What is climate change?
Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. Climate change is a shift in
those average conditions.
The rapid climate change we are now seeing is caused by humans using oil, gas and coal
for their homes, factories and transport.
When these fossil fuels burn, they release greenhouse gases – mostly carbon dioxide
(CO2). These gases trap the Sun’s heat and cause the planet’s temperature to rise.
The world is now about 1.2C warmer than it was in the 19th century and the amount of Co2
in the atmosphere has risen by 50%.
Temperature rises must slow down if we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate
change, scientists say. They say global warming needs to be kept to 1.5C by 2100.
However, unless further action is taken, the planet could still warm by more than 2C by the
end of this century. A report in 2021 by the Climate Action Tracker group calculated that
the world was heading for 2.4C of warming by the end of the century.
If nothing is done, scientists think global warming could exceed 4C in the future, leading
to devastating heatwaves, millions losing their homes to rising sea levels and irreversible
loss of plant and animal species.
What is the impact of climate change?
Extreme weather events are already more intense, threatening lives and livelihoods.
With further warming, some regions could become uninhabitable, as farmland turns into
desert. In other regions, the opposite is happening, with extreme rainfall causing historic
flooding – as seen recently in China, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
People in poorer countries will suffer the most as they do not have the money to adapt to
climate change. Many farms in developing countries already have to endure climates that
are too hot and this will only get worse.
Our oceans and its habitats are also under threat. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, for
example, has already lost half of its corals since 1995 due to warmer seas driven by climate
Wildfires are becoming more frequent as climate change increases the risk of hot, dry
And as frozen ground melts in places like Siberia, greenhouse gases trapped for centuries
will be released into the atmosphere, worsening climate change.
In a warmer world, animals will find it harder to find the food and water they need to live.
For example, polar bears could die out as the ice they rely on melts away, and elephants
will struggle to find the 150-300 liters of water a day they need.
Scientists believe at least 550 species could be lost this century if action is not taken.
How will different parts of the world be affected?
Climate change has different effects in different areas of the world. Some places will warm
more than others, some will receive more rainfall and others will face more droughts.
If temperature rise cannot be kept within 1.5C:
• The UK and Europe will be vulnerable to flooding caused by extreme rainfall
• Countries in the Middle East will experience extreme heatwaves and farmland could turn
• Island nations in the Pacific region could disappear under rising seas
• Many African nations are likely to suffer droughts and food shortages
• Drought conditions are likely in the western US, while other areas will see more intense
• Australia is likely to suffer extremes of heat and drought.
What are governments doing?
Countries agree climate change can only be tackled by working together, and in a
landmark agreement in Paris in 2015, they pledged to try to keep global warming to
1.5C.The UK is hosting a summit for world leaders, called COP26, in November, where
countries will set out their carbon reduction plans for 2030.
Many countries have pledged to get to net zero by 2050. This means reducing greenhouse
gas emissions as much as possible and balancing out remaining emissions by absorbing an
equivalent amount from the atmosphere.
Experts agree that this is achievable, but it will require governments, businesses and
individuals to make big changes.
What can individuals do?
Major changes need to come from governments and businesses, but scientists say some
small changes in our lives can limit our impact on the climate:
• Take fewer flights
• Live car-free or use an electric car
• Buy energy efficient products, such as washing machines, when they need replacing
• Switch from a gas heating system to an electric heat pump
• Insulate your home.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge