Commentary - Annals of Biological Research ( 2021) Volume 12, Issue 7
Global warming and its effects on Earth’s weather patterns are both part of contemporary climate change. There have been prior times of climate change, but the current changes are far faster and are not caused by natural factors. Instead, greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, are to blame. Additional sources include agriculture, steelmaking, cement production, and forest loss. Because greenhouse gases are transparent to sunlight, they allow it to reach the Earth’s surface and heat it. The gases absorb the heat that the Earth produces as infrared radiation, keeping it near the Earth’s surface. Heat waves and wildfires are getting more prevalent, and deserts are growing. Warming in the Arctic has resulted in permafrost melting, glacier retreat, and sea ice loss. Intense storms and other weather extremes are becoming more often as temperatures rise. Many species are being forced to relocate or become extinct as a result of rapid environmental change in mountains, coral reefs, and the Arctic. Food and water scarcity, higher flooding, extreme heat, more disease, and economic loss are among threats posed by climate change. It has the potential to cause human migration. Climate change, according to the World Health Organization, is the greatest threat to world health in the twenty-first century. Even if attempts to reduce future warming succeed, some consequences will last for centuries. Many of these effects are already being felt at the present temperature of 1.2 degrees Celsius. Increased warming will amplify these effects and could lead to tipping points, such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Despite the Agreement’s pledges, global warming would still be around 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. To keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, emissions must be cut in half by 2030 and zero by 2050. Switching away from fossil fuels and toward power generated from low-carbon sources will be required to achieve significant reductions in emissions. This includes phase-outs of coal-fired power plants, greatly increased use of wind and solar electricity, conversion to electric vehicles, conversion to heat pumps in buildings, andenergy conservation measures. Carbon can also be taken from the atmosphere by increasing forest cover, for example. While communities can adapt to climate change by improving coastal protection, they can’t avoid the potential of severe, widespread, and long-term consequences. It was uncertain until the 1980s whether increased greenhouse gas warming would outweigh aerosol-induced cooling. Inadvertent climate modification was a term used by scientists to describe the human impact on the climate at the time. The term “global warming” and “climate change” became popular in the 1980s. The former solely relates to increased surface heat, while the latter encompasses the entire impact of greenhouse gases on the climate. After NASA climate scientist James Hansen adopted the term in his 1988 Senate speech, global warming became the most prominent term. The term “climate change” became more prevalent in the 2000s. Climate change can refer to natural or anthropogenic change, although global warming usually refers to human-induced warming of the Earth system.