Global warming is one of the greatest issues of the 21st century. It is behind numerous ecological issues, both locally and internationally. It manifests through an array of environmental damages including sea-level rise, changing seasonal weather patterns, and increasing severity of extreme weather events. So far, that may sound like a doom laden, existential prep talk from your squeamish biology teacher in 6th form. But as an abstract process that has not even begun to take its full swing, is climate change actually worth all the attention/melodramatic anxiety it is given? Let me show you why it is:
1. Humans Are Causing Global Warming
95% of climate science papers now agree that global warming is man-made. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that the majority of global warming since the mid-20th century is due to humans. Arctic evidence underlines this too: Although the changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis cause climatic cooling, the 20th century is the only period in the past 200,000 years during which aquatic indicators showed increased warming.
2. Fossil Fuel Barons Try to Disprove It
If Earth were a dying patient, the fossil fuel industry would be the lunatic doctor refusing her imminent death. Indeed, CO2 is responsible for the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, the key mechanism of global warming. Many accusations have been made against fossil fuel lobbies and oil industry advocates for trying to debunk scientific findings on global warming. But they have vested interests in hiding their blatant mistreatment of Planet Earth. These stakeholders are deliberately deceitful: they know that anthropogenic climate change is real, but they will tell public the opposite so it is misled into being sceptical of climate findings. And even more – they will not stop trying to sell you their lie until they find a more lucrative resource.
3. We Have No Planet B
This is simple logic: because we only have one planet, we need to care for it. If technological and scientific progress is to truly benefit humanity, it cannot be allowed to harm nature more than it improves it. It will be very long before we discover a second inhabitable planet, so we had better start taking care of the one we have right now.
4. The Most Vulnerable States are More Affected
Since many developing countries particularly in sub-Saharan Africa have built their economies on climate-sensitive agriculture, they will be more adversely affected by global warming. According to Steger, an academic, they will face “increased illnesses, escalating death rates, and crumbling infrastructure.” Whereas coastal areas and small island states everywhere will be affected by rising sea levels and storms, richer countries like the Netherlands are better equipped than poorer countries to adapt. If those in the developed world who create a disproportionate amount of emissions don’t curb them, poorer countries will pay the price more harshly.
5. Greater Poverty and Resource Wars
Strong environmental stress provokes greater unemployment and childhood malnutrition through lower yields on food output. The agricultural sector is often unable to adapt to environmental pressure, and higher temperatures render unfeasible the production of certain foods. Although availability of arable land may increase in regions of high latitude, this will be largely compensated by losses in tropical and sub-tropical regions such as Latin South America, Africa, Europe, and India. Not to forget, expanding agriculture to feed a booming human population may even aggravate climate change. It also aggravates ethnic strife, poverty, and resource wars and can be an inter-state security threat in developing countries. Some argue that climate change will uncover the incompetency of rogue states and other non-accountable states to deal with such issues that infuriate millions of vulnerable people. What would happen if that occurred in every rogue state? Let’s not go there.
6. Depends on Individual Action
While the growth in greenhouse gases can be attributed more greatly to multinational corporations and businesses, it is also furthered by individual citizens. To tackle climate change, no policy can be the wondrous magical potion – individuals must contribute in their everyday lifestyles. In fact, turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the bulb. There’s no magic bullet solution, but there are piecemeal remedies, where we can all do our part.
7. Questions The Survival of The Human Race
If climate change is one of the greatest challenges to ever face humanity, it is because it has the ability to wipe our species off the face of the Earth. Global warming — a term we so often dismiss as merely sensationalist and exaggerated lark — threatens our very existence on Planet Earth. No other issue apart from the threat of nuclear war has had as much potential for an irreversible planetary catastrophe.
So the next time you discuss climate change, do not buy into the “climate porn” of skeptical prejudices and newspapers trying to display contradictory views. The consensus gap between climate scientists and the misled public must be closed. Because trust me, if not today, one day we will inevitably realise – the existential fuss was worth it.