DQ1: What are the major causes and effects of climate change?
Climate change is a complex global phenomenon that is primarily caused by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities. The main greenhouse gases responsible for climate change include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O).
One major cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas for energy production. This releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, which traps heat and leads to the greenhouse effect. Additionally, deforestation contributes to climate change as trees play a crucial role in absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen.
Another significant cause of climate change is the industrial sector, which emits greenhouse gases through various manufacturing processes. For instance, the production of cement releases a substantial amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Moreover, agricultural practices, particularly livestock farming, release significant amounts of CH4 and N2O through enteric fermentation and the use of synthetic fertilizers.
The effects of climate change are already being observed worldwide and are predicted to worsen in the future. Rising global temperatures lead to the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, resulting in a rise in sea levels. This poses a threat to coastal areas and low-lying islands, increasing the risk of flooding and erosion.
Climate change also leads to more frequent and intense extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, and heatwaves. These events have devastating impacts on human lives, infrastructure, and ecosystems. For example, the increased frequency of heatwaves can pose health risks and may lead to heat-related illnesses and deaths.
Furthermore, climate change affects ecosystems and biodiversity. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns disrupt the habitats and migration patterns of many species, leading to a loss of biodiversity. This can have cascading effects on ecosystems and can potentially result in the collapse of certain ecosystems.
In terms of human health, climate change is expected to increase the spread of infectious diseases and exacerbate respiratory conditions. The changing climate favors the proliferation of disease vectors such as mosquitoes, increasing the transmission of diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus.
In conclusion, the major causes of climate change are the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, industrial emissions, and agricultural practices. The effects of climate change include rising global temperatures, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, ecosystem disruption, loss of biodiversity, and negative impacts on human health. Understanding these causes and effects is crucial in developing strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
IPCC (2013). Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.
NASA (n.d.). Causes of Climate Change. Retrieved from https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/