Ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and the world’s governments are coming together to talk about what can be done about it.
Jane Beers, assistant biology professor at John Brown University, said that 97 % of professional climate scientists would agree that climate is changing and it is warming. She explained that scientific research shows evidence that this change is human caused. Human emissions of greenhouse gasses are the highest in history due to an increase of use of energy and fossil fuel.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explained that these human emissions have led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Their effects together with other human drivers have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
Beers described these emissions to be like a blanket on the planet. She explained that this blanket has a greenhouse effect that is essential for the life on the planet but because humans have been burning a lot of carbon the blanket is getting heavier.
Beers explained that the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its central aim is to limit climate change by keeping a global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. The agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Beers said that it was important that the U.S, India and China decided to sign this agreement because of their population and their energy usage. She explained that this meeting was a time where countries were able to come together and developed a plan to reduce climate change.
The IPCC explains that climate change will amplify existing risks and create new risks for natural and human systems. Risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for disadvantaged people and communities in countries at all levels of development.
“The climate change is impacting people in the poorest of the poor” Beers said “the people who live in cardboard boxes, who do not have running water, those are the people who are going to feel it the most in the next 20 to 30 years”
The IPCC explains that climate change risks the ability to adapt to human and natural systems. The warming and other changes in the climate system, accompanied by ocean acidification, increase the risk of severe and in some cases irreversible detrimental impacts.
Beers explained that there are multiple science-based solutions to this problem. She explained that by recapturing farming techniques and bringing carbon back out of the air into the soil and not into the water which acidifies it can potentially help reduce emissions.
The IPCC explained that climate change will also impact human health mainly by intensifying health problems that already exist. Throughout the 21st century, climate change is expected to lead to increases in ill-health in many regions and especially in developing countries with low income.
Ted J. Song, assistant professor of engineering, explained that even in Arkansas we can see the effects of climate change. The sea level has gone up in the Marshall Islands and its residents are coming to the U.S. causing an increase in population in this region.
“All the developed nations should try hard to limit their emissions so that we can limit this change so we have a better future for the next generation,” Song said.
Beers said that on November 18th, 2016 the 195 countries who are part of the UNFCCC meet for their 22nd conference. Once a year these countries meet in order to evaluate Gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies, and optimal practices.