let´s stop the impact of climate change to save the planet

On October 24, the International Day Against Climate Change is commemorated, with the aim of alerting the world population about the harmful and devastating effects of climate change on the entire planet.


How does climate change occur?


Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.


Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.


Examples of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. These come from using gasoline for driving a car or coal for heating a building. Clearing land and forests can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills for garbage are a major source of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main emitters.


Consequences of climate change


As emissions continue to rise, the Earth is now about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s. The last decade (from 2011 to 2020) was the warmest on record.


The consequences of climate change include: intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity.


The world’s population is impacted by climate change in a number of ways. It can affect our health, ability to grow food, housing, safety and work. Some people are already more vulnerable to climate impacts, such as people living in small island nations and other developing countries. Conditions like sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion have advanced to the point where whole communities have had to relocate, and protracted droughts are putting people at risk of famine. In the future, the number of “climate refugees” is expected to rise.


The challenge of reducing the rise in global temperature


In a 2018 UN report, thousands of scientists and government reviewers agreed that limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C would help us avoid the worst climate impacts and maintain a livable climate. Yet the current path of carbon dioxide emissions could increase global temperatures by as much as 4.4°C by the end of the century.


The emissions that cause climate change come from every part of the world and affect everyone, but some countries produce much more than others. The 100 least-emitting countries generate 3 per cent of total emissions. The 10 countries with the largest emissions contribute 68 per cent.


Urgent solutions


Many climate change solutions can deliver economic benefits, improve our lives and protect the environment. There are also global agreements to guide progress, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. Three broad categories of action are: cutting emissions, adapting to climate impacts and financing required adjustments.


Switching energy systems from fossil fuels to renewables like solar or wind will reduce the emissions driving climate change. Fossil fuel production must decline by roughly 6 per cent per year between 2020 and 2030.


Adapting to climate consequences protects people, homes, businesses, livelihoods, infrastructure and natural ecosystems. It covers current impacts and those likely in the future. Adaptation will be required everywhere, but must be prioritized now for the most vulnerable people with the fewest resources to cope with climate hazards. We can pay the bill now, or pay dearly in the future.


By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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