Who is really responsible for climate change?
Scientists around the world are eager to learn more about how rising average temperatures around the world are affecting the weather.
They say it is becoming increasingly likely that climate change will increase the intensity, frequency or duration of weather events.
This results in higher temperatures during heat waves and increased rainfall during severe storms. It can also cause weather events to occur outside of the time or place where they usually occurred in the past.
But what causes climate change? Why are global temperatures rising? Is a warm climate responsible for extreme weather events?
What does climate change mean?
Weather is the state of the atmosphere in a region over a short period, while climate is what happens in a region over several years or decades. Climate change is the observed difference in long-term trends in air, water and ocean temperatures, as well as long-term weather patterns.
Monitoring stations around the world are recording more and more information that shows how temperatures and precipitation are changing. Some have decades of measurements, while others have more than a century of data.
Scientists use these historical records to study the increase in global average temperature.
What is the most important cause of climate change?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the biggest impact on global climate change comes from emissions from the burning of oil, gas, and coal to move people and goods from one place to another and generate energy.
Recent measurements show that carbon dioxide emissions are on the rise. Since 1958, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, has risen from 316 parts per million to 417 parts per million.
While the change may seem small as carbon dioxide has increased by more than 30%, NASA and others say these changes are having a significant impact on average global temperatures.
National and international studies show how excess carbon dioxide traps excess energy and causes the planet to warm faster.
If carbon dioxide doubles from pre-industrial levels, the latest draft of the National Climate Assessment says global temperatures could rise by 4.5 to 7.2 degrees, leading to deadly heatwaves, crop failures and other cascading effects around the world.
What are other causes of climate change?
Manufacturing, mining and forestry
Emissions of methane and nitrous oxide also contribute to global warming.
– The El Niño Southern Oscillation, a pattern of changing water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, could change weather patterns.
Volcanic eruptions can produce carbon dioxide emissions that warm the earth, as well as aerosol particles that have a cooling effect.
How to stop climate change?
United Nations scientists and governments around the world say fossil fuel emissions must be cut soon to avoid “catastrophic consequences.”
According to the latest climate assessment, in order to keep the increase in global average temperature at 2.7 degrees compared to the end of the 19th century, the world must reach “net zero” carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world cannot cut all emissions, so achieving zero emissions requires removing carbon dioxide from the air, both physically and mechanically. This includes measures such as conserving and protecting forests and wetlands that store carbon, and developing technologies that can efficiently sequester carbon from the air.
According to the National Climate Assessment, even if the world reaches net zero emissions, it will be impossible to prevent the warming already underway.