Climate change constitutes large-scale variations in weather patterns as well as the long-term escalation of the earth’s average surface temperature. This means that climate change is associated with weather patterns such as floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, and cyclones. Climate change poses great threats to the stability of the economy. For one thing, heat waves make it impossible for people to work, which results in decreased labor productivity. Additionally, cyclones, typhoons, and floods sweep away homes, leaving communities in poverty. Moreover, droughts and floods reduce harvests and shrink water sources, impacting global food security and leaving governments to feed their people, which in turn drags economic growth. Moreover, since most countries rely on the agricultural sector to boost their GDP through exports, decreased yields in the agricultural sector will negatively impact economic growth. Finally, tornadoes, as well as hurricanes, can cause significant damage to an immense number of properties, which can make businesses experience losses from the tragedies caused by extreme weather changes. Climate change is primarily influenced by activities such as deforestation, burning of fossil fuels to produce energy, and agriculture, which promote the emission of greenhouse houses that then cause global warming.
Causes of Factors Contributing to Extreme Weather Change
Human activities increase the emission of greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere causing the greenhouse effect (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2022). These emissions add vast amounts of gases to the naturally occurring ones, which then results in global warming. According to Tiseo (2022), the atmospheric abundance of carbon dioxide (CO2) significantly increased by 149% by 2020 and is largely caused by human activities. On the other hand, the methane concentration has risen by 260% while that of nitrous oxide has shot up by 123%. These emitted gases combine to form a blanket that covers the earth, which traps the sun’s heat and stops it from escaping back into the atmosphere, thereby causing global warming resulting in climate change. The human activities that promote the development of this problem include deforestation, burning fossil fuels, and agriculture.
Deforestation is the intentional clearing of forested land linked to diverse reasons. One of the reasons linked to the cutting down of trees is the need to expand land for agriculture and animal grazing. According to Jaganmohan (2022), agriculture accounts for approximately 80% of deforestation universally. This is where forested land is converted to cropland or pasture, mainly for subsistence to be able to satisfy daily food needs. In addition, it can occur for the purposes of wood extraction to be used for logging as well as domestic use as charcoal or fuel (Lawrence et al., 2022). Moreover, the need for land to be used for infrastructure expansion, such as urbanization or road building to improve transportation services, can also cause deforestation activities. Furthermore, large-scale mining activities can cause increase this problem as it requires massive infrastructure construction to support their operations (Oliveira et al., 2021). This, in turn, increases forest degradation, which contributes to carbon emissions resulting in global warming.
Forests store carbon that they absorb from the atmosphere. When the trees are cut down, they tend to release the stored carbon and limit the ability of nature to keep the emissions from the environment, which increases its concentration in the atmosphere. In support of this, Armstrong (2022) reported that 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions were released into the atmosphere in 2021 as a result of tropical primary forest loss. Moreover, deforestation leads to decreased number of trees to absorb back the released carbon (Oliveira et al., 2021). Furthermore, upon burning of trees to be used as fuel or charcoal, they release the carbon dioxide they stored back into the environment, which then combines with other greenhouse gases to cause global warming that results in extreme climate changes.
Burning Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oils are the key producers and suppliers of energy globally needed to grow economies. As per Sonnichsen (2022), fossil fuels account for approximately 84% of the energy consumed worldwide. However, these fossil fuels contain trapped carbon (iv) oxide gas inside them that contributes to severe weather changes. They are then able to release these gases back into the atmosphere when burnt to produce energy (Lamb et al., 2021). The burning of fossil fuels can be used for various reasons. First, burning fuels is used in the generation of power. This is because most of the electricity is produced by burning coal, oil, or gas. This enables the escape of greenhouse gases into the air causing global warming which then leads to drastic climate change (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2022). Second, fossil fuels are used in manufacturing industries to produce the energy required for the production of steel, clothes, plastics, and electronics, among other things. In addition, machines in the construction and manufacturing industries utilize these fuels for them to run efficiently, which enhances emissions into the atmosphere when burnt to produce energy.
Third, fossil fuels are used to provide the energy needed to power and maintain buildings. Global commercial and residential structures draw on natural gas, oil, and coal to enhance cooling and heating in buildings. Furthermore, these buildings rely on energy to run their air conditioners and lighting devices, which necessitates increased burning of fuels to produce the required power to sustain the building, which promotes the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Finally, fossil fuels are largely used in the transportation sector (“United States Environmental Protection Agency,” 2022; Lamb et al., 2021). This follows the fact that a majority of planes, trucks, cars, and ships rely on fuel to be able to run. Moreover, road vehicles contribute largely to carbon dioxide emissions due to their activities in burning petroleum-based products such as gasoline in their internal combustion engines.
The agricultural sector is a key contributor to the world’s economic growth. As such agricultural production activities are being increased all over the world to help boost countries’ GDP and help improve food security, especially with population growth. However, increased agricultural activities come with significant greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere hence promoting extreme climate change globally (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2022). This is because rearing animals and planting crops enhances the production of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For instance, livestock release methane gas (Reisinger & Clark, 2017). Moreover, the agricultural industry uses nitrous oxide to manufacture fertilizers used in farming which are then released back into the environment by the plants upon application. In addition, food production enhances deforestation activities to provide land for farming and grazing of animals which in turn promotes the release of greenhouse gases (Lynch et al., 2021). Furthermore, fishing boats, as well as farm machinery, heavily depend on fossil fuel to be able to run, thereby contributing to fossil fuel combustion. All these activities in the agricultural sector help foster the greenhouse effect, which then leads to climate change.
In conclusion, human activities such as agriculture, deforestation, and the combustion of fossil fuels significantly affect climate change. This is because these activities enhance the release of greenhouse gases and increase their concentration in the atmosphere which in turn leads to the greenhouse effect causing global warming, thereby ultimately resulting in drastic climate change. Fortunately, climate change is a global issue that can be rectified.
One step that can be taken is to ensure a shift from the use of fossil fuels in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This can be done by investing in low-carbon fuels as well as renewable sources of energy, which will limit the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and protect the environment. Countries can invest in wind and solar power to supplement their energy needs with cleaner, reliable, and affordable energy. In addition, a change to power generation using renewable sources will help protect economies from the changing prices of fossil fuels and free nations from overreliance on imported fossil fuels. Moreover, a shift from fossil fuels will reduce the cutting down of trees for the purpose of using wood and charcoal for domestic use. With this step, the universe will be able to protect the atmosphere from the greenhouse effect and prevent extreme climate change.
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