What Is Climate Change And Global Warming

What Is Climate Change And Global Warming?

Climate change is the broadest term for any long-term alteration in global weather patterns. In short, it is the gradual warming of the Earth’s atmosphere due to an accumulation of human-induced greenhouse gases (GHG) trapping a portion of the radiant energy from the Sun within, rather than allowing it to escape back into space. Climate change can be caused by both natural and human activities; however, human-caused climate change has proven to have dangerous consequences, with global warming being the most profound. Global warming is defined as an increase in the average temperature of Earth’s climate system, caused in large part by anthropogenic activities.

The global average temperature has risen significantly since the late 19th century, an effect that is evident when examining the increase in unprecedented, unusually warm temperatures since the turn of the century. Scientific evidence confirms that the most noticeable effects of global warming throughout Europe, the United States, and especially the Arctic, are shifting weather patterns, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and a far-reaching increase in devastating natural disasters- an expected occurrence when global temperatures increase. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body comprised of scientists and Governments, concluded that climate effects are caused by human behavior and sees a course of directed action as the only viable solution.

Advocates of addressing climate change point to the myriad of dangers posed by a rising global temperature- ocean acidification, droughts, floods, biodiversity loss, wildfire, and so on- with each effect producing a ripple across multiple dimensions of human life, from basic needs such as food and water security to the economy and health. Numerous actions are available for tackling climate change, from tangible action by individuals and businesses to large-scale reform from governments, such as regulating emissions and building renewable energy capacities.

Meanwhile, opponents of climate change legislation argue that addressing climate change cannot be prioritized over economic concerns, such as job creation. Others contest that climate change is a natural phenomenon that happens in cycles independent of human activity. Yet, the extent and severity of recent events, such as more frequent hurricanes, melting Arctic ice caps, and the Arctic warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet indicate that the human-induced form of climate change is more far-reaching than any solar-based cycle.

The human-based causes of climate change require swift and decisive action to mitigate the effects and prevent future catastrophes. At the same time, mitigation efforts must carefully consider the potential impacts on national and global economies. To be successful in these efforts, a global response must be implemented such that all countries have their respective roles and responsibilities in defending our planet’s future.

It is essential to recognize that an individual’s actions can make a difference, too. By implementing energy conservation practices, being mindful of our emissions, and supporting green solutions in our home, workplace and communities, we each can have a profound take in averting further disaster. With the weight of our generation’s decision bearing down, the time to act is now.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

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