In order to understand the present circumstances related to climate change, it is necessary to look into the past. It is a well-documented fact that the climate on Earth has been constantly changing, causing the appearance of cyclic global events. These include ice ages and droughts.
Millions of years ago, the volcanic activity together with other factors led to a significant increase in the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Those numbers were comparable with what we have today. We needed roughly 100 years to return Earth to the Pliocene epoch where the sea levels were higher by about 25 meters to what we can observe today. This data strongly suggests that the ice melting won’t stop and will lead to the same consequences as millions of years ago. This won’t happen in a day or two, but in 200 years from now, we may have the coastal cities completely underwater.
Each year the climate predictions for the near future are getting worse. Why is the situation changing so fast?
Scientists have analyzed the temperature in the oceans and it keeps increasing at a quicker pace. These massive bodies of water are taking in an incredible amount of heat. According to The Guardian, the amount of absorbed energy is the equivalent of three “Little Boy” atomic bombs blown every second. This also leads to a faster extinction of coral reefs. Coral bleaching is a process in which coral polyps push out algae that normally stays inside their tissue. These causes starvation for the corals and they turn white. Some of them are able to recover.
Due to unfavorable environmental conditions, the corals of the Great Barrie Reef have suffered a tremendous bleaching event, destroying more than half of them. Nature is clearly responding to the negative impact of climate change and pollution. Bleaching continues to spread and if the conditions don’t improve, then the whole structure may disappear one day. Many events predicted for the future are already happening today!
Hurricanes have become more frequent and the appearance of a superstorm was only a matter of time. Some early predictions would suggest it striking Houston by the end of the 2030s but this already happened in 2017. Nobody would expect this area to be flooded the way it was. Hurricane Harvey was very devastating and it is not the only example of such events.
Warm oceans have also increased their power and intensity. This is direct evidence of the impact the changing climate has caused on cyclones.
The rising sea levels are already becoming a problem. Storms and hurricanes often lead to floods. The latest data also implies that sea levels will continue to go up because the ice caps are melting 6 times faster than they did in the 1980s. The number of huge cataclysms and disasters may significantly increase in the near future.
After the agreement on climate changes was signed by the world leaders at the Paris conference, it seemed like it wouldn’t be impossible to keep the temperature at a constant level of under 2˚C. The problem seemed to be solved.
This target now looks too optimistic. We would have to put an end to carbon emissions by 2050 on a global scale in order to achieve the goal proposed at the conference. Not only that, but we would also have to eliminate the carbon excess from the atmosphere. This would sound good if we had at least a concept of technology that would help achieve that.
As for now, the overall picture didn’t change at all. Carbon emissions keep setting record-breaking numbers each year, pushing us closer to the predicted consequences. Climate models imply additional 4˚C by the end of this century.
Skepticism among masses, politicians and namely the President of the United States is what represents the most concern. They are denying the existing evidence of climate change to pursue their own interests.
It is still not too late to come up with revolutionary ideas and implement them in the next decades. With optimism and hope in a brighter future, it is possible to win any battle. A good solution will appear sooner or later if the public gets involved in this vital subject.
It is up to us to preserve nature at least in its current form. Who knows how many discoveries are going to be made in the next few years and how they will affect the course of global warming.