Monsoon arrival certainly brings relief from the scorching heatwave that we have experienced a few days or months back. The high temperature of 40 degrees and above becomes a new normal summer day. The change in climate is a gradual process. If we flashback during the 90s a normal summer day used to have 30-37 degrees of temperature only Rajasthan being the hottest with 40+ degrees of temperature. Now temperature of 40 degrees is normal for us. So, what has made this change? Also, does climate change mean only a change in temperature?
Climate change is nothing but a long-term shift in the weather pattern in a place. It can be natural and man-made. The current rapid change in climate is not a natural influence but a result of continuous emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, industrial processes, water pollution, and certain agricultural practises. Change in temperature is one aspect of climate change. The rise in sea levels, oceans getting warmer, droughts, frequent floods in some parts of the world, ecological imbalance that includes reducing wildlife, fresh water, and agricultural lands are some other aspects. The risk to planet’s diversity of life – species living in deep sea levels, Arctic, and off coast Africa has also been observed due to climate change.
Due to the climate change, expansion of deserts, increase in wildfires, melting glaciers, heat causing intense storms, tropical cyclones, extinction or relocation of species, economic losses, and human migration are some of the biggest threats to us. According to the University of California Berkeley, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 50% and the world is now about 1.2 c warmer than the previous century. Based on the report in 2021, by the Climate Action Tracker Group the planet will be warmer by 2.4 degrees by the end of the 21st century. The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls climate change the biggest threat of this century.
Many countries put their hands together to fight against this greatest global threat. They set up a target of net-zero emission by 2050 and about half of the emission cut by 2030. The focus is now reducing the use of fossil fuels and switching energy systems from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy that will reduce the emission of harmful gases. The introduction of electric vehicles is also one such step. Decarbonisation of industries and businesses is one of the prominent solutions for climate improvement.
Major changes need to come from governments and businesses but every individual can play a role in improving climate by making some minor changes in their lives. Instead of using fuel cars use electric vehicles, take public transports with lower or zero emission of harmful gases, use electric stoves instead of traditional chulhas or gas stoves, reduce plastic usage, and purchase energy-efficient products are some of the small changes that can limit our impact on climate.
The Last Corner
Our earth is full of greenery, and natural and non-renewable resources. The overconsumption of these resources leads to harmful effects. One such harmful effect we are witnessing is climate change which not only impacts our environment but also our health. Not for the sake of the whole earth but for the sake of our existence, can’t we as an individual step up and try to protect our environment and climate for future generations.