Global Youth Climate Network is an initiative launched by young World Bank Group staff on a voluntary basis but is not...
Climate change is real and it is mainly human generated. Sun radiation increase is responsible only for 10%, the rest is on us. Conspiracy theorists and Flat Earth Society members are welcomed, but the first affirmation is just as undebatable as the next one. Global warming doesn’t mean longer summer parties and fewer places for skiing.
We had and we still have a profound impact on all the systems producing an imbalance in the environment and the climate, determining the sixth major mass extinction. Due to a slight rise in Earth’s average temperature, some places will be extremely hot increasing the chance of wildfires, while other places will be way too cold killing the ecosystems; some places will face drought, while other places extreme floods. We already have shifting weather patterns, snow in Sahara, record rise of sea levels, more hurricanes and strong winds. New discovery in Antarctica suggests ice sheets could disappear way faster than previously thought.
Today’s Earth average temperature is 16°C and Green Houses Gases (GHG) are vital for our existence on this planet otherwise at -18°C life would have not existed as we know it today. Too much GHG are also bad because they keep trapped the energy that comes from the sun, determining the Earth temperature to increase too much. Just as a tasty pie, we need the right temperature, not too cold and not too hot.
In the last 120 years GHG increased by 1750%, from 2 billions tones of CO2 in 1900 to an outstanding 37 billions tones of CO2 in 2017. Global warming is a world’s problem and one of the main threats for humans survival. In 2015, almost 200 countries around the world agreed and signed the Paris Agreement at COP21 to limit the global warming by 2°C in report with pre-industrial levels.
We have 1°C remaining on the “global warming budget”. Between 1870 – the beginning of the 2nd Industrial Revolution, and today the temperature increased by 1°C. Unfortunately we are now on the road to 4°C temperature increase. If 4°C doesn’t seem much, just remember that today it is just 4-7°C hotter than 11,300 years ago, when the end of the last ice age happened.
2/3 of GHG are water vapours, clouds and fog and 1/3 are directly human generated, gases as CO2 (76%), methane (16%), nitrous oxide (6%) etc. Human generated greenhouses gases reach the atmosphere and are warming the planet, which determines the water in the oceans to vaporise, which creates clouds and fog, which warm the planet even more. Water vapours, clouds and fog are just amplifying factors to the damage we are doing. Therefore by solving 1/3 of GHG emissions we will actually solve the rest 2/3 automatically.
Last year Earth Overshoot Day took place on 2nd of August , this is the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year). Until the end of the year, we lived on borrowed resources. We have to stop borrowing resources from future generations without their consent.
We are still putting dangerously amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, we have to catch it and store it. Because there are so many people that fear (me included) that we are not doing enough to be responsible, smart minds across the globe are searching for solutions to store CO2 in different formats. Technology could be once again our salvation, but this doesn’t absolve us of the lack of responsibility we manifest every day.