Climate Change 

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Climate change can be defined as significant variation of average weather conditions over several decades or more. It may get warmer, wetter, or drier over time. It is the long-term trend which differentiates natural weather variability from climate change. 

Rising floods, raging storms and scorching heat are all results of climate change. Effects of climate change can be felt across the globe. It affects people from all walks of life, especially the poor and disadvantaged people. 

How is climate change measured?

The general weather conditions of a place over the years is called the climate of that place. 

The present day weather and climate is monitored using satellites, meteorological stations, and ocean buoys. Paleoclimatology data from natural sources like ice cores, tree rings and corals have helped scientists predict climatic conditions on earth millions of years ago. All these records combined together provide comprehensive data on the earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land surface. Scientists make use of this data for predicting future climate trends with impressive accuracy. 

Global warming, which is the rise in global average temperature, is just one aspect of climate change. 

What causes climate change?

The planet cools when energy is released by earth’s atmosphere. The temperature comes down as the energy from the sun is reflected off the earth by clouds and ice. The planet warms as the earth absorbs the sun’s  energy. Greenhouse effect is defined as the process in which atmospheric gasses prevent heat released by earth from radiating into space. 

Natural causes of climate change

Sun’s intensity, volcanic eruptions, and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations have contributed to climatic change. 

But climate change happening since the mid-20th century is happening at a much faster rate than ever before! According to NASA, the influence of natural forces is negligible in the rapid warming seen in recent decades!

Anthropogenic causes of climate change

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are responsible for earth’s rapidly changing climate today. But we all know that greenhouse gasses play a key role in keeping the planet warm enough to inhabit. But unfortunately, the amount of these gasses have skyrocketed in our atmosphere in the past few decades. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that “current concentrations of CO2 , methane, and nitrous oxide are unprecedented compared with the bygone 800,000 years.” The share of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 46 percent since preindustrial times. It is the major climate change contributor. 

The burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, or gas are primary sources of human generated emissions. The second major source is deforestation. Other human activities which contribute significantly to air pollution are use of fertilizers, livestock production and industrial production. Owing to the rising greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, the average temperature of earth rose by about 1 degree Fahrenheit during the 20th century. 

Effects of Global Climate Change

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Climate change is a threat to human existence!

Extreme weather

Rising temperatures increase the frequency of several disasters including storms, floods, heat waves, and droughts. These disasters can cause huge loss of human lives and properties. 

Dirty Air

As the earth’s temperature rises, the air gets dirtier. Air pollution can have serious consequences. It causes respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer. 

Health risks

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already warned that climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between the time period 2030 and 2050. It is said that there will be more deaths because of heat stress, heatstroke, cardiovascular and kidney disease. Insect-borne diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease will spread rampantly in a warmer and wetter world. 

Rising seas

The oceans are expected to rise by anywhere from 0.95 to 3.61 by the end of this century. This is because the arctic is heating up twice as fast as any other place on the planet. This will have a serious impact on coastal ecosystems and low-lying areas. Island nations are at risk, and also world’s largest cities including New York City, Mumbai and Sydney.

Warmer, more acidic oceans

Oceans absorb one-third of our fossil fuel emissions. As a result, oceans are now 30 percent more acidic than in preindustrial times. This poses a serious threat to underwater life and coastal communities. Rising temperatures contribute to coral bleaching events which are capable of killing entire reefs.

Imperiled ecosystems

Climate change has put a lot of pressure on wildlife. They are forced to adapt to changing habitats. A study suggests that one-third of all animal and plant species could face extinction by 2070. On the contrary, milder winters and longer summers have enabled some species to thrive, this includes tree-killing insects which are endangering entire forests.

Facts on climate change

Climate change is real! The last decade, the time period between 2010 to 2019 was hotter than any decade in the past 1,300 years. The years 2016 and 2020 were the hottest years ever recorded. We would have noticed that the first half of 2021 was marked by record heat, drought, wildfires, rainfall, and flooding across the globe. Climate scientists continue to point fingers at human beings for being the lead drivers of climate change.


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Paris Agreement

During the Paris Climate Change Conference 2015, the participant nations vowed to limit the use of fossil fuels and focus on cleaner and smarter energy options. In the conference, individuals decided to put their best efforts in limiting global temperature rise this century to 2 degrees Celsius – 1.5 degree Celsius. Setting clean energy standards, using electric cars and trucks, curbing methane emissions, and boosting building efficiency will help us in saving our environment.

Developments in clean energy technology

Using renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, and also replacing gas-powered vehicles with zero-emission vehicles using new battery technologies will help us in controlling pollution to a large extent. 


An international youth climate movement has emerged over the last few years as a response to government inaction towards climate change. Rallies and marches are being organized across the world to let leaders know that delay on climate action will not be tolerated. Proper environmental policies, futuristic renewable energy projects, and focussing on fuel and energy efficiency will help to minimize carbon emissions to a great extent.

So let’s go green and save our planet!

Check your knowledge

 Answer) It can be defined as significant variation in average weather conditions on earth over several years. 

      Answer) Greenhouse gas.

      Answer) Dengue fever, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease. 

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