TL;DR (2-minute read)
- Despite what people may think, climate change worsened in 2020: 17 European nations alone reported their all-time highs in temperatures and average temperatures rose by a full degree Celsius in the Antarctic and Artic.
- The global warming is compounding other issues – wildfires in Greece, Turkey, and California started because of global warming and will only spout more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- The United Nations are trying hard to curb temperatures down, but climate change isn’t a problem that can be tackled in a couple of years.
2020 was a year full of the new and unknown. There was the Trump impeachment trial, George Floyd’s death, and of course, COVID-19. Alongside all these events, however, was a problem that has silently creeped up on the world for a while. Global warming has been an issue that’s been discussed for a long time. Numerous administrations both nationally and internationally have made efforts to fight against the steady increase in climate all across the world. However, the issue seems to just keep appearing in the news, with little actual change.
2020 was Europe’s hottest recorded year to date; 17 EU nations reported their own all-time highs in temperatures. In the Arctic, temperatures rose nearly 2 degrees Celsius. In the Antarctic, a temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius toppled the previous record of 17.2 degrees Celsius. Countries such as Mexico, Japan and even Seychelles have all recorded record highs. You would think that the pandemic would lower emissions too, since economic activity was quite low last year. However, greenhouse gas concentrations all over the world rose to a new high last year. These higher temperatures might not seem like much of a problem.
However, their effects are evident all over the world. The high frequencies of heatwaves and wildfires all across the Northern hemisphere in areas such as Greece, Turkey, and California as well as flooding in Germany can be directly traced back to the higher climates in those areas. To compound the issue, wildfires release tons of smoke into the atmosphere which further harms the ozone layer and further warms our planet. Countries of organizations such as the United Nations have been making concerted efforts to get ahead of climate change, but to no avail. The Paris agreement, an international treaty on climate change signed by many countries, outlined a plan that would limit global warming to a 1.5 degree celsius increase. However, it’s a consensus scientifically that temperatures will warm far past the 1.5 degree celsius limit. Countries have tried cutting emissions, employing green initiatives, and making shifts to more environmentally safe energy sources such as hydropower, wind and solar. However, global warming is a huge problem that can’t be solved in a couple of years.
The United Nations need to keep working to keep the world from warming too much, or else the generations after my own will have to suffer the true burden of an overheated world.