Humans have high expectations throughout their lives, setting goals and achieving these goals, but none of these dreams could be accomplished without the Earth that people live on. The air people breath, the atmosphere’s protection from outside harm of the universe, and the soul you rely on to help you travel wherever you go. All of these are vitally important for every individual among the Earth. However, the Earth is slowly dying due to climate change.
Climate change is defined as, “A long-term change in the Earth’s climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature” (Dictionary.com). Although that definition may seem technical, it simply means the Earth is slowly in extremis and is poisoned with toxins that increases the temperature.
People need to realize that the planet they are living on also has a life, a life as meaningful as theirs, which needs to be treated with as much love as it can so other people pursue their dreams. The discovery of climate change has not been in humanity’s knowledge for a long period of time, it has only been recently discovered, and pursued on to study. In 1896, a Swedish scientist named Svante Arrhenius published one of the first ideas about climate change, which is stated, “As humanity burned fossil fuels such as coal, which added carbon dioxide gas to the Earth’s atmosphere, we would raise the planet’s average temperature” (Weart). This idea about the greenhouse effect was one of the few speculations about climate change, but was not the most reasonable idea to believe in during the time. Many scientists argued that the emissions by man was not the reason for climate change, which led to many scientists discrediting on him.
Although many scientists did not believe in Svante Arrhenius, there was one scientist in the 1930s destined to make people believe climate change was real, and that was G. S. Callendar. In the 1930s, temperatures started to increase significantly during the previous half century.
As Spencer Weart describes in his article, “Scientists supposed this was just a phase of some mild natural cycle, with unknown causes. Only one lone voice, the amateur G. S. Callendar, insisted that greenhouse warming was on the way” (Weart). Throughout Weart’s article, he describes Callendar’s process all the way up to the 1950s, showing how he forced scientists to keep in account of climate change, and have studies done on it. One of his studies showed that, “Carbon dioxide could indeed build up in the atmosphere and should bring warming. Painstaking measurements by C.
D. Keeling drove home the point in 1960, showing that the level of the gas was in fact rising, year by year” (Weart). Callendar enlightened on the topic of climate change and made many scientists come to the realization that climate change was in fact real. With the influence of Callendar and many other scientists, the topic of climate change expanded to a large multitude of scientists to keep climate change in mind even to this day. Climate change can be caused by various activities, and with the temperatures rising, many different adjustments occur. Such dramatic changes include temperature rises, changes in precipitation patterns, more droughts and heat waves, sea level rising, and more intense natural disasters such as hurricanes, and wildfires. Climate change is a combination of both anthropogenic activity and natural causes.
As stated in the article Climate Change Science, “Recent climate changes, however, cannot be explained by natural causes alone. Research indicates that natural causes do not explain most observed warming, especially warming since the mid-20th century. Rather, it is extremely likely that human activities have been the dominant cause of that warming” (EPA). Although climate change has many factors that causes it, there have been dramatic events of climate change by human activity and natural disasters from the past and the present, which has greatly contributed to climate change. Ever since the Industrial Revolution began in around 1750, human activity has contributed considerably large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, adding more greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the temperature.
Earth System Research Laboratory discovered that, “Before the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, global average CO2 was about 280 ppm. … CO2 fluctuated between about 180 ppm during ice ages and 280 ppm during interglacial warm periods. Today’s rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended” (NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory). On top of this, the Environmental Protection Agency adds another horrific statistic of climate change.
That is, “Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased by more than 40% since pre-industrial times, from approximately 280 parts per million by volume in the 18th century to over 400 ppmv in 2015” (EAP). It may sound unbelievable, but the current CO2 level is higher than it has ever been in around 800,000 years. Although the Industrial Revolution brought about change in the way nations approached manufacturing and energy production, it contributed to the massive amounts of emission of CO2 to the atmosphere. The Industrial Revolution was not the only contributor to emissions to the atmosphere during the 1750s to the late 1800s — many natural disasters also contributed to the emissions. Such as the Tambora volcanic eruption located in Sumbawa island, Indonesia.
A study conducted by IOPScience discovered that, “the 1815 Tambora eruption emitted 60 to 80 megatons of SO2 to the stratosphere. The SO2 spread the tropics, circled the world and it was oxidized to form H2SO4 so called sulphate aerosols protecting the sunlight to reach the earth surface causing global change effects” (Wirakusumah and Rachmat). It later states in the article that after the eruption, it was called the “year without summer” due to the dark, cloudy emissions of the volcano. Although the past contributed substantially to the greenhouse gas emissions, even today in present time, there are many anthropogenic actions and natural causes that increase the levels of climate change on this planet. One main issue that is the most common around the world, is car emissions. Transportation is one of the largest sources of climate change emissions around the world. As stated in the article Cars and Global Warming, “Collectively, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all US emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas” (“Cars and Global Warming”).
Environmental Protection Agency also states, “?Twenty-seven percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is from transportation”(EAP). Some other primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions among human activity are electricity production and the industry. They both use fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gases, to generate energy. While they produce goods, they submit toxins throughout the atmosphere causing the temperature to increase.
Humanity needs to take in account for other people’s futures, and live under a healthy environment to help benefit the planet they are on.Although a lot of human activity is contributing to a large amount of emissions in the twenty-first century, nature is playing as much of a rule in climate change as well. Some of the latest natural disasters that are currently happening are the California Wildfires. The fires have lasted a couple months, starting in early October and lasting all the way through December. From the article, LiveScience, one extraordinary statistic states, “The fires emitted 7.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from Oct. 19 through Oct.
26, the equivalent of about 25 percent of the average monthly emissions from all fossil fuel burning in the entire state of California.” (Thompson). Later in the article it declares that the California Wildfires are emitting a year’s worth of car pollution in less than a week. Furthermore, Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the state Air Resources Board, expressed, “The kinds of fires we’re seeing now generate millions of tons of GHG emissions”(CalMatters). The effects of wildfires to California residents are extremely depressing; ruining people’s lives by taking their homes away from them, however, these wildfires can be equally as harmful to people not directly affected by the fires. The reason being is because of the toxins and the greenhouse gas emissions from the fires.
A recent discovery of a mantle plume was found in Antarctica, which scientists believe is a reason why many of the ice caps are melting. Described in a NASA article title, Hot News from the Antarctic Underground, “A new NASA study adds evidence that a geothermal heat source called a mantle plume lies deep below Antarctica’s Marie Byrd Land, explaining some of the melting that creates lakes and rivers under the ice sheet” (Greicius). With this massive plume at the bottom of Antarctica, we cannot conclude that human activity is the main blame for climate change. Despite the examples I provided throughout this essay, there are numerous amounts of reasons why climate change exists. From the past to the present, deforestation, increasing of livestock farming, fertilisers containing nitrogen, fluorinated gases, and the list goes on and on.
There are multiple reasons why there are rising emissions on this Earth. All that lead to negative side effects for the future. Climate change is projected to continue to change over these centuries, and beyond. The magnitude of climate change for our future depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gases released globally. One main effect climate change has greatly affected people’s lives already, and for our upcoming future, is the continuous rising of the temperature. As LuAnn Dahlman describes in her article, “Since 1970, global surface temperature rose at an average rate of about 0.17°C per decade—more than twice as fast as the 0.07°C per decade increase observed for the entire period of recorded observations.
The average global temperature for 2016 was 0.94°C above the 20th century average of 13.9°C, surpassing the previous record warmth of 2015 by 0.
04°C”(Dahlman). Dahlman later describes in the articles that our upcoming future temperatures will continue to rise with the rate of our emissions increasing. Furthermore, leading to more and more significant impactsWith the temperatures rising, more droughts and heat waves are becoming more common.
Warmer temperatures can increase water demands and evaporation, putting greater stress on water supplies. As stated in the article Drought and Climate Change, C2ES describes the effects of heat on droughts in certain climates by, “Extreme heat can increase the risk of other types of disasters. Heat can exacerbate drought. This, in turn, can encourage more extreme heat, as the sun’s energy acts to heat the air and land surface, rather than to evaporate water.
Hot, dry conditions also increase the risk of wildfires” (“Drought and Climate Change”). Wildfires is another factor caused by increases of temperature. Wildfire risk depends on a number of factors, such as soil moisture, temperature, and the existence of trees and shrubs to provide fuel for the area. With such dry terrain, and hot whether, these factors are limited and increase the factors of a wildfire. Another outcome of the rising temperatures, is the melting of the glaciers, and ice caps. It is predicted that the sea levels will rise to one to four feet by 2100.
Described in a NASA article, Global Climate Change: Effects, they state, “Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record keeping began in 1880. It is projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100. This is the result of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms” (“Global Climate Change: Effects”). They also include in the article, “In the next several decades, storm surges and high tides could combine with sea level rise and land subsidence to further increase flooding in many regions”(Global Climate Change: Effects”).
With the sea level rising, many areas will be affected. Such as New York City, and areas in Florida. Later in the article they also describe how the Arctic is likely to become ice free by the mid-century. Although the ice caps will be melting, I wonder if this will be benefits to humanity. Instead of the consequences of sea levels increasing, it possibly will allow transportation to be better for economy. The thing about humans is, although for all the faults, we are actually good at fixing things we know we have messed up on. Although temperatures are rising at extraordinary rates, there are solutions to reduce the impacts of extreme temperatures.
Some of the ideas the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions include, “Creating heat preparedness plans, identifying vulnerable populations, and opening cooling centers during extreme heat. Using green roofs, improved building materials, and shaded building construction to reduce the urban heat. Shading and cooling livestock, breeding livestock selectively for heat tolerance, and switching to growing more heat-resistant crops” (“Drought and Climate Change”). On December second, 2015, the Australian Government launched a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy, which set out to manage climate risks for the benefit of Australia. It has a set of principles to guide effective adaptation practices and resilience building, and outlines the Government’s vision for the future. Many other countries should do the same exact thing as Australia.
More countries should activity participate to help benefit the world for the better of the people in the future. Besides the adaptations already listed above, there is three main proactive strategies that humans must focus on to reduce the risks of climate change. First, Mitigation on the levels of emissions. Secondly, Adapt and moderate climate impacts by increasing our capacity to manage with them. Lastly, have geoengineers control chemical, physical, and biological aspects of the Earth’s system. These would allow humanity to counteract the consequences of climate change.
“All things share the same breath?the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” Wise words from Chief Seattle from the Duwamish Tribe.
She is absolutely correct, every living organism on this Earth shares the same air, and deserves the cleanest form of air for them. As humans, we have the responsibility to make this happen, because we are a one of the leading causes of climate change. As long as people dedicate something to help the planet they live on, not only will the Earth cherish with nourishment, but also the future human beings upon the future.