Throughout Earth’s history, its climate has changed which is a natural phenomenon. It is due to the small variations in Earth’s orbit around the sun. However, the climate change that is currently being faced by us is not natural. It is caused by humans and is progressing at a very alarming rate. It is destroying our planet, and requires urgent actions by the international community.
Climate change has wreaked havoc and is continuing to wreak havoc in this world. Climate change has not only caused disruptions in the environment but also our economy. According to a research, published in the journal Nature, global GDP per capita will decrease by 23% because of this human-induced climate change. It is so because climate change has brought about abrupt changes in natural resources as well human resource. (Marshall Burke, 2015)
In the agriculture sector, climate change has caused destruction. It has led to increased food insecurity, low productivity and less rainfall primarily in low latitude countries. Increased demand for water and urbanization has proven to be more detrimental to the agricultural sector. According to a report, many crops in Africa and Latin America are already near their maximum temperature tolerance. Further increase in temperature would significantly affect crop production. (Kassam, 2007)
Climate change is real and the state of our planet proves it. It is noteworthy to mention the effect of climate change on humans. Climate change increases the risk of natural disasters like tsunamis, floods, heat waves and many more issues. An example is the 2003 European heat wave which resulted in more than 70,000 deaths. Countries like Pakistan and India are now also facing this issue. In the 2015 Pakistani heat wave, about 2000 people died. We can see that climate change is not attributed to only one region or continent but the entire world. Due to a severe drought and climate change, Cape Town is about to run out of water. Authorities have already restricted water supply but the situation is no critical that soon the city will run out water. Similarly, Venice’s famous canals have also dried up due to lack of rainfall. Strenuous efforts and policies need to be adopted at the earnest to deal with it.
James Hansen in his book “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” highlights various ways through which we can effectively counter this unnatural climate change. Like many other scientists, Hansen has advocated for phasing out coal emissions or ‘global climate disasters would be a dead certainty’. Similarly, he opposes the use of geoengineering, terming it a waste of time and resources. Hansen’s opinion regarding geoengineering was later supported by different researchers. The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that geoengineering is ineffective. Again, Henson opposes emissions trading and has advocated for ‘fee and dividend approach’. Although respected throughout the scientific community, he has his share of critics. His approach does not include the political and economic costs of this policy. Instead, the ‘cap and trade’ approach has been more effective as companies are free to choose how to meet the targets.
Climate change is affecting and hurting us badly. Food security, droughts, famine and so much more are a direct consequence of climate change. Our global GDP is shrinking every year. Moreover, agriculture sectors throughout the world have been affected badly. Hansen and countless others have advocated for phasing out coal if we are to save our planet. If urgent steps are not taken, our planet will certainly head toward catastrophe.
Burke, M., Hsiang, S. and Miguel, E. (2015). Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production. Nature, 527(7577), pp.235-239.
Challinor, A., Wheeler, T., Garforth, C., Craufurd, P. and Kassam, A. (2007). Assessing the vulnerability of food crop systems in Africa to climate change. Climatic Change, 83(3), pp.381-399.
Hansen, J. (2011). Storms of My Grandchildren. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.