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Adverse Effects of Climate Change

10/02/2019

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report during the United Nations General Assembly documenting climatic and environmental changes as a result of carbon dioxide emission.  The report was prepared by an international panel of prominent geoscientists and environmental specialists and concentrated on the deleterious effects on oceans covering 70 percent to the World’s surface including 10 percent covered by ice and snow.  We rely on oceans to absorb 90 of excess heat resulting from increased carbon dioxide pollution of the atmosphere and to retain a proportion of the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuels.  Oceans are now rising at one-seventh of an inch annually, approximately twice the rate measured between 1900 and 1990.  Since 1970 scientists have recorded a 1 to 3 percent decline in oxygen in oceans and this trend will continue at an accelerating rate. 

 

Due to atmospheric warming, Greenland and Antarctica are losing 720 billion tons of ice annually.  The snow cover of the Arctic this June has shrunk by more than half since 1967.  Arctic sea ice in September has diminished by 13 percent per decade since 1980.  Unless carbon dioxide emission is reduced, there is a 10 to 35 percent probability that the Arctic will be free of sea ice during the month of September.  The rise in ocean levels due to melting of ice sheets in the Antarctic and Greenland will result in a 2 to 4 foot increase in sea levels by the turn of the Century.  This will inundate many coastal areas characterized by high population density and infrastructure. 

 

The report predicted severe changes to the cryosphere (ice and snow covered areas) with weakening ocean currents, wetter and stronger hurricanes and more extreme El Nino events.  This will reduce fish populations and have a severe effect on agriculture, marine and terrestrial bird life and mammals.

 

Politicians can deny climate change and administrations can impose restrictions to prevent dissemination of incontrovertible data.  The reality is that progressively, carbon dioxide levels are increasing in oceans and in the atmosphere and global warming is increasing at a measurable rate. Resulting  impacts on agriculture and livestock health are becoming more evident. 

 

Deniers of climate change are entitled to their opinions but not their facts.  The voice of Greta Thunberg the 16-year old Swedish environmental activist is resonating among her generation and is amplified by environmentally conscious citizens. Her concern, based on scientific reality emphasizes the need for action. The present generation of administrators, business leaders and politicians is leaving a bleak inheritance for our children and grandchildren.