Greenhouse gases

Why Climate Change is a Threat

Could you recall in the past 12 months how many environmental disasters have occurred in an area close to you, in your country, or in a place you know? I’m pretty sure they’re many.

Climate change is an international threat to humanity and all living creatures because it can change the way we live forever.

But why? And how did that all happen? And why suddenly everyone is talking about climate change if its origins started over 100 years ago? Why now?

Why Climate Change is a Threat
Climate Change is A Threat

Well, maybe because we are near a catastrophic disaster that COVID-19 is nothing compared to.

Climate change is one of the most complex challenges that face humanity in modern history not only because of the technical details of the issue but also because it impacts every aspect of our lives. 

What Could Go Wrong?

Huge industries such as the gas and oil industries need to be totally shut down to save the environment, or alter their business model in the best case, but you could imagine the problems created by shutting these industries down with so many people and economies depending on them.

Farmers, for example, could also get impacted because the fertilizers they use to grow crops cause damage to the environment, and if fertilizers usage is reduced less food is grown which would cause another economical challenge with food prices going up and food starvation rising.

But I am getting ahead of myself…

Let’s start from the beginning…

What is Climate Change

Climate is a system of connected sub-systems. Forests, oceans, weather, clouds, and even us humans in big cities are all connected to and impact the climate.

So what is changing about the climate?

The change happening to the climate is the human activities that we have been developing for over a hundred years, since the industrial revolution the need and consumption for energy have increased rapidly in developed countries and it is still increasing up to this day as the developing countries are using more and more fossil fuels to power up their development.

The problem with most energy sources we have relied on to power up our development is the pollution they cause to the environment.

CO2 emissions, and all greenhouse gasses, are causing increasing damage to the environmental system by trapping more heat in the atmosphere which causes all sorts of trouble.

But what are greenhouse gases exactly? And how are they making trouble?

Greenhouse gasses are gasses that trap heat inside Earth’s atmosphere in a similar manner to the agricultural greenhouse.

Earth gets energy from the sun through radiation in the form of visible light, ultraviolet, infrared, and other forms of radiation. 30% of that energy is reflected back to space by clouds, ice, and other reflective surfaces. The remaining 70% gets absorbed through oceans and land.

As ocean and land heat up they also release energy in the form of infrared thermal radiation, which passes out into space through the atmosphere.

This stage is where all the trouble happens.

A percentage of the reflected heat gets trapped by the greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, which makes Earth habitable. We want a percentage of the heat to be trapped, not all of the greenhouse effect is bad. But the trouble happens when the amount of heat trapped exceeds normal levels.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most significant greenhouse gases are Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), and Fluorinated Gases.

greenhouse gases

The most common one of these gases is carbon dioxide (CO2) even though it’s not the most efficient gas at trapping heat. Carbon dioxide is the result of burning fossil fuels, solid waste, and certain chemical reactions.

So what is climate change?

Climate change is the change that is happening to the environment due to human activities driven by the need for energy to power up the development of the human species.

Now we need to ask, why is it a threat?

Why Climate Change is a Threat

Climate change is a threat for all kinds of reasons. The rising temperature of the atmosphere could cause glaciers and polar ice to melt, rising sea levels, more water evaporation which leads to stronger storms, less food grown due to unpredictable weather, and a whole lot of problems that could happen.

The idea is that climate impacts every aspect of our lives, this is the medium we live in, so by polluting the medium you could imagine life as we know it is going to change at not-so-extreme predictions.

We can classify the threats into four main threats:

  • Environmental Threats
  • Health Threats
  • Economical Threats
  • Political Threats

Let’s discuss them one by one

Environmental Threats

What could happen to the environment when the atmosphere temperature goes up?

The most obvious answer is: Ice melting down.

When ice melts down and glaciers disappear, that would immediately cause rising sea levels and the release of the vast reserves of methane that sits under the Arctic ocean which will lead to more greenhouse gasses getting into the atmosphere and more warming.

When ice melts down and sea levels rise, coastal cities will be in danger of drowning and life in those cities disappearing. That would mean lost homes and properties and land which will cause economical trouble which we will discuss.

Also, when the atmosphere’s temperature rises, the amount of evaporated water from oceans increases which will cause stronger storms which we are witnessing a sample of already. Which causes more property damage that causes economical trouble.

To add to that, higher atmosphere temperature causes more moisture evaporation from the ground, drying up the soil, and making vegetation more flammable. Which increases the probability of wildfires and increases their duration and impact of them.

Health Threats

So these were the environmental threats, are these the only threats?

Sadly, no…

Climate change is a result of polluted air, so your respiratory system is at greater risk as the climate state gets worse. More pollutants in the air are not good news for people with asthma. In the United States alone additional 4 million people were diagnosed with asthma between 2001 and 2009.

When the average temperature rises our bodies may not be able to handle it, especially when it exceeds certain levels. Heat-related illnesses are on the rise like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat cramps. In a single heat wave in Europe in 2003 an estimated 70,000 people died, according to the WHO.

Also when the temperature rises this will mean that plants that cause hay fever will have longer periods to bloom and flourish, which means more chances to worsen allergies.

The change in temperature will also mean that insects are going to find new places to live in that suit their favorite temperatures, which means insect-transmitted diseases are going to appear in geographical areas that haven’t witnessed these diseases before.

Economical Threats

All of this is definitely going to have an impact on the economy, in a negative way…

The people who used to live in coastal cities will need to find new places to live in.

The land is going to be less productive because of moisture evaporating out of it which means less food is grown which means food prices will increase.

In addition to that, floods and unpredictable weather are going to make it harder to grow food, which contributes to food prices, and harder to maintain your property, which will cause economical trouble.

This is just a sample of the economic troubles that are going to happen.

Political Threats

And economical trouble definitely means economical trouble, less resources are going to be available for people will lead to more disputes and more fights so each country can secure more resources for its citizens.


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