Ever heard of fossil fuels or coal? Many people tend to ignore the costs and efforts put into making fuels. Dead carcasses are used to produce fossil fuels, which then take millions of years to decompose, hence are considered non-renewable sources of energy. But energy production around the world has benefited the economy so drastically that the consequences tend to be overlooked. Carbon emissions resulting from this energy production have already begun impacting the planet. Allowing melting glaciers to contribute to rising sea levels, which causes coastal erosion and storm surges. Droughts, lower oxygen levels, increasing sea levels, melting glaciers, and storms all harm wildlife, disrupting people’s livelihoods and civilizations. These are what we call climate change.
On the contrary, some may argue that energy production is a vast contributor to the economy and any changes to it will pull down the existing system, resulting in a rise in a nation’s unemployment rates. In other words, they say that countries should keep with business as usual. Although energy efficiency measures can result in a large number of jobs gained, the economy is not the only concern. The environment is just as critical since so much of the earth’s ecosystem is at stake.
However, environmental issues are not the only concerns and problems we see occurring daily. Carbon emissions affecting climate change have always been a major issue for the past few decades. While many might not see it as an immediate threat to humans and the rest of the environment, it is necessary we take precautions for future upcoming generations. Changing the environment can lead to many various problems such as airborne/waterborne diseases, poor water quality, poor living conditions, etc.
Understanding the delicacy of the earth’s environment, it is important to consider how global warming, as a result of energy production, is impacting glacier ice. As more carbon and hydrogen are being produced around the world, more heat is being released into the atmosphere, allowing a rise in sea levels as glaciers melt. These subtle changes can push the coast more inland, resulting in lesser land as the sea level rises.
In 2019, a study projected that sea level will rise 30 cm by 2050 and 69 cm by 2100, relative to the level in 2000. In a high emission scenario, it will be 34 cm by 2050 and 111 cm by 2100. These small changes over time have a significant impact and can also affect the migration patterns of animals. A study conducted by NASA has already shown observable effects occurring on the planet. Due to carbon rates increasing each year, one can expect a drastic change in sea-level rise and many other concerning areas as well across the globe.
With climate change and its effects in mind, another concern that is not being addressed actively is acid rain and the effect of diminishing oxygen levels. The carbon cycle–the process of carbon traveling continuously from the atmosphere to earth and vice-versa–is mainly responsible for most if not all of the damage being produced. One major side-effect of the carbon cycle is acid rain. Too much carbon and hydrogen build up in the earth’s atmosphere, subsequently can produce a vast amount of acid rain.
It is also important to acknowledge the growth factors on many important forests and habitats around the world. The Amazon forest in South America gives 16% of oxygen to the world each year. Due to many other factors such as heatwaves and droughts, more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day. Despite the already burning fires in the rainforest, the economy still chooses to produce a ton of carbon emissions to propel deforestation. A limitation of these carbon emissions being greatly produced can improve the atmosphere drastically in future years allowing the oxygen levels in the atmosphere to rise again.
Although individuals can impact it, it is ultimately the responsibility of a nation’s government to make the change that will go down in world history. Many people think that changes in temperature, oxygen levels, and storms are just small things that disrupt day-to-day life. Any changes made to these problems will make much more impact on the rising danger of temperatures across the globe. If even one person is made to follow new rules for energy production, they will be making tremendous changes to the planet. It is critical for everyone on this planet to contribute to preventing climate change.