The case for action against climate change

The case for action against climate change

Climate change has become a hotly debated issue in recent years, but in the last year there has been more and more discussion about it. The reason for this is that hardly a day goes by without some big news about unusual weather conditions.

This summer and autumn (2007) alone saw flooding in the UK and the US. Drought in parts of Australia is even more severe than usual, and Greece and California are facing massive bushfires. However, the most dramatic was the completely unexpected rate of melting in the Northwest Passage in the Arctic, and we all saw the satellite images showing a severely shrunken ice cap right across the Arctic region.

Global climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing the planet. Climate change can occur naturally, and many argue that despite the majority scientific opinion that human activity is the cause, the cause is natural. Others argue that while the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sounds like it has increased significantly, the actual amount compared to other gases is still very small. They reasoned that since it is still a very small part of our atmosphere, how could it have the effect attributed to it?

Nevertheless, despite questions of this kind, the climate change or global warming that we are witnessing corresponds to the increase in human population and activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and it would be rare indeed to deny this. Consequently, most of us are beginning to accept global warming as a reality and, furthermore, that human-caused climate change is a fact.

The impacts of climate change will range from affecting agriculture, further threatening food security, rising sea levels and accelerated erosion of coastal zones, plus increasing intensity of natural climate extremes. The reality of climate change and humanity’s causal role in the process are facts that must now be generally accepted.

Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are likely to further accelerate the rate of climate change. Unfortunately, the poor, the young and the weak will suffer the most. Children in developing countries are likely to face the greatest risks from climate change.

However, we should not despair. There is much to be done and much that can be done that will make a difference. The Kyoto Protocol is an international plan to reduce pollution from climate change. Europe led the diplomatic efforts that led to the Kyoto agreement. It’s far from perfect, but it’s the only show in town that can make a difference in developing nations.

Rich countries like the US and Australia do not want to take action to stop climate change. This is understandable, as their economies will suffer if it imposes large additional costs on business. It is said that it has not yet been proven that the additional burden will actually lead to the degree of improved resilience that our globe will need to recover in time and avoid the worst effects. But such sentiments are becoming increasingly rare.

Such ideas are strongest in the US. However, former US Vice President Gore now shares the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. The campaign to succeed George W. Bush begins, and even Bush softens toward active support for climate change mitigation policies.

Across the US, local governments are increasingly tackling climate change with their own solutions, giving plenty of room for optimism.

In Kyoto, it was decided that developed nations would reduce their emissions and that they would also pay developing nations to avoid or reduce their rising carbon dioxide emissions. It has been argued that the best way to make this work is to create a market in ‘carbon credits’, the carbon tonnages saved by western investment. The market would allow high-carbon companies in developed nations to offset their continued emissions at home by paying for emissions savings abroad. This would have the added benefit of raising the incomes of the poorest nations.

The British government, which is convinced that climate change must be tackled, is leading the UK in its ambitious targets to reduce emissions. Many other European nations also have similar policies. The Nordic countries are even more advanced in their emission reduction programs than the UK.

So the science is clear: climate change is happening and is directly related to human activity. To stop climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions must be significantly reduced. But how much and how soon should we change our habits?

Much of the temperature data and computer models used to predict climate change are themselves uncertain, but experts now agree that the world must act very quickly now or the problem of control will become exponentially more difficult.

The costs associated with the effects of climate change are projected to increase significantly over time as temperatures rise, and the longer we delay, the worse it will be. To say this is just common sense.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the organizations working globally and in the UK to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of climate change and the solutions available. Wildlife organizations stress that biodiversity will be severely affected by climate change and sea level rise, with many species at increased risk of extinction.

For some species, however, the climate will be good, but at a great human cost. The story of the unobtrusive mosquito illustrates the sobering consequences of climate change. Fewer frosts and generally warmer temperatures will allow diseases such as malaria to spread in more temperate climates. The species that are best adapted may not be the ones that humans want to survive.

Overall, we can reduce our demands on nature and the tonnage of carbon dioxide emitted by adopting sustainable development. Sustainable development can increase adaptation and mitigation capacity and reduce the vulnerability of societies to the impacts of climate change. Humans are already adapting to climate change, and further adaptation efforts will be needed in the coming decades.

New technologies are part of human adaptation and are being developed that are “green” and will help reduce or even reverse the effects of climate change. These technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment and help us face the serious challenge of global climate change.

Much can be done to stop catastrophic climate change, but decisive action by governments and industry is needed now. Today, action is being taken at every level to reduce, avoid and better understand the risks associated with climate change.

Climate Change for Better or Worse is a website launched to help you understand what climate change is and how you can take action to combat it. Without action, climate change will cause the extinction of countless species and destroy some of the world’s most valuable ecosystems, putting millions of people at risk. Disease, declining yields and natural disasters are just some of the other impacts of climate change that could follow and devastate the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Postponing measures to reduce emissions limits the ability to achieve low stabilization levels and increases the risk of severe climate change impacts. Please act now to encourage your politicians to take urgent action.

If you liked this article and found it interesting, we are sure you will enjoy visiting our website even more. Just continue down this page and follow the link below and discover how you can take incredible action to make a difference.

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