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 Global Warming |

 Global Warming

Context

∙ A new study based on estimates of warming from palaeo-thermometry, have said that the earth’s surface has already warmed by more than 1.5 degrees C on average over pre-industrial levels. 

Background of 1.5 degrees C threshold

∙ The 1.5 degrees C is not a scientific threshold. It became enshrined in the Paris Agreement after negotiations by member-countries of the UNFCCC. 

Global warming

∙ It refers to the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900), primarily due to human activities. 

∙ This process releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, trapping heat in the atmosphere and causing the planet to warm.

Causes

 Global Warming |

∙ Greenhouse gases: These gases absorb and re-emit infrared radiation from the sun, trapping heat in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main culprit, followed by methane, nitrous oxide, and others.

∙ Fossil fuel burning: Burning coal, oil, and natural gas releases large amounts of CO2, the primary driver of global warming.

∙ Deforestation: Trees absorb CO2, so their removal contributes to higher atmospheric levels.

∙ Other human activities: Industrial processes, agriculture, and land-use changes also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Effects

∙ Rising global temperatures: The average global temperature has already risen by about 1 degree Celsius since the pre-industrial era, with further warming expected in the future.

∙ Climate change: More extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts, floods, wildfires, and intense storms are becoming more frequent and severe.

∙ Sea level rise: Melting glaciers and thermal expansion of oceans are causing sea levels to rise, threatening coastal communities and ecosystems.

∙ Ocean acidification: Increased CO2 absorption by oceans makes them more acidic, harming marine life.

∙ Changes in plant and animal life: Species are being forced to adapt or migrate due to changing temperatures and ecosystems.

  • Measures to address global warming

Mitigation:

∙ Energy transition: Rapidly shift to renewable energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro power. 

∙ Sustainable land management: Protect forests, restore degraded land, and adopt sustainable agricultural practices that reduce emissions and store carbon.

∙ Circular economy: Transition to a circular economy where resources are reused and recycled, minimizing waste and associated emissions.

∙ Technological innovation: Invest in research and development of clean technologies for various sectors, like carbon capture and storage, advanced biofuels, and green hydrogen.

Adaptation:

∙ Early warning systems: Develop and implement effective early warning systems for extreme weather events to enable timely preparedness and response.

∙ Climate-resilient infrastructure: Build and manage infrastructure like dams, water management systems, and coastal defenses to withstand the impacts of rising sea levels, floods, and storms.

∙ Climate-smart agriculture: Develop and adopt agricultural practices that are resilient to climate change and drought, ensuring food security.

∙ Disaster risk reduction: Invest in programs that reduce vulnerability to disasters and enable communities to recover quickly and effectively.

∙ Social safety nets: Implement social protection programs to support vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by climate change impacts.

International cooperation:

∙ Global agreements: Strengthen international agreements like the Paris Agreement, ensuring ambitious emissions reduction targets and effective implementation mechanisms.

∙ Technology transfer and financial support: Developed countries should support developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts through technology transfer, financial assistance, and capacity building.

Individual action:

∙ Reduce carbon footprint: Make conscious choices to reduce energy consumption in your daily life, opt for sustainable transportation, and consume less.

∙ Support climate-friendly businesses: Choose products and services from companies committed to sustainability and reducing their environmental impact.

∙ Advocate for action: Raise awareness about climate change and advocate for policies that support mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Way Ahead:

∙ The urgency of addressing climate change is widely recognized, but the pace of action remains insufficient to meet international targets for emissions reductions.

∙ The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of severe consequences if we fail to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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