Opinion: Rise in temperature, sea levels rising, wildfires are consequences of climate change

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Designed by Amelia Shives

Rise in temperature, sea levels rising, wildfires are a just a few consequences of climate change.

The climate crisis is a hot topic in today’s news. Climate change is happening faster than most people think it is, but people are far from powerless in this situation. There have been devastating consequences due to climate change.

If something is not done now, humans will not be able to reverse what is happening in the environment. The United Nations said, “Rising temperatures are fueling environmental degradation, natural disasters, weather extremes, food and water insecurity, economic disruption, conflict, and terrorism. Sea levels are rising, the Arctic is melting, coral reefs are dying, oceans are acidifying, and forests are burning.” 

Humans are producing a record high amount of greenhouse gasses, and there are no signs of slowing down. Production of gas, oil and coal is causing billions of tons of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere. Arguably, a bigger problem is the rise in temperature. The World Meteorological Organization predicted that 2019 was going to be the hottest year yet, and the past five years it has been the warmest years unlike ever before.

The World Meteorological Organization shows the rise in temperature since the 1850s. (Graph by World Meteorological Organization )

Due to the rising temperatures other things in the earth’s ecosystem are crumbling. From 2014-2019 sea levels rose five mm every year and from 2007-2016 sea levels rose four mm every year. According to information given by NASA, sea levels are rising due to the added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers.

Coastal areas will be the most affected by rising sea levels. This is because of the erosion of beaches, as well as flooding and loss of many marshes and wetlands. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, “Damage to and loss of coastal areas would jeopardize the economic and ecological amenities provided by coastal wetlands and marshes, including flood control, critical ecological habitat, and water purification.” 

Over 90 percent of natural disasters are caused by weather. This includes storms, floods, heatwaves, and droughts. These disasters have led to major economic losses and human lives lost. As claimed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wildfires often require extreme drought, lack of hydration in the air, increased temperatures, and fuel (such as trees, shrubs, grasses, and forest debris). From 2020 to 2022 there were many wildfires that burned for months. Unfortunately many of these wildfires were unmanageable, and whole communities lost their homes, their cars or their lives.  

Climate change not only affects the Earth, but the economy as well. According to the United Nations, climate change is also a major threat to international peace and security. Their report said, “The effects of climate change heighten competition for resources such as land, food, and water, fueling socioeconomic tensions and, increasingly often, leading to mass displacement.” The droughts in Africa and Latin America directly relate to political violence. Estimated by The World Bank, more than 140 million people from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia will be forced to migrate within their regions by 2050. 

Damage to and loss of coastal areas would jeopardize the economic and ecological amenities provided by coastal wetlands and marshes”

— Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

However, not everyone believes that climate change is real. The Earth’s climate has always changed and there have been multiple ice-ages and the Earth is warming again, and the sun has a lot of impact on the climate of the Earth. The Royal Examiner said, “The ultimate heat source for our planet is the Sun. Therefore, our temperatures are driven by the Sun. The history of sun activity is very revealing.” This argument says that all the temperature changes and the effects of climate change are coming from the sun. 

One of the myths about climate change is that many people even think that politicians are promoting climate change to help their political campaign. People think that renewable energy is just a money making scheme, but according to WWF, “Solar power and onshore wind are the cheapest ways of generating electricity; meaning the energy they produce is cheaper than using nuclear, gas and fossil fuels. The cost of renewables has fallen faster than anyone could have predicted.” The government is still backing oil companies that produce massive amounts of fossil fuels. 

Overall, climate change is real and it is affecting the Earth and every ecosystem on this planet. Climate change is not just affecting the temperature, but the weather is changing as well. Sea levels are rising which will destroy coastal areas, and wildfires are becoming a bigger problem every year. Something has to be done, before it is too late.