5 Things to Know About Climate Change
Before and after.
What's The Big Deal?
Climate change is a big deal. People are talking, and arguing about it daily. Believers, and deniers endlessly debate over the facts. Whenever new findings are made, both sides will call on these "facts" to use against each other. This tug of war has been going on for decades. Whether or not climate change has been influenced by humans seems to be the biggest debate. Though there are some who continue to believe that climate change is a hoax, many people will just say it is a natural phenomenon.
Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.— "IPCC Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis".
1. Climate change has happened before.
Right now, we are in the middle of an "ice age". According to research this ice age started about 2.6 million years ago. This long term ice age has been interspersed with warm patches, called interglacial periods. Our current interglacial started around 12,000 years ago. There have been 5 major ice ages that we know about. Outside these ice ages there is evidence that there was no ice even at the poles.
So Earth is accustomed to being warm, but the speed at which it is warming is what is upsetting.
2. CO2 Is Not The Only Problem.
When people talk about climate change CO2 is the most cited culprit. While it may be true that CO2 is a big problem, it is not the only problem. Methane is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect, as it is even more potent than CO2 in radiative heating, although it is less concentrated. The biggest worry is that with CO2 starting the heating, an even bigger greenhouse gas would increase heating even more. With the temperatures rising more, and more, water vapor is entering the atmosphere. This is causing a feedback loop, due to warm air's ability to hold more water. The hotter it gets, the more water vapor is in the air, the more water vapor in the air, the hotter it gets.
Are Humans The Cause Of Climate Change.
3. Climate Change Is Not Global Warming...
When talking about climate change people often call it global warming. Though the Earth's average temperature is rising it does not mean that it will be warmer everywhere. So the term global warming is a bit of a misnomer. The real problem with climate change is just as the name implies, climates will change all over the world. These changes is going to be, for example, more severe storms, more severe droughts, and changing weather patterns.
Global warming is just a consequence of climate change, so the term is more precise when talking of these matters.
4. It's All About Balance.
The ecosystems on Earth produce much more CO2 than people. Yet for millions of years it has been able to absorb the same amount, so the amount of CO2 has remained about the same. Yet in the 1800s during the industrial revolution, humans began to pump out massive amounts of CO2. This was more than the ecosystems could handle so ever since then, the CO2 has been growing in the atmosphere. This is thought to be the main cause of climate change that we are faced with today.
5. Things We Can Do.
Climate change is going to be the problem of this generation. To combat climate change, we need to change. We can slow down the progression of climate change, though it may be too soon to think that we can stop it. If we focus our efforts on things like solar power, wind power, and nuclear energy, we might be able to do something about it. There are problems with each if these technologies. Solar power does not work at night, or when it is cloudy. Wind power only works if it is windy, and nuclear power can be dangerous, with its toxic, and radioactive waste.
There are also carbon capture technologies being produced. There is post combustion carbon capture, where the carbon is taken straight from the source. Another technology being developed is direct air carbon capture, where carbon is taken directly from the atmosphere.
Time To Change.
If we hope to keep living these coming years as we have been, we need to change. We might have to start living with less than we are used to. If we can stop eating as much meat it would help, as about 15% of annual greenhouse emissions come from livestock. Millions of people already live without many of the luxuries that we take for granted, and these are the people that climate change will affect the most.
What do you think?