Every species, every habitat and every region of the planet Earth is affected by climate change. Polar regions, oceans and forests are simply being destroyed. Raising awareness about what is truly happening is a vital part of the fight against climate change.
The regions of the Arctic and Antarctica are critical when it comes to regulating the Earth’s climate. At the same time, they are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. It brings worldwide consequences.
Recent reports predict that, in the next decades, there will be no ice in the Arctic during the summer. The impact will devastate habitats and species, and probably several regions in the northern hemisphere.
In the Antarctic Peninsula, some areas are among the fastest-warming locations on the entire planet.
Oceans are natural absorbents of enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. This prevents it from reaching the upper part of the atmosphere.
However, the average water temperature is increasing drastically and the concentrations of carbon dioxide are much higher than normal. Because of this, the oceans are now more acidic.
Once the oceans warm up by 1.5ºC, coral reefs will decline by up to 90%. At a warming of 2ºC, the oceans will lose almost all of their coral reefs. Countless species will suffer from this tragedy and over half a billion people will be stripped of their main source of protein.
Trees are vital to soak up carbon dioxide. Needless to say, forests are the home of an astounding array of animal and plant species.
Boreal forests in the sub-Arctic regions are the ones most affected. As temperatures rise, their tree lines gradually move up north. When it comes to tropical forests, where the abundance of biodiversity is higher and more significant, climate change can lead to more and more extinctions.
Nowadays, incredibly large parcels of forest are devastated, which is tragic for local species and communities that depend on them. Trees are supposed to absorb carbon dioxide. But dying trees emit their storages into the atmosphere.
This is the first generation to be fully aware that it’s destroying the world. We are on the course to being the last one to know about it.
Man-made climate change hurts humans, animals and all living species. Here are four that are deeply affected by the crisis.
Due to habitat loss, there are only roughly 3,200 tigers in the wild. In the already dismantled areas where tigers live, the risk of fires is now higher and the sea levels will continue increasing.
Each year, the planet is setting new records in terms of average temperature. Now, think about the fact that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as that average. Polar bears greatly depend on ice. But it is simply melting away.
In addition, the ice is now forming later and melting earlier during the year. Female polar bears need to get to land in the fall to retreat, and into the see during the spring to feed. All that is becoming more and more difficult.
The consequences? Polar bears are starving for longer, which deteriorates their physical condition and makes it a battle to endure the summer season.
The Adélie penguins spend the majority of their time in Antarctica. Krill is one of their main food sources, which breeds and feeds under the ice. However, with the constant reduction of ice in Antarctica, Adélie penguins have less and less access to food.
If the warming in the Arctic is occurring twice as fast as the global average, in the Himalayas it has reached up to three times. The Himalayas are the number one habitat for snow leopards.
The constant warming in the region is causing the mountain range to shrink and the tree line to climb in altitude. This phenomenon divides and isolates the populations of snow leopards.
Climate change is happening at such a distressing rate that it doesn’t allow many animal species to even begin to adapt.
It’s time that each person starts viewing climate change as a climate crisis. But how can people be aware of how to act when there is still so much confusion around what climate change truly is and how it affects the Earth?
Let’s clear up three of the most common, widespread and dangerous myths about climate change.
Climate change has always been a reality
It’s absolutely undeniable that over the course of Earth’s history, the climate has significantly changed. However, the natural cycles of warming and cooling are not the factors responsible for the alarmingly swift warming we see today.
Normally, the changes in temperature would happen gradually throughout thousands of years. But now those changes are happening over a few decades. The fact is that global temperatures have reached their highest since scientists began keeping records. Out of the 18 warmest years in Earth’s recorded history, 17 were since 2001.
This unprecedent warming phenomenon cannot be due to the Earth’s natural temperature cycles. Rather, its main consequence is the excessive carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere from the point the industrial revolution took over the world. The levels have only been increasing.
Yes, climate change has been a reality for the entirety of Earth’s existence. But man-name climate change is what we are seeing in this day and age. And that is the deeply dangerous type of change.
It is mostly caused by the burning of coal, gas and oil to generate energy, and the growing of produce in detriment of the trees.
Global warming isn’t real as there are still events of extreme cold
Global warming can be summarized as the increase of the Earth’s average temperature. Nowadays, heatwaves and droughts are much more frequent and destructive.
This warming is triggering various types of changes in our planet’s natural cycles, one of them being extreme weather phenomena. To cite an example, storms and hurricanes are increasingly becoming more severe, moving slower and taking longer to weaken and disappear.
Renewable energy is a scheme
Many people believe that renewable energy is unreasonably expensive and that it’s merely a money-making scheme. That is simply not the case. The most economically efficient ways of producing energy are through solar power and wind. Those sources are much cheaper than resorting to gas, fossil or nuclear fuels.
Additionally, the cost of renewable energy solutions has decreased impressively, faster and more meaningfully than what most expected. Still, an unsettling number of governments continue to be unwavering in their decision to back up dirty and expensive fuels.
In conclusion, a climate crisis is destroying the planet Earth as you read this. It’s very real and its consequences are destructive in a way that has never seen before. It’s time to stop denying it just as a mechanism to cope with the justified concerns, or as an excuse to change nothing.
Read our quick guide and find out that actively combating climate change is not as hard as you think. Even when it is, the results are more than worth it.
Whenever possible, use your bike, public transportation or the train for your daily commutes, instead of your car.
When you’re driving a car, the emissions of carbon dioxide increase significantly for each
kilometer you add to your speed per hour. Also, for each liter of fuel a car consumes, more than two kilograms of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere.
To travel long-distance, you should avoid opting for the plane, when possible. Planes also emit an enormous amount of carbon dioxide.
Adopt a low-carbon diet
The dietary options you make also contribute to fight or enhance climate change. A low-carbon diet is a smart consumption choice that helps the planet.
Eat meat less often and increase your intake of vegetables and fruits. The industries that work with livestock are some of the biggest polluters of the atmosphere.
Eat local and seasonal food. Reducing imports of food contributes to less emissions of gases. And opting for seasonal produce avoids the proliferation of alternative unsustainable methods of production.
Not to mention you should also keep your purchases of processed foods and products with excessive packaging to a minimum.
Be active in the protection of forests
Avoid anything that has the potential to act as a fire hazard. When buying wood, make sure you look for any of seal or certification that confirms its sustainable origin.
And have the initiative. Plant as many trees as you can in as many different places. Just one tree can absorb a ton of carbon dioxide throughout its life.
Don’t wait another day to start putting our three suggestions into practice!
These are two of the most fundamental projects of the European Union to combat the nefarious effects of climate change.
EU Emissions Trading System
The EU Emissions Trading System, commonly referred to by the acronym EU ETS, is a key action of the European Union’s fight against climate change.
It’s also the Union’s main tool to cost-effectively help reduce the gas emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect. The EU ETS is the fist and biggest major carbon market in the world.
It operates in all 28 countries in the European Union, plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The system limits gas emissions from over 11,000 installations that are heavy in energy use, including industrial plants, power stations and airlines.
How does it work? The EU ETS works through a system based on a cap and trade principle. The cap represents the total amount of particular greenhouse effect gases that are allowed to be emitted by a certain installation.
The goal is for the cap to be gradually reduced with time in order for the grand total of emissions in the European Union to fall significantly.
A company can receive or buy emission allowances. They can be traded among businesses, but there is a limit on the availability of allowances. After each year, the company has to surrender enough allowances to cover the entirety of its emissions. Otherwise, the European Union imposes substantial penalties.
In the case of a company reducing its emissions, it’s permitted to keep the extra allowances for future coverage. It can also sell them to a business that is in need of allowances.
As one of the largest funding programs in the world, the European Union’s Innovation Fund emphasizes on driving clean and innovative low-carbon technologies towards the market.
The fund focuses on industries that are heavy in energy consumption, helping them implement low-carbon processes and have access to clean, cutting-edge technological resources.
The Innovation Fund also supports the generation of renewable energy, as well as the capture, storage and use of carbon. The funds come from the auctioning of 450 million allowances from the EU Emissions Trading System between 2020 and 2030.
The main objectives of the Innovation Fund are creating the right financial incentives for the development of low-carbon solutions, enhancing growth and competitiveness, and supporting all member states.
All in all, the ultimate goal of the Union with all of its environmental actions is a climate neutral Europe by 2050.
As it is now turning into a full-on crisis, it is unfortunate that many people still don’t understand the most basic aspects about climate change. Don’t be one of them. Let this quick guide be your starting point to take action.
What is happening now because of climate change?
Each year, the average surface temperature of the Earth is increasing and setting new alarming records. The ice sheets don’t stop declining and the glaciers keep on retreating. The oceans register higher acidity levels than ever.
On a global scale, the sea levels are rising at an unsettlingly fast pace. In the last century alone, the sea rose 17 centimeters. It shows no signs of stopping. The main problem, though, is that we could go on for days.
What caused climate change to happen?
Climate change has been a constant on the Earth for as long as it exists. But those changes used to follow natural cycles of warming and cooling. In this day and age, climate change is man-made, and it is deeply destructive.
Scientists agree that the root of the problem is found in the human activities that greatly contribute to the greenhouse effect. To put it simply, gases like methane and carbon dioxide inhabit the atmosphere, trap the heat in the planet and prevent it from escaping.
What will climate change cause next?
Extreme weather events, bringing intense heat or cold, will be more frequent, severe and damaging. The increasing number of heat waves and droughts will much likely devastate poor countries.
Hurricanes will also occur frequently. And by 2100, the sea levels will probably rise up to, at least, 122 centimeters. That disturbing prediction is the most optimistic.
How can you take action?
That is so much you can do. Start by planting trees, reducing your waste and your energy consumption to the maximum, stay informed and updated daily, vote for green political parties and encourage environmental efforts in your community.
You know what to do: get involved, work for the cause and spread the word!