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The Climate Change Conundrum

It’s time to get serious about climate change. There is no longer doubt that our planet’s climate is changing. It is also clear that we (humans) are to blame for these changes. We have surpassed the stage of making predictions about the effects of these changes, we are now observing. Our planets species, habitats, eco-systems and humans are already struggling to cope with our changing climate.

It is important to stress the fact that the climate is changing in all manner of ways not just warming up, although on average our planet has heated by 0.8c in the past 100 years. Experts have concrete evidence that our planet is already experiencing an increase in extreme weather events such as fires and tropical storms. The planets precipitation patterns are altering, the air and ocean currents are shifting and the sea level is rising.

These changes show no sign of slowing down which is leading to major biodiversity loss in some areas creating a negative feedback reducing ecosystem’s capability of fighting back or dealing with the change.

So what is going on and how is it our fault? Short-wave solar radiation (from the sun) enters our atmosphere with ease and is re-transmitted as longer-wavelength infra-red (heat) radiation, however much of this heat is absorbed by the cocktail of greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane etc.) that create our atmosphere. Humans continue to pump unnatural levels of these gasses into our atmosphere, therefore changing the amount of heat retained and thus our climate.

Climate change has occurred since the beginning of time. The last major shift was 11,000 years ago as we left the pleistocene period (the last ice age). The issue this time, is the rate of change. In the past the climate changed over hundreds/thousands of years. The change we have created has happened since the industrial revolution (1940’s), giving the life on our planet little time to adapt to such radical change.

This section of ‘one planet’ aims to discuss major issues surrounding climate change like its causes, history, effects, solutions and future. As well as keeping the reader up to date with the latest news about one of the world’s leading issues.

If CO2 levels were to stop rising now, atmospheric temperature would continue to rise for another 100 years due to time lags. This is why we must act NOW in order to protect our planet from this sickness we have burdened it with. We created the problem so let’s be the generation who fixes it.

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