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Environment Assignment Climate change: Meaning and implication 1.

The meaning of climate change The Oxford dictionary defines climate change as a change in the earth's weather. The changes include temperature, wind patterns and rainfall, especially the increase in the temperature of the earth's atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gases, especially carbon dioxide. Many however suggest that it is a long term change that can be noticed through statistical distribution of weather patterns. The United ations !ramewor" #onvention on #limate #hange $U !###% on the other hand defines climate change as &a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods'. This definition identified the cause as well as the range of time over which the change is observed. 2. Causes of climate change (efore discussing the cause of climate change, differentiating between climate change and global warming is important. )any interchange the use of the terms global warming and climate change. *lobal warming refers to an increase in average temperature as a result of human activities li"e the burning of fossil fuels. #limate change on the other hand is a natural process. #limate always changes. +t has been changing long before human beings started putting any "ind of pressure on the environment. #limate change can occur naturally due to changes in sunlight, the growth of mountains, and the movement of the continents across the earth over time. Other causes include biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. *lobal warming can however contribute to the climate change process or in other words it can be said that global warming is a human induced climate change. 3. Who is responsible for climate change? Why? ature is the most obvious culprit of climate change. As the causes of climate change above indicate the earth has experienced climate change for a long time. The last ice age that caused the extinction of the dinosaur is an example. Today,s climate change however is different from before. The earth is experiencing a rapid climate change that is mostly explained by people,s activities. -anter $.//0% claims the current warming trend is very li"ely human1induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past .,233 years. The following facts show the rapid trend of climate change4 ea le!el rise: global sea level rose about .5 centimeters $0.5 inches% in the last century.

Environment Assignment "lobal temperature rise: global surface temperature is warming. Warming oceans: the surface of the oceans has been absorbing the increasing temperature and has warmed in recent years. hrin#ing ice sheets: The *reenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. "lacial retreat: *laciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world 1 including in the Alps, 6imalayas, Andes, 7oc"ies, Alas"a and Africa. $%treme e!ents: the world has experienced erratic weather and has documented the most extreme weather incidents in recent years. The above incidents point to the activities of people. The increases in greenhouse gasses that can alter the earth,s environment seem to be the reasons for the rapid climate change. &. What is its impact on human 'ellbeing? #limate change poses lots of threat to the well being of human beings. )ost of the dangers impact human beings dependence and attachments with the earth. A significant portion of the world,s population depends on subsistence agriculture that relies on rain fall. The immediate impact of climate change therefore threatens the livelihood of millions. !or example, recurrent droughts and falling food production globally are evidences of the impact of climate change. 6ealth is another ris" posed by climate change. +ncreased illness events and deaths from more fre8uent and severe heat waves, especially in urban environments as well as increased in9ury, death and post traumatic stress disorders from increases in extreme weather events are some of the ris"s. 7is"s such as floods, storms, cyclones, and extreme bushfires pose 8uite a significant threat. #hange in the range and seasonality of outbrea"s of infections due to erratic weather are another sources of ris". Adverse health impact of more severe droughts and long term drying conditions on rural:remote communities and shortage of fresh water can also be included. Other social impacts of climate change include disrupted way of life; rising level of sea level on coastal areas, as well as increasing cost of living in urban areas can be mentioned. (. Measure against climate change Although it is impossible to stop the natural process of climate change, reliving the pressure that is causing the rapid change currently observed can be a starting point. The starting point would be to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that are the primary causes of global warming. Examples of mitigation include switching to low1carbon energy sources, such as renewable and nuclear energy, and expanding forests and other

Environment Assignment <sin"s< to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Energy efficiency can also play a ma9or role, for example, through improving the insulation of buildings. To allow the adoption of those measures, governments globally need to adopt policies which will emanate from the understanding of climate change and its implications. Other mitigating measures such as technological inventions that reduce the impact of climate change should also be considered. +nventions that would reduce the dependencies on rainfall for agriculture, di"es against rising sea level, energy efficiency, improved health services that can protect against weather related infections and diseases can be some of the measures.

)eference (.=. -anter et.al., &A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere,' ature vol 2>?, @ Auly .//0, 2/1@0 Oblac", 7. $n.d.%. *lobal Barming Cs. #limate #hange. 7etrieved from4 http4::weather.about.com:od:climatechange:f:globalDwarmingDclimateDchange.htm