Scientists has estimated that humans activities worldwide are emitting more than 25 billion tons of carbon-dioxide (CO2) yearly that is leading to rapid climatic changes. The implications of climate change, according to the most recent assessment report by the world’s top climate scientists working on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, could be an increase in the world’s surface temperature by as much as 5.8 degrees Centigrade by 2100.
But what is worst is this: An alarming idea that has gained currency that there is the possibility of small shifts in global temperature leading to sudden and abrupt climate changes.
What makes such projections important is not their possibility, which is so far vague, although a growing number of scientists believe that sudden changes in climate are a imminent risk. Instead, the major consequence lies in what the new research suggests about scientific uncertainty and risk.
Scientists have documented a wide range of climate impacts expected to occur (or already happening) as a consequence of such rapid increases in so short of time span. These climate changes range from greater frequency and intensity of droughts, wildfires, floods, storms (including snowstorms), and tornadoes, to crop, livestock and timber losses. Spread of infectious pests and pathogens and heat waves could cause greater human illness and premature mortality. These looming problems pose formidable health and economic challenges to humanity. But what small and sudden swings in global temperature have in store for humanity is not yet known.
Until recently, much of the climate debate has centered on whether global warming is occurring at all. Most climate models had assumed a slow, steady increase in temperature and forecast gradual changes with gradual effects. But newer, more sophisticated models suggest that small changes can have large effects on everything from ocean and land temperatures to drought and monsoon patterns, icecaps and tropical rain forests.
Climate change – sudden or gradual — is not an isolated issue. It is intimately connected to other major global environmental problems, such as the alarming rate of species and biodiversity loss that could become the sixth largest extinction spasm in planetary history. The impacts of climate change are projected to accelerate plant and animal population losses and the extinction of a wide range of species and ecosystems.
The main challenge is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. There are many national and international bodies working to recognizing the problem of potential global climate change. Another challenge theses bodies face today is how to confront the impact of climate change on biodiversity. The Earth’s climate is changing in unprecedented ways.
p>Scientists and policy-makers agree that we need to quickly prepare new and effective conservation strategies to respond to these changes but not much seems to be happening on ground. This is one of the global issues that merits a collective attention of every one who inhabits the planet.