Climate Change

Global warming causes and effects

Forest Fires - photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash
Forest Fires - photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

Climate change is the term given to a long-term change in the average weather patterns effecting Earth's local and regional climates. It's caused by the burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal, which release carbon dioxide into the air causing the planet to heat up.

Storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts are worsening as average temperatures rise. A warmer climate enables the atmosphere to retain and drop more water thereby changing weather patterns in such a way that wet areas become wetter and dry areas drier.

The Signs of Climate Change

  • Higher Temperatures
  • More Droughts
  • Wilder Weather
  • Changing Rain and Snow Patterns
  • Melting Glaciers
  • Shrinking Sea Ice
  • Thawing Permafrost

IPCC Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has finalized the first part of the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. It was finalized on 6 August 2021.

The report concludes, "It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred."

Pat Armstong (ESRAG)

Pat Armstrong, a Rotarian from Australia and lead person of the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) said the global mean sea level has risen by 25cm since 1880; with half of this rise occurring since 1970. There are already Pacific islands that have disappeared under the waves.

Pat also referred to the 2019-2020 droughts and bushfires in eastern Australia where:

  • 18.6m hectares had burned ( 9 times the size of Great Britain)
  • 34 people had died
  • 2779 homes were lost
  • 3 billion animals died
  • $130 billion cost of damage and economics

She likened the flattening of the Covid curve to what needs to be achieved in flattening the Environmental Sustainability curve before it’s too late. She said we can’t afford to wait to tackle this problem as the costs of doing so keep rising. Rotary needs to now focus on supporting the wellbeing of planet Earth.

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

(Main photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash)

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