We keep hearing that we have a big problem, that we are killing off the planet, that we must do more. So what are the answers to climate change? Do we have any answers or just more questions.
When did it start?
These are the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere over the last few hundred years.
There is a massive increase in carbon dioxide that coincides with the start of the industrial revolution.
From the 1950s on, we started breaking CO2 records and haven’t stopped since.
Scientists say there’s a 95% chance that human activity is the cause. Kind of obvious to most of us as we are using more and more fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide, to power homes, cars, lorries, buses, factories and aeroplanes.
The global population continues to grow which of course means more homes, cars etc.
Then of course we are compounding the problem by cutting down massive quantities of trees.
Why are removing trees a problem?
Trees! Now this is a major problem. At a time when CO2 levels are rising we are vastly reducing one of the main things that takes CO2 from the air. Not only do they remove CO2 but they give us back oxygen in return. See the problem here?
LONDON (Reuters) Read more HERE!
Article from January 24th 2020
- Australia’s bushfires are contributing to one of the biggest annual increases in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere since record-keeping began more than 60 years ago, according to a forecast published by Britain’s Met Office on Friday.
- While human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for the bulk of the increase in CO2 levels, Australia’s bushfires have made the problem measurably worse, underscoring the impact of the catastrophe on the global climate system.“A forecast of the atmospheric concentration of carbon-dioxide shows that 2020 will witness one of the largest annual rises in concentration since measurements began at Mauna Loa, in Hawaii, 1958,” the Met Office said in a statement.
Mauna Loa carbon dioxide forecast for 2020.
From the UK Government Met Office website.
- Forecast of the annual rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration measured at the Mauna Loa, Hawaii for 2020.
- The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration will continue to rise in 2020 due to emissions from fossil fuel burning, land use change and cement production, with this year’s annual rise being relatively large and similar to last year’s due to a continuation of the temporary weakening of the land carbon sink caused by climate variability. This accelerates this year’s annual CO2 rise by about 10%, with between 1% and 2% due to 2019/20 Australian bushfires.
From Wikipedia on the Amazon Rainforest. Read more HERE.
Impact of early 21st-century Amazon droughts
- In 2005, parts of the Amazon basin experienced the worst drought in one hundred years and there were indications that 2006 may have been a second successive year of drought. A 23 July 2006 article in the UK newspaper The Independent reported the Woods Hole Research Center results, showing that the forest in its present form could survive only three years of drought. Scientists at the Brazilian National Institute of Amazonian Research argued in the article that this drought response, coupled with the effects of deforestation on regional climate, are pushing the rainforest towards a “tipping point” where it would irreversibly start to die. It concluded that the forest is on the brink of
- being turned into savanna or desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world’s climate.
- According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the combination of climate change and deforestation increases the drying effect of dead trees that fuels forest fires.
- In 2010, the Amazon rainforest experienced another severe drought, in some ways more extreme than the 2005 drought. The affected region was approximately 3,000,000 km2 (1,160,000 sq mi) of rainforest, compared with 1,900,000 km2 (734,000 sq mi) in 2005. The 2010 drought had three epicenters where vegetation died off, whereas in 2005, the drought was focused on the southwestern part. The findings were published in the journal Science. In a typical year, the Amazon absorbs 1.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide; during 2005 instead 5 gigatons were released and in 2010 8 gigatons were released. Additional severe droughts occurred in 2010, 2015, and 2016.
In 2019 Brazil’s protections of the Amazon rainforest were slashed, resulting in a severe loss of trees.
With the increased population we are also eating more animal products. Animals release Methane gas into the atmosphere, another pollutant.
Volcanoes are constantly erupting around the world, small eruptions, so commonplace it’s not newsworthy enough to be in the news. There are also large eruptions, that we do hear about, that do a lot of damage to people and surrounding villages/towns. These all release gases into the atmosphere.
Most people can recall the Iceland volcano
So all the gases are in the air, and when sunlight gets into the earth’s atmosphere, some of the heat gets trapped, and the planet gets warmer. That’s why they call it the “Greenhouse Effect”. But the concern is not that the earth is getting warmer.
United Nations on Climate Change.
- Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.
* The Human Fingerprint on Greenhouse Gases
- Greenhouse gases occur naturally and are essential to the survival of humans and millions of other living things, by keeping some of the sun’s warmth from reflecting back into space and making Earth livable. But after more than a century and a half of industrialization, deforestation, and large scale agriculture, quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have risen to record levels not seen in three million years. As populations, economies and standards of living grow, so does the cumulative level of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions.
There are some basic well-established scientific links:
- The concentration of GHGs in the earth’s atmosphere is directly linked to the average global temperature on Earth;
- The concentration has been rising steadily, and mean global temperatures along with it, since the time of the Industrial Revolution;
- The most abundant GHG, accounting for about two-thirds of GHGs, carbon dioxide (CO2), is largely the product of burning fossil fuels.
From the Independent newspaper. 26.11.2019. Read more HERE!
UN issues ‘bleak’ warning that countries must increase carbon-cutting aims five fold to avoid climate chaos
- ‘We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated. If we don’t do this, the 1.5C goal will be out of reach before 2030,’ UN chief says
- Countries have procrastinated for too long and will need to increase their carbon-cutting efforts five fold to avoid climate chaos, the UN has warned.
- The emissions gap report found that even if all current climate pledges are met, the world will warm by 3.2C this century – bringing wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts.
- The UN Environment Programme said it was still possible to stay within the 1.5C celling on temperature rises that scientists say is necessary to avoid disastrous consequences.
- However, this would require emissions cuts of 7.6 per cent a year between 2020-2030.
What is being done?
Back in 2016, world leaders signed the ‘Paris Agreement’. They made a pledge to cap temperatures rising by 1.5 degrees or a maximum of 2 degrees, before the year 2100.
So all the countries set their own targets based on how much CO2 they emit.
The problem though is that three years after the agreement, global CO2 levels are still going up.
The US, one of the world’s biggest polluters, has pulled out of the Paris deal. Russia and China are accused of not giving themselves proper targets in the first place. There are countries that want to build more power plants that use coal compounding the problems we are facing.
Some countries are making progress. India, Morocco, and The Gambia have massive renewable energy projects. There are different countries doing different things really successfully some countries are, for example, making all public transport free in the cities. What a great way to encourage people out of their cars. But experts say what’s needed now is an even bigger push to change everything about the way we run our world.
Business as usual has got to change. So has politics.
If you want a different outcome you can’t keep doing the same things, the same old way.
We cannot have infinite growth on a planet that has finite resources we are stripping from it at a great rate.
And then there’s the sceptics.
I suppose if you are sceptical about climate change it’s easier, you don’t have to feel the need to do something about it. I used to think it wasn’t that bad because the earth has always warmed and cooled over millenia. Which surely means that all this is part of its natural cycle.
Well it could be looked at that way if people weren’t taking so much out of the earth cutting down the forests to create roads, factories, shops and homes etc, that all spew out pollution.
Don’t take my word for it. Go on official websites, not the nonsense ones that turn out fake news at a great rate of knots. Check the facts. Look at the satellite photos.
Consider the extreme weather conditions in recent years, the storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, as well as the extreme heat causing fires.
I don’t have any degrees, I speak as a concerned mother and grandmother. I want my grandchildren to have a future on a thriving planet.
This is my opinion for what it’s worth.
Everyone keeps talking and not taking enough action. The Paris agreement was meant to make a difference, countries were supposed to be cutting pollution but instead it has got worse. The levels are climbing faster than ever.
I just see the massive destruction of the Amazon rain forest being destroyed purely for greed. Even local to me woodland is being cut down to build houses. Houses that add to the pollution, that have people who will drive cars, more pollution and yet those more than a hundred year old trees that could have helped have been removed. Where is the sense in that?
Why are so many big companies destroying the earth just to rake in even bigger profits while countries and governments standing by allowing it. If I can see the destruction being caused, why can’t they?
Do any of the heads of these companies have children or grandchildren? If they do, is money more important than those children’s futures?
If they care nothing for their own families future, they certainly have no concern for the people they don’t know.
So what can WE do?
Well there’s only so much bike-riding and light-bulb replacing we can do everyday.
We continue to recycle and try not to use anything with single use plastic. Buy eco friendly re-usable water bottles, take a bag with you to avoid using plastic ones. Maybe try using soap and shampoo bars. They last longer and don’t come in a plastic bottle. Go for eco friendly washing and washing up liquid. There are many small ways we can help, just by swapping one thing or another for a more eco friendly version.
Write/email to your local MP, prime minister/President, anyone in authority and keep writing/emailing. If enough do it a difference can be made. It’s the little things that make a difference, individuals making a difference,
Protests don’t seem to work, especially if they disrupt others lives. All that happens is people get angry and they turn away from the subject of the protest. Having seen many of these televised and watched the faces for reactions, that is my interpretation.
It will be the many little things we do that help but we need to reduce the things that do the most harm, vehicles! Cars, lorries, buses, coaches before its too late.
It will be interesting to see how big the reduction of CO2 is for this time period now that many countries have imposed restrictions on movements and closed borders.
What do YOU think? What are the answers to Climate Change in YOUR opinion?
So what is the the expert advice? Is that it’s down to all of us, to change our ways and shake things up, or climate change is going to do it for us. Hmmm, seems like it is doing just that!!
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