Fighting a common enemy in climate change

Climate change is a phenomenon that affects everyone but many do not pay close attention to it except those that are most affected. For example, those in areas that have witnessed one or more extreme weather events will probably have more to say than the rest of us, unless one deliberately and continuously seeks information about the subject.

It has been a while since the subject of climate change has been trending, even if it were to be just within the scientific world and occasional mention in the news when it comes to the political side of it. That was in the past though. Nowadays, more people know about climate change even if it were to be just on the surface because the negative effects of it are clearly playing out and constantly being carried by the news.

There is absolutely no way we can talk about erratic climate and its mitigation without talking about the emission rates of greenhouse gases, especially those that are linked to anthropological activities as very little can be done to the emissions that are due to natural events such as volcanic eruption. While greenhouse gases play a huge role in the overall functioning of the earth's ecosystem and make it habitable to mankind, they become harmful to the planet beyond certain concentration thresholds in the atmosphere.

Sandstorm has become a normal thing in some places. Thanks to climate change. image source

The greenhouse gases primarily function to absorb some of the radiation from the sun and keep the planet at a temperature that is habitable by man. Without these gases, the entire planet would just be a mass of ice without any living organism. However, as more and more anthropological activities lead to more of the gases being emitted, more radiation from the sun is being trapped leading to an increase in the global temperature, also known as global warming.

Temperature is a very important variable when it comes to climate as it acts as the control center for all other climatic factors such as precipitation, pressure, wind, salinity in the oceans, etc. Hence, a little variation in the global temperature can cause huge multiplier effects on other climatic factors. Because these factors often work together to produce certain weather phenomena, an increase in the world's temperature brought about by greenhouse gases leads to unpredictable weather conditions.

Mitigating Climate Change

Scientists have been advocating for the mitigation of climate change for a while in order to forestall events bordering around extreme weather as some parts of the world are currently experiencing. There have been different policies in place at the inter-governmental level to limit emission rates and return the planet to its former self. A carbon tax is even a thing in some places of the world which is an amount of money paid by individuals or the government for their emission-driven actions.

At another level, campaigns have been launched worldwide against the removal of forest layers as these serve as sinks for one of the greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide. In addition, the use of fossil fuel is gradually being replaced by other forms of renewable energy to further reduce emissions to the atmosphere. Unfortunately in all these mitigating actions, the whole world is not on the same page and the concentration of greenhouse gases has always been rising.

While some regions of the world can boast of having taken significant actions to cut emissions, some regions of the world cannot say the same, either due to insincerity or because they cannot simply afford to take those actions. Many countries still depend largely on fossil fuel for different purposes, forests are constantly being removed and replaced with non-forest structures, many technological products are still based on emission.

In underdeveloped and developing countries, poverty is a major driver of actions that lead to emissions, especially when it comes to the degradation and removal of forests. Forest layers are explored for timbers, firewoods, and other forest products that serve important purposes for the populace. Agricultural activities and food production remain based on slash and burn practices. Many of these countries are entirely on an opposing page to the rest of the world because their survival is largely based on these activities.

We either sink or float together

One thing about emission is that one can never know where the effects would be. A gas released at one of the extreme parts of the world will eventually diffuse and thin out. In other words, the entire world shares only one atmosphere, and what is released into it in one part of the world eventually gets to the rest of the world. Hence, an integrated approach is required if there is anything else to be salvaged in the situation.


one of the coalitions against climate change. What difference have they made? image source: flicker

First, the governments of the world need to be sincere in their approach. Many industries are still busy polluting the environment with different pollutants with the government turning blind eyes because they pay huge amounts in taxes. Government should rather focus directly on cutting emissions instead of leveraging on it to generate more income or in high hope that heavy taxation will deter profit-seeking, environment-oblivious capitalists.

The onus is on the entire world to come together and end poverty in every part of the world because the activities in one part affect the rest. We cannot keep playing the game of I do not care if my neighbour dies of hunger as long as my own stomach is filled. Eventually, that your hungry neighbour might die and the stench from his corpse will make your home inhabitable. It is a known fact that the world has enough resources to end poverty/hunger at every corner if only people would be less greedy.

Every inhabitant of the planet should be self-conscious of their environment and limit emissions either directly or indirectly. This can be achievable by continuous campaigns, policies, and law formulation. Activities leading to emissions should be criminalized but before doing so, economic situations should be improved so that people do not have reasons to go the criminal way except for greed. All efforts to limit deforestation, promote reforestation, etc would start yielding results if there are alternatives.

We either be ready to put in the effort to mitigate climate change or be ready to pay the ultimate price of destroying our planet.

Further Reading

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