Today, the effects of climate change are apparent in most parts of our planet. Climate change has destabilized economies and sources of livelihood in many communities. Its adverse effects are expected to get worse as the mean global temperature continues to rise. Though it has attracted unprecedented attention, measures to manage it are yet to be fully embraced. Climate change, as we currently understand, is a consequence of global warming.
According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on average, the global surface temperature rose by 0.85 degrees Celsius. Further, projections indicate that global temperatures will rise to an average of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the turn of the century. Credible scientific communities around the world agree that our planet is steadily warming due to greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenhouse gasses are gasses emitted by various human activities such as burning fossil fuels and peat moss. Our actions release carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. These gasses accumulate in the atmosphere thus preventing excess heat from escaping into space. Water bodies absorb the excess heat.
The adverse effects of global warming will vary from region to region. A warmer climate interrupts the usual rainfall patterns. Some areas will experience extreme drought while others will experience more rain and flooding. A changing pattern has far reaching consequences on human life. Already, the average global yield per hectare of food crops has declined. As more and more ice melts, areas close to the sea shore will get submerged due to rising sea levels. Projections by the IPCC show that the average sea level will have risen by about half a meter at the end of the century.
Though the effects of accumulated greenhouse gasses will last for centuries, the need to limit emissions to pre-industrial levels is urgent. The future depends on what we choose to do today.