Greenhouse effect, carbon footprint, rising sea level… Understand everything about climate change

This is one of the biggest problems facing humanity in the 21st centurye century Global warming, already ongoing but expected to increase in the coming decades, will profoundly disrupt our societies.

However, we only know the surface of its intricacies and edges. So to better understand the phenomenon Western France answered some questions that everyone is interested in about it.

What is climate change?

It is a structural modification of various variables (temperature, precipitation, etc.) that make up the region’s climate.

In the past, such changes occurred regularly. At the end of the Middle Ages, what historians call the “Little Ice Age” occurred in Europe, when the average temperature of the continent dropped significantly.

On the other hand, climate change has been at work since the late 20se century is a particularly rapid warming. (and human origin)

Also read: What exactly is climate change?

What is the difference between weather and climate?

The main difference between these two concepts is temporality. Weather is very short term weather and climate is average meteorological weather. In other words, it is the average of the main meteorological indicators over a fairly long period (30 years).

Since climate is only an average, a weather event at a given time deviates from it by up or down. Thus, colds can occur episodically during periods of warming, without questioning the fact that temperatures have been structurally rising over a long period of time.

Also read: Colds and global warming: why weather and climate should not be confused

Why is the earth warming?

Unlike past climate variability, current warming is not due to changes in solar activity, volcanic activity, or changes in Earth’s orbit.

According to a fact that is now well established by scientists, this is actually entirely due to the increased presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of human activity.

Also read: Why is the earth warming?

What is the greenhouse effect?

This is a natural process in which the Earth retains some of the heat it receives from the sun due to the presence of certain gases in the atmosphere that act as greenhouses.

This event made it possible for life to appear on Earth, but its intensification due to these famous greenhouse gases has led to a very sharp increase in temperature and disruption of the entire planet’s climate in recent years.

Also read: What is the greenhouse effect?

What are greenhouse gases?

The greenhouse gas that contributes the most to the human-caused greenhouse effect is carbon dioxide, or CO.2. The second most important greenhouse gas is methane. Nitrogen oxides, ozone and fluorinated gases are also greenhouse gases, but their concentrations in the atmosphere and their place in global emissions are lower.

The typology of greenhouse gases released in France in 2020 shows this hierarchy well.

Also read: What are greenhouse gases?

Are humans responsible for climate change?

Yes. Greenhouse gases that cause global warming are indeed released as part of human activities (industry, transportation, agriculture).

The IPCC thus noted in one of its recent reports that without human activity, the global temperature increase recorded since the pre-industrial era would have reached only 0.05 degrees, not the current 1.1 degrees.

Also read: Are humans responsible for climate change?

Which countries emit the most greenhouse gases?

If we stick to the emissions of different territories, these are China, the United States and India. Russia, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, South Korea and Canada complete the top 10.

But if you look at emissions per capita, they are Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, mostly because of their highly polluting oil or gas activities and very small populations.

Also read: Which countries emit the most greenhouse gases?

What is a carbon footprint?

It is an indicator that measures the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a country, activity or person.

A country’s carbon footprint is calculated based on, for example, greenhouse gas emissions from the country’s domestic production, household emissions and also emissions related to imports. This calculation differs from national inventories, which focus only on domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

Also read: What is a carbon footprint?

What is carbon neutrality?

This is the case with CO emissions2 offset by CO associated with human activity on a planetary or regional scale2 absorbed by natural or artificial carbon sinks.

Therefore, achieving carbon neutrality does not mean emitting any amount of CO2but to reach an equilibrium where there are “net” emissions of CO2 is equal to zero, greenhouse gases emitted are replaced by those captured elsewhere.

Also read: Carbon neutrality, what is it?

What is renewable energy?

Energy that can be obtained from a source that is considered inexhaustible (at least on the human time scale) or that can be regenerated at a faster rate than it is consumed through natural processes is called renewable.

Energy from the sun, wind, geothermal energy or water, for example, is considered renewable energy.

Also read: What is renewable energy?

What extreme events will increase with global warming?

Heat waves and heat waves are expected to become longer, more intense and earlier in the future, as are droughts. These conditions will also cause wildfires to become more intense and affect more areas than they currently do.

In addition, global warming will accelerate the water cycle, making extreme rainfall episodes, such as monsoon or Mediterranean episodes, more intense.

Also read: What extreme events will increase with global warming?

Why are the seas rising?

If the sea is rising because of global warming, it’s because the continental glaciers are melting, which will swell the oceans, and also cause what scientists call “thermal expansion” of water.

Because warming is not only the responsibility of the atmosphere: the water in the seas and oceans is also warming. But as it warms, water technically takes up more space and expands, causing sea levels to rise.

Also read: Why does global warming cause sea and ocean levels to rise?

What is the IPCC?

All of these elements have been studied by the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, since the early 1990s.

Also read: What is the IPCC?

Bringing together thousands of scientists from around the world, it has published various reports prepared by three working groups: one studying the physical reality of global warming, the second studying its consequences, and the third proposing mitigation and adaptation measures.

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