Climate change is surely nothing new, but has increasingly become a topic of discussion, given the odd changes in weather all around the world and lest forget, President Donald Trump explicitly stating that “climate change and global warming is a hoax.” On November 23rd, 2018, the United States released a federal climate assessment that outlined the drastic effects of climate change and the toll it has and will take in the near future, given the rapid decline of our climatic conditions. Throughout the semester I have gathered eleven articles that I feel accurately exemplify the downswing of our climate, not just in the United States, but around the world as well. Upon analyzation and comparison of all eleven articles, unfortunately, things are not looking too bright for our beloved planet.
Rising temperatures throughout the world are bringing out the worst climate conditions we have seen in a while. In August of 2018, California released its plans to brace itself for the impacts of climate change, including a possible chance of winter precipitation at the end of this century due to warmer temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean (University of California, 2018). Upon three prior climate assessments, it was evident that California had experienced a five year drought, a tree mortality crisis, and massive, deadly wildfires.
Upon its fourth climate assessment, rising sea levels are predicted to occur which will raise the likelihood of coastal floods (Monroe, 2018). However, these rapidly rising temperatures are not just threatening the states. India had reported a “climate change exodus” back in August because it was simply too hot, partly because of the construction of infrastructure, the cutting down of trees, and scarcity of open water bodies (Menezes, 2018). People were being prompted to move from New Delhi to Goa, a state on the western coast of India in efforts of being able to escape the dreadful heat.
Greenhouse gases are another looming threat to our atmosphere, as emissions are predicted to rise to 74% by the end of the century (Menezes, 201). In efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century, the UK, who has been a leader in setting boundaries to reduce carbon emissions, is coming up with new measures that require some new technologies in order to aid in restoring wetlands, coastal habitats, and making it carbon neutral by 2050 (McGrath, 2018).
According to a report issued by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the temperature of the earth will reach the crucial threshold 1.5 degrees celsius as early as 2030. This means the risk of having extreme droughts, floods, food shortages, and wildfires greatly increases. In order to reduce this risk, global net emissions of CO2 would need to fall by forty-five percent from levels in 2010 by 2030 and reach “net zero” around 2050 (Miller, Croft, 2018). Many experts are optimistic this will make a positive impact as long as it is implemented as soon as possible, but the odds are not looking too great with plans like Initiative 1631 being rejected. Initiative 1631 would have put a $15 fee on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted in the state of Washington (Milman, Holden, 2018). If the necessary baby steps are not being taken in order lower gas emissions, it is unlikely we will achieve much of anything.
As previously mentioned, the Fourth National Climate Assessment was released the day after Thanksgiving on November 23, 2018. The key findings of the climate assessment include but are not limited too: human health and safety and the rate of economic growth on a broad spectrum, failure to provide substantial/sustained global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is expected to cause growing losses to America’s infrastructure, rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought,wildfires, etc, are expected to challenge the quality of crop yields, and changes in the quality and quantity of fresh water (NOAA, 2018).
The expense of climate change is high, with costs potentially reaching up to hundreds of billions of dollars and the Southeast alone will lose over half a billion labor hours by 2100 due to extreme heat. Farms in the Midwest will only be able to produce less than 75% of the corn they produce and the southern part of the region could lose nearly 25% or more of its soybean yield. Aside from the economic effects of climate change, it does have considerable impacts on our health. Asthma and allergies are expected to worsen as well as airborne and waterborne diseases due to pollution in our air and water (Christensen, Nedelman, 2018). Neither our environment, ecosystems, or health are safe from climate change and until the international community actually takes action instead of simply agreeing on things that can be done to protect our earth, conditions will only worsen.
- Christensen, J., & Nedelman, M. (2018, November 26). Climate change will shrink US economy and kill thousands, government report warns. Retrieved December 1, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/23/health/climate-change-report-bn/index.html
- Joyce, C., & Westerman, A. (2018, November 12). Megafires More Frequent Because Of Climate Change And Forest Management. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/2018/11/12/666951838/megafires-more-frequent-because-of-climate -change-and-forest-management
- McGrath, M. (2018, September 12). ‘Nature-based’ greenhouse gas removal to limit UK climate change. Retrieved September 18, 2018, from
- Menezes, V. (2018, August 22). The Climate Change Exodus – Times of India. Retrieved August 23, 2018, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/the-climate-change-exodus/articleshow/65507559.cms
- Miller, B., & Croft, J. (2018, October 08). Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn. Retrieved from
- Milman, O., & Holden, E. (2018, November 07). Milestone carbon pollution plan rejected by
- Washington state voters. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from
- Monroe, R. (2018, August 30). California releases new climate science, planning tools to prepare for climate change impacts. Retrieved August 31, 2018, from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-california-climate-science-tools-impacts.html
- NOAA. (2018, November 25). New federal climate assessment for U.S. released: Report highlights impacts, risks and adaptations to climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved
- December 2, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181125113728.htm
- Pierre-louis, K. (2018, October 16). We’re Covering Heritage Sites Threatened by Climate
- Change. The List Just Got Longer. Retrieved October 27, 2018, from lection/sectioncollection/climate&action=click&contentCollection=climate®ion=rank& module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront
- University of California – Riverside. (2018, September 4). California: Global warming, El Niño could cause wetter winters, drier conditions in other months: Warming ocean temperatures will intensify winter rainfall in California. ScienceDaily. Retrieved
- December 2, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180904150403.htm
- Ward, B. (2018, November 29). We’re studying collapsed civilizations so that ours can endure climate change. Retrieved December 1, 2018, from