IS CLIMATE CHANGE REAL?
IS CLIMATE CHANGE REAL?
With dramatic changes in climate behavior in the last year only – hurricanes, wildfires, ice rapidly melting – scientific evidence for Global Warming looks overwhelming. As global concern for Climate Change is rising, with many prominent voices speaking up, the question if it is real, is still in the air. A small minority of voices is casting doubt on the evidence.
The deniers usually clam that these changes, attributed to human activity, can be also seen as being a part of natural variations in the planet’s climate. They claim that establishing a direct connection between a single weather event and climate change, is impossible and superfluous. While this is true in theory, scientific data and analysis – gathered over the past decades – confirm that the human factor is drastically influencing the planet.
WHAT REALLY CAUSES CLIMATE CHANGE?
Climate Change and Global Warming are essentially one and the same, referring to the rise of the average temperatures on the surface of the planet. Scientific consensus claims that it is primarily due to the human use of fossil fuels. Those release carbon dioxide and many other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, where they trap heat. The US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, alongside European agencies, concur that Climate Change is occurring, mostly due to human influence.
The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, which release greenhouse gases into the air, is only one cause for Climate Change. The concentration of CO2 is rated today at about 400 parts per million, a level which has not been reached in more than 400,000 years.
And estimates say that from the advent of human civilization – roughly 10,000 years ago – and the 1900s, the concentration of carbon dioxide did not rise above 300 ppm. So, yes, these gases are a natural part of Earth’s climate control system, but in the last 100 years, levels have raised alarmingly. And the Industrial Revolution has played a key role.
THE EFFECTS ARE ESTIMATED TO BE CATASTROPHIC, BUT STILL HARD TO IMAGINE
During the last Ice Age, Earth’s average temperature was about 2 degrees Celsius lower than it is today. It may not seem like a lot, but over the last century, it has gone up by about 0,7 degrees. And even small increases can have severe effects over ecosystems and human life as we know it.
Climate Change causes the melting of the polar ice caps and the rising of sea levels, along with the warming of ocean temperatures, contributing to greater storms and the afferent damage. Flooding causes further damage to human civilization and to ecosystems, due to additional rainfall. And maybe the most frightening of all effects are the wildfires – which increased in incidence and severity – threatening human habitats. Last, but not least, lives are threatened by heat waves, that cause more victims, with every passing year.
The question now – facing all the evidence – is what are people doing to reverse these effects? Say they don’t care about the planet itself, they may consider that their lives – not only their lifestyles – are threatened and even the whole species might suffer a catastrophic downfall.
That is why fossil fuels are no longer an option to produce energy and heat. And the switch to renewable energy is of the utmost importance. But with the slow rise of solar photovoltaics and wind farms, the 2050 goal for no CO2 emissions (established by the 2015 Paris Agreement) might be too hard to reach.
So, what about another renewable solution?