Why Humans Cause Global Warming

From rising sea levels to extreme weather events, global warming affects us all, but it is ultimately fueled by humanity’s activities. For years, scientists and environmentalists have pointed to the human impact on the planet—namely, burning fossil fuels and driving climate change—as one of the biggest global threats of our time. Despite this, the majority of people remain unaware of the true extent of human-induced global warming and its potential consequences.

At the heart of the global warming problem is the burning of fossil fuels like gasoline, oil, and natural gas, which release large amounts of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, most notably carbon dioxide (CO2). As average global temperatures rise, so does the sea level, which alters weather patterns and produces increasingly extreme weather events such as heat waves, hurricanes and droughts of greater intensity. Earthquakes and landslides are also being caused and intensified by global warming.

Studies suggest that the last decade was marked by the highest observed average temperatures across the globe in recorded history. In addition, the planet is heading for 4°C of global mean warming above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century if current greenhouse gas emission trends are maintained. This is significantly higher and faster than what is considered safe according to a 2°C warming limit, which is the agreed-upon safe limit among countries participating in the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

To understand why humans cause global warming, one must first grapple with a potentially uncomfortable truth: global warming is largely a consequence of consumption, or our decisions to buy and use energy-intensive products. In 2019, energy consumption rose by 1.5%, driven exclusively by increased demand in countries like China and the U.S. This means that human-induced global warming will continue to get worse so long as the production of electricity continues to be driven by demand. As more countries industrialize and their demand for electricity rises, global warming will become an even greater problem.

The good news is that countries are beginning to take action. Under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, every nation has pledged to reduce their emissions and meet the agreed-upon goal of a 2°C global mean warming limit. However, while this is a step in the right direction, rapid and sustained change is needed if the world is to avert the worst of global warming’s long-term effects.

It is clear then, that global warming is a very real and immediate problem stemming from human activities. To protect the planet, it is not only important for countries to make a collective effort to reduce their emissions, but for individuals to make sustainable changes as well— such as switching to renewable energy sources like solar and wind, eating a plant-based diet and travelling less. With concerted action, global warming can be kept in check and the effects of climate change can be minimized, but individual action is crucial if the world is to succeed in averting the worst of its potential consequences.

Joseph Pearson is a passionate advocate for global warming, ecology and the environment. He believes that it is our responsibility to be stewards of the planet, and take steps to reduce our environmental impact. He has dedicated his life to educating people about the importance of taking action against global warming and preserving our natural resources

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