Is Climate Change Reversible?

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In newspapers and TV channels, headlines concerning the atmosphere and oceans, the adjectives “exceptional,” “unbearable,” and “record-breaking” are increasingly appearing and prevalent.

Over 150 deaths have occurred in Germany due to severe floodwaters, with countless unaccounted and more flood-related confirmed deaths in Belgium. 

As heavy downpours blasted through large north and central China swaths, Henan province regulators announced the most incredible storm warning standard.

Almost all of these severe weather occurrences have prompted new worries and concerns from environmentalists and policymakers about the escalating threats of climate change.

Humankind has indeed triggered massive climate changes, and we are on the verge of causing plenty more. While our actions won’t prevent global warming tomorrow or over the next few decades, we can undoubtedly slow and restrict it by lowering human emissions of heat-trapping gases.

Earth’s temperature should keep rising for several decades if all anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases were to halt tonight.

And this is mainly because waste heat is transported by sea currents trapped in the ocean depths back up to the surface. On a brighter note, the earth’s temperature would normalize soon after this extra heat is vented into orbit. 

According to geologists, the additional warming out of this “concealed” energy is less likely to surpass 0.9° Fahrenheit (0.5° Celsius).

Natural mechanisms would commence to gently eliminate excess carbon dioxide from the environment if there was no additional human involvement, and thus, global average temperatures would begin to fall.

What’s at stake if we do not reverse climate change now?

sea-level rise - is climate change reversible
Global sea-level rise 1900-2020 (source)

Rising sea levels by 2100: By 2050, rising sea levels will potentially affect one billion global population.

By 2100, coral reef ecosystems will be at risk of grave deterioration: Coral bleaching occurs when water temperatures upsurges, causing algae to abandon coral reefs, rendering them whitish and leaving them vulnerable to illness and death.

Summers in the Arctic without ice: Each summertime, the Arctic sea ice retreats, yet it still occupies millions of square kilometers of sea presently. However, the Arctic Ice is melting faster than any other part of the planet, and ice-free seasons may soon be a real thing.

Every five years, people are subjected to intense heat waves: If we do nothing, heat waves will become even more common and severe over the planet, harming billions of people worldwide.

Flooding hazards increased: Precipitation, snowstorm, and other forms of excessive moisture will become more prevalent and heavier due to global warming. And as that hazard grows, so does the likelihood of floods.

Flora and fauna risk losing more than 50% of their ecosystem: Ecosystems for certain plants and animals may become uninhabitable as the globe proceeds to overheat. Depending on their ability to adjust or migrate, this throws a significant threat to various species.

Now is the time for action

Everything constructed from this day forward that generates carbon will do so for generations. The ” carbon lock-in” impact will be the single aspect most likely to deliver permanent climate change.

The consequences can be catastrophic if our greenhouse emissions do not vary dramatically within the upcoming five years.

According to studies, the hazardous global warming barrier would likely exceed 2027 and 2042. 

If the planet’s fossil energy architecture is not promptly replaced, the globe will “forever” miss out on the opportunity to prevent disastrous climate change.

But, if we were to surpass global carbon emission reduction objectives, irrevocable and devastating ecological thresholds could be averted if the planet can quickly recover surplus damage.

Geoengineering to rescue the planet

geoengineering - is climate change reversible
Climate Geoengineering proposal by Andrew Yang (source)

As experts’ warnings concerning climate change’s repercussions become increasingly grim, several scientists and politicians propose that we do more than reduce our carbon output; they choose to manipulate our ecosystem.

Geoengineering is the standard term for this procedure; weather-controlling satellites, enormous space mirrors, and carbon-engulfing tubes are a few imaginative pictures that come to mind when thinking about this subject.

Geoengineering can be divided into two categories. The first would be carbon capture, extracting CO2 from the environment.

Carbon collected could be retained in containers containing algae and microorganisms that consume or decompose carbon dioxide.

Some businesses are attempting to convert carbon captured into usable commodities like plant food. Similarly, Blue Planet turns carbon dioxide into bicarbonate, which is then used to create building materials.

Solar geoengineering, which includes pumping nanoparticles or clouds into the atmosphere that scatter sunlight back to space, seems to be another prominent planet-altering approach.

The consequences of volcanic activity sparked this particular concept of solar geoengineering. A technique known as stratospheric aerosol scattering is used to simulate this volcanic impact.

This technique entails infusing micro-reflecting elements such as sulfuric acid or aerosols into the upper atmosphere. Sunlight is reflected in mirrors. As a result, some specialists have proposed that huge mirrors be placed in space. 

Another approach to returning radiation to space would be to remove or weaken stratus clouds, which is a kind of cloud that hovers high in the sky and traps sunlight. One cloud-manipulation technology is in use at present. 

It does not deal with climate change; however, it gives us the ability to start making it rain whenever and wherever we choose.

Rather than emphasizing clouds, some scientists are investigating strategies to conserve dwindling Arctic ice. Because ice sheets bounce a lot of sunlight out of the atmosphere, less ice implies reduced heat escapes the earth.

Simple Actions to Reverse Climate Change

The scope of climate change can be both intimidating and demoralizing. What can a single citizen, or perhaps a single country, prevent or reverse climate change?

Below are three critical actions that people and nations could take right away (without much investment and restructuring) to help slow or reverse climate change, coupled with a few policy amendments.

Plant More Bamboo

bamboo - is climate change reversible
Bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan (source)

Cuisine, pulp, furnishings, boats, carriers, textiles, fire, biofuels, livestock feed, and practically every part of a building, from foundation to floorboards to roofing, are a few of the applications for bamboo.

And what’s interesting is, we can use it to combat global warming. Bamboo efficiently absorbs carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, removing it from the atmosphere quicker than practically any other vegetation.

Bamboo possesses the load-bearing capacity of concrete and metallic structures, replacing such high-emissions components. 

It grows to maximum height in a single vegetative stage, after which it could be picked for fiber or left to mature for three to seven years. 

Additionally, bamboo re-sprouts and flourishes after being chopped. It may also grow in harsh, damaged environments, regenerating topsoil and absorbing carbon.

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are presently costly to acquire but less expensive to run. As innovation advances and manufacturing expands, their value will decline in the future years. 

Electronic automobile’s popularity tends to increase as both recharging facilities and rechargeable battery range improve.

However, automobiles are not the only form of electric mobility. E-bikes are the planet’s fastest-growing replacement for gasoline-powered transportation.

Stop Cutting Down Tree

Forests are destroyed on a scale of 33 million acres annually. Deforestation alone emits 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the environment in the tropics. 

This figure accounts for 20% of human-caused greenhouse emissions and is a variable that is easily solvable. Improved farming methods, paper recycling, and nature conservation involve matching the quantity of wood removed with the number of new trees growing.

This strategy could soon eradicate the substantial source of pollutants. And, when buying timber products like furnishings or parquet, we better look for used items or wood validated as having been obtained ecologically. 

The Amazon and certain other rainforests are not only the planet’s lungs; they may also represent humankind’s most fantastic opportunity for controlling and reversing climate change in the short run.

Unplug

When gadgets are turned off but plugged on the grid, Americans pay more on energy than when they are turned on. Clogged screens, audio equipment, desktops, chargers, and countless other electronics and home appliances consume more energy when they appear to be turned off but aren’t.

Investing in power-efficient devices could save both time & expense, as well as reduce carbon emissions. For instance, effective battery chargers may conserve more than one billion kilowatt-hours of energy and depreciate the discharge of more than one million metric tons of greenhouse gases.

We could save millions of kilowatt-hours by replacing aging incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient alternatives such as compact fluorescents.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, replacing only one incandescent light bulb in every American urban household would save adequate electricity to power three million houses.

To Wrap Up

We are not hopeless yet, and there are several actions that individuals and policymakers are now taking forth. But, to address the root cause and reverse the effects, much more must be achieved. 

Every ounce of greenhouse emissions stored up in the environment or removed from the atmosphere decreases climate change’s detrimental effects.

And, because each additional degree of warming has substantially more significant consequences than the previous degree, we can avert the worst effects by taking substantial measures. Therefore, it is time for us to act as if we are amidst a climate emergency and reverse the global catastrophe.