The Effects of Climate Change Climate change is a change in normal weather patterns and could end up being harmful to not only the environment but society in the future.

GLOSSARY

Fossil fuels: a natural fuel formed from the remains of living organisms

Greenhouse gases: a gas from the greenhouse effect that absorbs infrared radiation

Pacific Island countries: island countries in the Pacific Ocean

Water-borne pathogens: caused by pathogenic microorganisms that are usually transmitted through fresh water

Global warming: the gradual increase of the temperature in the Earth's atmosphere

Bark beetles: wood-boring beetles that reproduce in the bark of trees

Forestry: managing, creating, and caring for forests

El Nino: changes in the climate that affect the Pacific Ocean typically in December

Why is climate change is an issue and what is affecting it?

The recent increase in climate change has been affected by products that have been put into the air. Climate change is caused by items like carbon dioxide, fossil fuels, pollution, and greenhouse gases. According to Dan Stillman and Denise Miller from NASA, climate change is when a normal temperature or weather pattern in a specific area changes. Several factors have recently played into Earth’s climate changing which has caused weather patterns to change throughout different areas of the world. Many different everyday products and lifestyles are making climate change worse. For example, increases in carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases have led to an overall trend in the rising of temperatures, according to Justin Gillis, a writer for the New York Times. Gillis also says that, "the heat temperatures during the fall in the Arctic have been running 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average". Some people may think that climate change would be small changes, however people have already been seeing the climate change in big ways.

How do people already see climate change?

Climate change has already been affecting people for the past few years by changes in temperatures, disease, weather patterns, and harming crops. One of the biggest effects would be temperature change. According to Thomas Sumner, a writer for ScienceNews, in 2016, the average temperature was about 2 degrees warmer than it has been in years past. The climate change, specifically the change in weather patterns, is affecting people’s lifestyles and businesses as well. For example, American farmers have already started to see the climate change since it has affected them by wiping out their crops and livestock, according to the United States Department of Agriculture chief (Josh Lederman). The USDA chief also says that pine bark beetles that were killed off during past harsh winters have now come back and infected millions of trees, due to the changing temperatures. Even though people have already been seeing climate change, the government and other officials have put rules and regulations in place in the past to try to combat the changing climate.

What laws or regulations are in place to combat climate change?

Currently, there are not many regulations or laws in place to combat climate change. However, in the past, presidents and other officials have tried to place rules to reduce climate change. For instance, former President Barack Obama said in an interview that he created the Clean Power Plan in 2015 with an environmental group to help decrease climate change (Landler and Davenport). The main idea of the Clean Power Plan was to reduce pollution in the air from power plants. There are also organizations and associations that are looking to combat climate change. One of the biggest groups is the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, also known as the EPA. In 2010 alone, EPA’s partners reduced greenhouse gases by over 345 million metric tons by putting restrictions on the amount of greenhouse gases used (“What EPA Is Doing about Climate Change”). People in society have the option to do things like cutting back on certain resources used to help climate change. There are many options and solutions for society to help with climate change.

What are ways to fix climate change?

Climate change is an important issue but can be fixed in several ways. This issue can be reduced by people limiting the amount of pollution they put into the air, recycling, and trying to reuse things if they can. It can also be reduced and possibly even fixed if people work together. For example, to help with the climate change, an option is to work with a forest service or research service and to see how to help each area with the changing climate and to also work with the government on their preparation for climate change (Lederman). Working with people on this issue can help to make sure that everyone is on the same page. There are also things to be done at home to help with climate change. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, changing light bulbs at home to ones with the ENERGYSTAR label can reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the air by almost 130,000 products. If we start to change behaviors now to help combat climate change, we can change how this change in environment affects us in the future.

How does climate change impact our society and how will it affect our future?

Our society is affected by climate change in several ways, such as altered weather patterns and farmers losing their crops or livestock. For example, climate change in the Pacific has led to problems like altered rainfall, changing ocean acidity, rising air temperatures, and altered frequency of severe weather (McIver). All of these problems can be dangerous to humans. The changing climate can also affect items like water by infecting the water with water-borne pathogens which can make people sick (McIver). The more the climate changes, the more these issues will appear. According to the EPA, average global temperatures are set to increase by 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit and 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. If temperatures continue to rise like they are supposed to, it could be harmful for society. These temperatures could cause more water-borne pathogens, a higher frequency in severe weather, and altered rainfall.

In the video above, Former President Obama talks about his opinion and plans on climate change.

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