Read the article below and do the exercise that follows.
Climate change is probably one of the most talked about topics in the world today. It is talked about by the widest range of people ranging from scientists and small children, from world leaders to the poor and disadvantaged and everyone in between. There is now almost universal recognition that carbon emissions are the main reason why this is happening but not whether it can be stopped fast enough to avoid major disasters.
In order to stop the rate in which the world’s climate is rising, certain things that must happen. There needs to be a reduction in the rate in which forests are being cut down as well as a reduction in the amount of land which used for farming. The second is rather difficult in that food production can’t be jeopardized especially since the world’s population is rising at such a high rate. The third important issue that needs to be dealt with is the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this is due to the use of fossil fuels for industry and transportation.
According to some climate scientists, what needs to be achieved is a halt to the rise of global temperatures at 2 degrees centigrade by the end of the century. According to them, if this done, then we would “safe”. In order for this to happen, deforestation must stop by 2015 and carbon dioxide levels must peak by 2020 and then rapidly decline by at least 25% to 1990 levels. However, other climatologists claim that reaching a 2 degrees centigrade peak is impossible because they believe that whatever we do, the world’s temperature will rise to 2.4 degrees centigrade due to the amount of carbon dioxide we have already put into the atmosphere. To make matters worse, deforestation did not end in 2015, it continued but it’s rate by 2021 did decline in comparison to 1991. Nevertheless, the amount of forest land in the world continues to decrease as we speak. Furthermore, even if we reduced the amount of carbon dioxide global significantly, there will still be enough of it in 2100 to raise world temperatures by 4 degrees. This would be catastrophic, melting all glaciers and the polar ice caps thus resulting in the flooding of huge areas of highly populated land.
Some believe that the use of alternative means of energy would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere. But it has been shown in countries that chose to switch from fossil fuels to nuclear power, such as France, that this only slightly reduces their total output of carbon dioxide. What seems to have much greater effect in reducing carbon dioxide levels is when there is a significant slowdown in the economy. In 2020 when there was the Covid 19 pandemic and businesses ground down to a halt worldwide, there was 5% decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. When the world economy became more active in 2021, carbon dioxide levels increased again by 4.6%. There appears to be no way to stop climate change without halting population growth thus consumption and economic activity.