Human Influence on Climate Change

Human Influence on Climate Change

Climate Change
A plant in Michigan releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, leading to higher temperatures.

“Human influence on the climate system is clear,” concluded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading international body for the assessment of climate change, in a new report.

Based on independent scientific analysis of climate data by thousands of scientists and experts worldwide, IPCC assessed global climate change for the entire 21st century, and concluded that it is “virtually certain” that human influence has resulted in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, reductions in snow and ice, rising global mean sea level, and changes in extreme weather patterns.

According to this report, the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to unprecedented levels, and CO2 concentrations have “increased by 40% since pre-industrial times,” mainly from fossil fuel emission.  If that was not enough cause for concern, the report also states that the ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted carbon dioxide, resulting in ocean acidification.

“As a result of our past, present and expected future emissions of CO2, we are committed to climate change, and effects will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 stop,” stated Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group 1 in an IPCC Press Release.

But not everyone agrees.  “Humans do not have as much of an effect on climate change as we believe,” said junior Gabrielle Barthel.  “Global warming is a cycle of the earth, not a catastrophe caused by human intervention.”

But Barthel admits that people need to do more to prevent air and water pollution.

“Humans should always strive to become more efficient and less wasteful,” said Barthel. “After all, we are stewards of the Earth.”