Global Warming
The Urgency of Climate Action
days – over 1.5° C above normal 2023
years, that's how long we have to go back to find a hotter month than July 2023
billion tonnes of ice per year Antarctica is losing
The Rising Threat: Earth's Temperature Rise
The Earth's temperature rise refers to the steady increase in global average temperatures over the past century, primarily driven by human activities. This phenomenon, often called global warming, is primarily caused by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping heat, and disrupting the Earth's delicate balance. The consequences of this temperature rise are profound and affect various aspects of our planet's ecosystems and human societies.

Heatwaves pose significant risks exacerbated by climate change. The increasing frequency and intensity of heatwaves have profound impacts on ecosystems, human health, and infrastructure.

Adapting to these risks requires comprehensive strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of extreme heat events and protect vulnerable populations and ecosystems.

Ocean Acidification's Impact on Marine Ecosystems

Ocean acidification, driven by climate change, poses a severe threat to marine life and ecosystems. The silent acidic intruder disrupts the delicate balance of ocean health, affecting marine biodiversity and food webs.

Investigating further into ecosystem protection is crucial for understanding and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems.

Strategies for Resilience in Altered Ecosystems

Adapting to altered ecosystems in a shifting world is essential for resilience. Warming woes and ecosystem adaptation are interconnected, requiring proactive measures to navigate change and adaptation.

Developing strategies to enhance ecosystem resilience is vital for mitigating the impacts of climate change on natural systems and biodiversity.

Climate warming disrupts productivity across various systems, posing significant challenges. Maintaining efficiency in the face of productivity disruption is crucial for sustaining agricultural, ecological, and economic productivity.

Understanding and addressing the disruption of productivity in a changing climate is essential for ensuring food security and ecosystem stability.

The Impact of Earth's Temperature Rise

The escalating dangers of global warming and its impacts on heatwaves, ocean acidification, and ecosystem resilience highlight the urgent need to address Earth's temperature rise.

Investigating the disruption of productivity and coping with altered ecosystems are critical components of understanding and mitigating the far-reaching consequences of global warming.

  1. Emissions Gap and Temperature Rise: The current global greenhouse gas emissions level puts us on track for significant warming beyond the goals set in the Paris Agreement. This agreement aims to limit global warming to below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. The report highlights the gap between emission reduction pledges from countries and the reductions necessary to achieve these goals.

  2. Broken Temperature Records: 2023 has already seen a concerning acceleration in breaking temperature records. The report mentions that at the time of writing, there have been 86 days recorded with temperatures exceeding 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This signifies a faster and more extreme warming trend than previously observed.

  3. Urgent Need for Increased Ambition: The report emphasizes the urgency of taking action to reduce emissions. Current pledges are insufficient, and more ambitious emission reduction targets and immediate action are crucial to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

  4. Focus on Closing the Emissions Gap: The report calls for countries to strengthen their emission reduction commitments and close the gap between current pledges and the reductions needed to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. This highlights the importance of international cooperation and collective action in tackling climate change.

Source: Based on the information available on the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2023

The urgent need for adaptation in protecting food security in a warming world is essential to mitigating the impacts of climate change on global agriculture. The alarming projections from the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report underscore the potential risks food production systems face worldwide. Without proactive adaptation measures, the following challenges are expected:

  1. Declining Crop Yields: Global crop yields are projected to decrease significantly, with estimates suggesting a minimum 5% decline by 2050 and even steeper reductions by 2100. This decline in productivity could have severe implications for food availability, distribution, and access, particularly in regions highly dependent on agriculture for sustenance and livelihoods.

  2. Impact on Sub-Saharan Africa: Vulnerable regions like sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of severe climate change consequences. Projections indicate a substantial reduction in growing seasons, potentially shrinking by over 20% by the end of the century. This shift in agricultural conditions could pose immense challenges for food production and exacerbate existing food security issues in these regions.

  3. Growing Land Gap: A 10% decrease in crop yields could lead to a 45% increase in the land gap, highlighting the mismatch between available agricultural land and the requirements to sustain a growing population. This widening gap underscores the urgent need for innovative solutions to enhance agricultural productivity, optimize land use, and address the increasing demand for food in a changing climate.

Addressing these challenges necessitates a comprehensive approach integrating adaptation strategies, sustainable agricultural practices, and resilience-building measures to safeguard global food security in a warming world. By prioritizing adaptation efforts, investing in climate-resilient agriculture, and promoting sustainable land management practices, stakeholders can work towards ensuring a secure and stable food supply for current and future generations in the face of climate change-induced threats.

Challenges of Reducing Emissions from Agriculture

Agriculture, a cornerstone of human civilization, also presents a significant challenge in the fight against climate change. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural production are projected to rise dramatically by 2050, adding to the already pressing issue of global warming. Here's a breakdown of the key sources of these emissions:

  • Livestock Farming: Livestock, particularly ruminant animals like cows and sheep, produce significant amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, through their digestive processes. This methane contributes heavily to overall agricultural emissions.
  • Nitrogen Fertilizers: While crucial for plant growth, nitrogen fertilizers release nitrous oxide, another potent greenhouse gas, when applied to soil. Balancing fertilizer application with crop needs is essential to minimize these emissions.
  • Rice Cultivation: Rice paddies create ideal conditions for microbes to produce methane. Managing water levels and exploring alternative rice cultivation techniques are critical to reducing methane emissions from rice production.
  • Energy Use: Agricultural activities, from operating farm machinery to food processing, rely heavily on energy sources that often contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Finding cleaner energy alternatives for the agricultural sector is essential.

A Growing Threat:

Threat to Marine Ecosystems: Overfishing, pollution, and climate change all contribute to the depletion of vital ocean resources. Ocean acidification, caused by increased carbon dioxide absorption, harms marine organisms and disrupts food chains. This threatens the health of marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of millions who depend on them.

Unequal Impacts: The consequences of climate change are not evenly distributed. Developing countries are often disproportionately affected, despite contributing less to greenhouse gas emissions. This exacerbates existing vulnerabilities and poses a significant challenge to these regions' food security and sustainable development.

The projected rise in emissions from these sources paints a worrying picture. With an estimated increase of 7 to 9 gigatons per year by 2050, agriculture threatens to undermine efforts to mitigate climate change. This rise comes on top of emissions from land-use change, further amplifying the challenge.

The Road Ahead:

Reducing agricultural emissions is a complex and multifaceted task. Finding solutions requires innovation and collaboration across various sectors. Without significant changes in farming practices, manure management techniques, and the development of sustainable energy sources, agriculture could become a significant roadblock in our fight against climate change.

Mitigating Risks of Heatwaves and Climate Change
Learn about the direct effects of climate change on farming practices and how farmers are adapting to new conditions.

Earth's Temperature Rise

Rising temperatures can lead to decreased crop yields due to heat stress, altered growing seasons, and reduced photosynthesis, affecting global food production.
Temperature rise, coupled with other climate impacts, can lead to forced migration, creating challenges for resource availability and social stability.
Higher temperatures contribute to increased evaporation and water loss from soil and vegetation, exacerbating water scarcity for agriculture and ecosystems.
Temperature rise disrupts ecosystems, affecting species distributions, habitats, and interactions, leading to imbalances and potential ecosystem collapse.
Warmer temperatures can facilitate the proliferation of pests and diseases, impacting crop health and yield stability.
Melting glaciers and reduced snowfall impact water sources and river systems, affecting irrigation, hydroelectric power, and downstream agriculture.
Warmer temperatures contribute to ocean acidification, harming marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and fisheries, which are vital for food security.
Higher temperatures cause thermal expansion and ice melt, leading to sea-level rise that threatens coastal agriculture, settlements, and infrastructure.
Temperature rise can increase the risk of wildfires and promote the spread of pests and diseases, leading to deforestation and loss of vital carbon sinks.
Changing temperature patterns influence precipitation, leading to altered rainfall distributions that affect water availability for agriculture and ecosystems.
Temperature rise disrupts habitats and migration patterns, accelerating biodiversity loss and impacting pollination, soil health, and natural pest control.
Reduced crop yields and disrupted food systems can lead to increased food insecurity and malnutrition, especially in vulnerable communities.

Climate Change's Devastating Impact

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