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Main Causes of Climate Change

3 min. reading
Climate change, Climate change and neo-ecology, New Gen / 30 August, 2021

Karla García Gil Journalist

Many factors contribute to the climatic deterioration of our planet, being the human being the main responsible for it through various industrial and domestic activities that he carries out on a daily basis. There are some actions you can take to reduce your ecological footprint, ranging from modifying some habits to investing in sustainable services and products.

Climate change is one of the most discussed topics by all governments and societies worldwide, who seek to establish protocols and mitigation measures in this regard.

Although some variations in the temperature of our planet Earth are a natural process, anthropogenic activities contribute to its acceleration and imbalance.

According to scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature in 2020 was 1.02 degrees Celsius warmer than the average used as a reference, surpassing 2016, which until then was the hottest year in the historical record.

The role of human activity

The main causes of climate change correspond to the emission of a series of gases that accumulate in the atmosphere remaining in it for many years and even centuries. These agents have the ability to act like greenhouse glass, causing the Earth to overheat.

Various studies from around the world reveal in their latest counts that China and the USA alone emit 40% of the planet’s total greenhouse gases. The ten largest emitters together account for 60% of total emissions.

According to the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, the main agents that cause this reaction and the activities from which they originate are the following:

1. Carbon dioxide (CO2)

  • CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by 35% since the beginning of the industrial revolution and are the main cause of global warming.
  • Eighty percent of these emissions are due to the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas in electricity generation, transportation, and industrial and domestic uses.
  • The other 20% is due to deforestation of forests.

Methane (CH₄)

  • Methane concentration has increased mainly as a result of livestock farming, as animals produce methane in their digestive tract, which is closely linked to excessive meat consumption.
  • Other activities that expel large amounts of CH₄ include agriculture, mining, transportation, the use of certain fossil fuels, sewage and the decomposition of garbage.

Nitrous oxide (N₂O)

  • The increase in nitrous oxide is primarily a consequence of fertilizer processing and the burning of fossil fuels.
  • This gas has a much higher global warming potential than CO2.

Halocarbons

  • These are organic compounds that contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer; they come from certain chemicals and plastic polymers.
  • Examples include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are used in refrigeration and other industrial processes such as the production of propellants and solvents.

Ozone (O₃)

  • Ozone is a greenhouse gas produced through the release of other gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrous oxide.
  • The excess of this gas in the troposphere causes respiratory diseases and other health problems.
  • Various organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have urged that net emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases be reduced to zero globally.

The solution within everyone’s reach

In order to solve climate change issues, it is imperative to make more sustainable use of our planet, reduce excessive consumption of products and food, especially those of animal origin, reduce waste, eliminate logging and burning of forests, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.

In this sense, it is convenient to concentrate efforts both individually and collectively, as well as to allocate new investments to promote more environmentally friendly living systems; for example, clean energies or sustainable water systems, in an effort to heal our green home, the Earth.