Global warming considerations

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Ricky Joseph

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Global warming is happening, and as for this statement there is no longer room for denials in the scientific debate (1). When scientists began to study the climate and the complexity of its variations, they questioned whether or not the causes of certain changes were anthropogenic. After all, even before the Homo Sapiens existed, the Earth already followed its own cycles of increase and cooling of global temperatures due to geological and astronomical factors alien to our species. However, increasingly numerous and unequivocal evidence points out that not only is global warming happening, but also the human species is the cause of this problem.

To arrive at such a categorical result as this, thousands of scientists from climatology, physics, geography, chemistry and many other areas that study nature have worked in different regions of the world, day and night, for decades, to gather as much data as possible through extremely sophisticated equipment, in order to subject them to critical examinations ofhigh rigor and precision, reinforced by the stressful pressure of various revisions and experiments no less demanding, until they are finally integrated into computer systems that simulate the climate based on the calculation of all the information that went through this sieve.

The epic of scientific research goes beyond this modest and slightly labyrinthine description of methods, but it serves to demonstrate that when scientists pronounce on something after lending themselves to such difficult work, it is at least a very good start to take them seriously, especially when 97% of them (2) - of the experts studying Earth's climatology - are alarming usabout the great danger surrounding the survival of biodiversity and the security of future generations of human beings. Our unthinking industrial "lifestyle", as well as the way we employ our powerful technologies, whether in the generation of energy or in the production of everything around us, has proved to be a serious threat to the balance of almost any planet.

Of the damages we cause to the environment, the most worrying is the one that today interferes with the so-called greenhouse effect (3). A simple explanation that can be given to this term is that, firstly, it consists of a natural phenomenon and extremely important for the existence of various forms of life that have existed and exist in the world. It works like this: the Sun emits ultraviolet radiation that crosses ourMost of this radiation is reflected back into space as infrared rays; the other part, in smaller quantities, is trapped in the atmosphere and is converted into heat, thus generating the "greenhouse effect". This heat retention is only possible because gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), to mention onlytwo examples, are present in the air due to numerous processes of natural origin, among which are volcanic eruptions, the breathing of living beings and the decomposition of organic matter. Thanks to such mechanisms, the planet has maintained more or less stable heat to shelter life as we know it. However, with the increase of civilization, artificial factors have begun to disturbthis system, which was previously not known to be so sensitive to change.

Nowadays, humans use oil, coal and natural gas as their main sources of energy. The burning of these fossil fuels, added to other sources of GHGs (greenhouse gases), such as extensive livestock farming and methane bombs trapped in Arctic glaciers, emits a multitude of carbon dioxide and methane into our atmosphere on scales that exceed any limitConsequently, the more of these gases are concentrated in the atmosphere, potentiating the greenhouse effect, the warmer and more prone to extreme phenomena the Earth becomes (4). This imbalance has intensified with the negative impact of the irresponsible and uncontrolled development of our species, driven by exploitation technologiesof the environment and by dependence on energy resources that, in little more than a century, have proven powerful enough to alter the climate machinery of the entire planet.

Paleoclimatologists have observed, from detailed studies carried out over several decades, with data organized in an absolutely sophisticated and consistent manner, that the amount of CO2 concentrated in the atmosphere has reached levels much higher than those that existed more than 600,000 years ago. In the industrial surge from the 19th to the 21st century, we went from an average of less than 300 ppm (parts per million)of carbon dioxide over 600,000 years, to more than 400 ppm (5). If in little more than 100 years something of this magnitude has happened, scientists' predictions could not bring an optimistic scenario for the future. Given the enormous presence of GHGs that we generate in such a short period of intense industrial activity, the planet's climate tends to warm on a scale highly detrimental to the life ofThis has worried scientists, researchers and political leaders all over the world, to the point of making more than 190 countries join in international agreements that aim to reduce the emission of pollutants and develop new sources of clean energy based, for example, on wind and solar energy as more sustainable alternatives to our coexistence with the environmentThe situation is so serious that, even if humanity does its best, it will still be impossible to reverse the catastrophic situation bequeathed to future generations.

Climate alarms indicating imminent threats to our survival are sounding in every country and in every corner of the Earth, beginning with the frightening melting of the ice on vast territories of the Arctic and part of the Antarctic (7), which brings tragic implications for hundreds of millions of people who inhabit coastal areas, in a tragedy foretold that will turn them into climate refugees because ofrising ocean levels. Should temperatures continue to rise at the current rate, something that can only occur if we do not change our habit immediately, the short and long-term consequences will be one of the most unfortunate trails of our species. Of course, things do not stop there. There is a huge list of concerns that humans must begin to address without delay, whilesolutions can still be found to mitigate the current climate crisis that we have unleashed.

Essay originally published on the Rationalist Universe website and duly authorized for republication on the Scientific Society website.


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Ricky Joseph is a seeker of knowledge. He firmly believes that through understanding the world around us, we can work to better ourselves and our society as a whole. As such, he has made it his life's mission to learn as much as he can about the world and its inhabitants. Joseph has worked in many different fields, all with the aim of furthering his knowledge. He has been a teacher, a soldier, and a businessman - but his true passion lies in research. He currently works as a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company, where he is dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases that have long been considered incurable. Through diligence and hard work, Ricky Joseph has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacology and medicinal chemistry in the world. His name is known by scientists everywhere, and his work continues to improve the lives of millions.