As a result of human activity, global temperatures are rising.
The effects, including more intense heatwaves and rising sea levels, are already being felt by people all over the world.
Scientists contend that despite the fact that conditions are likely to get worse over the next few decades, immediate action can still be taken to stop the worst effects of climate change.
Climate is the long-term average of a place's weather. These typical conditions are changing due to climate change.
Over the course of human history, the climate has changed naturally.
But according to scientists, there is no question that humans are to blame for the exceptionally quick climate change that has occurred over the past century.
They emphasize that the widespread use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and gas, in manufacturing facilities, homes, and transportation is to blame.
Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. The planet's temperature increases as a result of these gases' ability to trap solar heat in the atmosphere.
The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by more than 50% since the start of the Industrial Revolution, when people first began to burn large amounts of these fuels, and it is still rising.
The world is currently about 1 point 1C warmer than it was in the late 19th century due to the rise in CO2 and other greenhouse gases like methane.
Even though an increase in the average global temperature of just 1°C might not seem like much, it has already had a significant impact on the environment. A few effects so far are:.
The result is already altering people's lives. For instance, more than 20 million people are at risk of going hungry because of the ongoing drought in East Africa. An unusually high number of deaths were caused by the 2022 European heatwaves.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, extreme weather events have cost the economy trillions of dollars in recent decades, but the death toll has actually decreased as early warning systems have improved.
The most dangerous effects of climate change, which get worse with each additional degree of warming, scientists say must be avoided if temperature increases are kept to a minimum of 1 degree Celsius.
The so-called "tipping points" were one of the reasons why the 1°C warming limit was created.
These are the points beyond which different aspects of the Earth's climate system, like the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, could change more quickly and irreversibly.
However, it's unclear with certainty where these thresholds lie. Some might have been crossed already, while others might not be as close as initially thought.
The effects of 2C global warming versus 1.5C could include: although the science is not entirely certain.
- intensely warm days. compared to 3C at 1 point 5C, would be 4C warmer on average at mid-latitudes (regions outside the poles and tropics).
- a rise in sea level. exposing up to 10 million more people, would be 0.1m higher than at 1.5C.
- in excess of 99 percent. the coral reefs. as opposed to 70–90% at 1.5C, would be lost.
- hundreds of millions more. a group of people. By 2050, more people may be vulnerable to poverty and climate-related risks than they would be at 1°C.
According to the IPCC, which is part of the UN, between 3 and 3 billion people are considered to be extremely vulnerable to climate change.
As they have fewer resources to adapt, people living in developing countries are anticipated to suffer the most.
This has raised concerns about fairness because these areas typically only contributed a small portion of the greenhouse gases that initially caused climate change. .
However, impacts in one area can have repercussions in other areas as well. Mass migrations may result from population displacement in one area, for instance, and crop failures brought on by extreme weather may increase the price of food globally.
Nearly 200 nations vowed to make efforts to keep global warming to 1 point 5C in a historic agreement signed in Paris in 2015.
Scientists advised that by 2050, nations should have net-zero CO2 emissions. Net zero refers to eliminating all atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases and reducing them as much as possible.
The majority of nations have or are thinking about setting net zero targets, but many of these are slated for after 2050.
Although real-world action has been slow, the atmosphere's concentration of greenhouse gases is still rising.
In light of current government targets, UN scientists predict that global warming will "likely" exceed 1 degree Celsius.
Each year, world leaders convene to discuss their climate commitments. In November and December 2023, the United Arab Emirates will host the following summit (COP28).
Governments and businesses need to make significant changes, but scientists also believe that individual citizens can contribute by making small changes.
from Getty Images, the top picture. Prof. Ed Hawkins and the University of Reading created this visualization of the climate stripes.