Blue Planet & Green House

Our climate is changing!!!!!

Climate Change is simply, the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family.

Climate change is a global, man-made and complex threat, putting millions of lives and ecosystems at threat. With a rapid rate at which the Earth is warming up, it is necessary that a collective global approach is adopted to tackle this threat.Further, a fundamental transformation in our societies is required in the field of energy, nutrition and resources.

Climate Change: Meaning

In simple words: it is a global phenomena of climate transformation that can be characterized by the changes which can be observed and felt in our day-to-day lives. These changes are a result of numerous natural factors and a variety of human factors that are now disturbing the overall ecosystem of the planet, thus, putting the future existence of mankind under threat. This is a general understanding about the Climate Change, there is a more technical definition that sums up the phenomenon in a more appropriate manner. According to NASA: “Climate Change is a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning of fossil fuels which add heat trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere. These phenomenon includes the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea-level rise; ice-mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events.”

It is always mentioned in all our conversations, articles, write-ups, essays etc that the change in climate has been occurring since centuries and has been a result of a variety of factors. Lets take a closer look as to what all affects the change in the climate and since when and how the concept of climate change caught the attention of various scientists, other agencies and the corporate that it became an area of brainstorming.

To know as to when the study of the change in the climate started and how it caught the attention of the people at various stages, it is first necessary to know what are the reasons behind the change in the climate since ages.

Causes: a look closer

Climate change is a paradoxical subject. With the changing environment and the global warming on the rise, the political and public response to this global threat is relatively weak. One of the major factors that influence the rapid change in the environment is the burning of fossil fuels namely coal, gas, oil etc by the humans. This has been continuing for several centuries now and results in emission of the “Green house gasses” that trap the heat in the Earth’s atmosphere resulting in a phenomenon called “The Green House Effect”.

However, apart from the Human factors (shall discuss later again), there are many other factors that influence the threat of Climate Change. Understanding them would make the picture a lot more clear. These are:

a. Sun: its strength

One of the factors that influences the hotter or the colder Earth is the energy that is released from the Sun. Since, the energy output of the Sun is not constant and varies every time, there is a variation in the Earth’s atmosphere.

b. Natural Causes

Apart from Sun there are a number of other natural factors that influence the Climate Change on the planet. These are beyond the human control. Lets understand them:

  • Continental Drift: Our planet appears very different what is used to be a million of years ago. It used to be a huge land mass where everything was joint and connected. Nothing had drifted apart. The one huge landmass had the vegetation and flowers that used to grow in the similar kind of environment. This landmass, over the centuries have splited and have become the present day continents and have impacted the climate dramatically (everything from the oceans to the winds have changed ever since then.).
  • Volcanoes: Volcanoes also play a significant role in the change of the climate. When a volcano erupts, it throws out large volumes of various gases, water vapour , dust and ash with it. These stay in the atmosphere for a relatively long period of time.Though the volcano lasts for a couple of days, the effects are adverse and stay for long, thus, changing the overall climate along with it. This can be substantiated with an example:The year of 1816 is often referred to as “the year without summer”; several weather related disruptions occurred in New England and in western Europe along with the killing summer frosts in the United States and Canada. The strange happenings were attributed to a major eruption of Tambore Volcano in Indonesia in 1815. The above example clearly testifies the effect of volcanoes on climate, thus, changing the balance overall for a very long period of time.
  • Earth’s Tilt: Earth is tilted away from the sun. Its orbit is somewhat elliptical, which means that the distance between the Earth and the Sun varies over the course of a year. If there is any change in the tilt, it leads to change in the climatic conditions making it severe or devastating.
  • Ocean Currents: Oceans make an important component of the climatic system. They cover about 71% of the Earth and absorb about twice the Sun’s radiation as compared to the atmosphere or the land surface. The ocean currants have been known for changing the directions (slow or fast) leading to the climate change to a large extent. An example that is believed to be the most suited for this is the end of the last Ice Age (due to ocean currants) about 14000 years ago.

c. Human Causes

As mentioned earlier, climate change and the human activities are directly connected. Deforestation, burning of fossil fuels etc make a direct impact on the climate and leads to the changes from time to time. Burning of fossil fuels has been a major activity since the age of “Industrial Revolution”. The gases that are released with the burning of fuels stay in the atmosphere and leads to a warmer climate system and can bring change to such an extent that would be irreparable and irreversible.

Climate Change and Global Warming: History and Introduction

Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. There have been several cycles of global advance and retreat that has lead to the abrupt end of the last ice age several centuries ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era. However, these changes attribute to a mix of variables in the natural causes (as discussed earlier) over a period of time.

Climate of the planet has been getting warmer with each passing century and it is getting warmer at an alarming rate. The ability of the green house gases to trap the heat and transfer the same to the atmosphere has been demonstrated since the 19th century. It is, however, notable that the current changes in the climate and the global warming effects has been a result of human activities.

It, therefore, becomes necessary to understand since when, the humans started noticing these changes in their environment and since when we as a family, started taking a stock of the changes that became visible due to the destruction caused by us (the human family).

The history of the scientific discovery of climate change began in early 19th century with some minimal changes that were noticeable by the scientists. By the end of the 19th century, there were first evidences available of the emission of green house gases and further, were the arguments that these gases can alter the climate. In the 1930’s Thomas Edison (pioneer in electrical technologies), voiced his concerns over the climate change the immediate need for the renewable energy. However by the time it was late 20th century (late nineties) the effect of global warming became visible and increasingly convincing.

It is during this period of late nineties, with the levels of pollution and global warming reaching to the unprecedented levels, the United Nations formed “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)” in 1988 with the objective that it will provide regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and will suggest future risks and options for mitigation and adaption.

With the formation of IPCC in 1988, baby steps were taken in the direction of controlling the global warming the reducing the effects of green house gases emissions. A lot in the same direction was required and at a much larger level, at a global level. With the thought, the US government formed a treaty named UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) which was opened for signatures by the various countries at the June 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) which is also known as- The Rio Earth Summit and the finally The UNFCC came into force on 21st March 1994.

The objective has been to meet regularly to take a stock of developments in the field of climate change and also to devise new measures to control the same at a much larger level. The aim has been to bring all the stakeholders…the governments, scientists, environmentalists, diplomats, industrialists…. all under one platform that there can be collective brain storming on the subject and collective decision can be taken.

The first conference of the UN Climate Change was in held in Berlin in 1995 and the body has met every year ever since then. The objective has always been to bring joint measures for improvement of global warming and change in ecosystem by bringing in various initiatives from time to time. Weather it was “the Kyoto Protocol” that was adopted in 1997 with the aim of reducing the green house gas emissions by all the industrialized countries by 6-8% between the first budget period of climate change i.e., from the period between the year 2008-to the year 2012 OR “The Paris Agreement” in the year 2015 where the declaration was issued to govern the measures taken to reduce the pollution and global warming levels. This declaration came into force in November 2016 OR the agreements that had been in place in all the rest of the years about the controlling measures.

The aim of all the conferences has been to adopt and execute ways and means for a collective effort in reducing the global emission of green house gases so that the planet is a better place to live in the centuries to come.

Having a brief understanding as to how the climate changes became visible and what are the various factors that are responsible for the same, it is very evident that a lot of work is to be done in this area and also, a lot of reforms are required to be brought in so that the industries can participate in reducing these emissions. BUT with this thought comes a very obvious question that what is expected out of industries?? What role can industries can play in reducing carbon emissions and start working with various forms of renewable energies?? How have these industries across the globe dealt with this issue of climate change?? How over a period of time have they changed there policies (organizational and communication) so that they can fulfill both there global and corporate social responsibility?? How have these industries (new and existing since long) strategized over all these centuries to communicate and sustain this global threat???

Interesting questions: LETS STUDY!!!!!!!!!!!

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