What are scientists doing about global warming? Climate change has become a serious concern and the time is now to address its effects. We are facing a dangerously warming planet that must be mitigated, and we must adapt to its changes. Although the onset of this new climate can seem sudden, the science predicting a warming planet dates back several generations. This article will explain the scientific facts surrounding climate change and the solutions that can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Impacts of global warming
As temperatures rise, water resources will be stressed and water resources will decline. The effects of global warming will be most noticeable in arid regions of the American West. The National Academies of Science predicts a 6% decrease in the Colorado River basin runoff with each one degree of temperature increase, and an 8.5% reduction in the Arkansas River basin. By 2050, more than 350 million people will be exposed to water shortages.
Climate change affects all of us, but those most vulnerable will be the poor and indigenous. Inequitable access to housing, health care, and labor is a major cause of vulnerability in these communities. Furthermore, they have been the least responsible for climate change. The Stern report highlights these issues. However, the Stern report also highlights the positive aspects of global warming. By 2030, there will likely be more severe disasters and lower economic growth than today.
Changing climate patterns will affect the world’s oceans. Higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the oceans will increase the acidity of the water. The resulting seas will no longer be able to sustain a variety of species. The loss of Arctic sea ice will result in one summer of no Arctic sea ice per century and a summer without any in the region every decade. Climate scientists estimate that this will cause significant economic and social disruption.
Rising temperatures are already affecting millions of people worldwide. As temperatures rise, coral reefs will be bleached. Many trees and crops will also die off. Those who live in river basins will be especially vulnerable. The risks of drought and water scarcity will increase dramatically. As the temperature rises, food security will decrease as well. At two degrees warming, the threat of groundwater depletion is even greater. Furthermore, heavy rainfall events will be worse at higher latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere and Eastern North America.
Many of the impacts of global warming will be hard to predict in the short term. But the effects will likely be more severe than previously thought. For example, global warming will disrupt ecosystems and cause costly difficulties along the coasts. But with enough precaution and adaptation, much of the US population will be protected. Despite the many risks and benefits of global warming, the impacts are uncertain and are largely unpredicted. However, the impact of global warming on ecosystems and human health is still unclear.
The IPCC warns that the global temperature will continue to rise, primarily due to the greenhouse gases created by human activities. The IPCC’s report on climate change compiled by more than 1,300 scientists forecasts a rise of two to ten degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. The extent of the change will depend on the time of the century and how well different societal systems adapt to the changes. The impact of global warming on ecosystems and economies depends on the amount of heat-trapping gases released globally and the sensitivity of Earth’s climate to the changes.
Progress in scientific understanding of climate change
The IPCC published its first assessment report in 1990. It concluded that human activities have accelerated the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. The global average temperature increased 0.3 to 0.6degC over the past century. In 2025 and 2100, the average temperature would rise 1degC or more. Regional climate changes, meanwhile, were still highly uncertain. The second assessment report, released in 1997, provided critical information for the Kyoto Protocol.
The next step in the process of predicting climate change is to improve the models we use. These models take into account feedbacks and biogeochemical cycles, which are key to understanding Earth’s complex system. A self-taught geologist named John Hardcastle discovered massive deposits of wind-blown dust and loess that record climate change. Other researchers have discovered that ice cores at Camp Century in New Zealand reveal 8,200 years of snow accumulation. These thin layers of ice allow scientists to reconstruct ancient climates.
Earth system models are useful in studying the effects of human activity on climate change. Scientists estimate that about 1 million species are facing extinction because of climate change, and millions more face extinction within the next few decades. The United Nations and World Meteorological Organization formed the IPCC, which assesses the latest science about climate change to provide guidance to governments. This study shows that human activities have a significant influence on global warming.
Several recent scientific assessments point to a growing consensus about climate change. As greenhouse gases continue to build up in the atmosphere, the temperature of the planet has been warming globally. Climate scientists now feel confident that further human-induced changes are inevitable. The next report in this series is due out later this year. In addition, the future of the planet will depend on what human actions do to slow or reverse climate change. The IPCC report summarizes what we know so far and highlights the challenges ahead.
While physical scientists may set the parameters for understanding technical aspects of the climate debate, the relevant constituency must also be engaged. This means integrating social sciences into the debate. The role of academics in understanding climate change needs to be expanded in order to help the public make informed decisions. While the physical sciences are important for defining the problem and finding solutions, they fail to take into account the social aspects. By bridging these two fields, academics can make a major contribution to ensuring that the scientific understanding of climate change is more inclusive.
While many people think that climate change is simply the rise in temperature, the reality is much more complicated. It affects the entire Earth. The result can be extreme weather events, extreme fires, and water scarcity. In addition to weather patterns, climate change can cause extreme floods, intense droughts, and polar ice loss. This global trend has major implications for human health and well-being. Therefore, despite the fact that scientists have identified an increased risk of human-induced climate change, research on this topic continues.
Solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The most significant contributor to global warming is energy. From mining raw materials to manufacturing and dealing with waste, energy is used throughout the production process. The manufacturing of most products, including cell phones, TVs, clothing, shoes, and computers, generates about 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing energy use, you can cut emissions from your daily routine and help the environment at the same time. But there are more solutions than just switching to renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Kyoto Protocol calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 2degC or a steady state by the year 2100. A steady state is when emissions are the same as what they remove from the atmosphere. In nature, carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. However, when it is incorporated into organic molecules, it has to be sequestered. Many people don’t realize that their everyday activities also cause CO2 emissions.
Developing countries must also address local pollution issues. Local pollution is visible and affects health and must be prioritized over greenhouse gases. The effects of global warming may not occur until a century after the present, so it is important to make a concerted effort to reduce local pollution. Unfortunately, the industrialized countries created the problem in the first place. By contrast, developing countries are disadvantaged financially. So, we must make these countries more prosperous to combat global warming.
The effects of vehicle emissions on air quality, health, and climate change are substantial. Policy action is necessary to spur progress and the Paris Agreement is one of the most important. But it won’t be easy to achieve this goal alone. It will require stronger policy measures and breakthroughs to cut emissions faster. Fortunately, the social movements are making progress and cities and states are increasing their efforts to tackle climate change. While there are still many challenges to overcome, the public conversation about climate change is beginning to change. Companies and cities are taking climate action, and countries are passing laws to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.