HS Insider

Opinion: Climate change is a burning issue we need to discuss

Coastal places such as the port city of Yokohama, Japan, pictured above, could face dangers from rising sea levels associated with climate change. (Photo by Justin Hsieh)

Most of us have already heard stories in the news about global warming, melting ice caps or anything related to climate change. More scientists today continue to warn us about the dangers of climate change, and implore us to try and slow the rate that it is happening.

Climate change has already had its effect on the environment. Our ice caps are melting, our planet is heating up, oceans are rising, and we don’t seem to be doing much about it.

According to the Third and Fourth National Climate Assessment Reports, the global climate is expected to change over the course of this century and the next as temperatures continue rising. Our planet is expected to experience changes in its growing seasons, precipitation patterns and the frequency of tropical storms, droughts, wildfires and heat waves.

One of the biggest causes for global warming is the world’s CO2 emissions. Currently, the United States is the leading source of emissions, releasing 13 times higher than the acceptable amount.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that urgent changes are necessary to reverse these environmental effects, predicting that we have approximately a decade left to lessen climate change. Effects of climate change are already happening, and according to these scientists, we need to start making an effort if we want to do something about it.

For example, the Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on how to deal with climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation and finances, signed in 2016 by 195 members.

Scientists are currently working on methods to sustainably create hydrogen from natural gas to fuel transportation and electricity. Their efforts are also used to look for battery sources for renewable energy and capturing CO2 and storing it for other valuable products (i.e. gasoline).

As for our own personal efforts, planting and restoring trees are a method of cleaning up large amounts of carbon dioxide. Restoring forests, for example, could remove about 1.5 million tons of CO2, according to the National Academies of Science. Though it may not be too much of a dramatic change, any effort to help lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is necessary.

Plenty of activists have also taken their part to try and make a difference towards the environment. Greta Thunberg, for example, is a young Swedish activist who is known for protesting to Parliament about necessary immediate action towards climate change.

There’s no simple solution when it comes to solving climate change, but many possible solutions exist, and it’s highly important that we, as humans, do our best to take this information into account if we want sustain our planet and environment.

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