Climate Change – a looming threat

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Climate change refers to a change in the average weather conditions of a place. It is one of the biggest crisis that humanity is facing right now.  In 2019, around 11,000 scientists declared a global climate emergency and warned of the dangers to come. Countries across the globe are grappling with the severe effects that reflect the state of the planet. The impact of climate change is intensifying and poses a threat to life on Earth as we know it. The Earth has become warmer than the previous century, and CO2 levels in the atmosphere have risen by 50%. 

Human actions have influenced the rapid climate change we are experiencing today. Cutting trees, burning coal, oil, and gas contribute to an increase in global warming. These activities have led to a drastic increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere, which traps more heat. According to the 2018 US National Climate Assessment, the emission of greenhouse gases has been the dominant cause of global warming since the mid 20th century. Thus, 97% of scientists agree that human activity is the primary cause of the present climate scenario. 

Humans have exploited nature for the longest time, and we’re facing devastating consequences. Climate change and extreme weather conditions have led to natural disasters on a large scale, leading to the massive loss of life and property. The past few years have proven that climate change is real, as the world woke up to devastating headlines of forest fires, hurricanes, heatwaves, floods, droughts, and storms ravaging countries around the globe. 

IPCC Report:

The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations recently released the 2021 Climate Report that raised concerns about the climate of the Earth. The report is based on more than 14,000 scientific studies and presents the most comprehensive state of climate change and its impacts. Within the next two decades, the average temperature of the Earth will increase by 1.5 degrees celsius. This increase will lead to extreme weather events. Heatwaves, droughts, floods, and wildfires will occur frequently. The sea levels will rise due to the warming of oceans and melting of glaciers, which pose a threat for the cities along India’s coastline, which are vulnerable to the rising sea levels. All these changes will affect livelihoods, agriculture, and the ecosystem drastically.

Impact:

If the temperature of the planet goes on increasing, weather-related events will become more frequent and dangerous. According to the World Health Organization, climate change will contribute to approximately 250,000 deaths per year due to malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat-related stress. A new study by scientists from China, Europe, and the US has found that within just 50 years, climate conditions in India could become unlivable, with temperatures as high as the Sahara Desert if the emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise at the current pace. Scientists predict that we could lose 550 species by the end of this century, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. People living in developing and third world countries will be the most impacted and will face a hard time coping with the consequences of climate change. India is among 11 countries declared as “highly vulnerable” by US Intelligence Agencies to prepare and respond to the climate crisis.

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What we can do:

Governments and corporations cannot tackle climate change alone without the collective help of the people. People have to do their bit and can contribute in their ways to help save the planet. Small daily efforts can help create an impact. The following are some ways in which we can help:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

Consume less meat

Reduce the use of plastic 

Take fewer flights 

Walk and cycle more 

Carry your own shopping bag 

Plant trees and create green spaces

Embrace slow fashion

Compost 

Reduce consumption and wastage 

Spread awareness 

Climate change is a threat to humanity and is a serious issue that needs to be tackled. The present generation is experiencing an overwhelming sense of dread and climate anxiety regarding the future. The Covid19 pandemic provided some climate relief, but that is only temporary. We are running out of time to salvage the planet and its inhabitants, and it is time for governments, corporations, and individuals to step up their climate action to match the scale of the task ahead of us.