Climate Change as A Current Issue

Climate Change as A Current Issue


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Climate change is one of the controversial topics in existences. Climate change can as well be referred to as global warming. Climate change is a term used to describe weather phenomena that involves an increase in the temperature of the global environment. It is most times used interchangeably with the term ‘global warming’ but they are very different. Science communicators prefer to use climate change because it not only includes the increasing global temperatures but is also about the effects of climate caused by this increase such as the rise of sea levels, mass loss of ice in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers, changes in plant and flower booming and other extreme events of weather. While different natural phenomena can affect the climate, scientists agree that global warming and the resultant effect on the climate is largely a result of human activity.

Currently, climate change is a subject of political controversy, especially in the USA. Scientists have come up with conflicting evidence for the support and for the denial of the existence of climate change. However, the growing clarity and consensus make it difficult to ignore the fact that climate change is definitely real. Skeptics have various reasons for their skepticism but rather than become skeptical, it is important to embrace the challenge and find out ways on how to combat climate change. Climate change is real but there but despite the various opposing positions to this claim and there measures to help combat the issue.

Arguments Climate Change Does Not Exist

The first counter argument is that there have been no significant and prolonged temperature changes ever since 1997. According to the scientists who argue against the existence of climate change, the rise in temperature began in 1975 up until 1997 and since then the temperature has been flat. However, had there been no rise in temperature changes, ice caps and glaciers would not have melted. For the second argument, the skeptics of climate change have argued that not enough historical data is available to prove climate change. They point out to a recent gathering of 31,000 researchers in the environmental science field in which consensus was not reached. However, the scientific consensus is clear in the reports of the Integrated Panel on Climate Change that was created by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Program to evaluate matters of climate change. Finally, that Arctic ice has increased by 50% since 2012 is a counterclaim to the claim that climate change has caused the melting of ice caps and shrinking of glaciers. Some scientists have gone ahead to claim that global warming does not cause Arctic ice to melt. (Whitmarsh, 2011).

Claims on the issue of climate change

Human activities cause climatic change, and activities such as deforestation, greenhouse farming, burning of fossils and wood to produce fuel have ended up causing global warming. When substances are burnt to release energy, gases are emitted which pollute the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the gases emitted from the burning of fossil fuel. Australia is among the world largest CO2 producers.

The first claim is that climate change exists because of the rise in sea levels. Sea levels have risen in most parts of the world because of the melting of ice caps and glaciers and the changes of gases contained within large water bodies. Also, thermal expansion due to the warming of the ocean has resulted in a rise in sea levels. Research findings indicate that the global mean sea levels have risen two times as compared to the 20th-century trend of 1.6mm per year. In the past century, there was a rise in the levels of the global sea by approximately 6.7 inches.

The second argument is that climate change exists because there has been a rise in the average temperature of the earth. For the past half of the century, global temperature has continued to rise. One of the reasons for this rise in temperatures has been the increase in greenhouse gas emissions that has, in turn, increased the greenhouse effect which has resulted in the rise of temperatures. The burning of fossil fuels results in the emission of these greenhouse gases. According to findings from scientists, temperatures rose strongly in the 70s before there was a lull in the 90s and then a rising pattern again in the 2000s (“Is Global Warming Real? Top 5 Arguments in Favor and Against it – Conserve Energy Future,” 2016).

Thirdly, the shrinking of glaciers is a reason to claim the existence of climate change. Glaciers, especially those in mountain ranges like Greenland and Antarctica, are shrinking. This is because gases that helped to maintain temperatures have reduced and also, there have been changes in the climate of regions. Research evidence from a study by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment indicate Greenland lost between 36 to 60 cubic miles of ice yearly from 2000 to 2006 (“Is Global Warming Real? Top 5 Arguments in Favor and Against it – Conserve Energy Future,” 2016). Indeed, there exist a change in climate from the previous years to what is being experienced now.

Deforestation as One of Key Causes of Climate Change

Trees aid in locking up Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere where they take up CO2 and release oxygen to the atmosphere which is then used by animals and humans during breathing. Cutting down trees means that carbon dioxide is retained in the atmosphere which in turn causes global warming. Trees use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and this reduces CO2 Levels in the atmosphere, which results in long-term fluctuation of this gas (Hunt, C. A. G. 2011).

Carbon dioxide is a heat absorbing gas which then absorbs the heat meant to go back to space and later releases it to the atmosphere causing a rise in temperature thus global warming. The process of trees using up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is called carbon “sink” where deforestation hinders the effectiveness of this activity. Per every two acres of tropical forests, it is believed that 350 metric tons of carbon are stored thus cutting down an acre at once implies 180 metric tons of carbon dioxide gas is released to the atmosphere which is dangerous (Hunt, C. A. G. 2011).

How Climatic Change Comes About

Trees, directly and indirectly, affect the earth’s temperature which brings about a global warming case. Trees are responsible for climatic change and when cut down they impact negatively on climatic change. Trees aid in the drawing up water from the earth soil and releasing it into the environment, that is the atmosphere. This is commonly referred to as the water cycle where cutting down trees interrupts the water cycle. Since trees have been cut down thus the failure to draw water from the soil making the atmosphere dry. In most cases when you go to deserted places, areas where trees are few and turning centers you will always find the humidity level to below (Grover, V. I. 2009). In tropical areas where there is more tress, there are high levels of moisture in the atmosphere thus low and favorable temperature conditions for human living. When the environment is less humid it leads to an increase in the atmosphere’s temperature. Cutting down trees without replacement aids in the long-term climatic change such as desertification characterized by temperatures above 26 degrees Celsius.

Long-term effects of deforestation are felt when there is no carbon intake and the levels in the atmosphere increase causing a rise in temperature. The temperature of the earth mainly comes from heat due to the sun, where the level of temperature is between heat from the sun and the one bouncing back into space. Albedo is a process is affected by deforestation. Albedo refers to the fraction of electromagnetic radiations reflected by a body or surface according to the dictionary. Weather scientists refer the albedo process to the event in which radiations from the sun are reflected back into space which in turn reduced temperatures in the atmosphere. In most cases, radiations from the sun are always reflected by snow surfaces. Cutting down trees leads to reduced moisture which affects snow formation thus less of the sun’s radiations are reflected in space. When most of the radiations are absorbed in the atmosphere there results in warming which after a period of time becomes global warming. General Circulation Models (GCM’s) have explained that deforestation leads to a slower albedo rate by the land (Hunt, C. A. G. 2011).

Lastly, industries aid in global warming where gases and other fuels are burnt to produce energy where in this process Carbon dioxide and other gases are released into the atmosphere. Also, in industries such as the paper industry, petrochemical industry and metal industries, there are gases emitted such as nitrogen, methane and carbon gases. Humans engaging in greenhouses for food production also leads to climatic change where there are gases emitted in this type of farming. The gases include methane, chlorofluorocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, which absorb heat from the space and later release to the atmosphere resulting in global warming. Cattle ranching and livestock farming is another source of greenhouse gases, burning of fossil fuels releases carbon and nitrogen oxides which also contribute to global warming.

Natural induced climate change

Other than the human activities, there are natural earth cycles that also result in climate change. Solar irradiance is one such natural activity. The sun being an important energy source that drives the climatic system, changes in its output will definitely result in climate change. Research shows that solar variability has contributed to past climatic changes. For example, the Little Ice Age of between 1650 and 1850 is thought to have been triggered by a reduction in solar activity, when Greenland was separated by ice from 1410 to 1720s and glaciers increased in the Alps. However, the current global warming cannot be evidenced by changes in the sun energy (“Climate change causes: A blanket around the Earth,” 2018).

Effects of Climate Change

The effects of climate change are adverse and this calls for measures to control the situation. In the USA for example, hotter summers and milder winters have been experienced. This in turn has resulted in a direct impact on food crops and the survival of animals. Some species of animals are likely to go extinct due to unbearable climatic conditions. When large forests are destroyed local communities and species that rely on them are likely to suffer. Droughts and floods are likely to increase as well.

It is feedback when trees are cut down they cause global warming, and this climate change later destroys other trees or prevents fast plant growth. The first effect of global warming is on the forests is that increased temperatures in the atmosphere will lead to a slow growth rate of trees. Also, heating up of the atmosphere in some environments mostly leads to shifting of the geographical habitat of some tree species thus depreciating forests coverage in the affected regions. Specific tree species grow in specific conditions; an example is the mahogany tree which grows in tropical conditions thus if the region’s conditions are no longer favorable the species might end up being extinct in the region reducing the population (United States. 1989). Cactus is known to grow in arid and semi-arid regions thus global warming in a specific region will lead to this type of species being common in the arid region.

Climate change affects food availability for both plants and animals. Global warming increases the risk of drought and dry season in some areas and flooding and heavy rainfall in the alternate areas. The risk of drought implies that there will be less plant growth when such season come. Drought makes it hard for humans since it in turn cause decrease in food availability (Grover, V. I. 2009), thus cases of starvation and malnutrition in areas such as the Saharan region. Lastly, global warming causes flooding which in turn causes soil erosion making the affected areas to have less soil nutrients. At the oceans, warm currents due to global warming build up slowly giving time form the storm formation and when they make a landfall they are characterized by heavy rainfall. Scientists say that climate change may result in intensified storms which can cause floods due to the record rainfall (United States. 1989).

Other effects of global warming include ocean acidification due to an increase in the concentration of gases in the atmosphere. Change in ecosystems since animals and other creatures will migrate to other regions that favor them compared to the harsh conditions in the drought region (Grover, V. I. 2009). Reduced crop production which will, in turn, affect food availability which will result in migration by humans. Human activities lead to global warming which then affects their general health since drought brings issues such as lack of food and water scarcity which may long-term lead to malnutrition. Drought also leads to the death of wildlife and wildlife diseases because of unfavorable conditions characterized by high temperatures, less food and lack of enough water.

How to combat climate Change

Climate change is not just a government’s issue. Every individual citizen in every corner of the world has a responsibility to combat climate change as well. There are numerous ways that climate change can be combatted. People should reduce emissions by embracing alternatives to driving like cycling or sharing a car with someone else so as to reduce the amount of harmful gases emitted. Energy saving by not leaving devices on standby will help salvage the situation as well. If people consume less energy and time, then energy usage will reduce. A switch to using LED light bulbs for example, is a great way to reduce energy usage. If people learn to reuse, reduce wastage and recycle half of the garbage produced at home will reduce. Also, a reduction in meat processed food consumption will help and finally, promoting renewable energy by the government will help. Governments need to control the climate pollutants such as carbon dioxide as well by coming up with national policies and regulations that will fasten the fight against climate change within a short while (Thompson, 2007).

Many people are less aware of the long-term effects of deforestation such as global warming, drought, and loss of species living in the forest. To help solve the problem the first thing is to educate on the dangers and disadvantages that come with deforestation as a human activity.. Advocating for reforestation is the best way to solve deforestation since there is the need to cut down forest then replanting is the best thing to do. When one cuts tone tree then he or she needs to plant two, this should be a policy in all the regions. (Wolvekamp, P. 1999). Law and regulations need to be in place which they will advocate for replanting trees once one has the permit to cut down one and in failing to abide by the rules, there should be huge fines and consequences that will make people have no choice. Also, laws on industries emitting harmful gases should be in place as well as limiting production of cars emitting exhaust fumes.

Green business should be the way to go by everyone where it encourages reusing and recycling products. Greenways of manufacturing and using minimal the resources possible can help reduce the rate of deforestation. Recycling wood used in fires can be through using the charcoal produced for fuel production, recycling industrial gases as well will help reduce the rate at which climate changes. Plastics and paper can be recycled save trees and reduction of single-use plastics (Webster et al, 2014). People should have the option of using recycled paper to reduce the demand of new products

Also, technology should be on the lookout to come up with new ways to expand the roads, for example, investing in underground roads and railway tunnels rather than clearing forested land for expansion. Community forestry should be encouraged where schools, government, and organizations team up to protect their local forests by advocating for conservation (Wolvekamp, P. 1999). Community forestry also entails planting trees in areas left bare to make the environment sustainable. Schools also need to be planting trees during ceremonies, sports days and on the worlds environmental day to increase the number of trees in their environment.

Human activity takes up the greater percentage of activities that result in climate change. It is the responsibility of everybody to ensure that they reduce the amount of toxic gas they emit in the environment and that is why it is important to regularly calculate one’s carbon footprint. Despite challenges like uncontrollable harmful human behavior, the world has joined hands to fight global warming and that is why treaties such as the Paris Agreement were created (“Climate change explained | OVO Energy,” n.d.).

Things to Note

The Amazon forests produce about 20% of the oxygen in the world thus we need to protect this forests and other forests to maintain current oxygen levels.Climatic change may be a threat to biodiversity as over 25000 species may go extinct in the next 100 years if deforestation continue to increase. Among the endangered plants that may go extinct if deforestation rates continue to increase are Rafflesia and Orchids (Wolvekamp, P. 1999).

The Amazon, Cerrado, Eastern Australia, Congo Basin, Borneo, Greater Mekong, New Guinea, Sumatra, Eastern Africa, Atlantic Forest and Choco-Darien are among the top ten forests that are under the danger of deforestation. This forests are home to over 50% of the animal species and need to be protected (Owens, C. 1999).


To conclude, the issue of climate change is real and no matter the number of rebuttals from the skeptics, accepting and embracing the challenge will help combat the situation before it gets to irredeemable levels. Those not in support of the existence of climate change could have evidence to support their claims but also the evidence from scientific bodies about the realness of the issue should be taken with the seriousness it deserves. If everyone takes measures to combat the situation, the debate may as well be put to rest. Climate change has continued to increase over the years majorly as a result of human activities such as deforestation and an emission of toxic gas from our daily activities such as production in industries. Climate changes, for example, global rise in temperature, glacial retreat, reduced snow cover, rise in sea level, extreme events and acidification of the ocean have been a result of global warming.


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