From Kathryn Thomsen at Hundredgivers:
After more than 30 years of concentrated scientific research, studies, and policies formulated to address the climate change issue, many of us are still not quite clear about what it is, what’s at stake, and what is going to happen to us if we don’t slow down global warming.
This past couple weeks (November 30 – December 11) some important talks have been going on in Paris at an event called Conference of the Parties (COP). For those of you reading this who have been following and know all about it, please bear with me for a moment – I’d like to give some quick background for the rest of us.
The COP is a very important UN conference that occurs every year somewhere in the world usually in early December. At the COP, world leaders, heads of state, politicians, and delegates – who may have some say in climate change policy decision-making – come together and negotiate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming or in the very least to keep the climate from changing so radically as to make the planet unlivable for our civilization.
This year was the UN’s twenty-first session with nearly 200 countries negotiating how to slash their greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent the planet from warming more than two degrees Celsius. That doesn’t sound like much but keep in mind that this is an average across the entire surface of the planet – all 510 billion square meters of it. A global temperature change of this kind will cause some significant changes to life, as we know it.
A Huffington Post article sums up beautifully the terrible consequences of what we can expect with this scale of global warming: doubling or quadrupling of frequencies and magnitudes of wildfires, droughts, heat waves, flooding, rise in sea levels (upwards of 10 feet or more), increase in hurricanes, decrease in food supply, increase in pest infestation, water pollution, and overall economic destabilization across the globe.
What we need to keep in mind is that climate change will accentuate the weather patterns and of the region, and weather-related events will become more unpredictable. Although the Great Lakes may still freeze in the winter in our lifetimes, in some locations winters may be more severe, wet climates even wetter, and hot and dry summers beyond livable.
If you want to know a little more about what this temperature change means for our species, you can also check out what NASA has to say. According NASA’s Goddard Institute of Science, the average global temperature has increased nearly one-degree Celsius since 1880 with two-thirds of that occurring since 1975. In the past, one to two degrees Celsius change of this magnitude has been enough to send us into the Little Ice Age.
Read the complete essay:
It’s More Than a Change in Weather