For many people, climate change seems abstract, distant, too big to imagine. The words we often use to describe it – emissions, CO2, methane, net zero, anthropogenic – are, to put it simply, confusing.
Not many people wake up in the morning thinking, It’s a great day for some decarbonization! ». These words become obstacles rather than gateways to understanding, let alone interest.
One thing is for sure, people don’t understand right away – carbon emissions, net zero – are mostly terms you can find in a science book. And frankly, for the uninitiated, most of these terms don’t sound so bad. ” Two more degrees in 50 years ” Where ” 1.2 trillion tons of ice“, it sounds so bad you can’t even figure it out. Confusion and despair are the enemies of understanding.
A good test for language is what comes to mind when you hear it. If you hear a term like ” climate change“What comes to mind? Well, for most people the answer is ” not much“.
Although climate change is more present in the media than a few years ago, it continues to suffer from a lack of visibility accompanied by a lack of political will. The public’s attention is only captured at the margins for a short period: we hear, we deplore and we move on. The subject seems less urgent than others: the rise of populism, Russia, Trump, etc.
In the minds of many, global warming is a relatively distant issue that simply implies that it will get warmer. But in fact, the consequences are much deeper.
what is ecology
We don’t need to talk about science anymore, we’ve been talking about science for over 150 years. Did you know it’s been 150 years or more since the 1850s when climatologists discovered that mining and burning coal, gas and oil produces gases that trap heat and shroud the planet in a additional coverage? We have known since then.
What is global warming
Humans have been on Earth for around 300,000 years, but we only started polluting in this way in the last 60 years. Our pollution stays in the air for thousands of years, creating a thicker and thicker blanket that traps heat in the atmosphere. This heat is causing stronger hurricanes, bigger fires, more frequent flooding and the extinction of thousands of species.
Adding CO2 to the air is like throwing another blanket over the bed. It reduces heat radiation from Earth to space, which results in a temporary energy imbalance. There is more energy going in than energy going out, until the Earth warms up enough to send back into space as much energy as it absorbs from the Sun.
The total energy imbalance is currently about six tenths of a watt per square meter. It may not seem like much, but if you add it up on a planetary scale, it’s huge. It is about 20 times higher than the rate of energy consumption of all mankind. This is equivalent to detonating 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs a day, 365 days a year. This is the amount of extra energy the Earth gains each day. This imbalance, if we are to stabilize the climate, means that we must reduce CO2 from 391 ppm, parts per million, to 350 ppm. This is the change needed to restore energy balance and prevent further warming.
James Hansen, former NASA chief climatologist, already said in 2010: “ Stabilizing the climate is a moral duty, it is a question of justice vis-à-vis future generations. The young people, and the older ones too, who defend the young and the other species of creation, must unite in demanding the implementation of a concrete approach to protect our planet”.
Why this is an alarming problem
As the Earth warms, now because of the extra CO2 we put into the atmosphere, the ice will melt, and the CO2 and methane will be released by warming oceans and melting permafrost.
The important point is that we will have started a process that is beyond humanity’s control. The ice caps would continue to disintegrate for centuries. There would be no stable coastline. The economic consequences are almost unthinkable. Hundreds of New Orleans-like devastations around the world. What could be more reprehensible, if climate denial continues, is the extermination of species.
Ultimately, you don’t have to be a liberal environmentalist to care about climate change. It is enough to be a human living on this planet. Because wherever we live, climate change is already affecting us today. If we live along the coasts, in many places we are already witnessing flooding due to sunny days“.
If we live in western North America, we find that wildfires affect much larger areas. If we live in many coastal regions, from the Gulf of Mexico to the South Pacific, we find that hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are more powerful, due to the warming of the ocean. If we live in Texas or Syria, we see climate change amplifying our droughts, making them more frequent and severe. Wherever we live, we are already affected by climate change.