Climate change is one of the most pressing environmental and global health issues of our time. Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s surface, which has been exacerbated by human-induced activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The consequences of this phenomenon are far-reaching and will have a major effect on our way of life in the coming decades. In this op-ed, we shall explore the implications of global warming and how we can mitigate its effects.
Recent scientific evidence points to an imminent danger of severe climate disruption. Average global temperature increase is exceeding 1 degree Celsius, and if temperature rise exceeds 2 degrees, the impacts will be far more serious. Rising sea levels and resulting floods, extreme weather events, record-breaking droughts, desertification and species extinction are all evidence of the devastating effects of global warming on our planet. These events are already occurring, and their intensity and frequency will increase with the further rise in temperature.
The worst affected countries are densely populated Africa and South Asia. Coastal regions − in particular − are facing increasingly devastating cyclones, floods, and rising sea levels as a result of glacial melting. These regions are already suffering from insufficient infrastructure, poverty and malnutrition. Facing an additional threat of reduced access to food and clean water, these populations will be badly affected if global warming continues unchecked.
Efforts to combat climate change remain inadequate. Currently, the Paris Climate Agreement has been adopted by 197 countries. However, unless the world comes together to act, the full effects of global warming will remain difficult to predict. Although renewable energy sources are being used increasingly, the dominant source of electricity is still fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Reducing emissions by implementing sustainable energy would be a key step in fighting climate change.
Governent must also create incentives for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. Incentivizing renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, is one strategy that could be adopted. Measures to reduce emissions from automobiles are also essential. Enhancing public transportation, encouraging carpooling, and incentivizing usage of electric vehicles would reduce emissions significantly.
We must also come together to protect our planet’s biodiversity. Recently, conservationists have proposed the idea of ‘rewilding’ − the process of restoring ecosystems and reintroducing keystone species back into the environment. This would help to restore the ecological balance and help species to survive in the face of increasing temperatures.
To mitigate the effects of global warming, we must create a global strategy to reduce emissions, protect ecosystems, and promote sustainability. Each of us must take steps to reduce our individual footprints. We must also pressure politicians to push for ambitious reform on both a national and international level. Global warming affects us all − it is time for us to take meaningful action.