What is Climate Change?
Broadly defined, climate change is a long-term alteration of the earth’s temperature, resulting in typical weather patterns in any particular region.
The science of it: While there are natural fluctuations in the climate, human activity—widespread industrialisation in particular—has increased the emission of carbon dioxide, resulting in the extreme rising of the earth’s temperature.
How do we know that the earth’s climate is changing?
From the average temperature of 15 degree Celsius, the earth is approximately 1 degree Celsius warmer now than before. This means that glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, leading to an increased sea level, the average having increased by 3.6 mm per year between 2005 and 2015[i].
Causes of Climate Change
Greenhouse effect: The greenhouse effect—the trapping of the sun’s energy by the earth’s atmosphere—in which solar heat absorbed by the greenhouse gases and re-emitted in all directions and radiated back to space also increases the earth’s temperature.
Increased human activity: We are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth's temperature by burning fossil fuels, cutting down rainforests and farming livestock. This adds enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming.
Effects of Climate Change
Rising temperatures, melting glaciers
Drastic change in seasons resulting in increased precipitation, heat waves and droughts
Rising sea levels, sinking islands
Hurricane Dorian as seen from the International Space Station on Monday, September 2, 2019. (Photo credit: NASA)
Policies and regulations on Climate Change
The following initiatives have been taken by the United Nations[ii]:
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The UN’s Earth Summit in 1992 resulted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With 197 countries being a part of the Convention, the aim is to prevent harmful human interference with the climate system.
As an extension of the Convention, in 1995, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted. It legally binds developed member countries to reach emission reduction targets. A total of 192 countries are part of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen global response to the threat of climate change. In 2016, 186 countries ratified the Paris Agreement, thereby pledging to keep the global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
2019 Climate Action Summit
In 2019, a Climate Summit was held to bring leaders of governments, the private sector and civil society together to accelerate climate action and ambition.
What we can do
Individual efforts: eat less meat, buy local produce, avoid foods with packaging, consume less electricity, population control
Global efforts: Preserve coral reefs, lower atmospheric carbon-di-oxide by preventing cutting of trees, conserve fossil fuels like coal, population control
What businesses/ organisations can do: actively create awareness about climate change; donate CSR funding towards climate change causes
What Langtek will do
School schedules permitting, Langtek would like to introduce the subject of Climate Change to young minds. This is a two-week module, and schools don’t incur any cost towards it. We urge educationists to approach us to conduct this module in their schools. Classes could be online or virtual.
Langtek will donate a portion of its profits towards efforts to safe-keep the earth’s climate.