Why the Big Deal?

Earth is getting warmer. What's wrong with that?

Glacier Melting

If you put some ice near a source of heat, it will melt into water. This is a fact, and its happening on a much larger scale than people seem to know. Glaciers are melting, the Arctic is melting, the Antarctic is melting, and sea levels are rising.

Our planet is warming, so it heats up glaciers, permafrost, and relatively cold things. When glaciers are heated up, they melt. The black/white picture of a glacier in Alaska was taken in 1941. The color picture was taken in 2004. Both were taken in August. Different years, same place. The images from NASA demonstrate a clear effect of global warming. Also, according to National Geographic, ice caps and glaciers store over 68% of the world's freshwater. These glaciers are melting into the ocean, which is salt water. That salt water is contaminating the world's freshwater and accelerating sea level rise!

Image credit: NASA

Sea Level Rise

What does the coast have to do with Earth getting warmer? Let's go back to the glaciers. The glaciers are melting, so where does that water go? Into the oceans, of course! If more water is added into the oceans, then sea levels rise. Sadly, this effect of climate change could have a major negative impact on humanity.

Normally, you would think that sea level rise is only a few inches. It's more than that. NASA indicates that every vertical inch of sea level rise is equivalent to 50-100 inches inland. The IPCC has raised their projection in September of 2019 that sea levels could rise by 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) by 2100. That makes the IPCC’s projection of sea level rise being 180-396 feet inland by 2100.

Look at 2050. Lots of new kids would be born by then, and some of the places we loved would be underwater. This would affect millions of people. According to data from climatecentral.org, if sea levels rose by 6ft, all of Miami Beach would be underwater. Major cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, and many more would be threatened by sea level rise. Soon enough, a part- if not, all of the city will be submerged by the water. What would happen to all those people who live in those coastal cities?

Extreme Heat

Climate can affect our weather. With Earth getting hotter, the weather gets hotter within a period of time. Look at Australia. It has gotten so hot, there have been devastating bushfires occuring According to the New York Times, there have been precisely 1 billion animals killed in those fires. People can die of extreme heat. According to climaterealityproject, It is the #1 weather-related killer in the US! Before you freak out, keep in mind that there is a difference between weather and climate. Think of it this way: weather is like your mood, and climate is like your personality. Climate can affect weather, but sometimes the weather is not like the climate.

Drought

When the surface gets hotter, the water from the ground is evaporating. When the water from the ground evaporates, the ground gets drier. There can be no rain for weeks, or even months. This is called drought. This can be normal in areas like the Sahara Desert, or Death Valley.

With climate change, these droughts will get more common as the Earth's temperature heats up. There will be longer droughts as well. When serious droughts occur, people's water sources dry up. This can include lakes, rivers, etc. This means less water for the people who live there. Less water means dehydration, and less of a chance to live. 3 percent of the world's water is freshwater, and climate change is taking part in drying that 3 percent up. Water is such a valuable resource, and climate change may take away that fresh, drinkable water. That DEFINITELY isn't good.

Extreme Cold

Climate change is more than just warming. It can cause extremely cold weather as well. According to National Geographic, warming in the Arctic can cause wild swings in the jet stream, bringing cold and wet air to the US and other countries. This issue is not believed to be as threatening as the other ones, but it is still a result of climate change.

Melting Permafrost

Here is another one of climate change's deadly effects: melting permafrost. Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. This effect is like none other: it not only is an effect of climate change, but it also contributes to it in what is called a 'feedback loop'.

Heat hits the Arctic.

Because of that, the heat melts any ice there. That includes permafrost.

When permafrost melts, it releases gases that have been frozen in there for a very long time. Problem is: those are greenhouse gases, like methane. Why? There are animals that have been burned in there for a very long time. When these get burned, they release methane.

When methane is released, it goes into the atmosphere, causing even more climate change. Permafrost is melting at a fast rate, and should be resolved quickly.

Image credit: New Zealand Geographic

Economic impact

There are a lot of people saying, "Climate change is bad, but it's nature being affected. We aren't polar bears, and the economy will be safe from it. Solving climate change will just take away jobs. We can't afford renewable energy." For those of you who agree to that statement, I totally understand your opinion.

We aren't polar bears, and we aren't trees either. We are human beings, and the economy is a big part of us. It's all about the money.

According to greenbiz, the world population is now almost 8 billion, and the world economy has more than tripled in size since 1972. This is good, but this also means that we have more mouths to feed. More people mean more resources used. Climate change is destroying these resources, and that is a problem.

Climaterealityproject indicates that the economic losses due to climate change per year are $700 billion dollars. That was 2010. According to yaleclimateconnections, the economic losses due to climate change is predicted to be at least $224 billion every year by 2090 if we ignore climate change.

Some say that renewable energy is way too expensive and can take away jobs.

According to climaterealityproject, decarbonizing the electric system could not only yield more jobs, but also can save $1.8 trillion over 20 years.

Would you rather lose $700 billion or gain 1.8 trillion?

Internet

Why would the Internet be threatened by climate change? Interestingly enough, Columbia University indicates that over 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable, data centers, traffic exchanges, and termination points are at risk from sea level rise. These very things are the very things that support the global information network. This is threatening the Internet infrastructure! This will affect many businesses in the U.S., and the economy.