Climate change and global warming have been a great concern all over the world for the last decades. However, their consequences including water scarcity are still unpredictable. We are in danger and we need to act now.
And we're not prepared.
So there's no exact schedule to climate change. It's not in a rush, but it'll get better or worse depending on how we respond to it. Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released what they called the 'Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C'. In it, the point out that Earth has already warmed about 1 degree Celsius over pre-industrial levels. If we cross 1.5-degrees of warming, things are going to get rough.
Right now, the report indicates we're heating up at about 0.2-degrees per decade, meaning we'll hit that milestone around 2040. Then again the estimates could be off, the authors say, and we could reach it in the next 12 years. And that won't be a sudden end-of-the-world phenomenon, but it'll certainly be a worrying marker for the start of it.
Global warming has already gotten really bad. Not only are we seeing heat waves in tropical countries like our own, they're also taking place in the freaking Arctic Circle. Just 800km from the North Pole, the coldest town on Earth was experiencing a 21-degree summer. Hell, large swathes of it even caught fire this past month, further contributing to pollutants in the air.
Other research also shows that, though the Earth has experienced phases of extreme temperature in the past, the current trend is very different. Earth's warming in the 20th century is far more widespread than it's been in the last 2,000 years. More than 98 percent of the planet is hotter on average than before, and it's not going to stop.
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The ice across the world is constantly melting, in some cases releasing pollutants long-since trapped in ice. But the melt is speeding up. Last month over 40 percent of Greenland experienced melting over a few days, with the total ice lost estimated to be more than 2 gigatons. Specifically, Greenland lost 2 billions tons of ice in a single day. And as our ice melts, the sea levels will rise, flooding coastal regions and river banks, maybe even overflowing dams.
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We've killed so many animal species in our time on Earth that the planet may take as much as 7 million years to restore that biodiversity. And yet we're not done. Thanks to changes caused by decades of deforestation and pollution one million animal and plant species face imminent extinction, many of them within mere decades.
Apparently, animals have been going extinct tens of hundreds of times faster today that ten million years ago. We could be killing as many as the incident that killed the dinosaurs. In fact, we're close to not even having any more fish in the ocean to eat.
Global warming makes hurricanes 10 to 15 percent wetter. And though that may seem like a good thing, it's not. Instead of gradual, steady rain, you get incredible torrents only during storms. Tornado winds will also get more intense over time, causing greater amounts of devastation.
Thanks to the carbon building up in our atmosphere, people will start getting a lot sicker. And that's happening the fastest in developing nations. Around 98 percent of cities in low and middle-income countries, with a population of over 100,000, fail to meet WHO air quality standards. So when we look at cities like Delhi And Mumbai, they aren't just giving people lung and tracheal ailments. As it turns out, the smoke is actively also making people dumber.
Thanks to heatwaves and sea-level rise, a lot of our industrial processes will be disrupted, including farming and energy productions. That means when there's a drought, you're going to be paying through the nose for simple food. When the heatwave hits your city, it'll be too expensive to run your AC.
All of this is exactly why we need solutions for global warming, immediately. It's not enough that we work to curb our fossil fuel pollution and the like, we need to actively reverse it to have a chance.
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In 2019, we're staring down the barrel of a global water crisis, with not a heck of a lot of options. We agree that we have to change our lifestyles and consumption habits, but we don't even know where to start.
But we need to do something quickly, as time is running out in our quest to provide clean and safe drinking water to everyone. As many as 21 major Indian cities are staring down the barrel of a major water crisis if the status quo is allowed to exist.
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