Global warming and climate change are huge subjects for debate these days, with plenty of folks denying that they even exist. While it is easy to be confused with all of the fake news circulating, global warming and climate change are real issues that should no longer be questioned.
The excess of carbon dioxide has been heating the earth, causing gas to be released into the air speeding up temperatures across the globe. While carbon dioxide is a useful element which keeps the planet from freezing, too much carbon in the atmosphere is a bad thing. The extra carbon in the air causes more gas to be expelled into the atmosphere. This in turn causes the world to heat up, which results in the weather changes we’ve been experiencing.
We’ve experienced many natural disasters recently, not just in the United States, but globally. While some of the current weather is tied to global warming, not all is. Extreme weather however, is one of the effects of climate change. Events like hurricane Sandy, Irma, Jose and the recent earthquakes in Mexico will happen more frequently. Mass extinction of animals due to their habitats being destroyed by the change in climate is something we’re already seeing. An example is the American Pika. It’s essentially a real life Pikachu. It subsists on wildflowers and is adorable. But due to climate change its habitats are being lost. It has had to move into higher elevations, which has caused it to overheat and die.
While some people may argue that the excess gas isn’t caused by humans and that it is a naturally happening occurrence, this has been proven wrong. Climate change is not a natural occurrence, but the result of manmade things like car emissions, deforestation, and burning fossil fuels. While carbon dioxide levels on earth would rise and fall naturally it took thousands of years for the carbon dioxide levels to rise.
Global warming is not a new occurrence. Scientists have been predicting it since the 17th century, estimating that global temperatures would rise two degrees, exactly what has happened. Though two degrees seems insignificant, one only has to look at what has happened since the two degree increase. Within the span of 1800-2017 global temperatures have risen two degrees. If a two degree increase has caused the ice caps to melt and start raising the oceans, imagine what an increase of eight degrees could do. If the global temperature increases more than 8 degrees the planet is likely to be in extreme danger.
Much of the global changes have been caused by human pollution, with cars, power plants, and the burning of fossil fuels which riddles the air with carbon emissions. The state of the planet is due to our actions, thus we must try and take initiative to improve our living conditions.
That’s why the Paris Agreement, in which many of the world’s countries pledged to reduce their carbon emissions, with taxes being levied on those that didn’t meet their goals, was so important. Yet ibne if President Trump’s first actions as president was to pull the United States out of the agreement, charging that it amounted to a war on coal and arguing that it overburdened and limited the US in ways which it didn’t to developing countries. Yet considering that the United States is one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions, the limits placed upon us are reasonable. While transitioning towards cleaner energy such as solar powered panels will cut down on some of the coal jobs, Clean energy is a booming field and actually i’ll create more jobs than it loses.
It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to this, especially knowing that we’re taking steps backwards from improving the climate. Yet there are many things that we as citizens can do. Taking fewer plane rides a year can help, switching to electric cars, and installing solar panels onto your house lowers pollution in the atmosphere. If you’re a broke college student you can petition your elected officials, paying attention to policies and advocating for environmentally friendly initiatives. Support companies that are doing the right thing and admonish the ones that aren’t. Global warming can only be solved by large scale, collective actions. You must use your voice and demand change. You can attend town halls and make changes within the neighborhood. The important thing is to speak up.In this digital age it is easier than ever to make our voices heard. The future we’re fighting for isn’t just our own.