Climate change has never received the attention it deserves. Except maybe in my environmental class… The thing is that climate change is one of those things that almost half of Americans don’t believe in yet. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? To fix climate change we need to educate more people about the issue. For example some people who were never educated about climate change may be thinking, What is this person talking about? If what he said was true then why did we get so much snow last winter? And, How do you know that humans are to blame for this so called “climate change”? And even, It’s a hoax, the Chinese made that up to make US manufacturing uncompetitive. Even you as the reader may be thinking, I know its real but how important could it really be? Climate change is extremely important, which I can’t stress enough but how crucial is it really? In my opinion it should be considered one of the top issues we face today. For one thing temperatures will rise, in fact, global temperatures have risen 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit during the 20th century! 1.7 degrees! It’s INSANE!
I’m totally serious, while 1.7 degrees may not seem like much, It’s a very unusual event in our planet’s recent history because Earth’s climate record shows that the global average temperature has been extremely stable over long periods of time. In Earth’s history, a 1 to 2 degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature was all it took to plunge the Earth into the Little Ice Age. With climate change, extreme weather will take place more often. For the last 50 years the US has seen increases in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, heavy downpours, and in some regions, severe floods and droughts. Hurricanes have been increasing in intensity, frequency, and duration due to the increase of ocean surface temperatures. Flooding is also expected to increase with the presumed increase in heavy downpours even in places where total precipitation is expected to decrease. Droughts and heat waves will occur with more frequency which in turn will also affect agriculture and water supplies. These climate disruptions will have a turbulent effect on agriculture with a forecasted increase in weeds, diseases, and pests due to climate change. Loss of critical agricultural soil and water assets due to the extreme precipitation will continue to challenge agriculture today and even more in the future. Food and water security could be compromised in the future which in turn would cause mass immigration on a greater scale to what there is today. Sea levels will rise due to melting artic ice and because of the expansion of sea water as it warms. This sea level rise could affect everything from coastal property sizes to the disapperance of nations under the ocean. Climate change also impacts ecosystem’s abilities to improve water quality and regulate water flows. Ecosystems are also losing their ability to buffer the impacts of extreme events like wildfires, floods, and storms which will occur more often and with greater intensity. Species extinctions will also accelerate and the mix of plant and animal life will become almost unrecognizable in some regions. Human health will also suffer with decreased air quality, and an increase in diseases transmitted by insects, food, and water. The melting of sea ice will accelerate global warming even more with less sunlight being reflected back into space.
I haven’t even touched the surface of all the consequences of climate change. The cause of this climate change? Well… most climate scientists agree that the main cause of the current global warming trend is the human expansion of the greenhouse effect that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. Certain greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and methane prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere. Normally the greenhouse effect is great because without it we wouldn’t exist because it would be too cold for us to live without it. Today we are forcing it to accelerate mainly by the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil which increases the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities have also increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect has multiple positive feedback loops which makes it particularly hard to fix. For example, methane gas trapped deep within polar ice is being released due to the greenhouse effect on ocean temperatures which in turn results in a stronger greenhouse effect and more greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere.
Although the future is uncertain there is always a way to lessen the effects of climate change. We first must educate the general public so that, in turn, they will vote for politicians who believe and advocate for the reduction of the release of greenhouse gases. So few Americans care about climate change that some politicians get away with the complete denial of climate change while the disastrous effects of climate change have been proved undeniable. Some companies will be hurt by the regulation of climate change since they are a major contributor to climate change, and, therefore they will try to influence others for their benefit. We have much to do to stop our world from becoming an unrecognizable and unhabitable place.