• Increasing Temperatures
Climate change is defined as any significant changes to the climate that persists over an extended period of time. It is a global problem as it affects the entire planet. The most prominent effect of climate change that has been observed so far is the increase in global temperatures. Rising temperatures, if left unchecked, can lead to drastic effects on human, animal and plant life.
Earth’s Average Temperature is Increasing
The average temperature of Earth has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. In 2019, the temperature of the planet reached 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is a worrying reality. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if nothing is done to stop global warming, temperatures could reach as high as 3.6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Causes of Increasing Temperatures
The main cause of increasing temperatures on Earth is human-induced climate change. As the industrial revolution gained momentum, humans started to rely heavily on the use of fossil fuels to power their factories, cars, and homes. The burning of these fuels releases carbon dioxide, a form of greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat from the Sun, which leads to the warming of the planet.
Deforestation is also another major contributing factor that leads to climate change. Trees are essential as they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Therefore, when forests are cleared to make way for development or usage, less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and more oxygen is released. This leads to an increase in temperatures at an alarming rate.
Effects of Increased Temperatures
Increased temperatures can have devastating effects on the environment, human health and the economy. These can range from the melting of polar ice caps and rising sea levels –which can lead to flooding and coastal erosion– to desertification, extreme weather events and an increase in ocean acidification.
On the health side, rising temperatures can lead to heat waves, which can cause dehydration and heat stress. Additionally, higher temperatures can increase the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue worldwide.
Finally, increasing temperatures can also have a major impact on the global economy. With natural disasters becoming more frequent and intense, more resources have to be deployed to tackle their effects. This can put a strain on government budgets and the lives of the people affected.
Combating Rising Temperatures
The only way to effectively combat the increase in global temperatures is through implementing policies and actions that reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and promote the use of renewable energy resources.
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal are all clean sources of power. These alternative sources can reduce the need to burn fossil fuels, and therefore reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, these sources have the potential to generate electricity at a lower cost than traditional resources.
Apart from switching to renewable energy, governments and citizens also need to work together to reduce deforestation. Increasing the amount of tree cover, through reforestation and preventing illegal logging, can help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and thus, the global temperatures.
Rising global temperatures are a problem the entire world must address. By reducing the dependence on fossil fuels, promoting the use of renewable energy, and preventing further deforestation, we can slowly address the increase in temperatures. Only then will the planet be able to survive, and we as humans can continue to thrive on it.