What Do You Think About Climate Emergency?

What Do You Think About Climate Emergency?

Ommar Faruk

  • 04 Oct 2023
  • 3 min read

The world is in a state of climate emergency and time is running out. Global temperatures are rising due to human activities like the widespread use of fossil fuels - coal, oil, gas - in homes, factories, and transports. This alarming trend has led to alarming consequences, ranging from intense heat waves to rising sea levels, devastating wildfires to the bleaching of precious coral reefs.

The main driver of climate change is the greenhouse effect. Burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, and farming livestock increasingly influence the climate and the earth’s temperature. Some gases in the earth’s atmosphere act like the glass in a greenhouse, trapping the sun’s heat and stopping it from leaking back into space and causing global warming. 

Many of these greenhouse gases occur manually, but human activities are increasing the concentrations of some of them in the atmosphere, in particular:

  • Carbon dioxide ( CO₂)
  • Methane (CH₄)
  • Nitrous oxide (N₂O)
  • Fluorinated gases (HFCs,SF₆ ,NF₃,PFCs)

Burning coal, oil, and gas produces carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.

Cutting down forests(deforestation) trees help to regulate the climate by absorbing CO₂ from the atmosphere. When they are cut down, that beneficial effect is lost and the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse effect.

Increasing livestock farming cows and sheep produce large amounts of methane when they digest their food.

Fertilizers containing nitrogen produce nitrous oxide emissions.

Fluorinated gases are emitted from equipment and products that use these gases, like air conditioners, aerosol sprays, refrigerators, electrical distribution systems, etc. Such emissions have a very strong warming effect up to 23000 times greater than CO₂.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution - when humans started burning significant amounts of fossil fuels - the amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere has risen over 50% and is still growing. As a result of the increase in CO₂ and other greenhouse gases like methane, the world is now about 1.1⁰C warmer than it was in the late 19th century. A global average temperature increase of 1.1⁰C might not sound much, but it has already had a significant effect on the environment. Impacts so far include:

  • More frequent and intense extreme weather, such as heatwaves, drought, and floods.
  • Rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets, contributing to sea level rise.
  • Massive declines in arctic sea ice.
  • Ocean warming and marine heatwaves.

People’s lives are already changing as a result. For example, the ongoing East African drought has put more than 20 million people at risk of severe hunger. The 2022 European heatwaves led to an abnormal increase in deaths.