Climate-change is a change in the pattern of weather, and related changes in oceans, land surfaces and ice-sheets, that persists for several decades or longer—usually at least 30 years. Climate change may be due to natural processes, such as changes in the Sun’s radiation, volcanoes or internal variability in the climate system, or due to human influences such as changes in the composition of the atmosphere or land use.
What is the Climate-change debate?
Above is a general definition of climate-change which almost everyone agrees upon. It becomes a matter of discussion when we describe it in the present day circumstances. The scientists have observed a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onward and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
While most scientists agree to the idea of man’s role in causing this change in the recent times and of the deviation not being normal, there are some who believe that this is only a part of nature’s cycle where the global temperature may go up or down. However, the data on this is quite clear. No doubt, there have been deviations in the past, but what we are seeing at the moment is a consistent rise in the average global temperature. This is exactly the notion which most of the scientific community shares.
What causes Climate-change?
What can we say with certainty and what can we not?
It is clear that the climate-change is real and is happening right in front of us, the evidence of which is overwhelmingly clear. What we still don’t know is the way to deal with it. This is due to the reason that once politics and economics come into the picture, only a scientific solution may not work. For instance, a lot of third-world countries cannot move quickly to clean energy system simply because their economy won’t allow. Which is why the global agreement on this issue becomes all the more important. After all, it is about the survival of our species.
Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know by Joseph J. Romm
Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas
Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert