In the past decade, global warming has been a front-burner issue among many people. Almost every day, the environmentalists are on different media platforms educating the populace about the effect of global warming.
Political leaders make it their campaign promises and attempt to put policies in place to combat it. School curriculums have been adjusted to accommodate education on preserving the earth, and many individuals are trying their best to ensure they also key into the fight against global warming.
While these efforts are commendable, there still exists a wide knowledge gap in the society about what global warming is, the causes, the effects and the efforts taken to combat it.
What is Global Warming?
NASA defines global warming as “the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.”
In the past five decades, there has been a rapid increase in temperature globally. Climate and environmental experts have recorded a sharp and unfortunate increase in the average global temperature with nineteen of the twenty warmest years on earth occurring since the year 2001, and 2016 still holding the record for the warmest of them all.
Daily the reality of global warming hits humans harder, even those who initially campaigned against its existence are beginning to shift ground in the light of new evidence threatening mankind. The bottom line is that global warming is here, and it is fast threatening humans’ existence on earth.
Causes of Global Warming
Human activities have been one of the major drives of global warming, primarily owned to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG emissions) across every country. Since the beginning of the industrial era, for instance, carbon dioxide, methane and nitro oxide concentration in the atmosphere has rapidly increased. These huge concentrations mostly absorb sunlight and solar radiation, which would have otherwise escaped to space. When sunlight and radiation are trapped by these pollutants, which can last for years in the atmosphere, they cause the world to get hotter, hence leading to global warming.
Effects of Global Warming
Global warming has had and will continue to have great effects on life on earth if there is no viable mechanism put in place to combat its causes. So far, some of the effects it has had has affected the physical environment on earth, the ecosystem and even ease of living on earth because of the consistent warm condition of the atmosphere.
Asides these, there are other specific effects of global warming. There has been an increase in weather events like heat waves, rainstorm, droughts, flooding, and wildfire. There has also been a record depletion of oxygen, ocean heat to take and sea-level rise.
Due to the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, food security is at risk and is fast affecting easy access to quality food. Changes in precipitation, cryosphere and surface waters have also been seen to affect water availability. It is also causing migration and displacement on earth.
At this stage, what should be everyone’s concern is how to reduce the causes and impacts on global warming on earth.
Responses to Global Warming
Generally, the reason for the attention turned towards global warming is because it threatens the existence of humans on earth. And since earth is the only planet where conclusive evidence of human existence is possible, greater attention is necessary.
Through policies, many nations have made attempts to regulate the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. At the same time, reputable world organisations have been at the forefront of the campaign against actions that cause global warming. Of particular importance is its inclusion in the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030. Click here to read more about the SDG and make a pledge towards a safer society today.