Climate Change

Long-term changes in temperature and weather patterns are referred to as climate change. These changes may occur naturally or artificially. Fossil fuel combustion releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which encircles the planet like a blanket and traps solar heat, causing temperatures to rise. The primary industries that produce greenhouse gases include energy, industry, transportation, buildings, agriculture, and land use.

Climate Science

Climate is the average weather over a long period, usually 30 years. The word is derived from the Greek word klima, which means "inclination." Humans are attempting to comprehend the natural processes that govern the climate.

History of Climate Science

Scientists have been researching Earth's climate for hundreds of years. Flemish scientist Jan Baptista van Helmont made one of the earliest discoveries when he developed the concept of gases in the 1640s and named it "gas" from the Greek word for chaos. One of van Helmont's scientific discoveries was the gas that we now call carbon dioxide. In the 1800s, scientists began to understand how gases contribute to the atmosphere's ability to retain heat. In 1824, French mathematician Joseph Fourier proposed the theory that Earth's atmosphere absorbs solar heat. In the 1850s, both British physicist John Tyndall and American chemist Eunice Foote separately reported the heat-trapping properties of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Additionally, Swedish chemist Svante Bergström also made significant contributions to the study of gases.

"Did you know that according to scientists who study climate change, almost all global warming in the past 200 years has been caused by human activities? The greenhouse gases that we produce are causing the planet to warm up faster than it has for thousands of years. The Earth's surface is currently 1.1°C warmer than it was during the Industrial Revolution, and it's the warmest it's been in the past 100,000 years. The last four decades have all been warmer than any other decade since 1850, with the most recent decade being the warmest on record from 2011 to 2020. While many people think that increased temperatures are the primary effect of climate change, the truth is that it's just the beginning of the story."

Everything on Earth is indeed interconnected, and changes in one area can have an impact on the entire planet. Climate change has resulted in a range of detrimental impacts, including severe droughts, water scarcity, devastating fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms, and dwindling biodiversity. These effects are already being felt, and they have the potential to cause significant harm to the planet if not addressed promptly. It's alarming to think that over 99% of scientific articles believe that humans are the primary cause of climate change.

It's concerning to know that despite the warnings of thousands of scientists and government reviewers, we are still on track to experience a 3°C temperature rise by the end of the century. The UN assessments have indicated that limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5°C would be crucial in avoiding the worst effects of climate change and maintaining a liveable environment for humans. In 2020, the top seven emitters, including China, the US, India, the EU, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, and Brazil, were responsible for nearly half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Diversification of Climate Change

It's concerning to see the effects of climate change on different aspects of our lives, such as jobs, housing, safety, food production, and health. It's especially worrying for those who live in small island nations and developing countries, who are more prone to the impact of climate change.

Climate science importance and outcomes

It's interesting to know that as part of the Paris Agreement, countries all over the world have agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius. This agreement is informed by climate science, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), formed in 1988 by the United Nations.

Climate science benefits and challenges

It's great to see that governments and corporations are recognizing the gravity of climate change and taking steps to address it. Climate science has provided valuable insights into our changing environment and highlighted the need to reduce our reliance on activities that contribute to global warming. By burning fossil fuels and clearing land for farming and real estate development, we are exacerbating the warming trend that threatens our economies and communities. It's encouraging to see that climate research is helping us to better understand the current impact of global warming and anticipate its future consequences.

Climate science limitations

Climate science indeed provides valuable data on temperature trends and atmospheric changes. However, predicting the specific impacts of those changes can be challenging. While computer models can offer insights, they may not always consider particular circumstances or timeframes. The summer of 2021 has been marked by alarming occurrences of catastrophic weather events across the globe. These events have led many to question whether climate change is happening faster than anticipated. When asked about this, a climate scientist explained that while it is difficult to predict the exact timing and implications of these events, they are consistent with what climate models have been warning us about for years. The fact that we are experiencing more frequent and severe heatwaves, floods, and other extreme weather events is a clear indication that climate change is happening and that its effects are being felt now, not just in the future. We must act to reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change, both for ourselves and for the other species that share our planet.

Solutions and Mitigation Strategies

  1. International agreements like the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are important frameworks to guide development in this direction. Acting like reducing emissions, adapting to the effects of climate change, and investing in necessary changes are essential steps towards tackling this issue.
  2. It's important to act quickly and move away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. While many countries are committing to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, it's crucial to halve emissions by 2030 to prevent global warming from exceeding 1.5°C. To avoid devastating levels of climate change by 2050, we need to keep almost two-thirds of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

Presenting Climate in a Classroom

  • Global Warming in a Jar

By investigating and contrasting findings with the demonstration, Students will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the potential implications of global temperature change. It's important to educate students about this topic so that they can make informed decisions and act to mitigate the effects of climate change.

  • Climate Change Education

There are many science-related events and activities that people can participate in. These include big public community gatherings, meetings, Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities, science days for families, and Earth Day activities. There is also support available for teachers and school groups, including energy professional courses, aquarium and zoo visits, and school gatherings. Science museums and centres, as well as regional and district-wide school hubs, offer excellent opportunities for field trips and hands-on learning experiences.

  • Climate Billing

Governments and corporations must prioritize investing in climate action, as ignoring the climate can result in even greater costs. In particular, industrialized nations need to follow through on their commitment to providing $100 billion annually to developing nations, which will help these countries adapt and transition to greener economies.

About the Author: Hafiza Rabia Yaseen is an environmentalist who works for the betterment of the environment and the sustainability of natural resources by notifying certain issues.