By Priscilla Ortega & Natalie Ramirez
Global warming has been a pressing issue for years, but now planet Earth is finally paying a big toll for our careless response. We are overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which traps heat and steadily drives up the planet’s temperature. Recently, climate scientists revealed that there are nearly twelve years left for global warming to remain at a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. Anything beyond 1.5 will result in a major increase in natural disasters, and millions will suffer.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change, states on their website that critical changes must occur in order to maintain the current temperature or even the slight possibility of decreasing it.
Even now, there has already been an increase in dangerous heat waves. Heat waves are extremely harmful to the environment, but they also have a major impact on human health. A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that extreme heat is the deadliest natural disasters with a mortality rate of about 3,800 per year.
“Over the past decade, daily record high temperatures have occurred twice as often as record lows across the continental United States. Heat waves are becoming more common, especially in the U.S. West,” The Center For Climate and Energy Solutions says on its website.
The large increase in heat waves from global warming will only open many more doors to natural disasters, such as wildfires and droughts. Moreover, these two natural disasters are especially common in the state of California.
According to Carbon Brief, a U.K. based website covering the latest developments in climate science, the recent period of large wildfires in forested areas of the western U.S. has correlated to the near-record warm temperatures. The year 2018 became known for the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season on record in California. The fires burned a total of 1,893,913 acres of land, the largest amount of burned acreage ever recorded in a fire season. Actions such as turning to renewable energy sources must be taken into consideration to fight against global warming, or else our state will continue to fall victim of severe wildfires, which will only worsen.
Climate change has also caused droughts or worsened them all throughout the world. However, the recent U.S. droughts have been the most extensive in decades. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions affirms that the U.S. Southwest will suffer from increased heat, resulting in a change of rainfall patterns and less snowpack. This can contribute to drought conditions, which will only spark up more issues. Failing to make major alterations to reduce the risk of global warming rising will result in increased droughts.
Climate change is destroying planet earth, and there is little being done about it. Nevertheless, there are a multitude of ways for even individuals and students to help slow the fast progression of global warming. Doable changes include reducing water waste, investing in energy-efficient appliances, and certainly increasing our use of renewable energy sources.
Unfortunately, at the moment it is quite difficult to make these huge changes due to how many political figures, such as our current president, believes climate change is not real. But either one way or another, it is crucial to start making changes to do what we can to slow the global warming increase.