Everyone knows about global warming, about how we are spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and that is heating up the earth’s atmosphere. The extra heat is causing global temperatures to rise and the polar ice caps to melt. But these are the immediate effects, what about the long term effects? Most of us would not live to see the next century, but the amount of greenhouse gases that we have spewed into the atmosphere will have its effect on the earth for at least another century.
Scientists believe that even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases today, the amount of CO2 and other gases in atmosphere will continue to cause global warming for another 100 years.
Since 1970, the earth’s average temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius. By estimates, by 2100, the earth’s average temperature will rise by 5.8 degree Celsius, a rise comparable to that between the last Ice Age and today. A rise by such an extent will create a world far different from the one we know. Such a huge rise in global temperature will diminish crop yields, melt the snow/ice reservoirs in the mountains that feed the earth’s rivers, cause more destructive storms, increase the area affected by drought, and cause more frequent and destructive wild fires.
A rise in temperature on a global level will not be uniform; it will be felt more over land than over oceans, in the higher latitudes than over the equator, and in the continental interiors than in coastal regions. With a 5 – 6 degrees rise in global temperature, water availability in Southern Africa and Mediterranean could drop by 30% – 50% and African agricultural yields would drop by 15% – 35% as a result. Up to 80 million more Africans could be exposed to malaria and another 7 to 300 million people would be affected by coastal flooding. Higher temperatures mean that heat waves are likely to happen more often and last longer, too. Heat waves can be dangerous, causing illnesses such as heat cramps and heat stroke, or even death.
With the current trend, your favorite beaches would soon disappear, and so will the snow covered peaks where you like to ski so much. Your favorite food could also disappear as many animals and plants would go extinct, unable to adapt to such drastic change in climate. The ecosystem could collapse too with the loss of habitat of various animals. All these point to a very bleak future for our planet earth.