We are usually very careful when it comes managing risks, no matter how low are the chances of something bad happening. Unfortunately, we don’t apply the same strategy when it comes to climate change, even though the risks of doing nothing far surpass the individual risks we are facing each day.
Our way of managing risks
If we are afraid our home might burn down someday, or if we believe we may be involved in a car accident, then we’re sure to get insurance for them. We know there is a chance of an accident happening, no matter how small it, so we prepare for it. The irony is that we seem fixed on taking all preventive measures in order to reduce risks that may be highly improbable, but we fail to do anything about global warming, which, as most studies estimate, will have catastrophic consequences to people on the entire planet.
Why global warming is not on our list of priorities
We care so much about our health or our car, and that is why we buy insurances for them. But global warming is just something we hear on TV, or read in a few articles we stumble upon when navigating over the internet. And with the contrarians disputing the strong evidence provided by 97% of the scientific community, there are many doubts concerning our contribution to climate change. People who don’t believe in human induced global warming advocate doing nothing. People who don’t really care and who go on with their lives just ignore the problem, considering it as being non-existing. Even people who do thing global warming is happening and that it poses great risks fail to do something about it.
What we are facing
It’s funny that we get insurance for things that may have 1 in 10000 or even 1 in a million chance of happening, but be aren’t concerned of the fact that climate change is a reality that will have dire consequences in the not so distant future. We can be facing disastrous heat waves, food shortages and world unrest. If the current trends continue, we are likely to be heading towards destroying our entire civilization, yet most of us don’t even care. Come hell and high water is our best so far. Climate change is a reality, not an improbable scenario. We should open our eyes and start searching for viable solutions, unless we are willing to head towards catastrophic consequences that we are really not prepared to face.
The massive body of scientists agrees that rapid climate change is happening, and that global warming is a serious issue which is being caused by human activities. However, there are still a few people who are in denial, claiming that global warming is non-sense, and that Earth is just undergoing a normal change that is not influenced by humans. Unfortunately, most of these rely only on cherry picking and on selecting only the facts that suit them, disregarding the overwhelming evidence of human-induced global warming.
Who are the deniers of global warming?
It is peculiar that, despite 97% of climate change experts being certain that global warming is happening and that we have contributed to it, there is a lot of debate going on, especially over the internet. But who are these deniers who dispute the overwhelming amount of studies and data confirming human-induced global warming?
In the scientific community, there is no debate, as these facts are taken as what they are – science. The deniers who are causing all the disputes across the internet are usually politically-biased, media trusts with conservative views, or pseudo-scientists who prefer to show only the facts that seem to contradict global warming as being caused by humans.
All these seem to disregard the 97% of strong scientific evidence that needs no further confirmation. Apparently, biased newspapers seem fixed on amplifying the opinions of only 3% of scientists and non-scientist contrarians. These contrarians start backwards, all their arguments being rooted in their opposition towards climate change solutions, and going all the way back, picking only evidence that confirms their ideologies and predetermined conclusions.
What should be done about it?
Contrarians saying that the majority of the scientific community is wrong all fear that money will be wasted on methods of reducing CO2 emissions. But what is there to lose? Are making our air and water cleaner and moving beyond using fossil fuels which are already limited not worth every cent?
The sad truth is that the climate debate is not at all about science, but about politics and people who are opposing solutions that propose to mitigate gas emissions by pricing them and letting the free market solve this by itself. The scientific evidence is very clear about it - we are causing the global warming. Denying it only makes it worse. Not contributing to a solution means we are part of the problem. So what is there to argue about anyway?
We have all heard of climate change. Most of the scientific community agrees that global warming is happening, and that it will continue to increase over the following decades. There are many consequences that are already being seen in the world, and they affect all of us in a way. Here are a few of the most notable effects of global warming.
Increase in hurricanes and storms
Because oceans are getting warmer, and because warm water can pump more energy into storms, we are seeing an increase in both number and strength of storms and hurricanes. They are becoming a lot stronger and more destructive, affecting more and more human lives. In the last 35 years, there has been an increase in the number of category 4 and 5 storms, alongside the increase in ocean water temperatures.
Hurricane Katrina, which occurred in 2005, greatly affected the US population, causing human losses and economic losses of 125 billion dollars. It is now considered one of the most deadly and costly hurricanes ever in US history.
More wildfires and draught
Warmer temperatures can increase the intensity and duration of draughts. With more dead vegetation, and greater evaporation that occurs in summer and fall, the risks of wildfire are much greater. The national draughts which lasted from 1999 to 2002 was one of the most intense and long lasting draughts to happen in the past 40 years.
Also, the warming temperatures that can be observed in the West are being responsible for increased frequency of draughts which have become more common in the last 30 years. The wild-land fire season of 2006 has seen a record number of reported wildfires and of acres burned, with firefighting expenditures exceeding 1 billion dollars per year.
Frequent and intense rainstorms
Since warm temperatures lead to the increase in the energy levels of climatic systems, heavier rainfalls are being observed in many areas. According to scientific estimations, rainfalls will continue to increase in frequency and intensity which will lead to more floods and more people affected each year. Intense rain events have been increasing in number over the last 50 years, and global warming is the main culprit.
What we can do
There are many solutions to decrease the global warming we are experiencing right now. From cleaner technologies to burning less fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gases, there are many solutions that might work. What we need is to accept that climate change is a reality, and that we must do something about it.
There are many skeptics who argue that climate change is being overly exaggerated, and that it is merely the cause of natural changes such Earth’s orbit. They also say that humans have not really contributed to the current rise in temperatures we are seeing today. The truth is that there are many changes which cannot be explained by natural changes, and there is much evidence showing that human activity may be causing what we are seeing today.
Increase in greenhouse gases
One of the main causes leading to global heating is related to the increase in atmospheric CO2. CO2 is a heat trapping gas, and the alarming fact is that it is increasing from one year to another. All evidence points to humans for this increase. CO2 and most of the other greenhouse gases result from human activities such as burning fossil fuel, fertilizing crops or clearing forests and the products from various industries.
Changing Earth’s surface reflectivity
Although greenhouse gas emissions are among the leading factors which contribute to global heating, there are other human activities which are changing the climate. Intensive agriculture, deforestation and the building of roads and cities all change the surface reflectivity of Earth, which has great impact locally by warming. The effect of warming can especially be seen in urban areas, it is what is called “the Urban heat island” effect. All sorts of emissions of small particles also contribute to global warming, as they change the properties of air and its reflectivity.
It’s obviously getting warmer
The global average temperature has increased over the past century by 1.3°F, with the average temperatures of the Arctic areas seeing increases of twice as much. Natural changes alone cannot explain these sudden rises in temperatures. Besides the obvious temperature increases, there are also many changes in precipitation patterns, and there are many signs which are clearly visible that prove it. Not only the Earth’s surface is warming, but also the oceans, and with the melting of the ice caps the sea levels alarmingly increase.
We can all see it
In addition to all the scientific data which proves that our planet is warming, there are signs that we can see ourselves. Older people living in temperate areas can clearly remember winters with freezing temperatures and abundant snow, while the past few years has seldom brought any of that.
The fact is that climate change is a reality, and we are contributing to it.