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CLIMATE CHANGE- A SHIFT IN THE TAPESTRY OF THE PLANET



The fresh morning air and the chirping of birds, dew drops on leaves and slight breeze are all tales of the past. Smog-filled air made it hard to breathe, and as air quality went down, schools got shut down. “A single person could cause no harm to the environment,” said 7 billion people. As global temperature rises, the consequences of our actions reverberate across the curves and crevices of Earth, urging us to confront the dire reality of an environmental peril.


The average temperature is predicted to rise by 0.2˚C every decade at the present trend of greenhouse gas emissions. Temperatures in the Arctic are constantly shifting at the rate of 2 to 4 degrees which is a global concern.[1] These unusual changes in the long-term patterns of weather around a specific region are climate change and are expressed by the frequency with which these regions face extreme weather conditions. The major reasons for climate change could be the excessive emission of greenhouse gasses, black carbons, sulfate aerosols, or shifts in the sun's energy. June 1988 marked the very first initiative on Changing Atmosphere hosted by Toronto which forwarded the proposal that, by 2005 the goal is to attain a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. 1995 was marked with the request for industrial countries to reduce emissions without which the goal could not be attained. Then came the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and later in 2009 the conference held at Bali replaced the Kyoto Protocol.[2] 

 

The causes of climate change cannot be analyzed under limited terms of human greed for wealth, but one must understand there are natural causes as well. The planet's surface has been caught in the warm interglacial stage for the last 10,000 years. The 11-year cycle producing 0.1% of the sun’s energy variation could cause emissions of various gases though the level of emission is not even at a comparable degree to human-caused emission it could lead to climate change. Shifts in water currents and other natural processes are additional sources of climate change as they could easily affect heat distribution over land. Powerful volcanic eruptions can occasionally raise atmospheric fragments, obstructing additional heat from the sun. Countries having natural resources are exploiting their resources ignoring the consequences. For the past 40 years, there has been a constant decrease in the temperature of the Stratosphere and increased temperature in the troposphere accompanied by depletion of stratospheric ozone and high levels of carbon dioxide emission. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution, the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has always been a concern as it plays a major role in climate change. Compared to coal, oil emissions increased even more, increasing by 2.5% or 268 Mt to 11.2 Gt. The production of heat and power accounted for the largest sectoral boost to greenhouse gases in 2022, with emissions rising by 1.8% or 261 M. Approximately one-fifth of the world's carbon dioxide emissions come from vehicles which is 24% if we only take energy-related CO2 emissions into account.[3] In 2022, the worldwide energy industry was accountable for approximately 135 million tons of methane emissions. Climate change could affect the economy, health, and various other aspects of life. The effects caused by drought, flood, or any other consequences of climate change are directly linked with economic impact namely a 5% to 20% rise in global income.

 

International organizations and national governments have taken various initiatives to keep the balance of the climate system. For instance, the EU has proposed to reduce 20% to 30% reduction of emissions by countries, UNEP calls for the use of solar energy, fish farming, studying the therapeutic qualities of desert plants, and developing crops that can withstand salinity and drought.[4] Apart from these global initiatives, each of us needs to cut down the use of natural resources and replace them with reusable resources by way of sustainable development such as the use of public transport, compact fluorescent lights, A-labeled appliances, etc. Actions to mitigate climate change have become the need of the hour and require the government and global organizations to take up serious and long-term initiatives for this cause.[5] It is important to realize that this world that we have inherited from our ancestors is not all ours. So, muster the courage and shoulder the responsibility to protect the world at any cost because we don’t want ours to be the last generation, do we?




References-

[1] Adedeji, ‘Global Climate Change’ (2014) 2 GEP 114,112

[2] Climate Change Information Resources, New York Metropolitan Region https://ccir.ciesin.columbia.edu/nyc/pdf/q1a.pdf/ accessed on 20 November 2023

[3] Shindell, ‘Increased Polar Stratospheric Ozone Losses and Delayed Eventual Recovery Owing to Increasing Greenhouse Gas Concentrations’ (1989) 392, Nature 589,592.

[4] Willetts, E., Guadagno, L., & Ikkala, N, ‘Addressing Climate Change, Issues and Solutions from around the World’ (2010) IUCN 40.

[5] Pounds, J.A., & R. Puschendorf, ‘Clouded Futures, (2014) Nature 427


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