What is Climate Change & Why Should We Bother?

What is Climate Change & Why Should We Bother?

Over the years, we have been seeing increasing news about extreme weather conditions including the heat dome in North America to wildfires and flooding in Europe. These events got me thinking if everyone knows what exactly is climate change and  if it really affects us. I did some research and here’s sharing what I found.

Understanding climate and climate change:

Climate refers to the usual weather of a particular place and it will be different in different seasons.

Climate change is a change in the usual weather found in a place. It could be a change in how much rain a place usually gets in a year or a change in a place's usual temperature for a month or season.

Is the climate really changing?

Earth’s climate is always changing and has changed throughout Earth’s history. Scientists agree that for the past 2,000 years, the climate has been relatively stable and mild when compared with much of Earth’s history. This has benefitted human civilization greatly and allowed expansion of agriculture and development of towns and cities.

That being the case, why are we talking about climate change now? Climate change now is largely about the planet warming up. e data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

What has happened so far

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century. Most of the warming occurred in the past 40 years, with the seven most recent years being the warmest. The years 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year on record.

This temperature rise is warming the oceans and turning them acidic, which in turn melts the ice sheets, leading to rising sea levels across the world directly threatening millions of people that live in coastal areas with their livelihoods dependent on the ecosystem there. Furthermore, climate change is also proven to be directly responsible for extreme weather events across the globe.

The current warming trend is of particular significance because it is unequivocally the result of human activity and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia. Since the industrial revolution, atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased by 48%[1]. Apart from CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) contribute to the greenhouse effect. The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to about 417 parts per million in the last 150 years[2].

When did humans find out about climate change?

Long-term effects of climate change are worrying scientists and are threatening the human civilization on this planet. The extent of climate change beyond the next few decades depends on the volume of heat-trapping gases emitted globally, and how sensitive the Earth’s climate is to those emissions. It is undeniable that human activities have warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land and that widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.

Humans can take corrective measures to limit climate change. Governments of 195 countries agreed that climate change can only be tackled by working together, and in a landmark agreement in Paris in 2015, they pledged to try to keep global warming to 1.5C.

Many countries have pledged to get to net zero by 2050. This means reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible and balancing out remaining emissions by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere.

Experts agree that this is achievable, but it will require governments, businesses, and individuals to make big changes. While major changes need to come from governments and businesses, scientists say some small changes in our lives can limit our impact on the climate.

What can individuals do to limit climate change?

There are myriad ways in which an individual can help too:

·         Take fewer flights

·         Reduce consumption of red meat

·         Do not buy things that you don’t require

·         Recycle and repurpose things to avoid waste

·         Live car-free or use an electric car

·         Buy energy efficient products, such as washing machines, when they need replacing

It is important to measure the outcome of any activity to know its effectiveness and to understand the scope for improvement. Measuring individual carbon footprints throughout our daily lives helps in understanding the lifestyle changes we can make to lead a sustainable life. Adva, a sustainable lifestyle app, allows us to do exactly that. Adva helps to meticulously track the impact of our lifestyle on the planet and provides personalized carbon reduction plans. It also allows to offset carbon and provides a gamified experience towards sustainable living. The app does not stop with measuring and suggesting, it also rewards its users for the positive changes made to the planet through changes in their habits. If each of us realise that our daily lifestyle habits are the biggest cause of the environment degradation, we will understand that it is our responsibility to contribute to a healthier tomorrow. We still have a chance to slow climate change and provide a better planet for our future generations. And it is now so much easier to make a positive change than in any other time in the past, mainly due to the wide-spread access to technology. Using advanced technology to make small changes in our lifestyle will collectively bring a positive impact on the planet. Check out Adva now.

[1] Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce

[2] Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)