Five years after the start of global warming, the effects of climate change have become increasingly apparent. The average global temperature has risen by 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, and the rate of warming is accelerating. Sea levels have risen by an average of 8 inches since 1993, and are projected to rise another 3 feet by 2100. Extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, and droughts are becoming more frequent and intense.
The impacts of global warming are felt most acutely in the world’s poorest countries, where people are least able to cope with the changes. In Africa, for example, crop yields have declined due to drought and desertification, leading to food insecurity and malnutrition. In coastal areas, rising sea levels have caused flooding and erosion, threatening homes and livelihoods.
The effects of global warming are also being felt in the Arctic, where temperatures have risen twice as fast as the global average. This has caused sea ice to melt at an alarming rate, leading to a loss of habitat for polar bears and other wildlife. In addition, permafrost is thawing, releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
The good news is that there is still time to act on global warming. Governments around the world have committed to reducing emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources. If these commitments are met, it is possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. This would significantly reduce the impacts of climate change on people and ecosystems around the world.