Climate Change: A review and where we stand in 2024

by | 12 June 2024 | Environment, Sherwood

What is the difference between climate change and global warming? Global warming solely refers to the increase of the Earth’s temperature whereas climate change refers to both the changing temperatures and resulting bizarre weather patterns.

To date, climate change has already impacted the way businesses operate, how developing countries strive to obtain resources, and how we rebuild local communities after suffering the severe effects of natural disasters caused by global warming. Needless to say, climate will continue to change until we stabilise or cool the rapidly warming global surface.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the rise in global temperature from burning fossil fuels is one of the greatest threats to global health. Fossil fuels, carbon dioxide and various greenhouse gas emissions have made climate change a predominant problem in our society.

Rising global temperatures are negatively affecting the wildlife, ecosystems, and natural resources that human life depends on for survival. It is recognised that the climate is changing due to our increased industrial activity, urbanisation, and high-carbon emitting pleasures like travel and the rapid acceleration of consumerism for inessential products like latest fashion. These activities deplete natural resources and worsen pollution with the extensive use of fossil fuels that create even more greenhouse gas emissions – all of which perpetuates climate change as the crisis that it is.

This crisis threatens not only humans but all life on the planet.
Climate change also provokes natural disasters such as heat waves or hurricanes that make our dwindling resources even more sparse and directly reduce our capability to fight against it, impacting life on earth, as natural disasters give society another crisis to worry about. These challenging events are expected to occur with increased severity at a more frequent rate as climate change continues to be a problem.

To mitigate climate change several new technologies are being developed like carbon capture and storage systems. These strive to capture the carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions being produced by necessary activities, stopping them from entering the atmosphere. Even with many companies and countries around the world striving to reach net-zero emissions, it still isn’t enough to reduce global temperatures overall and many think it is unreasonable to expect all individuals, companies, governments, and communities on Earth to cease all industrial activities that emit excessive amounts of carbon or greenhouse gas emissions.
Mitigating climate change requires several approaches, since temperatures will not fall until we reach net zero emissions and reduce greenhouse gases that have accumulated in the air. We need to utilise carbon offsetting methods, preventative measures and new technologies to combat further climate change.

In 2024 and the years to come, the climate is only expected to get worse. In summer 2023, multiple record-breaking temperatures were recorded around the world and we saw numerous new concerning effects of climate change such as the Canadian wildfires that spread smoke all the way to the US  and unprecedented warming of the Atlantic Ocean. The report from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service shows that from February 2023 to January 2024 average air temperatures warmed globally by 1.52°C compared to world temperatures before industrialisation. It is expected that 2024 will continue to be exceptionally warm and it will not be long before the average global temperature will be constantly above 1.5°C.
All in all, the state of the climate in 2024 is not looking great. Since 1995, annual treaties, conferences, and initiatives have taken place with world leaders discussing how to measure, monitor, and mitigate climate change.

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Pauline Meechan
Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth