Scenario of Climate Change

Dr. Parshotam S. Manhas
“We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to” Terri Swearingen
Climate change refers to the increasing changes in the measures of climate over a long period of time including precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns. These phenomena include the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea-level rise; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events.
There is international consensus that human activities over the last 50 years have altered the Earth’s natural climate. With the increasing greenhouse gases, changes to our natural ecosystems (such as deforestation) and declining glaciers, the threat of our green planet becoming a barren land in future seems real and imminent. The elevation in the pollution levels due to the reckless use of the Earth’s resources has created an alarming situation for the people inhabiting the planet. If this misuse of the resources continues in the future, chances are that our planet might be amongst the other seven planets where life is not possible. To prevent this, we, as the residents of this green planet should take strict measures to guard the uniqueness of our planet and let it be green and full of life forever.
Climate change mitigation strategies can contribute to climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions which is one of the major factors. Planting forests and trees to remove excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and reducing fuel emissions associated with motor vehicles. Even if mitigation strategies are successful at reducing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions to minimum, the scientific community is certain that the Earth’s climate will keep changing because of the trends that we see in the instrumental climate record of temperature and precipitation and the changes that have been observed in physical and biological systems.
There are many natural and human-induced anthropogenic factors that contribute to climate change. Climate change has always happened on Earth, which is clearly seen in the geological record; it is the rapid rate and the magnitude of climate change occurring now that is of great concern worldwide. El Niño a climatic cycle where the surface temperature of the eastern Pacific Ocean warms affecting the weather worldwide; changes in the Earth’s orbit; human activities such as burning coal, oil, or natural gas increase the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; deforestation; albedo and aerosols which reflect sunlight and affect clouds.
So far we have seen an increase of 0.8°C in the average surface temperature of the Earth since 1900, with melting in the Polar Regions and more frequent extreme weather. Simple calculations and our most complex models all agree: if we double CO2 we will see an average warming of between 2 and 4.5°C. In context, 4.5 °C is the difference between today and the deepest ice-age. Small changes in average temperature can translate to big changes across the planet, leading to rising sea levels, more extreme weather and some areas becoming much harder to live in. However, small increases in CO2 may increase crop yields but larger increases will affect which crops can grow. Some colder areas will become more pleasant, but such benefits will be outweighed by rising seas, heat and drought.
Scientists have predicted that long-term effects of climate change will include a decrease in sea ice and an increase in permafrost thawing, an increase in heat waves and heavy precipitation, and decreased water resources in semi-arid regions. With increasing global surface temperatures the possibility of more droughts and increased intensity of storms will likely occur as witnessed by India recently.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states in its special report, 2019 that land is under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to it. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food by adopting following measures:-
Stop chopping the forests
Deforestation is one of the major reasons of climate change. The loss of trees and other vegetation can cause desertification, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Say no to plastic
Plastic or polyethylene without a doubt is harmful, not only for the health of humans but also for the health of the biodiversity. Even small initiatives can considerably decline the amount of plastic pollution from our lives: using a recyclable cloth bag; discarding the plastic bottles and using glass, clay, stainless steel or copper bottles; replacing plastic lunchboxes with steel one.
Encourage the use of renewable energies
Focusing our efforts to spread awareness about renewable energy is the best way to create a positive impact in the community. Setting up rooftop solar panels or panels for a tiny area of their homes can lead to a significant decrease in the consumption of electricity.
Make Your Commute Green
Millions of people drive to work every day as a result of which millions of cars emit greenhouse gases that destroy our atmosphere. Vehicle emissions are a close second when it comes to the top causes of climate change. Taking public transportation to work is a great way to cut out emissions and allows us to meet new people in our journey to the office. Switch over to electric vehicles is another option to lessen pollution on the Earth. Emphasize on renewable sources like wind turbines, hydroelectric power, and solar energy to make this planet sustainable for future generations.
Be More Conservative with Energy Usage
Make sure to turn off lights and unplug devices that you are not using anymore when you are done with them. Replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs to help you save electricity too.
Recycling is a cost-effective and eco-friendly process that eliminates waste and doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses into the environment. Be sure to collect your discarded paper, glass, plastic, and electronics to your local recycling centre.
Educate Yourself and Others
Lack of awareness among the common people is one of the major aspects of the misuse of resources which ultimately leads to pollution. There are many platforms- social media, awareness programmes, debates, symposium to educate the general public on what catastrophic effects the climate change is doing to our planet. People should be educated by the aid of documentaries, short films, advertisements and campaigns.
Suppress the population growth
Overpopulation has overburdened our planet and will soon emerge as the largest single threat to the ecology and biodiversity of the planet in the decades to come.
Get Active and Vote
Voting the right people into office will help pass legislation that allows us to fight not only against the detrimental effects of climate change but also against erring countries that are mainly to blame for climate change.
(The author is Associate Professor of Physics, at GDC, Samba)