Let’s start looking at a simple definition of climate change.
It’s a long term shift in the average weather conditions, identified by changes in temperature, precipitation, and winds. These changes affect the Earth’s local, regional and global climates. But don’t confuse it with global warming! They both have different meanings.
Similarly, the terms "weather" and "climate" are sometimes confused, though they refer to events with broadly different spatial- and timescales.
Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s climate due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels that increase greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. In other words, it’s the average temperature increased of Earth’s surface.
The Earth's energy balance is the balance between incoming and outgoing energy. It regulates the average temperature and earth's climate long-term state.
Any factor that causes a change to the amount of incoming/outgoing energy can lead to climate change. These factors are divided into two categories: the ones related to natural processes and the others related to human activity. And some of these natural and external causes of climate change are: changes in volcanic activity, solar output, and the Earth's orbit around the Sun.
The climate is directly affecting human health. It causes more heat stress. It also increases waterborne diseases and affects the air quality.
Now, let’s present the most important cause of climate change. It is human activities. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, people have converted vast areas of land from forests to farmland and burned fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
Carbon dioxide is well known as one of the climate forcers. It stays in the atmosphere for a very long time and it forces/pushes the climate towards being warmer or cooler. You might be asking how it does it. Well, it affects the flow of energy coming into and leaving the earth’s climate system. Future emissions of carbon dioxide will determine how much more climate warming occurs.
Global warming can only be stopped by reducing global emissions of carbon dioxide from human fossil fuel combustion and decreasing the industrial processes. But we should take into consideration that even with zero emissions; the global temperature will remain essentially constant at its new warmer level. It means climate change cannot be stopped. It can be slowed!
HOW? Emissions of other substances that warm the climate must also be reduced. It is a tough challenge.
Let’s conclude with this quote:
“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”- Barak Obama.