Global warming is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a phenomenon that has been debated and discussed in academic circles, business conferences, and public forums alike. The debate over global warming has also been heightened by the recent landmark Paris Agreement of 2015, which set a goal of keeping global average temperatures from exceeding 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100. But for most people, the question remains: what is global warming, exactly? In this article, we provide a brief yet comprehensive definition of global warming and an overview of the potential consequences of this phenomenon.
First and foremost, global warming is the gradual increase in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans. This increase is caused by the trapping of emissions from human activities – such as burning coal, oil and gas – and the release of other harmful gases, known as greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere. These gases act like a blanket around the Earth, trapping heat and causing the planet’s temperature to rise.
The consequences of global warming are manifold and far-reaching. Scientists predict that if left unchecked, global warming has the potential to drastically affect natural cycles and systems, creating more extreme weather events, bleaching and killing massive amounts of coral reefs, and threatening the livelihoods and habitats of species, from polar bears to phytoplankton. Additionally, rising sea levels due to melting glaciers and polar ice caps mean that many coastal cities and whole island nations may face devastating floods and earthquakes.
Efforts to combat global warming have been present for decades, but there are still major challenges to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Carbon emissions have continued to increase despite attempts to reduce them. The world must take concrete steps to meaningfully address the issue of global warming, or its effects will be felt for generations to come.
Government leaders must work together to develop and enact sustainable policies to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency, and promote renewable energy. Individuals should also do their part by reducing their carbon footprints. Simple changes like eating less meat, switching off lights when not in use and relying more on green forms of transport such as bicycles or electric cars can significantly reduce emissions.
By understanding what global warming is, and pursuing actionable steps to reduce emissions, we can put the planet on the path to a more sustainable future. Only by working together and making smart decisions now can we ensure a healthy and prosperous world for future generations.