It is no longer relevant to discuss whether or not our climate is changing, but rather, how fast changes will occur. The Costs to limit emissions will be significant, but lower compared to the costs of no action.
The climate of a region or city is its weather averaged over many years. This is usually different for different seasons, for example, a region or city may tend to be warm and humid during summer. But it may tend to be cold and snowy during winter. The climate of a city, region or the entire planet changes very slowly. These changes take place on the scale of tens, hundreds and thousands of years.
Weather can vary greatly from one day to the next, or even within the same day. In the morning the weather may be cloudy and cool, but by afternoon it may be sunny and warm; short-term changes we see in temperature, clouds, precipitation, humidity and wind in a region or a city.
Weather is what’s happening outside your window right now, Climate is the average of many years of weather observation.
Some of the causes of climate change are human induced influences from
- Burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, which have increased the abundance of small particles in the atmosphere.
- Land use changes like clearing land for large scale constructions, settlements, ranching, and agriculture
- Poor land husbandry (land preparation)
- Deforestation, Charcoal production and Burning (crop residues, bush fire, tyres and other plastics)
- Driving old vehicles
- Pollution from Industries and Factories, Air travel
which lead to carbon dioxide emissions from decaying or burnt vegetation. The greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere is being altered by human activity. The result of this change is global warming. Other Causes are Natural factors like
- volcanic eruptions
- Ocean currents
- Variations in the earth’s orbital characteristics
- Variations in solar output, Aerosol and Albedo effect
Observed climate effects include:
- Extreme events like Landslides, Earthquakes floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions, Tsunamis, Typhoons, Tornadoes, Cyclones, Hurricanes, tropical storms
- Food security, and Water stress: Increasing water scarcity, other regions suffer from excess water
- Direct changes in the climate system: Temperature, Precipitation patterns, Wind velocity
- Geo-physical impacts: Sea level rise: thermal expansion and glacial melt, Salt water intrusion, Evaporation, increased temperatures.
Climate change is a serious risk to poverty reduction and could undo decades of development efforts. While climate change is global, its negative impacts are more severely felt by poor people and poor countries. They are more vulnerable because of their high dependence on natural resources and limited capacity to cope with climate variability and extremes. Restoring and maintaining key ecosystems can help communities in their adaptation efforts and support livelihoods that depend upon the services of these ecosystems.
Moving towards low-carbon societies can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improving human health and well-being. The Green Economy Initiative, which promotes cleaner investments and technologies as opportunities to reduce emissions, protect our planet’s biodiversity, ecosystems, and alleviate poverty through green job creation.