The Earth’s climate is dynamic. Since the earth’s existence, it has changed many times in return for natural causes. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges this generation faces today. We’re feeling the effects of climate change around the globe. The unchecked manmade activity from deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels to driving cars or throwing away perfectly usable materials has led to climatic changes.
In the frame of environmental policy, climate change is a long-term change in the climate pattern of a specific location, region, or planet over a period of time. The extent of climate change is measured by changes in average weather, such as temperature, wind patterns, weather events, and precipitation. It occurs when there is a change in the total amount of the sun’s energy absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and surface. Climate changes can be caused by natural processes like volcanic eruptions, variations in solar radiation, continental drift, deviation in Earth’s orbit, or changes in ocean circulation or land surfaces which occur over a range of decades or centuries.
Changes in the intensity of solar radiation cause cycles of warming and cooling. In recent times, climate change is synonymous with global warming. It is hard to believe but humans are actually causing climates to change by increasing greenhouse gas emissions and aerosols into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and by excess usage of land which is the main cause of global warming. All these activities deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. Over the last 100 years, the average temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface has risen by about 0.75 degrees Celsius. Corresponding with global warming, glaciers are receding, sea levels have risen, and climatic zones are shifting. Rising sea levels damage coastal regions through flooding and erosion. This had led to intense and extreme weather events such as floods, tropical storms, and heat waves.
Climate change also affects the health and well-being of people. Many regions experience a rise in the number of very hot days. This may lead to air pollution problems and increases in molds and pollens due to warm temperatures. This causes respiratory problems such as asthma.
Climate change continues to be a subject of intense public and political debate. The changes recently seen and those expected for the next 80 years are thought to be mainly the effect of human behavior. Countries are working together to find solutions to climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific body set up by the UN which looks into climate change.