The daunting challenge of climate change, a result of humanity’s insatiable and unregulated consumption of fossil fuels, has cast a shadow over the current era. The precipitous acceleration of global warming has disrupted the fragile equilibrium of our planet’s climate system, triggering a spate of catastrophic weather events such as flash floods, hurricanes, and merciless heat waves. These climatic anomalies, with their far-reaching and devastating impacts, pose a grave threat not only to countless species, but to our own existence as well.
In simple words, climate change is a long-term change in weather patterns and temperatures around the globe. The beginning of the 19th century marked an increase in climate change due to the Industrial Revolution. It took one century for the human effect on the planet to show up on a large scale.
All of this was triggered by burning fossil fuels like gas, coal, and oil. Homes, businesses, and the world were using fossil fuels to generate energy. The negative aspect of burning fossil fuels is that they emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
They have been termed greenhouse gases because they trap heat energy from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere. Increased emissions lead to increased trapping of heat which causes global temperatures to rise.
The Earth has seen a 50% higher carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. This has led to an increase in global temperatures by 1.2°C.
Why Does It Matter?
The bad thing about greenhouse gases is that once released; they can stay in the Earth’s atmosphere for hundreds of years. Since so much gas is trapped in the atmosphere, the Earth’s temperature is bound to rise exponentially.
Then you’ll see more floods and wildfires, which are already happening. The worst thing about all this is that many regions in the world will become uninhabitable for humans, and many species will go extinct, ultimately killing off humans since the food chain will be disrupted.
Sea-faring cities and islands will be submerged under water while forests will change to deserts. The poorest nations will be hit harder since they won’t have the resources to combat climate change.
Steps We Can Take
With the current climate crisis, nations have stepped in to mitigate the damage caused by global warming and are researching, testing, and actively implementing ways to reduce carbon emissions so that global temperatures stay stable.
Recently in November of 2021, world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow aimed for net zero emissions by 2100 and, ideally, by 2050. Net zero is the balance between carbon removal from the atmosphere and its emission from fossil fuels.
Achieving net zero is challenging but not impossible. We must reduce emissions from our industries, homes, agriculture, and transport. To do this, we must promote efficient land usage, effective carbon capturing and use devices with a lower carbon footprint.
The onus of curbing the emission of noxious greenhouse gases into the atmosphere rests not only on the shoulders of multinational corporations, governments, and enterprises but also on each and every one of us. Though our individual actions may seem inconsequential, when combined with the actions of others, they can lead to a substantial decline in emissions.
The term “carbon footprint,” used to describe the cumulative sum of emissions generated by an individual or organization, has gained much popularity in recent times. By reducing our carbon footprint, we can contribute towards combating the devastating impacts of climate change.
Incorporating eco-friendly habits into our daily routines can have a profound effect on reducing emissions. Simple changes like using reusable or recyclable products, switching to low-carbon transportation modes such as public transportation or electric vehicles, replacing incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights, and being mindful of food waste can make a big difference.
However, it’s important to remember that individual actions alone may not be enough to fully tackle the ramifications of climate change. It requires a concerted effort from all quarters of society, including governments, businesses, and individuals, to adopt sustainable practices and technologies on a larger scale.
In conclusion, each one of us has a critical part to play in reducing our carbon footprint and mitigating the effects of climate change. By making small alterations in our lifestyles, such as using reusable products, low-carbon transportation, and reducing food waste, we can collectively make a huge impact in reducing emissions and safeguarding our planet for future generations.