If you’ve been paying attention to the news, scientific journals, or just had a conversation with someone online or around, you probably know that the climate change impact is at the forefront of people’s minds. It is generally understood that the planet is heating up at an exponential rate due to humanly induced global warming as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and mass farming. It sparked the concern of the scientific community as well as people across the globe; according to the UN, it is estimated that the planet has seven years to reach zero emissions before an irreparable ecological meltdown will prevail.
But how come this has only just become such a source of concern, and we have not done anything sooner? It is true that climate hype has largely manifested in the past decade. However, this has been a scientific concern for many, many years now.
Well, part of it is because of the increased exposure of climate models and projections. These models serve as a vital signpost for projecting the impact of climate change and how it may affect us in years to come.
However, these projections are just well, projections. This is not to say untrue but is subject to rigorous skepticism and scrutiny as they can only give an educated prediction of the outcome. Nevertheless, the scientific community has put a lot of trust and faith in the accuracy of these predictions for the planet’s future.
Well, models do encapsulate everything we currently know about how the world works, so they are not wild guesses but rather very well-educated hypothesis as to the potential impact of something based on everything we currently know. This applies to scientific models across the board and not just the environmental sciences.
These models consider a wide range of factors and processes that affect climate change but also factor in the uncertainty of these processes. Their uncertainty is fundamental to their creation as they are malleable and can change with new science. They simply offer scenarios based on observable human actions and weighing them against previous changes and impacts to the climate.
It is argued that many of the models, while helping give us a good picture of things to come, minimize rather than maximize the effects of climate change, which means we must be more cautious about humanity’s impact on the planet.
So, the science supports the hype, but how does it affect us? Well, in a myriad of very important ways, that cannot be diminished. With the rate that the planet is moving and despite a greater move to world carbon neutral and green energy, the signs of climate change and the dangerous effect it is having upon the planet can already be felt. If nothing is done, then it is likely that these dangers will only get worse, but as it stands, these are the visible effects:
- Polar ice caps melting (destruction of ecosystems and habitats)
- Rising sea levels
- Greater and more frequent tropical cyclones
- Flood increase
- Changes in precipitation and increased droughts
- Increased wildfires (destruction of ecosystems and rise in CO2)
- Increased pollution and disease
While this is a global issue, the effect of these changes on the climate will have a greater effect on the global south and developing countries nearer to the equator.
On a more local level, climate change will have a big impact on business and the general economy. For one, it has severely impacted farming and general crop yield, making food a little more scarce and more difficult to grow. Increased air pollution has already had a major impact on health, and that is only bound to get worse.
How do we prevent this?
On a personal level, there are small things we can all do to prevent climate change from getting any worse and impacting us even greater than it has already done. Trying to live with zero emissions as possible and reducing our carbon footprint, switching from single-use plastics to reusable and biodegradable materials, and so on. However, for real change to occur, bigger measures need to be taken. For one, people need to be more aware and pay attention to science as new findings come out. Part of the problem is how complacent we have become to the issue. Businesses need to move away from using non-renewable energy and start lowering their emissions. Lowering emissions has the net positive of reducing the energy costs and improving stakeholders’ view of a business.
Hopefully, this has given you some insight into the climate hype and the ways in which it can and will affect us both on an everyday micro-level and a higher macro level.