Climate change: a comprehensive view of our planet in crisis

February 22, 2024

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues of our time. It affects every corner of our planet and has a far-reaching impact on our environment, our societies and our economy. In this very long and detailed blog post, we will look at the phenomenon of climate change: from the scientific basis and the already visible effects to the possible future scenarios and the steps we can take to address these global challenges.

What is climate change?

Climate change refers to a long-term change in the average weather conditions that determine the Earth's local, regional and global climate systems. Since the mid-20th century, these changes are mainly due to human activities, in particular the burning of fossil fuels, which has led to an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and thus to an increase in the Earth's average surface temperature.

Scientific evidence for climate change

The evidence for climate change is clear and far-reaching. The average global temperature has risen by around 1.1 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century. The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing mass, glaciers around the world are retreating, snow cover in the northern hemisphere is decreasing and sea levels are rising steadily. In addition, we have seen an increase in extreme weather events in recent decades, including heat waves and intense precipitation events.

Causes of climate change

The main cause of climate change is the increased emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) due to human activities. These gases are mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas), agriculture, deforestation and industrial processes.

Impacts of climate change

Climate change has diverse and profound impacts on our natural environment and human systems. The consequences include:

- Rising sea levels: Melting polar ice caps and glaciers and thermal expansion of seawater are causing sea levels to rise, threatening coastal areas and islands.

- Loss of biodiversity: Many animal and plant species are unable to adapt quickly enough to changing conditions, leading to a decline in biodiversity.

- Intensification of weather extremes: Extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, severe storms and floods are expected to become more frequent and intense.

- Changes in agriculture: Changing rainfall patterns and increased temperatures may jeopardize food security by affecting agricultural productivity.

- Health problems: The increase in heat waves and the spread of diseases transmitted by vectors such as mosquitoes can lead to an increased health burden.

What is being done to combat climate change?

Efforts are being made at an international level to combat climate change through agreements such as the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. National governments are implementing various strategies, including the expansion of renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and the promotion of sustainable land use practices.

What can we do?

Every individual can contribute to combating climate change. This includes changes in personal behavior, such as reducing energy consumption, using public transport, recycling and supporting politicians who are committed to climate protection.