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Is there anyway we can prevent climate change from getting worse?
Question Date: 2019-11-14
Answer 1:

Yes and no. The earth and its oceans have a lot of mass and heat very slowly, and the carbon dioxide we have already added to the atmosphere will probably stay there for hundreds of years and keep trapping heat. This means that even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases today, the earth will still warm by about 0.2-0.9 degrees Celsius in the next few decades because of what we have already emitted.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that warming from existing emissions will probably be less than 0.5 degrees Celsius in the next few decades to century, but if we keep emitting carbon dioxide, we will go past that. The IPCC has recommended that we not let the earth warm more than 0.5 degrees C from current temperatures (1.5 degrees C from pre-industrial levels) in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. This is possible if we stop increasing carbon in the atmosphere by 2050. This will be very difficult, but we can do it if everyone takes climate change seriously and works together.

Answer 2:

Not in our lifetimes, no. Climate change from the greenhouse gasses we have already released is going to happen, whether we like it or not. What we can do is try to prevent more greenhouse gasses from being released in the future. Accomplishing that is a sticky geopolitical issue and finding solutions is difficult.

Answer 3:

A lot of people are thinking about this question! Most scientists agree that climate change will continue to get worse. But how much worse? The damage could be lessened if humans take action to prevent more greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere.

Rather than focusing on individual actions, we have to create a society where it is easy to make environmentally-friendly choices. If just one person bikes instead of driving, it makes almost no difference. But if a person gets involved in local government, or contacts city officials to get them to build bike lanes, or designate bus-only traffic lanes- then sustainable transit becomes an easy option for many people- and that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It will be important for society to switch to clean and renewable energy, instead of coal and oil, which release carbon dioxide when burned. Scientists are working on making these new technologies (for example, solar panels) cheaper and more efficient. The governments of developed countries need to allocate funding to this research, and create incentives for companies to switch to clean technologies. Individuals can help by participating in research, educating others, and voting to elect officials who will prioritize clean energy.

Answer 4:

Climate change will continue, and most of us will survive and have children and grandchildren. There will be problems for cities and houses on the coasts of the continents, as the sea levels rise. A lot of things change in one direction, and then they change in another direction. This will probably happen to climate change, too.

We worry about Greenland's ice sheets melting. I was excited to read that scientists think there was no ice on parts of Greenland long ago.

Most of us can only try not to make climate change worse by wasting stuff and being greedy with how much we use. Greta Thunberg does more. She is an amazing young woman.

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