By Nischay Hegde, edited by Laiba Lakhani
Arguments put forward by the people who don’t wish to act on climate change fall into several categories. First off, many of the arguments seem to be based on the premise that the world is not changing and that humans are unable to alter it; Science has proven this point false on many occasions, and in reality, climate change is in fact happening all around the world. Every year, the planet is warming by around 0.7 degrees Celsius. The oceans are rising. The Arctic is melting. And there are still countless other changes that are affecting people all over the world. It is clear that people need to act now. It is also clear that the majority of the people who are concerned about climate change are not interested in taking action. For example, in the United States, politicians have been speaking about climate change for decades, but have yet to take action. A popular goal in many countries is CO2 neutrality which means balancing the emissions of carbon dioxide to maintain a low net carbon level. However, these countries have not taken much action towards this goal; not taking these changes towards climate solutions is detrimental toward the Earth. Global warming has catastrophic effects on the future of the planet.
First off, global warming causes increased sea levels. This happens through the melting of the ice caps due to increased atmospheric temperatures. Even if humans were to suddenly stop the emissions of greenhouse gases, the temperatures would not go down fast enough, causing the sea levels to continuously rise through the melting ice caps. In fact, the sea level is currently rising so fast that it is now more than 7 meters above the level of the Great Barrier Reef. In many coastal parts of the world, the rate of sea level rise is disastrous as it causes flooding and may even engulf some coasts completely; destroying these coasts destroys cultures and families. The average global temperature in the past 500 years has been about 1.6 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit); The average temperature over the past 50 years is now about 3.9 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit). These changes portray the extremities that the Earth is at, and how desperate the planet is for change.
Global warming can also harm humans’ food supply. The rising temperatures makes crops unable to grow in habitats that they previously thrived in. Furthermore, the changes in the climate can alter precipitation patterns and disrupt seasons which harms agriculture. Extreme weather patterns caused by global warming such as droughts and floods destroy crops and soil which can cause famines in many habitats. Soil erosion caused by higher precipitation levels reduces the ability for land to be arable. We are already seeing these effects in action today, many farms are forced to use GMO's as a result of this to make more resilient crops.
Global warming increases the intensity of natural disasters. The effects of climate change are already apparent in the weather. For example, in 2010, the world experienced a record-breaking heat wave, which hit the United States on June 4. The heat wave was a direct result of global warming. Over the past decade, the U.S. has experienced more than 1.6 million tornadoes, out of these, the largest tornado killed over 75 people (August 2010). The United States is currently experiencing severe drought. A major symptom of this is the continuing increase in wildfires. More wildfires are now being reported in the United States continuously each year, at a higher rate than any previous year (from the past 20 years). This increase has been attributed in part to global warming. These natural disasters are just a few instances of what can happen when climate change is allowed to continue unchecked.
To conclude, global warming has catastrophic effects that are extremely visible in today's world. The effects are not only on the climate, but also on human civilization. Global warming is a threat to the health of the people of the United States, and to the entire planet. Citizens and government officials must address this threat in an effective way and take action on it.
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