Climate change is the long term shift in weather patterns. These shift in temperature may be natural or anthroponotic. Human have been playing a major role in climate change since 1800s due to burning of fossil fuels such as gas, oils, and coil which result in heat trapping gases.

By Wajeeha Rafaqat, Dr Muhammad Sohail Sajid, Dr. Urfa Bin Tahir, Dr. Aisha Khatoon, Mahvish Rajpot

A swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius was the first who discovered the climate change in 1896. Another, American geologist Thomas Chamberlain analysed carbon cycles to examine their connection to the climate change. Earlier studies on climate change had called it “inadvertent climate modifications”. This name was based on the findings that many activities of human could cause chnage in climate, but scientist did not know what the direction of change might be.

Causes of climate change:

Generating power: generating heat and electricity by burning the fossil fuels causes emission of large number of harmful gases. Most electricity is generated by burning oil, gas and coil which produces carbon dioxide. These are powerful gases which blanket the Earth and trap sun’s heat. Globally, a quarter of electricity comes from the solar, wind and other renewable source which as opposed to the fossil fuels and emit little or no greenhouse gases into the air. Cutting down forests: forests are rapidly cutted to create pastures, farms or for many other purposes. This cutting down leads to emission of carbon dioxide from trees. Approximately, 12 million hectares of forests are destroyed each year. Forests can absorb carbon dioxide from environment and hence save the Earth from global warming. Deforestation with agriculture and many other land uses is responsible for emission of roughly a quarter of greenhouse globally. Manufacturing goods: many industries burn fossil fuels for energy production to make daily usable things like clothes, electronics, cement, steel, plastic and other goods. Mining and construction industries release a variety of harmful gases into the atmosphere. Machines used in these industries run on oil, coil and some other materials such as plastic. These gases are the main contributors in greenhouse gase emission worldwide. Use of transportation: most trucks, cars, planes and ships run on fossil fuels. This makes the release of greenhouse gases. Road vehicles run on combustion of petroleum based products such as gasoline. Transportation accounts for nearly one quarter of the global energy related to carbon dioxide emission. Consuming too much: use of power, your home, move amd live around, what you eat and drink and how you throw the things all contribute to harmful gase emission. So does the usage or consumption of gases like plastic, clothing and electronics. A large chunk of the global greenhouse gases are linked to the private households. Our life style has a profound impact on this planet. Powering building: globally, commerical and residential building consume over half of the all electricity. As they draw on natural gas, oil and coil for heating and cooling. They are responsible for greenhouse gases emission by growing energy used for air conditioners, lighting, appliances and other connected devices.

Effects of climate change:

Hotter temperature: increase in greanhouse gase emission is contributing in the global surface temperature. It was examined that last decade (2011-2020) was the warmest decade. Each decade has been more warmer than previous one since 1980s. Almost all land areas have increasing heat wave. Any increase in temperature (slow or sudden) cause heat-related diseases and results in working outdoor difficult. There is risk of wildfires which start and spread more rapidly on hotter conditions. Severe storms: climate change can results in destructive storms which become more frequent and more intense in many areas of the world. When temperature rises, more moisture epavorates which results in the extreme rain fall and floods causing more destructive storms. The extent and frequency of tropical storms is also effected by warming ocean. Hurricane, typhoons and cyclones feed on warm waters at ocean surface. These storms destroy homes and communities causing huge economic losses and deaths. Increased droughts: climate change is effecting the availability of water, making it more scarcer in many regions. Global warming is exacerbating water shortage in already water stressed area. It leads to increased risk of ecological droughts by increasing the vulnerability of ecosystem and agricultural droughts by affecting crops. Droughts can stir destructive dust and sand storms which can move million of tons of sand across continent. Deserts are rapidly expanding, reducing land for the growing food. A lot of people are facing droughts as well as they have not enough water on a regular basis. Poverty and displacement: climate change is increasing the factors which put and keep the population in poverty. Flood may sweep many rural as well as urban slums by destroying home and livelihoods. Heat makes difficult to work in outdoor jobs. Water scarcity affects crops and results in food shortage. Weather related events have been displacing a large number of people each year (average 23.1 million) since 2010. It make them more vulnerable to poverty. Health risks: climate change is the biggest threat to health of all livings. Climate change impacts are already destroying health through disease, air pollution, extreme weather events, pressure on mental health, forced displacement and increased poor nutrition in areas where people cannot find or grow sufficient food. Climate change takes the lives of almost 13 million people every year. Any disturbance in climate changes disease patterns, frequency, outcomes, recovery period and distribution. Loss of species: climate change poses higher risks to survival of the species on land and ocean. The world is losing diversity of species at a rate 1000 times. About 1 million species are endangered and at risk of becoming extinct. Extreme weather, forest fires and invasive pests and related threats are linked to the climate change. Some species will be able to survive and relocate, but many others will not. Not enough food: climate change is increasing the extreme weather events. All these events (floods, droughts, stroms) are the major cause of hunger and ooor nutrition. These events effect food growth, strong and supplies. These events destroy food taste, quality and nutritional status.

 Climate change mitigation:

Mitigating the effects of climate change is reduce the emission of greenhouse and other harmful gases that are warming our planet. Mitigation strategies for climate change involve retrofitting buildings to make them energy efficient, make sure the use of renewable energy sources such as small hydra, wind and solar, helping the developing cities to make the sustainable transport like train, biofuels and electric vehicles, and improving the land and forest use. Almost 1.4 billion people are becoming the reason of greenhouse gase emission which are not only destroying our environment but also effecting the health of living things. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2018) report on the global warming of 1.5°C highlights the urgent need for climate mitigating measures or actions: global emissions will need to peak by 2030 and decrease to net-zero by 2050 if we are to be able to stay within the suitable limits established by the Paris Agreement.

By wajeeha Rafaqat

Microbiologist Epidemiologist