The Name of the Class
In recent years, the Earth’s climate varies considerably: some countries suffer from heat waves, the others from too harsh and snowy winters, unusual for these places. Environmentalists talk about global climate change, which includes an increase in mean annual temperature, causing the melting of glaciers, and rising sea levels. In addition to warming, there is also imbalance of natural systems, which leads to changes in rainfall patterns, temperature anomalies and the increased frequency of extreme events such as hurricanes, floods and droughts (Biello, 2016). According to scientists, humanity cannot fully prevent climate change. But the international community is able to keep the temperature rise to avoid the irreversible environmental consequences. To do this, it is needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions, develop alternative energy sources and a strategy to reduce risks due to warming.
If the countries will not begin to address in earnest the issue of environmental protection, by 2100, the world temperature could rise by 3,7 ° C to 4,8 ° C. The climatologists warn: the irreversible consequences for the environment has come under warming by more than 2 ° C. According to the scientists, for ten months of 2015 the average temperature of the planet was at 1,02 ° C higher than it was recorded in the XIX century (when began the monitoring for changes in global temperature). The threshold of one degree has been exceeded for the first time in modern history. The scientists agree that it is human activity like the burning of oil, gas and coal, which leads to the greenhouse effect, and causes an increase in the average temperature. The experts point out that in the period between 2000 and 2010 was observed the strongest growth in greenhouse gas emissions over the past 30 years. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in 2014, its concentration in the atmosphere has reached a record high level (Conserve-Energy-Future, 2013).
Thus, what consequences await the planet if the humanity will not succeed to stop the temperature increase? The first consequence will be natural disasters. The climatic zones will shift, weather changes will become more sharp (strong frosts, changing with sudden thaws in the winter, the abnormally growth of hot days in the summer). The frequency and severity of abnormal phenomena, such as droughts and floods, will increase. The connection between climate change and the occurrence of natural disasters has been proved by the American scientists, who discovered the traces of warming in the study of tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean, unusually high summer temperatures in Europe, China, South Korea and Argentina, as well as forest fires in California. The climate change has served as a catalyst for the drought in Africa and the Middle East, for the snowstorms in Nepal and for the torrential rains that caused flooding in Canada and New Zealand.
Secondly, some countries due to increased humidity and high average temperature by 2100 could become uninhabitable. According to a study of the American scientists, the risk group includes Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and other Middle East countries. According to the calculations of climatologists at the current rate of growth of greenhouse gas emissions by 2070 the average temperature in the Gulf may reach the record level 74-77 ° C. This will make the area unsuitable for humanity. The exclusion can make a major metropolis with advanced air-conditioning systems. But the citizens of these cities will be able to leave their houses only at night. Besides, according to some scientists, now we are in the middle of the sixth period of mass extinction of species in the Earth in the history. And this time, this process was caused by human actions. If global warming would not be stopped, many ecosystems, different species of living creatures which they contain, will become less diverse and less saturated. There are predictions of extinction of 30-40% of plant and animal species, as their habitat will change faster than they will be able to adapt to these changes.
Thirdly, the UN experts warn that the warming will negatively affect the crop yields, especially in the underdeveloped countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, which will lead to the food catastrophe. According to the British scientists, by 2080 the number of people facing the threat of hunger could increase to 600 million people. Another important consequence of climate change could be a shortage of drinking water. In dry regions (like Central Asia, the Mediterranean, the South Africa, Australia and many more), the situation will worsen due to the reduction of the rainfalls. Hunger, lack of water, and insect migration can lead to an increase in the spread of epidemics, and in the northern areas of tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue. The climate change may affect not only human health, but also increase the risk of political disputes and conflicts over access to water and food resources.
The first solution to this problem could be the adaptation of society to the new conditions. The plans to minimize the damage caused by climate change must encompass all spheres of human activity, including health, agriculture and infrastructure. However, different states have different possibilities to neutralize the impact of climate change. For example, the Netherlands and Bangladesh are experiencing the same problem: the number of storms has increased, the sea level has risen. In the Netherlands the action plan is already in process, the scientists know how they will strengthen the dams and where they will take money. In Bangladesh, there is nothing like that, and the coastline there is 10 times longer than in the Netherlands, and the population there is 10 times bigger, and the hazardous areas are inhabited by 100 million people, which will need somewhere to move. Thus, most of the necessary measures for adaptation are quite simple and straightforward, but to implement them it is needed money and the effective planning. According to estimates of climatologists, to keep the temperature rise to a maximum of 2 ° C, countries will need by 2050 to reduce by half the global emissions relative to the levels of 1990, and by the end of the XXI century - to reduce it to zero.
Another solution may be the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions. According to PwC analysts, since 2000 in the United Kingdom was reduced the average carbon dioxide emissions by 3.3% per year, in France - 2.7%, in the USA - 2.3%. The average annual decrease in carbon emissions over the past 15 years was 1.3% (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2016). However, these efforts are not enough. To prevent the irreversible climate change, the annual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions up to 2100 should be at least 6.3%. This means, that on the one hand, it is needed to implement energy-saving technologies, on the other hand, it is needed to switch to the alternative energy sources.
The third solution could be the usage of the alternative energy sources. Safe for the atmosphere, in terms of emissions, are several energy sources like the hydropower, the nuclear stations and the renewable energy sources (solar, wind, tides). The hydropower has a foreseeable physical limits (rivers in the world are not so numeral), the wind and the tides can only be used locally, so the main energy sources of the future are the Sun and the atom. According to the experts, on the basis of the current level of technology development, the nuclear energy looks more impressive: the share of alternative and renewable sources of energy currently account for 2% of global consumption, and the atom is already producing 16% of world electricity (in the UK and in the developed countries - more than 70%, in underdeveloped countries - 40%). The advantage of the nuclear power is that it is a major power, it is power for large industrial agglomerations, major cities. The solar energy trump is its almost universal availability and rapid development of technology. In addition, the solar energy can be improved and is much more cost-effective, as opposed to the nuclear power, which no longer will be able to significantly reduce the cost. But the problem of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions through the renewable energy sources cannot be completely solved. It is impossible to provide the energy industry with the help of solar panels in the Nordic countries, such as Russia, where six months in the north is day, six months – night. The same thing is about the wind energy. It is more suitable for individual use, but not for industrial production.
The negotiations on combating the climate change are compounded by disagreements between rich and poor countries. The transition to clean energy sources requires a significant investment. The developed countries insist that contribute to these efforts have made all participants in the negotiations. The developing countries, in their turn, believe that the responsibility for the climate change lies on the industrialized countries that have long been polluting the atmosphere with their greenhouse gasses. According to UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s the special responsibility in the fight against the climate change and the consequences of this phenomenon lies on the developed countries. In 2010, to help the developing countries under the auspices of the United Nations was created The Green Climate Fund. Its funds are granted mostly by the developed countries. It is planned that by 2020 the fund amount should reach $100 billion, however, now there are slightly more than $10 billion. Now the developed countries are experiencing serious strain on the state budgets, so they prefer to climate finance has gone through the private investments or loans, while the vulnerable countries are not ready to take loans. In November 2015 the fund has approved $168 million for the first eight projects which help the developing countries adapt to the negative consequences of the climate change. It is about three projects in Africa, three in the Asia-Pacific region and two in Latin America (Society, 2016).
Thus, despite the remaining differences on major issues, there are signs of a possible compromise on the part of European countries. Fortunately, not all share the concerns on account of global warming. Recent data, obtained by processing incoming satellite images, does not confirm the prospect of a global disaster, described by the pessimistic scientists. This data give us hope that humanity will be able to cope with the impending threat. For example, the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved by improving the energy efficiency, the reduction of the heat loss and fuel, by modernization and energy complex, the transition to safer fuels, due to slowing the consumption of the fossil fuels, which are known to be essentially non-renewable, by the development of the alternative, environmentally friendly energy technologies.
Biello, D., 2016. 10 Solutions for Climate Change. [online] Scientific American. Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/10-solutions-for-climate-change/ [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].
Conserve-Energy-Future, 2013. Global Warming Solutions - Conserve Energy Future. [online] Available at: http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/GlobalWarmingSolutions.php [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].
Union of Concerned Scientists, 2016. Global Warming Solutions. [online] Available at: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions#.Vw7gL0yyOko [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].
Society, N., 2016. Global Warming Solutions, Stop Global Warming - National Geographic. [online] National Geographic. Available at: http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/gw-solutions/ [Accessed 14 Apr. 2016].