⒈ The Importance Of Climate Change

Monday, August 16, 2021 6:28:23 AM

The Importance Of Climate Change

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Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye - National Geographic

Universities are confronting the possibility of profound sector-wide transformation due to the continuing effects of COVID It is prompting much needed debate about what such transformation should look like and what kind of system is in the public interest. This is now an urgent conversation. If universities want a say in what the future of higher education will look like, they will need to generate ideas quickly and in a way that attracts wide public support. This will involve articulating their unique role as embedded, future-regarding, ethical generators of crucial knowledge and skills, well-equipped to handle coming contingencies and helping others do the same.

And this means higher education changes are entangled with another major force for transformation — climate change. How can universities credibly claim to be preparing young people for their futures, or to be working with employers, if they do not take into account the kind of world they are helping to bring about? Whether indexed by the continual climb in extreme heat and humidity , the melting of Arctic ice , the eruption of unprecedented mega-fire events or the rapid degradation of ecosystems and disruption of human settlements , climate change is here.

It is rapidly exacerbating environmental and social stress across the globe, as well as directly and indirectly impacting all institutions and areas of life. And worse still, global greenhouse gas concentrations are moving in exactly the opposite direction to what we need, with carbon emissions growing by 2. Much-needed transitions towards low carbon and well-adapted systems are emerging.

But they are too piecemeal and slow relative to what is needed to avoid large scale cascading and compounding impacts to our planet. Universities, along with all other parts of our society, will feel the effects of climate change. Failure to appropriately adapt to the increasing likelihood of such events threatens to undermine research of all sorts. Whether due to climate impacts such as the effects of sea level rise on coastal laboratories or policy and market shifts away from carbon-intensive activities such as coal powered energy , research investments face the risk of becoming stranded assets.

Not only could expensive infrastructure and equipment be rendered redundant, but certain skills, capabilities and projects could too. Universities are key to enabling Australian society to transition to a safer and lower emissions pathway. They are needed to provide the knowledge, skills and technologies for this positive transition. And they are also needed to foster the social dialogue and build the broad public mandate to get there. This means old ideas of universities as isolated and values-free zones, and newer notions of them as cheap consultants to the private sector, fundamentally fail to fulfil the role universities now need to play.

They must become public good, mission-driven organisations devoted to rapidly progressing human understanding and action on the largest threat there has ever been, to what they are taken to represent and advance — human civilisation. Inaction will erode the trust on which universities rely, especially among the key constituencies universities are meant to serve — young people and the private, community and public sectors. Students , businesses , not-for-profit organisations and certain governments are already acting far more forcefully than universities, even as the latter claim to be intellectual leaders.

Who universities invest in, fund, partner with and teach, and how, will increasingly be judged through a climate change lens. All actors in the fossil fuel value chain — including insurance brokers and researchers — are coming under pressure to stop facilitating a form of production that enriches a few while endangering all. Since the mid-nineteenth century , the world has emitted over 2. Joeri explains, 'Energy from the Sun falls on our planet and normally gets reflected back as infrared radiation. But instead of escaping back out into space, this radiation gets absorbed by molecules of greenhouse gases, which then emit them in all directions.

There are measuring stations all around the world that keep track of air and sea temperature. From these measurements it's clear that temperatures are rising. For example, on a warming planet we would expect polar ice caps and glaciers to melt. It is clearly observed that those are melting,' explains Joeri. This is an ongoing airborne mission to monitor changes in polar ice. We know that greenhouse gases are causing change. Thanks to studies that look at how carbon dioxide absorbs infrared radiation, for example, there is a scientific understanding of how the planet would warm as a result of emissions. This has allowed climate scientists to discount the theory that global warming is being caused by an increase in the Sun's intensity, for example.

The amount of oxygen that is in the atmosphere is reducing at exactly the right amount for the increase in carbon dioxide to be caused by combusting fossil fuels,' explains Joeri. There is additional evidence in the ratios of different types of carbon. Fossil fuels are, essentially, ancient plants. Plants now and in the past preferentially take up carbon In normal conditions, the ratio between carbon and carbon is constant.

Climate change does not have the same effects everywhere. The planet is generally getting hotter, but some regions and seasons can at times be temporarily cooler. Some places will see drawn-out seasons, while others may experience concentrated bursts of extreme weather. Extreme weather events - such as hurricanes, heatwaves, drought, wildfires and floods - are predicted to become more intense and frequent. As scientists we can estimate how much climate change has made a certain event more likely or more intense than it would have been without climate change,' explains Joeri.

When the world warms, ice melts. Arctic sea ice could disappear entirely in a warming world, and Greenland and Antarctica's ice sheets could be destabilised. This would result in large sections melting, which would add more liquid to the ocean. Ice also reflects the Sun's energy, so without ice, more heat is absorbed by the ocean. Water expands as it warms - this is known as thermal expansion. This effect means that the ocean takes up more space, causing sea levels to rise. Even with rapid emission cuts, sea levels are expected to rise by around 26 to 53 centimetres by Along with melting ice sheets and glaciers, rising global temperatures could cause rainforests to die and widespread species extinctions.

Around million people currently live in areas that, due to rising sea levels, are expected to be under high tide levels by This could cause a massive displacement of populations. Low lying atoll nations such as Tuvalu and the Maldives are incredibly vulnerable to this change and could be lost to the sea. Hundreds of millions of people rely on seafood as their main source of protein. Warming and more acidic waters could destroy marine food chains by affecting their base, such as krill or coral reefs. Longer-lasting drought could devastate crops, threating food security.

Reservoirs drying up , as well as the loss of glaciers, could make drinking water scarce. Pasterze Glacier is estimated to be receding at a rate of 10 metres per year. A sign shows where the glacier lay in , with the ice having since dramatically retreated up the valley. Increased precipitation can cause deadly flooding, as well as lowering indoor air quality.

This could affect our health as dampness benefits moulds and fungi. Around four billion people live in urban areas, and by this will have risen to an estimated 6. City dwellers are not exempt from climate change's effects. Urban populations usually rely on rural areas for inputs such as food and water. If climate change disrupts these important connections, it could heavily affect those in urban areas. Natural disasters impact poor and vulnerable populations disproportionately hard and clearly expose the consequences of ignoring social inequalities.

With extreme weather increasing, these populations face a heightened level of risk. For example, the urban heat island effect amplifies the effects of temperature extremes in cities. Those unable to afford to buy and run air conditioning may find their health compromised. Joeri says, 'We don't know what will happen when, exactly. It's really hard to anticipate, particularly for populations that are already on the edge every year. The natural world is delicately balanced. No species - including ours - is completely independent of all others. A report confirmed that over one million animal and plant species are now at risk of extinction as a result of human activities.

Differing rates of change could mean that species' lives are no longer synchronised with those they rely on. Many plants are flowering earlier. Migrating birds arrive earlier, leave later and some even are getting smaller. Butterflies are emerging earlier. Birds and amphibians are laying their eggs earlier in the year. Some species are moving into new areas, such as kelps which form vital marine habitats. Seaweeds are important for many reasons. They act as vital habitats. Some also help protect coastlines from erosion. Insects are one of the most vulnerable groups, with less ability than mammals or birds to escape warmer temperatures. Loss of insects, which are a primary food source for many animals, a key pollinator of plants and whose numbers are already plummeting , could cause the ecosystem to collapse.

In aquatic ecosystems, activities to mitigate the side effects of climate change, such as building hard flood defences, can have negative effects. As sea levels rise, sea walls reduce the space for intertidal ecosystems. A rising sea could also damage important coastal habitats like sand dunes and cliffs. Joeri says, 'The ocean looks homogenous, but it also experiences variations. There are ocean heatwaves, where if a particularly warm mass of water comes to an area like coral reefs, it induces loss and mass dieback.

The loss of Arctic sea ice takes away a key habitat from animals including polar bears, seals and walruses. Climate change is just one of the stressors currently impacting nature. Sea use, invasive species, pollution and the exploitation of organisms are all factors in the threat to nature. Without drastic changes , it's expected that there will be devastating changes in biodiversity and ecosystems. Climate change has been a known problem for around 30 years.

How else can we help curb climate change? This affects The Importance Of Climate Change health, especially children. Some places will see drawn-out seasons, while The Importance Of Climate Change may The Importance Of Climate Change concentrated bursts of extreme weather. Global temperatures and sea levels are The Importance Of Climate Change, and possibly contributing to larger more devastating storms. Climate Change Religious Symbols In The Great Gatsby have we done to our earth? It can lead 127 hours real extinction of plants and some animals which would in The Importance Of Climate Change affect the The Importance Of Climate Change in The Importance Of Climate Change bad manner.

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