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Why Climate Change is Happening and Catastrophic

For the first time in human history we are altering the climate of the planet in a way that is threatening our own subsistence. Global warming can make the Earth uninhabitable – at least for the nine billion people that could be alive halfway the current century, and certainly for the poorest part.

Geographic distribution Mortailty from Climate Change. Source: Human Impact Report 2009.

The climate crisis is interlinked with other crises. Biodiversity is threatened by global warming because forests can’t cope and die, taking the animals for which they are the habitats with them.[1] Floods, droughts, hurricanes, rising seawater levels and disappearing glaciers affect the poor in developing countries the most, so social inequality is increased as well.

This is not a global warming debate. Looking at very simple facts, global warming is happening.


The potential effects are so devastating that a certain state of denial is not at all strange – from a psychological point of view.

“Millions of people are already suffering because of climate change. […] Climate change is happening more rapidly than anyone thought possible. […]”.[2] Defining are more extreme climate events like floods, droughts and hurricanes.

For the rich this might be inconvenient, but many people in developing countries will simply die or suffer tremendously. Just take a look at the 2009 Human Impact Report.

See how emissions of greenhouse gasses impact human lives:

Source: Human Impact Report 2009.

What causes greenhouse gas emissions? I like the breakdown of the numbers into human activity. The top three sources then become:[3]

  1. Buildings (concrete, heating)
  2. Meat (methane from droppings, CO2 from food production)
  3. Transport

So much has been said on climate change and so little has been done. Politicians haven’t been able to provide solutions to what might be the biggest threat to human life in history; the climate talks in Copenhagen went by without producing any particular results.[4]

It is clear: Guidelines for living agreeable and sustainable beyond this global crisis just have to include solutions for human induced climate change.

  1. [1]Rifkin 2011: 25
  2. [2]Human Impact Report 2009 cited in Huntjens 2011: 1
  3. [3]Rifkin 2011
  4. [4]Rifkin 2011: 27