Multiple times over the years, I have complained in this blog about our failure to take action to reduce global warming. According to NationalAcademies.org, human activities are causing the earth to heat up in ways that are different from warm periods in the past. Put differently, we humans are the cause of our current global warming, and we humans must change our ways to reduce it. Since 1900, the average surface air temperature has risen 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius), all caused by human activity. The steepest rise began in the 1970s and continues today.
This increase is mostly due to burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Carbon dioxide has increased from a pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million to more than 410 parts per million today. Most of that increase has occurred since the late 1950s. In the earth’s distant past, it would take between 5,000 to 20,000 years to see the amount of change in carbon dioxide levels that humans have caused in just the last 60 years.
The effects of global warming? First, higher temperatures that increase heat-related illnesses and can make it more difficult to work and move around. Wildfires start more easily and spread more rapidly when conditions are hotter. Second, more severe and frequent storms, which cause flooding and landslides, destroying homes and communities, and costing billions of dollars. And third, increased droughts which can stir destructive sand and dust storms that can move billions of tons of sand across continents. Deserts are expanding, reducing land for growing food.
What can we do about it? Reduce our burning of coal, oil, and natural gas. That means switching to renewable solar and wind energy.
It’s doable if we set our minds to it. But so far, few of us are even aware of the problem, and even fewer are taking any action to reduce global warming. It’s time for the people of the world to band together to reduce our carbon dioxide pollution.