Climate change has been a highly debated topic for decades. Some people believe that humans are destroying the Earth's balance, while some believe that the Earth's climate has changed throughout the billions of years since it's been created. That is true, the Earth has had major climate changes throughout history between heat waves and ice ages.
However, the mounting evidence is pointing towards the fact that human actions are slowly destroying the climate and delicate ecosystems modern civilization relies on.
The planet's surface temperature has risen 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. This is due to an increase in greenhouse gases that trap the heat instead of letting it escape. The biggest reason for this increase is CO2, which has increased 90% since 1970. 65% of all greenhouse gases emitted is CO2, as it is caused by burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and degradation of soils. Ice caps and glaciers melting and sea temperature increase are also proof of the rising temperature all around the globe. Most of the warming has happened in the past 35 years, with the 10 warmest years happening since 1998 and the four warmest since 2014.
The planet's surface isn't the only thing increasing in temperature- the top 700 m of the ocean has shown more than a .4 degree increase in temperature since 1969. This has triggered a catastrophic event in coral reefs known as coral bleaching. This happens when the coral get stressed and eject the symbiotic algae, which slows coral growth, makes them susceptible to disease, and can even lead to a mass coral reef die-off. Another organism affected by the temperature increase is krill, which is an important link at the bottom of the food chain. Krill reproduce in smaller numbers in warmer temperatures which can cause food shortages higher in the food chain.
Shrinking ice sheets and glacial retreats are happening everywhere around the world. Between 1993 and 2016, Greenland lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year while Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice. The melting of ice sheets has caused a rise in the average sea height, along with thermal expansion of water. As water heats up, it expands, which attributes for half of the rise in sea level. Many people predict that the surface and seas will continue to increase in temperatures, leading to the flooding of hundreds of coastal cities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes says to expect a rise between 10 to 30 inches by 2100, which is enough to seriously affect many coastal cities along the East Coast. Another analysis by NASA predicts a 26-inch rise by the end of the century.
Climate change is a very real threat that many people continue to dismiss. Trump is attempting to pass many detrimental laws that can and will increase the rate at which global climate change is occurring. Everybody can do their part in decreasing the rate by doing their best to decrease their use of greenhouse gases. While the damage done cannot be reversed in our lifetime, we can all help decrease our harm to the Earth and do less to contribute to the effect that is harming our home.