Climate Change Problems That We Face and Their Solutions
Climate change is a problem faced by everyone on Earth. It is a hot topic that is being discussed everywhere. World Leaders and citizens alike are trying to find a solution to it. It is a problem that even animals are facing. It is a common enemy of every living thing on the planet.
Due to it being our enemy, this article will discuss the problems caused due to Climate Change and the solution to Climate Change itself.
Climate Change at a Glance
Climate change is long-term shifts in climate and weather patterns. This can sometimes occur naturally, but since the 1800s, human actions have been their main cause.
The burning of fossil fuels has led to an increase in climate change. Fossil fuels are fuels that are created after the complete decomposition of humans and plants. These include oil, gas, and coal. The emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane also causes climate change. Greenhouse gases go into the atmosphere and trap heat, making the Earth hotter.
Problems That We Face
Following are some of the problems that we face:
Outdoor Air Pollution
People can die due to air pollution. It is estimated that in 2016 alone, outdoor air pollution caused 4.2 million deaths, 90% of them in low and middle-income countries. In the long run, air pollution can lead to higher rates of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Over 40% of the US population is at risk of disease due to air pollution, and can even die due to it. Air pollution also causes sneezing, coughing, eye irritation, and dizziness.
An analysis says that the sixth mass extinction is accelerating. Over 500 species of land animals will be extinct in the next 20 years. The same number of animals, as mentioned above, last went extinct over a century. These extinction rates are caused by the increasing human population and the rapidly increasing consumption rate. Species are links in ecosystems, so as they die out, the species they interact with are also likely to die off.
When a species dies out, the Earth’s capability to maintain its ecosystem services gets eroded. Humanity needs a stable climate, flow of fresh water, and pollination for crops, which will be affected as the mass extinction accelerates. Many endangered species are affected by the wildlife trade, which affects human health. This is a major cause of species extinction and erodes the ecosystem services vital for us to survive.
Acidification of Oceans
Ocean acidification is a consequence of increased CO2 emissions induced by humans. Oceans absorb 25% of human-induced emissions from the atmosphere every year. When CO2 dissolves in ocean water, carbonic acid is formed. This decreases the ocean’s pH and leads to changes collectively known as ocean acidification. This leads to oceans becoming hotter and the deaths of many oceanic animals. Ocean acidity has increased by 26% since 1860, more than in any period within the last 55 million years.
Another threat humanity is facing is food insecurity. Climate change is leading to a change in temperature. The Earth is getting hotter, which is affecting crop yields all across the world. A very common misunderstanding is that since the Earth is getting, more plants will grow. While the plants are growing faster than before, they have started to contain fewer nutrients than before. This signals a nutrient collapse and threatens our food security.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that wheat and rice, which are highly sensitive to changes in CO2, are the main source of protein for 71% of the Earth’s population. Given this dependence on plant-based proteins, 15% of the population will be protein deficient.
Rise in Sea Level
Due to increasing temperatures all across the world, the sea level has started to rise. This is due to the melting of polar ice caps, alongside the melting of glaciers. This sea level rise poses a major threat to coastal cities all over the world.
If the sea level is to keep on rising, the coastal cities will become submerged under the water. It is predicted that Europe will experience a 60 to 80cm rise in sea level by the end of the century. One-third of the European Union’s population lives within 50 km away from the coasts. This area alone represents 30% of the entire EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The 500m area around the coasts of the EU is equal to about 500 billion to 1 trillion in monetary value.
Alongside the rising sea level, another problem that we face is drought. This problem is also caused by the increase in the temperature of the Earth. The increasing temperature of Earth is leading to an increased rate of evaporation. Due to the increased evaporation, and not enough precipitation, the Earth is becoming dryer day by day. This is leading to the drying out of places and them turning into deserts and becoming barren wastelands.
These droughts make the planet dry out and are leading to the supply of freshwater depleting. This is the reason there is not enough water these days on the planet. At the rate, the Earth is becoming dryer, a large amount of deaths due to dehydration are likely to start happening by the end of the century.
Solutions to Climate Change
Following are the solutions to climate change, indefinitely also leading to the solutions to the problems mentioned above:
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
No matter how much one says about the importance of this point, it is not. Without reducing greenhouse gas emissions, climate change cannot be stopped. Greenhouse gas emissions are the largest contributor to climate change. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this problem can be greatly reduced.
A study says that at the rate we are going, the planet will become 2.4 degrees hotter by 2100. We can reduce this to 1.5 degrees. But a new study says the Earth will get 1.5 degrees hotter by 2040, so without some serious determination, this temperature rise cannot be stopped. To start, countries should apply a carbon tax.
Placing a Carbon Tax
A carbon tax is a per-ton tax placed on the gas emissions of pollutants. By putting a price on gas emissions, people and businesses are forced to reduce emissions through cleaner fuels. This is one of the more effective solutions.
Sweden is the first country to place a carbon tax. This tax covers 40% of Sweden’s emissions, the exceptions being the industrial and agricultural sectors. The result is an environmental and economic success. The tax has led to an 11% decrease in emissions in the average year, with 6% alone being from the carbon tax. In the first quarter of 2020, the gas emission from the electricity, gas, and heat sector dropped by 31% when compared to 2019.
This is due to the substitution of fossil fuels with biofuels. As of 2019, a carbon tax has been applied in or is scheduled to be in 25 countries, with 45 countries already implementing it.
Go on a Diet Consisting of Mostly Plants
The UN predicts the human population will be 10 billion by 2050. To meet this, we have to increase food production by 50%. Agriculture takes up 50% of habitable land or 50 million square kilometers. Food production releases 30% of all greenhouse gases, which mostly come from animals.
Going on a plant-based diet is easily achievable. It reduces deforestation, as beef and soy lead to more than two-thirds of habitat loss in the Amazon Rainforest. By going on a plant-based diet, we can reduce the amount of land for agriculture by 3 quarters. This is true as the amount of cropland and pasture used for animal rearing is very high.
Ending our Reliance on Fossil Fuels
As mentioned above, fossil fuels are one of the main contributors to climate change. These fuels contain carbon and hydrogen, which are released into the atmosphere after they are used. The carbon turns into CO2 after being released.
By ending our reliance on fossil fuels, we can make a significant impact on climate change. Our dependence on fossil fuels can be ended by investing in renewable energy sources. These sources include biofuels. Biofuels are one of the best substitutes for fossil fuels. Other sources include solar energy and hydroelectricity.
Reducing the Use of Single-Use Plastics
Plastic. A resource that has made life much easier. It is a widely used material in forks, water bottles, spoons, and more. But did you know that plastic is one of the most harmful things to the planet? Plastic is a non-biodegradable resource, meaning it takes a long time to break down. Plastic takes many centuries at least to break down. This is the reason it is one of the most harmful things on the planet. If we stop using plastic, we can reduce climate change a lot.
When we use plastic we throw them away, which makes the planet dirtier. Burning plastic is a solution people come up with but that does not work because when it burns, it releases toxic fumes. Reducing single-use plastics is the only way to ensure the planet does not get dirtier and to reduce climate change.
Wildlife Conservation Efforts
Governments should classify animals at risk of extinction as protected by the government so that they can be rescued by animal conservation groups. They should provide funds to such groups so that they can give it their all to save the endangered animals.
Strict laws should be imposed on the hunting of endangered animals. There should also be heavy fines for the illegal hunting and poaching of endangered animals.
To do what has been told to be done is necessary to save the planet. Without putting in our maximum to stop the spread of climate change, we cannot save planet Earth. Saving this planet and those living on it, whether humans or animals, is all that matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is climate change?
Climate change is referred to as long-term shifts in the climate of a place. This is caused by several factors. These include greenhouse gas emissions, volcanic activity, and sometimes also the change in Earth’s orbit.
What are the differences between global warming and climate change?
The difference between climate change and global warming is significant. Global warming refers to the increase in the temperature of the Earth. On the other hand, climate change refers to the long-term shifts in the climate of a place, which include precipitation, wind patterns, and more.
Why is climate change a very serious problem?
Climate change is the single largest threat that humanity faces. It is causing more and more deaths every single year through climate-related disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, violent thunderstorms, etc.