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Climate change

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Climate changeW is a significant and lasting change in the weather pattern over a period of decades to periods of millions of years. In this article we discuss the rise in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans since the 19th century to the present (the current global warming).[1] Global warming is expected to have far greater negative effects on developing countries as on developed countries.

The science of climate change

Although the existence of global warming is unquestioned since 1896[2], there are people that remain critical of specifics written in some reports of the IPCCW and other organisations. These people, called climate change skepticsW, make critical analysis' and so are able to make a positive contribution.[3]

Often, civil government politicians and economists try to bend information of climate change skeptics to their own advantage, portraying an image that global warming does not exist, poses but a minor problem, or may even be beneficial, so as to be able to not act on it, and as such prevent them of losing votes due to this issue.

Uncertainties in the impact of global warming

Natural disasters caused or aggrevated by global warming

Although global warming itself has been proven, there are many uncertainties in predicting the effects global warming will have on the world. The IPCC is certain that following effects will occur, though the severety and time thereof may differ to some extend of the numbers mentioned in the reports:

  • changing weatherpatterns (greater or fewer precipitation on specific areas, the weather is also expected to be much more radical). This will negatively affect farming[4][5][6][7]
  • natural disasters (ie mud slides, hurricanes, ...) are expected to occur much more frequently. Death toll in 2003 = 150000 people [8][9]
  • Sea-level rise[10] will contaminate a very large percentage of the agricultural fields with sea salt and make them no longer suitable for continued food production.[11] In addition, many low-lying islands and coastlines will need to be abandoned, forcing many people to move.

Climate change mitigation

Several options are available to reduce the global warming. Most of these (the most efficient ones) are lifestyle changes (ie diet, propogation, ...) and can be put in place today. We also do not need to wait for any specific technology to became available. Rather, the essential technology is already here today.[12][13] The options are:

  • Reduce the release of greenhouse gasesW (GHG's) into the atmosphere (ie through energy efficiency, ...)
  • Prevent carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere (ie through Carbon capture and storage (CCS), biochar, ...). With Carbon sequestration/CCS, after combusting a fuel, the CO2 is stored in a cavity underground.
  • Remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, e.g. through ocean fertilisation, planting extra trees, ...
  • Shield some of the atmosphere from the sun or reflect a proportion of sunlight back into space (ie by painting roads, parkings and roofs white, spraying sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere, ...)[14]
  • Climate change mitigation: build heat tolerant houses (passive solar with suitable insulation), flood control barriers, ...
  • Grin and bear it: put up with the inconveniences and the expected loss of biodiversity and increases in certain types of natural disasters

The IPCC already allows/assumes a 2°C temperature rise, so already makes use of the last "option". In addition, it also advises the use of most other measures, yet stays critical of geoengineering options, due to the dangers involved.

Notes

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming
  2. Discovery of global warming by Svante Arrhenius
  3. Take the stick controversy Michael E. Mann hockeystick graph for example which has been proven wrong. A significant rise in the new graph (by McIntyre and McKitrick) is still predicted, but the graph is less abrupt
  4. www.knmi.nl/africa_scenarios/brochure_Afrika.pdf
  5. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Water/images/precipitation_intensity_map.png Precipitation changes
  6. http://climatelab.org/@api/deki/files/462/=Desertification_map.png
  7. One solution is to grow less fragile crops, ie more resistant to changes in watering
  8. 150000 people killed by global warming upto 2003
  9. http://climatelab.org/climate_change_security
  10. Sea level rise: 2m rise expected by 2100 A.D., 6,5m by 2200 A.D.
  11. Earth under water documentary
  12. See an overview of the measures needed at http://jnmocc.blogspot.com
  13. Politicians often portray a different picture but it is not based in reality
  14. Note: this direct temperature reduction does not reduce carbon levels, so ocean acidification from higher carbon dioxide is still a problem

See also

Interwiki links

External Links