when the temperature increases too much? A lot of other species will face the same predicament if warming is not limited to below 2℃. In some regions, this temperature has already been exceeded.
Droughts, water availability, extreme precipitation, loss and extinction of species, fires, weather shifts, rise in sea levels, flooding, etc will be just some of the negative impacts of global warming. Some of these are already happening. You must have seen multiple mentions of hurricanes and forest fires in newspapers and news, it is just another effect of warming. Some of the biggest threats humanity could face is food shortage and water scarcity, an already existing problem. Based on all of this itself, climate change is a very grave problem that has to be dealt with. People, however, already know this, there has been enough activism around climate change for decades. Lack of action from governments and even people is visible. The long-term effects of warming can eventually cause extinction for millions of species, including humans.
Change has to come from everyone, people, governments, companies, etc. From an individual level, you can do multiple things to reduce your carbon footprint. Limiting water usage, cycling or walking short distances, going vegan, driving a fuel-efficient vehicle, and getting emission tests done regularly are some of the ways you can help. Change has to begin somewhere, only then corporations and even the government be encouraged and called upon to take action.
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