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Climate Change Update

Detrimental greenhouse gasses created by fossil fuel use are building up in our atmosphere, heating up the Earth, and irreversibly damaging the planet. Although the worldwide pandemic is on everyone’s mind right now, the global climate change that is occurring carries a variety of problems and is attacking the Earth at full force. 

As a population, humans are the main cause of climate change. The main companies that produce the most fossil fuels, which creates carbon dioxide that pollutes our atmosphere, are gas companies. ExxonMobile, Shell, and Chevron made upwards of $100 billion dollars this past year, some even over $300 billion, according to an article from NS Energy by Felix Todd. These gas companies are responsible for 20% of the damage done to the climate, and an article in the Washington Examiner revealed that Exxon will donate $1 million to help fight the damage to the Earth that it’s company created, which is less than 1% of it’s annual revenues.

Smoke Stacks release Fossil Fuels into the Sky | Photo Courtesy of www.aa.com

Although greenhouse gasses are needed to keep the planet inhabitable, the increased amount of carbon emissions have caused the earth to warm dangerously and exponentially. In an article published by NASA titled “The Causes of Climate Change”, scientists claimed that even a 1.5  degrees Celsius jump in global warmth will expose people to extreme heat waves. This severe temperature will also damage ecosystems, oceans, levels of precipitation, and create many extreme natural disasters. 

Within the past five years alone, climate change is also clearly identified by the increased severity of wildfires around the world. In an article published by National Geographic, wildfire scientist and paleocologist Philip Higuera confirms that the intensity of the recent wildfires is “staggering”. Three of the latest California fires have made state history after they torched around 2 million acres of land. These wildfires feed off of California’s dry forests and valleys, which have lots of flammable brush on the forest floor, making the recent fires even worse. 

Firefighters make a stand in the backyard of a home in front of the advancing CZU August Lightning Complex Fire Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Boulder Creek, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Along with the massive fires, climate change has led to record flooding. Excessive flooding in South Asia has forced over twelve million people from their homes, and destroyed over two million acres of crops. As the planet warms, the oceans heat up, ice melts, and oceans expand. An article titled “The Big Thaw”, published by National Geographic, revealed that as global temperatures increase and glaciers continue to melt, the global sea level has increased about one-tenth this year, which is an alarming and irregular rise, and will continue to rise and damage countries at a rapid rate. 

Intense flooding can be seen after many hurricanes as well, which have been increasing in strength as climate change grows. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season set records, as the US was hit with nine hurricanes before August, instead of the usual two or three. Hurricane Laura was a category four hurricane that made landfall in the US Gulf Coast on August 26th. With winds over 150 miles per hour, a warning for “unsurvivable” storm surges were put into effect, and the public was warned that the water could flood up to 40 miles inland and not recede for days, according to an article written for NPR.

Hurricane Laura | Photo Courtesy CNN

The increased scale of natural disasters not only destroys nature and land, but also people’s homes and lives. The Red Cross reported that thousands of people were displaced after Hurricane Laura, and on September 21, 2o20, over 15,700 people needed shelter that was provided by the Red Cross and other partners. These “Climate Refugees” are losing possessions, homes, and even family members to the increased flooding, fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters that have increased in severity just this past year. Climate change is not only caused by humans, but also harms and affects the population magnificently. 

It is clear that climate change is a developing issue for our world. As the Earth’s temperature continues to rise, people will have to change their lifestyles before the planet is irreversibly damaged. 

About Kate Heald

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