In 2016 Leonardo DiCaprio received the much-awaited Academy Award. And the world was thrown into a frenzy, not just for the beloved actor's win but also for the cause he spoke in his acceptance speech - Climate change.
With men locked away in their houses for most of the year 2020, nature was able to get time off from all the harmful emissions and human encroachment. In India, animals like flamingoes and Nilgai were seen walking free, Himalayas snow-covered peak was visible in cities which were covered in smog until now and not just air, and river Yamuna too was brimming with clear water.
This was a stark picture of how human's unchecked activities alter the natural ways. The most significant and damaging effect of such actions is Global warming.
This article will provide insights into the following topics:
- What is global warming, facts and information?
- What is global warming in English?
- What are the causes of global warming?
- Why is global warming a social problem?
- What are the effects of Global Warming?
- What is global warming and its effects?
What is Global Warming
The accelerated increase in the average global temperature is called Global Warming. In other words, the earth keeps on getting hotter every year. For instance, in India alone, the average temperature has risen by 0.7 degrees Celsius from 1901-2018, as mentioned in a report by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM).
Causes of Global Warming
It is caused when some gases which are capable of trapping heat are released into the atmosphere. They are collectively called greenhouse gases like Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapour, etc., the process being the greenhouse effect. Several human activities can lead to such gases. Burning fossil fuels to generate energy, deforestation, industrial farming, waste disposal are few of the known causes.
Then there are natural causes like Volcanic eruptions that lead to high amounts of carbon dioxide emission.
Lesser-Known Causes of Global Warming
- We all know deforestation accelerates global warming. Trees act as natural absorber or sinks to Carbon dioxide. But do you know when trees are cut or burned or left to die, they release the stored carbon in their tissues as Carbon dioxide?
- Permafrost melting is a known effect of global warming, but not many people know that permafrost (ground that remains frozen for at least two years) traps billion of tons of carbon. And same is released into the air when they melt.
- Although Natural gas consumption contributes much less to warming compared to coal and oil, its extraction leads to massive greenhouse gas emission. Not just that but Hydraulic fracturing technique used also pollutes groundwater.
- Just like natural gas, oil also adds much to the effect through the whole retrieval, processing and distribution supply chain.
- Livestock farming leads to high-level emission of methane and even some fertilisers used for farming leads to the release of nitrous oxide.
And it has some long-term degrading effect on nature.
Common Effects Of Global Warming
- Accelerated melting of glacier in Antarctica and other parts of the world.
- This leads to rising sea levels and change in water constitution, making it difficult for aquatic flora and fauna to adapt.
- Increased hot, dry weather and droughts which often lead to forest fires.
- Natural disasters and variable rainfall pattern.
- Cold dwelling animals like Polar Bears are going to be drastically affected. Scientists predict a drop of 30% in the Polar bear population in the next 35-40 years.
- It will lead to the destruction of natural habitat or make it uninhabitable for many species thus leading to loss of biodiversity. As predicted by a study, it might lead to 15% to 35% of extinction of plant and animal species.
- Ocean Acidification which has already caused the extinction of at least 1 million species.
- Water scarcity has already caused the death of millions all across the world. And this situation is going to worsen with global warming.
- It will affect crop production since most of them are climate-sensitive. It is seen that rice production has decreased to 10% with one degree Celsius increase. It has also proven to be harmful for Olive production according to three-year-long research.
- The coral reef is affected too due to increasing water temperature which is leading to coral bleaching and infectious diseases.
Scary Effects of Global Warming you might not know
- Heat-related illnesses and death will increase. But global warming will also lead to an increase in allergies like pollen and other airborne allergen are higher in extreme heat which can affect asthma-like illness which affects millions of people.
- It will also lead to an increase in waterborne and vector transmitted diseases. Example, climate change can broaden China's area where snail borne Schistomiasis occurs. Even diseases like malaria and Dengue are likely to increase as their vectors are highly sensitive to climate change.
- To summarise, climate change, including global warming, is likely to cause 250000 additional deaths each year within 2030-2050, as estimated by WHO.
- Increasing temperature has directly been linked to the increasing size of mosquitoes of Antarctica and is predicted to grow as much as by 53%. This can be a bother to Tundra's fauna and in turn the entire ecology.
- The ice-free Arctic might not be just a dystopian vision after all. It is predicted the Arctic could lose all its ice within the next 20 years.
- Natural food for animals – fruits and vegetable plants are losing their nutritional value and are becoming hazardous.
Is Global Warming Real?
Notwithstanding with numerous reports coming from scientists and researchers from across the globe, many people think it is a hoax. We have become the Ostrich who is refusing to acknowledge the bad reality hoping it would go if not attended to.
US Republican President Donald Trump has made a lot of news after he confirmed to pull out of the Paris Agreement, which is working on reducing emissions by 25%-28% by 2025. He also has been quoted not to believe in Climate Change. About 37% of Americans think climate change and Global Warming effects on health is a hoax. About 64% of this population do not believe it is going to alter their living conditions in any way.
The situation is worse in developing countries where people seem to be more unaware of their effects. According to a survey, 4035 Indians from all social strata of society were questioned. It was found 41% of people had no clue about the concept.
Small Actions that can reduce Global Warming
- Educate People on the issue. Take the help of powerful social networking and try to reach out as many people as you can.
- Try to go for renewable energy alternatives like solar panels.
- Reduce water wastage which can, in turn, lead to less consumption of electricity in its supply and treatment, hence less work for power plants.
- Don't waste food and save the energy consumed in its cultivation, processing and transportation.
- Go for LED bulbs which use 80% less energy.
- Unplug all the devices that you don't need.
- Be careful of your vehicle emissions.
- Take Carpool or public transport whenever you can.
We already saw during lockdown how our simple acts could bring huge change around us. We just need to become more conscious of our surrounding. See what can be done, educate yourself more on the issue. Not just global warming but also various threats that loom over the environment today.
Many reports coming from U.N. have warned that immediate action needs to be taken to bring nature back to its glory. One such report says that global carbon pollution should be reduced to half in the coming ten years or they will cause irreversible catastrophic damage to our planet.
Let's reduce the carbon footprint left by humanity.
Co-author: Shreya Arya
A digital marketing enthusiast with experience in HR and hospital management, Shreya has wide interests ranging from philosophy, psychology to latest trends in automation. She is also a freelance content writer and loves lending beautiful words to ideas and feelings.