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The climate on Earth is getting warmer, which is known as global warming. Changes in the Earth’s temperature happen naturally; however, human activities have interfered with this natural process. Activities, such as industries, release emissions that lead to a warmer climate.

In 2013, the IPCCconfirmed that global warming is “extremely likely” caused by humans. Today, it is considered a scientific fact. Humans have been the dominant reason for a hotter climate since the middle of the 18th Century, as human activities release large amounts of greenhouse gases. These emissions lead to a warmer atmospherethrough the greenhouse effect.

The debate on global warming

The debate on whether or not humans were causing global warming continued for a long time; the question was very political. Political leaders with different interests and understandings of science affected the discussions. More so, many large companies denied it due to their economic interests. For example, companies that wanted to continue extracting fossil fuels, as the activity release vast amounts of greenhouse gases. It was economically profitable if the human impact on the climate was denied or kept in a debate. The discussions hindered and slowed down the work to mitigate global warming.

Today, the world has an agenda to work against global warming, as the effects make life harder or impossible for all life on the planet. For example, the Paris Agreementaims to keep global warming below 1.5 %.

Picture of a sign saying "time is up", refering to global warming.

What does global warming lead to?

It leads to a much warmer climate on Earth which has serious consequenses. Even just a one-degree difference makes it hard for some species to survive. The change is too rapid for them to adapt. Hence the climate has a significant effect on the Earth’s biodiversity.

A warmer planet also leads to more extreme weather. Such as droughts, hurricanes and forest fires. Furthermore, this development is already contributing to an increase in climate refugees. This group of refugees get forced to leave their homes because of global warming and climate change, for example, due to natural disasters that destroy their houses. An increase in climate refugees can also be related to a changing climate that affects farming. Many people are forced into refuge as they can no longer live off their lands. Overall, global warming comes with many catastrophic chain reactions.

More facts

It is uncertain how much the temperature will change because of the warming climate. Partly as small changes trigger chain reactions that can make global warming happen faster, for example, in the case of melting ice. When the ice disappears, the oceans grow and can attract more heat through the albedo effect. More so, the melting ice releases the potent greenhouse gas methane, which contributes even more to the warming of the planet. So, the melting ice affects other parts of nature and leads to faster and more unpredictable warming.

Working against global warming

Today, there are many agendas to reduce the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as the Paris Agreement. Partly, the plans focus on lowering CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Furthermore, there is a technic that captures greenhouse gas emissions and stores them underground. It is called Carbon Capture Storage technology (CCS). However, the technology is expensive and still under development.

More so, greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for a long time. Therefore, there is also a need for negative emissions. This necessity means that gases will be taken out of the atmosphere even if zero emissions are reached by 2050 – creating negative emissions.


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