The New York Times published an article a little over a week ago that discussed the United Nations’ recent pleas to curb the burning of fossil fuels as an effort to slow down climate change.
According to the UN, if emissions are not reduced, the world is at risk for food shortages, flooding of major cities, a major change in climate, mass extinction of plants and animals and refuge crises. In the New York Times article, Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist from Princeton University is quoted saying,
“We’ve seen many governments delay and delay and delay on implementing comprehensive emissions cuts. So the need for a lot of luck looms larger and larger. Personally, I think it’s a slim reed to lean on for the fate of the planet.”
Climate change has been a huge topic in the news lately, especially with the People’s Climate March that occurred in New York City in September, and rightfully so.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, the global average temperature has increased by over 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. It seems like a small number, but in reality, it is pretty huge.
Rainfall and heat waves have increased in intensity around the globe, polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and oceans are becoming more acidic. There is clear evidence that our world’s climate is changing, but governments are reluctant on figuring out and implementing policies to help reduce greenhouse emissions. It doesn’t help that more and more countries are beginning to burn more fossil fuels, contributing to exactly what the UN is warning against.
It is apparent that caring for our Earth has become more of a political issue, like everything else these days. With the United Nations pleading for world leaders to do something before we have gone past the point of no return, it is evident that there should be more focus on improving conditions to the best of our abilities.
According to NASA and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the increasing temperature of the globe is reliable enough data to deem climate change a real issue. Statistics from the EPA claim that a two-degree increase in temperature can have the following effects:
5—15% reductions in the yields of crops as currently grown
3—10% increases in the amount of rain falling during the heaviest precipitation events, which can increase flooding risks
5—10% decreases in stream flow in some river basins, including the Arkansas and the Rio Grande
200%—400% increases in the area burned by wildfire in parts of the western United States
Clearly, the effects of climate change are not something that should be ignored and can lead to detrimental consequences for the Earth as a whole. There is scientific evidence to prove climate change, and while some may not believe in it, there is no reason to not protect our planet. Whether you’re a believer or not, we should all be doing our part to keep the environment clean and to protect ourselves from possible consequences down the line.