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Saturday, April 13, 2024

The climate change enigma

Though we often think about human-induced climate change as something that will happen in the future, it is an ongoing process. Ecosystems and communities in the United States and around the world are being impacted today.

No challenge poses a greater threat to a future generation than climate change as claimed by Former President Barack Obama’s state of the union address 2015. Nowadays, Climate change is a buzzword but the masses are not understanding this matter of gravity. The world has faced multiple challenges such as pandemics, wars, unstable economy, but climate change is the most daunting threat to the survival of humans and wild animals. Climate change does not see the developed or under-developed region, rich or poor. It is equal for everyone, it’s here and it’s expanding.

The year 2022 is becoming the most devastating one in terms of the negative impact of climate change, the rapid melting of ice sheets and glaciers of Greenland and the polar region, the increased frequency of wildfires across the globe, the unusual intensity of monsoon season in South Asia is the grave impacts of worsening climate change. Climate change is the long-term shift in temperature and weather patterns due to natural variability or anthropogenic reasons. It’s producing unprecedented catastrophes throughout the world. There is a vital thing that people should know: what are the causes of climate change? How can we mitigate it? Can we become a part of the remedy?

Read more: How climate change is impacting our societies

Causes of climate change

Firstly, we should know what are the causes of climate change. As there are multiple reasons for climate change, a few of them are as follows.

1) Fossil fuels: Such as coal, oil, and gas are the main source of climate change, as these are used in generating electricity, manufacturing goods, producing food, transportation, etc. Blatantly, these are harmful to our environment and our health, but we should get rid of them and play a positive part in the creation of a sustainable environment.

2) Deforestation: By cutting down trees to create farmland, furniture, and building houses for economic benefit, causes emissions. When people cut them causes the release of the carbon that they have been storing and increases their carbon footprint. Approximately, 12 million hectares are destroyed each year. Forests absorb carbon dioxide and destroying them creates intimidating impacts on the environment.

3) Fluorinated Gases: These are gases (such as Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) that play a part in climate change as they trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. These gases mostly come from equipment and products such as heat pumps, air conditioning systems, refrigerators, etc. They play a significant role in enhancing the warming effect, up to 23,000 times greater than that of CO2.

4) Fertilizers: containing nitrogen are also one of the elements causing climate change. Farmers use this fertilizer for the productivity of the land, however, such fertilizer is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global agricultural production resulting in emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas with approximately 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Read more: Pakistan floods were aggravated by climate change

Mitigation for Climate change

For every problem, there is a solution. We can mitigate climate change individually and collectively. There are numerous ways that we can follow to mitigate climate change. A few of them are as follows.

1) Renewable Energy: we should use renewable energy such as electricity from solar, wind, water, and nuclear for our homes, Industries, and transport. Moreover, ban the use of fossil fuels. Energy from these resources is advantageous for our health, as well, for our environment.

2) Transportation: we should walk, use a bicycle or public transport for daily transportation. The transport sector mostly uses fossil fuels and is responsible for approximately one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Subsequently, walking, using a bicycle or electric car, and public transport plays a vital role to mitigate climate change.

3) Reduce, Reuse, Repair, and Recycle: by adopting the habit of 4R, we can significantly reduce the climate footprint. Electronics, clothes, and other items that we buy cause carbon emissions from every point from production to extraction of raw material to manufacturing and availability of goods to market. To protect our environment, we should buy a few things, reuse second old things, repair the item if we can, and recycle.

4) Afforestation: Planting trees is a game changer, as trees reduce the climate footprint by absorbing CO2 emissions. Crowther Lab research shows that one trillion new trees could absorb 1/3 of the CO2 emission made by human beings. Furthermore, an extra 25 percent of the forested area could absorb 25 percent of atmospheric carbon.

Read more: Why climate change needs to be taken seriously?

Climate change is a grave problem all over the world. By knowing the problem and implementing the solution we can mitigate this problem collectively and individually. From this, we can build a better, healthy, greener, and more sustainable environment for the future generation.

The writer is a member of the Sustainable Development Goals Society at GCU Lahore. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.