Things you didn’t know about climate change

Climate change has become a major issue in the modern world and we all know that we now have a responsibility to undertake actions to help overturn the effects. As a global society, we need to do our part in protecting and saving the environment.

Boiled down simply, man-made climate change is the result of rising carbon emissions and greenhouse gases that melt polar caps, cause the oceans to rise and result in large-scale changes in weather patterns. Combined, all of this can be extremely catastrophic.

Two-thirds of respondents to the world’s largest opinion poll recently acknowledged that climate change is a global emergency. But how much do you know about climate change?

The facts: How to stop climate change (and what if we don’t?)

It is happening right now: With initiatives like the 2015 Paris Agreement centred around reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, many people think that the impacts of climate change are yet to come. But we are experiencing large-scale weather events right now with polar ice caps melting, sea levels rising and extreme weather events increasing. Just look at the recent record bushfires in Australia and the incredible snow storms experienced in Texas – a state that rarely receives any snow at all.

It will cause more widespread disease: Bad news for those that hope that COVID-19 will be behind us soon and we can go back to a more normal lifestyle. COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus – a disease that leaps from animals to humans, and increased climate change will see more forms of coronavirus occur. That’ll mean a rise in diseases that we haven’t seen in a long time return as bacteria and viruses trapped in ice become exposed from them melting. Extreme rain events means disease carriers like mosquitoes and rats will thrive as well which means these diseases will be more easily spread.

The largest emitters are taking action: It is a widespread falsehood that the world’s leading carbon emitter (China) and third-largest (India) are not reducing their impact while the second-largest emitter (USA) famously left the Paris Agreement under the leadership of Donald Trump.

In truth, China’s per capita carbon emissions are lower than most countries in the EU, they have built the largest solar, wind and hydroelectric renewable energy sources in the world and they produce more solar and wind energy than any other nation. India’s renewable energy capacity is the fourth-largest in the world and they are on track to meet their renewable energy targets by 2022 while new US President Joe Biden has outlined a detailed climate change response.

Climate change was predicted back in the 1800s: For many, the term climate change (and the outdated term global warming) has only been around for the last couple of decades.

But Prussian geographer, explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humbold first predicted climate change back in the early 19th century. Von Humbold is regarded as the world’s first environmentalist and he warned that humans had the capacity and ability to upset the balance of nature after witnessing the destruction of ecosystems in South America.