With the increase in globalization, it is imperative that the dialogue for climate change be improved. As we all know, climate change occurs due to primarily the overuse of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide and other green houses gasses into the air causing increased levels of global warming and pollution. However, if you need to understand climate change, there are some key terms that you need to keep in mind. Here are a few of them:
Weather and Climate
We often tend to mix the two up, because it is a little known fact that weather and climate are two vastly different things. Weather refers to atmospheric changes that occur over a consistent period of time, and these are usually short term. Climate, on the other hand refers to weather patterns over a longer period of time – usually 30 or more years.
Greenhouse gasses include carbon dioxide, methane, and other human-made gasses. These gasses allow for the solar radiation to enter the Earth’s surface, leading to increased heat levels, while some of the energy is reflected back to the atmosphere as infrared radiation. Essentially, when there is an increase in the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, the infrared radiation is trapped by them, leading to what we know now as global warming.
These are sources of non-renewable energy. Fossil fuels are actually formed from the remains of living organisms that were buried centuries ago. Greenhouse gasses are usually released when fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, are burnt to produce energy. Thanks to globalization, the use of fossil fuels has increased, and so has the green house effect, which is directly proportional to increasing temperatures.
Rise in Sea Levels
Two major effects cause a rise in sea level. Due to the greenhouse effect, an increasing number of glaciers and icebergs end up melting, which leads to a rise in the water levels. The increase in temperature also causes the oceans to expand as the temperature in the ocean rises. Rising sea levels will eventually put those living on the coastal communities at risk.
This is the energy that comes from naturally replenished resources like wind, sun, waves, etc. Renewable sources of energy make for at least 30% of the world’s power-generating capacity, and supplies over 25% of electricity on a global scale. Renewable energy is essential in the larger scheme of things, as it does not produce the greenhouse gasses that are driving global climate change.
It is essential that you understand these terms, to understand what climate change truly is, and to be able to participate in this on-going conversation.