The weather is warming up. Since the last century, the increase in global warming has reached an average of 1.18 °C. Humanity has a very detailed and radical ‘to-do list’ to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C or keep it below 2°C this century to fight against climate change. Quite ambitious!
Here is the Paris Climate Agreement, one of the most important steps taken by states against global warming. 192 countries have become parties which Turkey also included recently. It is important to be a party, but the main determinant will be the steps to be taken by the countries from now on against climate change and global warming.
But, are all these doomsday calls for just 1-2°C average temperature rise? While the average temperature was 13.4°C between 1997-2006 in Turkey, this average increased to 13.9°C between 2007-2016. That seems an unspeakable 0.5°C increase! So, is it really such important for climate change?
Yes. It is important. A lot! It is not always possible to understand the issue clearly when we look at only from the numbers. Rather than a numerical expression of this increase, it is necessary to talk about the effects it has created to clarify them.
Mechanics of the warm-up is so simple!
The atmosphere works just like a greenhouse. Almost half of the sun’s rays reaching the earth is reflected back to the atmosphere from the earth. Our atmosphere sends some of these sun rays, back again, thanks to gases such as carbon dioxide (CO₂), methane, water vapor and ozone, which are described as greenhouse gases.
The greenhouse gases act as a blanket. That’s why the average temperature on earth remains at about 15°C, enough to allow humans, animals and plants to survive. If there were no greenhouse gases, the average temperature of the earth would be around -18°C.
In other words, greenhouse gases are actually vital for living-beings. But of course, as long as its structure is not broken…
The use of fossil fuels and brutal production models started with the industrial revolution, changed the greenhouse gas structure in the atmosphere. With also the effect of deforestation and urbanization, especially the carbon dioxide (CO₂) rate increased by 40%.
So, it’s this massive increase in carbon dioxide (CO₂) that creates the temperature increase we’re talking about. It is calculated that the accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the atmosphere is at its highest level for at least 800,000 years.
The greenhouse gas that affects warming the most is, water vapor. However, the residence time of water vapor in the atmosphere is limited to only a few days. But, carbon dioxide (CO₂) is much more persistent. This is our main issue! Once carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere, it remains in the atmosphere for a long time, i.e. 300 to 1000 years. This is the key need of the transition to a low carbon economy.
Why global warming is so vital?
Changes in atmospheric temperature, ocean currents and melting glaciers lead to rapid succession of nature. All these disruptions affect the entire interconnected ecosystem on the planet, disrupt or change its structure.
It triggers droughts that turn the world’s rainforests into fire-prone savannas. It causes floods and storms that we have never seen before. Nature is getting more and more irritable every day to find its disturbed balance.
It has become so important to predict the vital effects of nature with robust climate models that, this year climate modelers Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselman shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with physicist Giorgio Parisi.
The oceans are collapsing!
The oceans are as important to our planet as the atmosphere; even an inseparable whole. The oceans are the world’s largest carbon sink. They contain twelve times more carbon than land and forty-five times more carbon than the atmosphere. The oceans have absorbed 93% of the increased warming and 25% of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions to date. In other words, he struggled – at the cost of his life – to restore the balance that was disturbed by human-induced warming and emissions.
At the cost of his life because this relentless struggle has sickened the oceans. Ocean water temperatures rose and acidification began. Acidification adversely affects many micro-organisms that enable them to sequester carbon in the oceans. This is causing the oceans’ magnificent systems of carbon and heat to collapse.
It should also be kept in mind that the oceans, which cover 70% of the world, have a great effect on the climate with their current systems. Of course, it’s not just global warming; many human-made factors, such as brutal hunting, industry and plastic pollution, also play a major role in the rapid damage to the oceans.
Our world is 4.5 billion years old. The modern human form we know evolved 200,000 years ago. The first civilization was founded just 6,000 years ago. And the industrial revolution, which triggered the climate problems we are discussing today, has only 200 years of history.
In other words, humanity, which does not even have a history as a pinhead in the world’s calendar of existence, has created the biggest threats with its own hands, destroying the entire ecosystem of the planet today.
Therefore, as we always say, the world is actually experiencing a humanitarian crisis, not a climate crisis. Unconsciousness, callousness and greed prevent humanity from assuming this responsibility. However, in order to solve the problems, we first need to accept the existence of those problems and their causes.
Otherwise, the loser will not be our old planet, but the humanity itself…
‘Too Darn Hot’ Song by Ella Fitzgerald https://youtu.be/PlMWW4R1ZBM – Ella Fitzgerald /