The environmental impact of rising temperatures due to the advance of climate change is undoubtedly one of the great mysteries that science is trying to elucidate. Although the general consequences are known, the challenge lies in knowing when it will occur and in what specific way it will affect one or another region.
Similarly, the goal is to be able to predict how the chaos caused by climate change will provoke reactions at different levels, many of them in a chain, directly or indirectly associated. In short, there are many questions that still need an answer, but it is also possible to determine, roughly, what the expected environmental impact will be. It will be on these general conclusions that we will focus.
- A 4 degree increase by 2100
- What would happen if the temperature increased by 2 degrees?
- Extreme events and other consequences of climate change
A 4 degree increase by 2100
If emissions of gases greenhouse follow the current pace, the scenario is very pessimistic. However, it is also true that scientists work with certain models, based on which they draw certain conclusions. Therefore, it cannot be said that certain temperatures will be reached by the end of the century as an immovable forecast.
The reason is simple: in case the conditions contemplated in the model or pattern used to carry out the research vary significantly for any reason (such as a lower emission of greenhouse gases due to a change in the energy model or, for example, due to the discovery of new technologies , etc.) its reliability would be lower, logically.
With that cleared up, let’s see what environmental impact is expected when temperatures rise, according to science. To do this, let’s cite the forecast of the IPCC, the intergovernmental group of experts on climate change or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, hence its acronym.
The IPCC estimates that the Earth’s temperature could increase by 4 degrees Celsius on average by 2100. In the best of cases, it will do so by around 2 degrees, with respect to the temperature that was in the pre-industrial era.
Other equally rigorous studies expect higher temperatures in certain regions of the planet, being able to rise 6 degrees Celsius or even add 8 degrees more to the mercury. This was recently concluded, for example, by the new study presented by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which analyzed the consequences of climate change in Asia and the Pacific.
What would happen if the temperature increased by 2 degrees?
However, it is not necessary to paint such a dramatic scenario for the planet (including natural and human ecosystems) to suffer great impacts. If the average temperature of the planet rises by 2 degrees, something that is tried to avoid by coordinating global efforts, the consequences would be irreversible.
However, if we continue at the current rate of emissions, we will exceed this limit by 2050, according to the IPCC. In other words, we are bordering that red line, and that point of no return will mean an increase in environmental problems that are already being suffered, increasing their intensity and frequency (extreme events), as well as the appearance of new ones.
Some, foreseeable , but not all, with what their appearance in this or that region permanently or temporarily will make an appearance in a random way or, if you want, following a logic that escapes science. The simile of Russian roulette, in this case, could help to understand what it is about.
Extreme events and other consequences of climate change
The consequences of this environmental phenomenon caused by global warming cover a wide range of issues. Among others: reduction of basic resources, causing water, food or other crises, as well as droughts, heat waves, more fires, greater floods, rise in sea level, alterations in ecosystems and reduction of the potential that different carbon sinks have natural, such as vegetation or the oceans.
The extent of its impact will vary in different regions of the planet, since climate change is characterized by general trends that vary at the local level in a much more unpredictable way when we want to make forecasts within a certain date.
In the long term, however, science has predicted the disappearance of many islands and coastal cities, either due to being under water or due to extreme events that make them uninhabitable, for example, lack of water or extreme weather conditions .
Environmentally, these changes will entail major transformations at a geographical level in terms of fauna and flora (a green Arctic and an increasingly warmer Europe, affected by the phenomenon of desertification, for example), both by migrations and by causing extinctions and also benefits for some species. Currently, rising temperatures are already reducing the size of different animals.
Human beings will also suffer more deaths from food and water shortages produced by extreme events, as well as climatic migrations. A massive increase in climate refugees is expected in Mexico and Central America, East Africa and East Asia, although it will be a widespread phenomenon that cannot be confined to these areas. Human movements that, in turn, will also have environmental impacts.
To this must be added other factors that also influence these consequences, such as the increase in pollution or the advance of the sixth great mass extinction, whose environmental impact is being tremendous. That is, it will be to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
The solution, as is often the case in other areas of ecology, requires a determined reaction that we could well define as revolutionary. Half solutions are not worth it. Only a single reaction, based on a change in the energy and consumption model, could make a difference.
Such is the purpose of the Climate Pact reached at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change , although it still has many weaknesses. Among others, the announcement of leaving the United States, as well as not being binding or setting more specific objectives and, on the other hand, mandatory.
Their goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius is therefore no accident. Ideally, it is intended that the increase does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius. Because, in short, avoiding the environmental impact of rising temperatures means preserving the balance of the planet and, therefore, the world as we know it.
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