We are in a climate crisis. What does that mean? A climate crisis means that we are in a state of emergency to stop the rise in temperatures, this rise in temperatures is due to the increased amount of greenhouse gases surrounding earths atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and other gases. CO2 is the greenhouse gas that's most responsible for warming.
The past five years have been the five warmest since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. The Earth has experienced 42 straight years (since 1977) with an above-average global temperature, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Based on five separate data sets that keep track of the Earth's climate, the global average temperature for the first 10 months of 2018 was about 1.8 degrees above what it was in the late 1800s. That was when industry started to emit large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
What Caused This CO2 Increase
Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases being released into the atmosphere by industry, transportation and energy production from burning fossil fuels are enhancing what's known as the planet's natural greenhouse effect.
Carbon dioxide is the most prevalent among all greenhouse gases produced by human activities, attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.
Humans burn fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas, which release carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and other gases into the Earth's atmosphere and oceans.
The atmospheric carbon dioxide level for March was 411.97 parts per million and continue to rise. It has now reached levels in the atmosphere not seen in 3 million years.
That's an increase of 46% from just before the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, when CO2 levels were around 280 parts per million. Levels began to rise when humans began to burn large amounts of fossil fuels to run factories and heat homes, releasing CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
Scientists say to keep a livable planet, we need to cut the level to 350 parts per million.
China is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. The country emits more than 10,375 million metric tons per year, which causes serious health problems for the population, especially in the big industrial cities. Beijing is the most polluted city in the world where there are literally weeks when locals don’t see the sun because of the smog. Many citizens wear protective masks when they go outside and the local authorities have installed giant screens, which show sunrises and sunsets, to prevent depression. Nevertheless air pollution in China causes millions of deaths every year and although the country has a thriving economy, it is also the biggest polluter in the world.
The biggest economy in the world so far with high production, oil reserves and giant metropolitan. The U.S. citizens are one of the most mobilized and the traffic on the streets and in the skies is so high, that air pollution is becoming a more and more pressing problem. The whole infrastructure of American cities forces people to travel by cars which combined with the industry emits 5,414 million metric tons of CO2 every years. The air pollution in the USA is a great concern of many people and is causing thousands of people to seek medical attention every year.
India is the country with the second largest population on earth and one of the most fast growing economies on the planet. This immediately causes a very serious pollution problem. The country emits about 2,274 million metric tons per year and the air pollution is rivaling China’s as the world’s deadliest. 1.1 million people die each year prematurely as a result of air pollution. New Delhi is now one of the most polluted cities in the world, second only to Beijing. The worst part is that there will be no solution to this problem in the near future, since the country is trying to rival Chinese and Japanese economies and the government is trying to industrialize the every part of the subcontinent.
Russia is the biggest country in the world with an enormous production and low population density. The high levels deforestation and logging, as well as the large and heavy industry in the country creates a big problem for this vast country. Air Pollution in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd and other highly populated industrial cities is causing a lot of health problems for the population. Nearly 17% of diseases in children and 10% of adults is attributed to air pollution. The biggest problem is that the country strives to be the biggest economy in the world and is highly unlikely to prioritize clean energy rather than big production. Annually Russia emits 1,617 million metric tons.
Japan is a very highly dense populated countries which contributes to the pollution. Though the country strives to become a clean energy haven, it still is one of the biggest polluters in the world. Japan’s air pollution is not the biggest problem of this island country. Waste management, global warming and electronic waste in Japan. The country is one of the leaders in electronics development and this kind of waste is enormous. The country emits around 1,237 million metric tons per year.
Every day the clothes, tech and toys that fill the shelves in our shopping centres seem to arrive there by magic. In fact, about nine out of 10 items are shipped halfway around the world on board some of the biggest and dirtiest machines on the planet.
It has been estimated that just one of these container ships, the length of around six football pitches, can produce the same amount of pollution as 50 million cars. The emissions from 15 of these mega-ships match those from all the cars in the world. And if the shipping industry were a country, it would be ranked between Germany and Japan as the sixth-largest contributor to global CO2 emissions.
Climate Change Impacts
Scientists already have documented these impacts of climate change:
Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice. In Montana's Glacier National Park the number of glaciers has declined to fewer than 30 from more than 150 in 1910.
Much of this melting ice contributes to sea-level rise. Global sea levels are rising 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, and the rise is occurring at a faster rate in recent years.
Rising temperatures are affecting wildlife and their habitats. Vanishing ice has challenged species such as the Adélie penguin in Antarctica, where some populations on the western peninsula have collapsed by 90 percent or more.
As temperatures change, many species are on the move. Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have migrated farther north or to higher, cooler areas.
Precipitation (rain and snowfall) has increased across the globe, on average. Yet some regions are experiencing more severe drought, increasing the risk of wildfires, lost crops, and drinking water shortages.
Some species including mosquitoes, ticks, jellyfish, and crop pests—are thriving. Booming populations of bark beetles that feed on spruce and pine trees, for example, have devastated millions of forested acres in the U.S.
Sea levels are expected to rise between 10 and 32 inches (26 and 82 centimeters) or higher by the end of the century.
Hurricanes and other storms are likely to become stronger. Floods and droughts will become more common. Large parts of the U.S., for example, face a higher risk of decades-long "megadroughts" by 2100.
Less freshwater will be available, since glaciers store about three-quarters of the world's freshwater.
Some diseases will spread, such as mosquito-borne malaria (and the 2016 resurgence of the Zika virus).
Ecosystems will continue to change: Some species will move farther north or become more successful; others, such as polar bears, won’t be able to adapt and could become extinct.
In 2019 we saw more extreme temperatures during the summer months, the scariest of all is that there was 35°C...inside the Arctic Circle. Some other new extreme heat records include France 46°C (114.6°F) Vietnam 43.4°C (110.1°F) Germany 42.6°C (108.7°F) Belgium 41.8°C (107.2°F) Luxembourg 40.8°C (105.4°F) Netherlands 40.7°C (105.3°F) Cuba 39.1°C (102.4°F) England 38.7°C (101.6°F) all happening in 2019.
40 billion tons of ice melted in Greenland as the European heat wave moved north. This single heat wave created a permanent change in our oceans that will linger for millennia.
As this was happening in Europe, parts of India were experiencing extreme floods due to monsoon rain. the death toll from rain-related incidents had reached 1,058 in India's nine worst-affected states.
Wealthy countries that have contributed the most to climate change tend to be most immune to its effects. But it is the poorest countries who are most vulnerable to climate change and these countries contribute little or nothing to climate change, they have very low Greenhouse Gas Emissions, compared to the wealthy countries. Some island countries with low emissions, like Kiribati, could be wiped off the face of the Earth thanks to rising sea levels. The impacts of climate change will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations.
This is where Climate Justice comes. Which looks at the climate crisis through a human rights lens and on the belief that by working together we can create a better future for present and future generations.
Watch this short film from Trocaire to learn more. Click here to watch.
Extreme weather. Rising sea levels. Severe drought. Floods. Hurricanes. Wildfires. Natural disasters. Cyclones. Are all causing people to leave their homes and countries.
The 6th Extinction
5 times in Earth’s history, global biodiversity has plummeted at an alarming rate. Now, due largely to human activity, scientists believe we are in the middle of the 6th mass extinction. They refer to it as the Anthropocene or Holocene extinction.
According to a report by the UN, the amount of species that have gone extinct in the last 50 years has reached an unnatural level. And many more being threatened.
In fact, the 145 authors from 50 countries claim more than a million species are at serious risk. This includes roughly 33% of marine mammals, 10% of insects, 40% of amphibians, and 33% of coral. This is about 25% of all species on the brink, putting us in the beginning of the 6th mass extinction.