Climate change and global warming have profound implications for our biodiversity. It affects the populations and distributions of species, the composition of ecological communities, and nature’s provision of goods and services – such as food, fuel, and clean water. Climate change also compounds other major threats to biodiversity, such as invasive alien species, habitat fragmentation, and overexploitation.
The world’s leading climate scientists believe that human activities are very likely the main cause of global warming since the mid-twentieth century, mostly because of:
Deforestation: The exploitation of forests has a major role in climate change. Trees help regulate the climate by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. When they are cut down, this positive effect is lost, and the carbon stored in the trees is released into the atmosphere.
Waste Disposal: Waste management methods like landfills and incineration emit greenhouse and toxic gases – including methane – that are released into the atmosphere, soil, and waterways, contributing to the increase of the greenhouse effect.
Overconsumption: Overconsumption also plays a major role in climate change. In fact, it is responsible for the overexploitation of natural resources and emissions from international freight transport, which both contribute to global warming.
Fossil Fuels: The massive use of fossil fuels is obviously the most important source of global warming, as burning coal, oil and gas produces carbon dioxide – the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere – as well as nitrous oxide.
Intensive Farming: Another cause of global warming is intensive farming, not only with the ever-increasing livestock but also with plant protection products and fertilizers. In fact, cattle and sheep produce large amounts of methane when digesting their food, while fertilizers produce nitrous oxide emissions.
Mining: Modern life is highly dependent on the mining and metallurgical industry. Metals and minerals are the raw materials used in the construction, transportation, and manufacturing of goods. From extraction to delivery, this market accounts for 5% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change affects every corner of our planet – from the poles to the tropics, and from the mountains to the oceans. People and nature worldwide are already feeling the effects: rising sea levels, glacier melting, torrential downpours, more powerful hurricanes, accelerated sea-level rise, intense heatwaves, prolonged droughts, and increased pests and diseases.
Overall the effects of climate change on biodiversity, oceans, humans, and weather are as follows:
On the weather: For decades now, meteorologists and climatologists around the world have been watching the effects of global warming on weather phenomena. And the impact is huge: more droughts and heatwaves, more precipitation, more natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, storms and wildfires, frost-free season, etc.