Climate Change – Biggest Problem of 21st Century

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY occurs on 5 June every year. It has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Each year, World environment day has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes. Individuals and Organizations are encouraged to add activities related to the environment for saving it and also motivate the people for taking an initiative toward it.

Celebration of environment day will be hosted in Canada in 2017. Theme is ‘Connecting people to nature- in the city and on the land, from the poles to the equator.’ An Earth Anthem penned by poet Abhay K is sung to celebrate World Environment Day.     In 1983-1992, World Environment Day’s profile grows as it boosts campaigns around major emerging issues including climate change and sustainable development; the official celebrations start rotating around the globe.

UNAA will hold the inaugural climate collaboration forum with an opportunity to:

  • Showcase what they are already doing to mitigate the effect of climate change and adapt to future change
  • Have their leadership and innovation acknowledged through the presentation will all be linked to climate.
  • Take part in expert-led, small group workshops to discuss what collaborations is needed to ensure future, effective action on climate change

Climate change: It is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time. It may refer to a change in the average weather conditions, or in the time variations of weather around longer time average conditions. Anthropogenic climate change is caused by human activity, as opposed to changes in climate. Climate change is either internal or external. Internal forces can be either natural or anthropogenic.  External forces that varies in carbon dioxide, temperature and dust from the ice core.

EVIDENCE:-

Evidence for climatic change is taken from a variety of sources that can be used to reconstruct past climates. For earlier periods, most of the evidence is indirect- climatic changes are inferred from changes in proxies, indicators that reflect climate, such as vegetation, ice cores, sea level change etc.

Evidence includes:

  • Direct temperature measurements on land.
  • Changes in the dates when lakes and rivers freeze and their ice melts.
  • A reduction in an extent of snow in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • A reduction in glaciers.
  • Extended growing seasons of plants.
  • Changes in the heat stored in the ocean.
  • Changes in rainfall patterns resulting on more floods, droughts and intense rain.

CAUSES:

Climate change is caused by an increase in the earth’s temperature. Natural causes can include volcanic activity, a change in the energy from the sun and variations in the earth’s orbit around the sun

SCEPTICS V. SCIENCE

Sceptics are still arguing this point, but the consensus of scientist and scientific organizations around the world now supports the conclusion that the major causes are human, not natural. This includes reputable organizations such as the US national Aeronautics and space administration (NASA), the Australian commonwealth scientific and industrial research organization (CISRO) and the European academy of sciences and arts.

REMEDIES:

To reduce the future impacts of climate change, we obviously need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere – in particular, we need to reduce the amount of carbon.

  • Develop less polluting energy generation, transport and other industry
  • New agriculture methods
  • Re- forestation
  • Use less animal products, especially in food
  • Carbon sequestration (storage of carbon rather than allow it to enter the atmosphere.)

Climate change: The biggest global health threat of the 21st century

14 May 2009- A major report on managing the health effects of climate change, launched jointly by ‘The Lancet’ and UCL today, says the climate change is the biggest global health threat of 21st century. ‘Managing the health effects of climate change’ is the work of UCL academies from many disciplines across the university- including health, anthropology, geography, engineering, economics, law and philosophy.

The UCL team focused on key areas: pattern of disease and morality, food security, water and sanitation, shelter and human settlements, extreme events, and population migration.

Food security, water and sanitation:

Food and water security will be a major issue as climate change progresses. Scientists believe that crops are much more sensitive to temperature changes. Water and sanitations are crucial to prevent gastroenteritis and malnutrition. Melting glaciers, and changing river flows and rainfall patterns, are already causing flooding and droughts.

Urbanization and extreme events:

Rapid urbanization, particularly in developing nations, leads to inadequate housing, particularly slums, which are the most exposed during extreme climatic events. Extreme events, including cyclones and hurricanes, have doubled over the past 20 years, according to the insurance companies who insure against them.     

The link between climate change and hunger:

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of these disasters, which in turn has an adverse impact on people’s ability to harvest and access food.

Food Production: Changes in climatic conditions have already affected the production of some staple crops, and future climate change will only make this worse. Higher temperatures will have an impact on yields while changes in rainfall could affect both quality and quantity. Climate change could increase the price of major crops in some regions. For the most vulnerable people, lower agricultural outputs would also mean lower income. Under these conditions, the poorest people- who already use most of their income on food- would have to sacrifice additional income to meet their nutritional requirements.  

The Grand challenge of global health:

The cross-fertilization and application of our expertise is being coordinated through the UCL Institute for global health. It is developing an Institution wide agenda leading to strategies, program, research and teaching to bring our combined expertise to bear on the grand challenge of global health.

Warmer weather will also increase the risk of diseases spread by insects and bacteria, including malaria and salmonella. But the biggest health impacts will be in the poorest parts of the world. Droughts and floods will make agriculture more vulnerable in developing countries and trigger food shortages and rising food prices, spreading malnutrition and disease.

What’s the challenge?

Fossil fuels like coal and oil contain high % of carbon and burning them releases carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the green house gas that traps heat in the atmosphere resulting in global temperature rises. Rises in temperature increase the likelihood of extreme weather such as storms, droughts, heat wave and floods. Changes in temperature can also Have impact on agriculture and food prices, infrastructure, human health and human and animal migration patterns.

GLOBAL WARMING:

Public and media interest in the climate change issue has increased exponentially in recent years. Climate change or Global warming is a complex with far reaching social and economic impacts. Climate change is 21st century brings together all the major aspects of global warming to give a state of the arts description of our collective understanding of this phenomenon and what can be done to counteract it both on the local and global scale.

Climate change threatens 50 years of progress in global health

Climate change threatens to undermine half a century of progress in global health. It concludes that the benefits to health resulting from slashing fossil fuels use are so large that tackling global warming also presents the greatest global opportunity to improve people’s health in 21st century.

The report was produced by the Lancet/UCL commission on health and climate change, a collaboration of dozens of experts from around the world, and is backed by Margaret Chan, head of the UN World Health Organizations.

While a heat wave in India has led to an increase in hospital deaths in recent weeks, Scientists have claimed that climate change is the biggest global health threat of 21st century. Climatologists have said that in the coming century, climate change will worsen virtually every known health problem, from heart disease and heart stroke to salmonella and insect borne infectious diseases.

The researchers said that every society has a range of temperatures within which can cope and outside that range, infrastructures become overloaded.

In India, hospital deaths have increased in recent weeks as the nation battles a heatwave.

A summary checklist of tasks and hints and glossary of climate change and risk management terms are provided:

  • The general approach to climate change risk management is the same for all kinds of organizations, although there may be differences in details.
  • It is not concerned with policy and other actions aimed at the extent or speed of climate change.
  • Most organizations not need to develop their own climate change scenarios or to draw on external expert support or climate change science.

As a public and policy issue, climate change boils down to 4 overarching issues:

  • Climate is changing
  • People are causing climate to change
  • The societal consequences of climate change are highly uncertain
  • There are numerous policy options for climate change risk management.

  Climate change risk management approaches generally fall into 4 broad categories:

  • Mitigation- efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Adaptation- increasing society’s capacity to cope with changes in climate.
  • Geo engineering or climate engineering.
  • Knowledge base expansion-efforts to learn and understand more about the climate system, which can help support proactive risk management.

  Approaches to reducing emissions fall into several categories. They include:

  • Regulations
  • Research, developments and deployments of new technologies
  • Conservation
  • Effort to increase public awareness
  • Positive incentives to encourages choices that lower emissions.
  • Adding a price to greenhouse gas emissions.

Policy choices necessarily integrate both objective information about the climate system and our relationship with it, and subjective value judgements such as whether we are more averse to the risks of changes in climate or the policy responses, the ways we assess issues of fairness among nations and peoples, and the consideration we give to cultural heritage or non human species. This creates a complex and often contentious risk management challenge.

WHY GO GREEN AT WORK?

Businesses emit lots of energy. These emissions are causing climate change, and we all have our part to play in helping the environment.

But besides protecting Mother nature, there are many other practical reasons for going green.

  • Save money.
  • Stay competitive.
  • Get efficient.
  • Retain employees.
  • Be cutting edge.

The term climate change can be explained by dividing it into 2 words climate and change. Climate is the condition of the weather of earth that lasts for long time period. It is undesirable change in the nature.  

ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Adaptation is the principal way to deal with the impacts of a changing climate. It involves taking practical actions to manage risks from climate impacts, protect communities and strengthen the resilience of the economy. It is a shared responsibility. Government at all level, businesses and households each have complementary roles to play. Individuals and

Businesses will often be best placed to make adaptation decisions that reduce climate risks to their assets and livelihoods.

The Government’s investment in adaptation research is complementary and parallel to the Direct Action Plan to reduce emissions.

ADAPTATION STRATEGY:-    The Australian Government released a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy. The Strategy sets out how Australia is managing climate risks for the benefit of community, economy and environment. It identifies a set of principles to guide effective adaptation practice and resilience building, and outlines the Government’s vision for the future.

ADAPTATION RESEARCH FACILITY:-   The Government is committed to maintaining adaptation research capacity in Australia through its renewed funding of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility will synthesize the best available adaptation research and produce practical, hands on tools and information for local decision makers, particularly in the coastal zone.

HOW CAN WE PREVENT CLIMATE CHANGE?

The onset of climate change has come about following over 200 years’ worth of unchecked manmade activity that’s had a negative impact on the world around us- from deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels to driving cars or throwing away perfectly useable materials.

Now we are beginning to feel the effects of climate change around the globe. Scientists estimate that by the end of 21st century, temperatures on the summer of over 40 degrees Celsius could be common place in the UK.

MAKE YOUR HOME MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT

Our homes contribute a large proportion of the UK’s overall carbon emissions- and it’s down to individuals to make a change to reduce their property’s environmental impact. Here are a few quick tips to reduce your home’s carbon dioxide emissions, as well as lowering your energy bills:

  • Invest in double glazing in your home
  • Turn off all appliances (from the socket) when not in use
  • Replace domestic and electrical equipments with energy efficient recommended models
  • Insulate your home: loft insulations, cavity wall insulation, and simple draught excluders

MAKE YOUR LIFESTYLE GREENER

Everything we do in our day to day lives emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That means that even small changes in what w do, or how to do it, can have a positive impact in preventing the onset of climate change. Collectively, we can make a difference,

Here are few steps:

  • Holidays: don’t fly, take a train or alternative transport method
  • Shopping: minimize the number of shopping trips you take by planning ahead and writing a list
  • Nightlife: walk to your local facilities rather than talking the car
  • Sport: try cycling, walking or running to get from A to B.  

CHANGE YOUR HABITS AT WORK

Don’t leave your good environmental habits at home- take them into the office too. Take public transport to work or walk rather than take your car, or share car journeys with colleagues. Turn off appliances, equipments and lights off when you have finished using them and importantly shut down your computer rather than just logging off.

EDUCATE FUTURE GENERATIONS

Preventing climate change in the future is down to the actions and opinions of future generations- meaning now is the time to start educating our children about climate change and its effects. This can be done at school, by parents and every simple through leading by example. If you have children, get them involved in making your lives greener. Give them the responsibility to make sure lights and plugs are turned off in their rooms each time, get them involved in recycling and other green initiatives, rewarding them for their good work.

WATER ATMs, WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY AND LACK OF CLEAN WATER

It is summer, you are thirsty and someone passes you a glass of muddied water when you ask them for a drink. Will you angry? Of course yes. Now imagine the plight of 75,777,997 people or 6% of India’s population, who don’t have access to clean water as per 2016 Water aid report.

DEPLETION: Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh, popularly known as India’s Water man cited that about 73% of ground water aquifers are in the overdraft, which means we have taken more water than the recharge.

ATM: WATER ATMs TO PROVIDE RESPITE

In order to address this issue, water ATMs are being set up in rural regions across the country by private and public agencies, so that people can have purified water at minimum cost.  To run these ATMs, water is taken from the nearest source, then it is sent to a lab and afterwards it is kept at Water ATMs to meet demands.

Several start ups are now working to reach the goals of providing one billion liters of water on a yearly basis to regions, which are suffering from acute water shortage, within the next World Environment Day.

This target will need to change every year, a report says. The water levels of aquifers that provide 85% of drinking water are falling 56% annually.

RESOURCE:  Affordable clean water is the need of the hour

 Parag Agarwal, the founder of Janajal, a firm that installs Water ATMs, said,  “ We are committed to make a difference and make right to water a distinct reality in the life of every Indian”.

Moreover, “we also solicit and seek support from corporate India to further this cause in an affordable and sustainable manner and make this precious resource available to one and all”.

OPINION ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE:

Nowadays climate change is the biggest problem of the human being. It already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threat in the planet.

Nowadays there are so many factories that exhale really destructive substances and pollute the air. When we breathe the polluted air, we can get seriously ill. Ground level ozone can damage lung tissue. It is especially harmful for those with asthma and other chronic lung disease. This can cause cancer and other serious diseases.

Another huge problem is that the sea levels are rising worldwide. Mounting glaciers and small ice caps are melting as well as Greenland’s Ice sheet and the Antarctica Ice sheet. The temperature is rises which means that ice is melting faster and faster.

However,   these are not the only problems.

Another issue is greenhouse gases. They are gases which trap heat in the atmosphere.

All vehicles exhale too much damaging substances. People who have been trying to reduce them but still the problem is topical. We may use public transport rather than private. We also may choose a clean burning fuel.

The UN should prioritize combating climate change over reducing poverty. It is because the climate doesn’t allow them to grow food and they can’t afford to buy it from other countries.

The climate is very important thing and if we don’t stop the changes soon, more and more plants and trees are going to die, we wont have enough food and not only will the third world countries suffer from hunger but so will the whole world. I think it is better to first stop the changes in climate and then gradually reduce the hunger in the poor countries. Because if we stop the changes, we are going to be healthier and everything around us will be cleaner and it will be how it actually should be. I believe harmony between nature and human beings will return.  

Thus for minimizing the effect of climate change, several actions should be taken such as Afforestation, managed Industrialization, urbanization, and planned development are some of them. Besides this, use of clean energy also helps for minimizing the climate change. Last but not least, for controlling the increasing change in the climate; sustainable development and use of clean energy is most essential.


References:

  • IPCC AR4 SYR (2007) Core Writing Team; Pachauri, R.K.; Reisinger, A., eds. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis report. Contribution of working groups I, II, and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Climate Change: Evidences and Causes, from the Royal Society and the S. National Academy of Sciences.
  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-effects
  • Times News Network (31 May 2012) World Environment Day 2012. Times of India: Environment. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 4 June 2013
  • K, Abhay (27 April 2014) “Earth Anthem”.

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