The documented rise in the temperature of the earth’s surface has been attributed to a phenomenon known as global warming.
While the causes of global warming are up for debate, the Fifth Assessment Report produced by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that it’s “extremely likely” that human influence is a primary cause of the rising temperature of the earth.
The increase in temperature of the earth’s surface has potentially dire consequences for the planet leading to an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and an increase in heatwaves, drought and bushfires.
If the temperature of the earth continues to rise the long-term impact will also be felt on a local level:
- Coastal communities submerged
- Extinction of wild and marine life
- Crops wiped out
- Poverty and starvation
While the causes of global warming are commonly thought to be human-made, scientists also argue that the earth’s temperature – which has increased by an average 0.90 degree Celsius according to NASA – may only be increasing temporarily and we can’t assume this is an ongoing trend.
When studying global warming, it’s important to look at long-term data rather than the immediate snippet of time that we’re currently in. While the temperature is currently rising, between 1998 and 2008, there was no rise at all.
While the phenomenon of global warming continues to divide the world, there is no denying that reducing your carbon footprint will benefit the planet long into the future.
The small changes you can make today may seem like a drop in a very large ocean but the inertia of the greenhouse gases (the gases that are emitted into the earth’s atmosphere and trap the heat) responsible for global warming means that even if climate is controlled today, the effects on the planet will still be felt long into the future. Is global warming a cause for concern? Have your say.