The topic that just keeps getting hotter

The IPCC has predicted that the climate change will result an increase in global temperatures by 2 degrees C.  The impacts can already be seen with the 1.5 degrees C increase the planet is currently experiencing, with shifts being seen in ecosystems, rising sea levels, and other damages upon the planet.  While it was technological fixes that lead us to this point, it will be necessary for the use of socio-techno fixes to combat the changes and possibly reach a “net zero” CO2 emission (IPCC, 3).  Additionally, the actions thus far have been localized, with some nations leading the charge, but in order for further damage to be avoided, action will need to be taken across the globe.  The IPCC suggests rapid action in regard to the impact of energy, industry, buildings, transport, and societies on climate change.

Climate change has been heavily debated within societies and political factions.  Many argue that we haven’t studied the Earth for long enough to know if changes are due to human action or just the natural course of the planet.  Climate change has been studied for many years before it became the buzzword it is today, as Reidy highlights in his discussion of John Tyndall. Tyndall during the 1800s discovered the radiant heating impact of various gas molecules in the atmosphere, ultimately being one of the first recorded to discuss greenhouse gases (Reidy, 12).  Even before Tyndall climate change was speculated by scholars in ancient nations, for example some of the writings of the Greek scholar Theophrastus included discussions of man-made climate change (1). While climate change has not been a household term for long, Ngram viewer has the increase starting in the 1960s, it has been a concept known to scholars and scientists for many years.  



Additional sources:

(1) Neumann, J. Climatic Change (1985) 7: 441.

One thought on “The topic that just keeps getting hotter”

  1. I enjoyed your overall perspective on the global impact of climate change vs the localized reaction and resulting actions countries have taken. Certainly, humans cannot expect to drastically reverse the devastating effects of climate change so quickly while only having certain countries lead the way towards reducing carbon emissions. Undoubtedly, an undertaking of this magnitude will require every country to participate in full force. I also was intrigued by your recognition that climate change and climate science have been topics of study for centuries, yet only gaining popularity in writings and the public conscience for the last 50 years. Unfortunately, this seems to be a major mistake that has caused immense consequences we are only seeing now. However, this is exactly where socio-technological fixes come into play, as they can at least serve as stepping stones towards more research and inventions that can help reduce carbon emissions and hopefully slow the beast that is global warming.

Leave a Reply