Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Global Warming and its Effects

The following post is based on the article Facing the Consequences publish in The Economist on November 27th, 2010.

Some people are still doubting global warming and actually don't believe that the world is getting warmer every year. I can often hear people saying things like: " I hope that global warming is happening because I hate winter!" and so on.

The truth is that global warming has some important effects on the earth. The world has warmed by 0.7C in the 20th century and the carbon dioxide levels are 40% higher than before the industrial revolution. The most marked changes due to a warmer planet are the following:

  • Warming up of the permafrost, ice melts in Arctic
  • Mountains and glaciers shrink and disappear
  • Winter snow melts more quickly leading to spring floods. 
  • Sea level rises  and on estimates puts 8.7 millions more people at risk of flooding in delta's by 2050
  • Increase of level 4 & 5 hurricanes, which are more destructive than smaller ones
  • Coral bleaching is triggered by temperature stress and it has a negative effect on fishing and tourism
Rich countries are able to adapt to these changes, but some people and communities are too poor to adapt on their own. Possible ways of adaptation  are the development of farming technics that can store moisture and carbon in soil and also mass migration which is obviously an unwelcome impact of global warming. The rich countries are certainly the most responsible for the emissions and it is unfair for the poor countries to pay the cost of adaptation when they were not responsible in the first place. Global warming is a concern that, as a planet, we need to consider and find a solution for. By many scientists, a change of only 2 degrees Celcius (2C) would be the limit of safety for global warming.

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