Causes and Effects of Climate Change

Climate change is the shift in the situation of the climate of a region or area which is noticeable by observing variability of its characteristics over a sustained period of time. Basically, this change arises from natural and human activities. The consequences of climate change on economy, social life, politics, population and nature are severe. Since the causes and effects of this global crisis are evident, solutions have since been identified to alleviate the worsening of the situation and save the face of the earth for future generations.

A major cause of climate change is the greenhouse effect of accumulated gases in the atmosphere that prevent solar heat from escaping. These gases include carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion in power plants or gasoline burning in vehicles and methane which is emitted from animal sheds or rice agricultural fields. Water vapor, chlorofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide produced by soil cultivation, fertilizer utilization among other sources are also important causatives of the greenhouse effect. The role forest play in climate formation has being threatened by deforestation for wood, paper and farmland (Pidwirny, 56). Trees refresh the atmosphere by releasing oxygen and taking up large amounts of carbon dioxide. The use of chemical fertilizers affects heat storage of farmland as well as causing pollution in water bodies if run-off. The traditional use of manure to enrich farm soil has been abandoned in pursuit of large scale crop production supported by fertilizers.

Recent volcanic eruptions, an example being the Mount Pinatubo in 1991, have recorded short-term changes in the local climate. Some of these changes include cold water or a change in rain patterns. The sun heat output variations could also contribute to climate change. The sun creates sunspots from these variations over time which are characterized by storms and cooler regions affected.

Disastrous effects of climate change are already felt on the earth’s surface and are expected to increase with time. Isolated diseases like malaria have spread due to warmer climate and waters. Sea levels are rising at alarming rates across the world due to melting of ice in the Polar Regions. It is projected that this will cause massive displacement of people in the future. Maldives is already experiencing this problem. More hurricanes and cyclonic storms continue to occur as evidence of climate change.

A recent study shows that in 100 years, about 90% of the world’s population will be forced to move to favorable climates or risk dying of hunger (IPCC, 23). This is due to crop failures due to occurrence of climatic conditions that do not favor crop production in such areas. Climate change and especially global warming threatens to eliminate completely some species from the surface of the Earth. Human expansion has contributed to displacement of megafauna animals leading to their death. It is projected that by 2050, the rising temperatures being experienced now could be responsible for the disappearance of over a million species (Lean, 112).

The solutions to climate change largely lie from our own initiative. They include clearing air pollution and adopting clean energy. In conclusion, the climate change reality is not supposed to create fear in us but rather stimulate us to figure out and take charge of the future. This future should not compromise current quality in our systems. It should be cleaner, comprehensive and more sustainable.      

Works Cited

IPCC, Summary for Policymakers, in Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. p. 17-25. Print.

Lean, Judith, “Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate,” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 1 (2010):111-122. Print.

Pidwirny, Michael. "Causes of Climate Change". Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 2nd Edition. Okanagan Publishers, British Columbia, 2006. Print