The majority of climate scientists are in agreement that the leading cause of global warming is human-related.
Human-caused climate change has been under debate for years, largely because of powerful figures and industries’ ability to manipulate the media and public attention with inaccurate studies for their own financial gain.
However, the consensus is clear: 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real, is happening now and is largely caused by human activities.
In this article, we’ll outline the causes of global warming, the gases that contribute to the issue and how humans can reverse the effects that we officially know, we have caused.
Causes of Climate Change: The Gases That Create the Greenhouse Effect
To know the cause of Anthropogenic climate change, we must first look at the specific gases that have been contributing to the greenhouse effect.
There are certain types of gases that trap heat in our atmosphere. Gases that remain in the atmosphere and don’t respond to changes in temperature are seen as “forcing” climate change, while other gases such as water vapor which does respond to changes in temperature are called, “feedbacks” which as you have probably ascertained, acts as a feedback to the climate.
Other gases include:
1. CO2 or Carbon Dioxide
This is a very important component of the atmosphere. It is released through natural processes such as respiration and volcano eruptions, however, has been magnified exponentially throughout the years through human activities such as land use changes, deforestation and burning fossil fuels.
This is a hydrocarbon which is 30 times stronger than CO2 is created through both natural methods and human activities such as landfill decomposition, agriculture and livestock production.
3. Nitrous Oxide
This powerful greenhouse gas is created through soil cultivation practices, particularity the use of fertilizers, nitric acid production, fossil fuel combustion and the burning of biomass.
These are synthetic compounds created by industrial practices are also seen as greenhouse gases. Although they are still used in variety of applications, their production has been regulated due to their ability to harm our ozone layer.
While there are many different greenhouse gases, the evidence that they are mainly human-related is apparent.
Over the last century, humans have been increasing the amount of burning fossil fuels due to the population increase.
On top of that, other human activities such as clearing of land for agriculture industry, meat consumption have increased other known greenhouse gases as seen above.
But what does this mean for life on Earth?
The Consequences of Human-Caused Climate Change
While the repercussions of changing our natural atmospheric greenhouse are challenging to predict, there are a number of effects that seem probable due to scientific evidence and studies.
Some of these consequences include:
- Change in temperature. Our planet will become warmer in most areas, however, others may not.
- These warmer conditions will lead to evaporation and precipitation; however, some will become significantly drier.
- Greenhouse effect will result in glacial melting, which will then lead to an increase in sea level rise.
- Changing climate patterns will shift the areas where certain crops grow best, affecting the natural makeup of plant communities.
While there is still some uncertainty as to exactly how climate change will affect our everyday lives, due to inability to predict the future amount of emissions.
There is a significant amount of certainty that future weather patterns and changes in the way we live as a species will be drastic if we don’t stop emitting these harmful gases.
That being said, even if we were to stop emitting greenhouse gases today, the Earth will continue to warm, making the need for action even more pressing.
Human Caused Climate Change: Final Thoughts
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 5th Assessment Report had grouped 1,300 scientific experts from all over the world in order to conclude that there’s over a 95% probability that the warming of our planet has been caused by human’s activities over the past 50 years.
Over the last 150 years, carbon dioxide levels have raised from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million due to human activities.
What does this say?
It means whatever we do next must be in accordance with ensuring our planet’s atmosphere stabilizes.
By investing in an electric car and polar panels for your home’s electricity needs, cutting down on meat or switching to a vegetarian diet, and as always, making sure your vote counts, you’ll be directly acting towards the improvement of our world’s critical state and our future as a species.