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Climate Change And It's Effects

  At the moment, the climate crisis, together with shrinking biodiversity, is the greatest challenge facing humanity. We are already seeing ...

 


At the moment, the climate crisis, together with shrinking biodiversity, is the greatest challenge facing humanity. We are already seeing the first consequences of the rising global average temperature. In the next few years, these consequences will become more and more serious.

We still have the opportunity to limit the consequences of climate change if we act now. If we want to do this, we have to stop the warming of the earth below 1.5 degrees compared to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. According to the IPCC , to achieve this goal, global greenhouse gas emissions must decrease by at least 50% by 2030.

On this page we summarize what the climate crisis is, what factors are causing this crisis and how they can help to overcome this crisis.

What is climate change?

The climate undergoes natural changes. These variations are normal and arise from a wide variety of factors such as: changes in ocean currents, volcanic activity, the strength of solar radiation, major climatic events such as El Niño, the strength of the Indian monsoons, etc.

Accordingly, climate change is the significant and long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over a period of decades to millions of years. This can be expressed in the change in the average weather conditions or in the distribution of weather around the average weather situation (e.g. more or less extreme weather events).

Long-term climate change that occurs over millennia or millions of years is mainly due to the sun's varying orbit. This variance roughly follows a pattern, the so-called Milanković cycles. These cycles were the main reason for the four cycles of ice ages and warm periods. However, the global climate has changed dramatically in the last 150 years and it is extremely important to understand the factors that cause the climate to change so drastically and in such a short time.

The global climate has warmed over the last century

Many studies have clearly shown that the global mean temperature has increased since the middle of the 20th century. This phenomenon is often called global warming or global warming, and the scientific consensus is that this warming was caused by humans, primarily through the release of CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Because this warming was caused by humans, it is often referred to as "anthropogenic climate change". This theory has been established as the Scientific Consensus since 1988 at the latest.

The fact that human activities have already had a major impact on global temperatures and that global temperatures will continue to rise was recently confirmed in the IPCC Special Report 1.5 ° C Global Warming, published in October 2018:

“ Human activities have caused around 1.0 ° C global warming compared to pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8 ° C to 1.2 ° C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5 ° C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. (high confidence) "

A temperature rise of 1.5 ° C may not sound so bad intuitively, but the ICPP report mentioned above clearly shows that such a warming would have serious consequences. The true extent of this warming can be seen from the following images, taken and compiled by NASA:

What is causing global warming?

Life on earth is only possible because the natural greenhouse effect keeps temperatures at the required level: when the sun's rays reach our atmosphere, some are reflected back into space, while others pass through the atmosphere and are absorbed by the earth. This causes the earth's surface to heat up. Heat is radiated outward from the earth and absorbed by the gases in the earth's atmosphere - the so-called greenhouse gases. This process prevents the heat from escaping into space, thus to provide an average temperature of about + 15 ° C instead of -19 ° C .

Since humans have produced more and more greenhouse gases over the last century, the greenhouse effect has increased. There are several greenhouse gases that are responsible for this amplification and are produced by humans in different ways. Most of them come from fossil fuel burning in cars, factories, and power generation. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the gas that is mainly responsible for global warming. Other gases that contribute to global warming are methane, which is released by landfills and agriculture (especially from the digestive system of grazing animals), nitrous oxide from fertilizers and gases for cooling and industrial processes.

The loss of forests, swamps and moors, which are effective CO2 stores, further accelerates the warming effect. According to estimates, 432 square kilometers of tropical rainforest are cleared every day , largely by the timber industry or to make way for agriculture.

Consequences of climate change

Climate change is changing our economy, health and society in a variety of ways. Scientists warn that if we don't make profound changes to limit climate change to 1.5 ° C, the results will be disastrous.

The IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5 ° C was commissioned in order to develop a scientific understanding of the consequences of such or greater warming. We summarize some of these consequences below:

Sea level rise due to the melting of glaciers and because water expands as it warms.

Increasing strength and frequency of extreme weather such as hurricanes, floods, droughts and storms.

Increasing water scarcity in some regions intensifies desertification and leads to falling crop yields. These consequences can exacerbate local tension and thus increase the likelihood of conflict.

Unpredictable and unreliable seasons make long-term planning difficult and lead to more frequent crop failures and subsequent food shortages.

Acidification of the seas, causing the fishing industry to fall in catches and destroying coral reefs.

Habitat losses, as the climate changes faster than the different species can adapt. This will lead to the loss of important species and ecosystems, which will also reduce biodiversity.

Changes in the geographical habitats of species.

Increasing numbers of sick people, especially with malaria and dengue fever, as mosquitos can now survive in higher areas and latitudes.

It has long been believed that mitigating climate change would come with massive costs, which may explain why so many states and individuals have been reluctant to act. However, this is no longer the case as recent estimates predict enormous economic effects from climate change. Climate change is a lose-lose situation for all of us. Accordingly, it is our common interest to contain climate change.

Why we have to act now!

In the IPCC special report on 1.5 ° C global warming it is made clear that, from 2018, we only have 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C (see Section C.1 in the summary for political Decision-maker ). In practice, this means that our greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced from now on!

Fortunately, there are many ways you can do just that. The fundamental cause of climate change is that most of us do not have an even remotely sustainable lifestyle and therefore also have large carbon footprints. Therefore, a change to a sustainable lifestyle is the most important factor in minimizing climate change.

One simple way to start making this change is to buy green energy. 31% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by electricity and heat generation. There are also other CO2-intensive sectors that are related to the energy sector. That is why it makes a big difference when you use green energy for your company or home. EKOenergy is a non-profit eco-seal of approval that promotes energy according to strict sustainability criteria is produced. You can campaign for the global move to renewable energy by signing an electricity contract that bears our green electricity label. No matter where you are in the world, ask your electricity provider whether you can offer EKOenergy or check out our list of electricity providers who already support our ecolabel.

What can you do about climate change?

The biggest two steps you can take are to reduce meat consumption and fly as little as possible.

In addition, there are a few other options:

Encourage your local politicians to support environmentally friendly laws and show them that for you, as a voter, climate change is an important issue.

Improve your energy efficiency as much as possible.

Buy renewable energy and green gas, for example, products with the EKOenergy eco-label.

Think about how their food is produced. Try the vegan, vegetarian and local options and buy products with an eco-label.

Prefer travel destinations that do not require long journeys, especially those that do not require flights.

Avoid disposable items and keep using things over and over again.

If you do not need anything anymore, recycle your waste.

Use public transport, carpooling, or your bike whenever possible.

Think about how your clothes are made and buy them from sustainable brands.

Become a member of a local activist group like #FridaysForFuture if there is one, otherwise, start your own!

Compensate by carbon offsetting the emissions that they can not avoid.

No matter what you do, get active, start talking about climate change and how we can live more sustainably!

There are tons of innovative ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint, here are some interesting links:

In English, the University of California's Climate Neutrality Initiative

In English and from the United Nations: UN's Take Climate Action page and “ lazy person's guide to saving the world ”

why some ways of life produce a lot of CO2.