WHY worry? Somebody asked me this morning why I’m so concerned about climate change. I surprised them by saying I’m not worried about climate change, I’m worried about global warming. And it’s with good reason.
The year 2015 was the hottest since records began, and that makes it the hottest year, not only since records began, but since the last inter-glacial period 11,300 years ago. And some scientists say you have to go back even further, to the Paleocene Thermal Maximum, 56 million years ago, to find temperatures that equal what we are in the process of creating.
So, yes, we have had hot periods and we’ve had cold periods and, according to NASA, these changes are attributable to tiny variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives. And, there’s nothing we can do about it, right?
WRONG! Extrapolations from NASA figures suggest that the current cycle wasn’t due to end for another 85,000 years, during which time, the earth would very gradually get warmer. But gradual is the operative word.
The problem is that the warming we are experiencing now is happening so quickly we don’t have enough time to adapt. In fact the increase is so abrupt compared to the rest of the time period that when the scientists make a graph of the data, the end of the line is nearly vertical.
The cause of this rapid increase is the huge amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂) that we have been emitting into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution started 250 years ago.
We are all responsible for this because every one of us uses and consumes things that cause CO₂ emissions.
My mission is to limit my CO₂ emissions as much as possible, because I know for sure that the choices I make in my life will influence the sort of life that future generations will have. My contribution is small, but as Edmund Burke said: “No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.“
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