Causes and Impacts of Climate Change & Problems in Mitigation

By Devesh Sharma

March 25, 2022
chimneys emitting gases

“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.”

Barack Obama, Former US President

Who hasn’t heard about Climate Change – one of the most controversial and predominant subjects for humanity.

It has prevalently been a hot topic for both discussion and execution, but the question is, do we really understand the severity of the problem? 

The quotation at the beginning of the article throws good light on nature endangering us as a generation, and as the most crucial part of our ecosystem.

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its sixth assessment report on the impacts of climate change.

The report clearly implies a code red, and we need to do something now to at least, mitigate the disaster that might (or, will) follow.

Climate Change is certainly not new, so why is it that we still often fail to incorporate or execute sustainable solutions?

We’ll further address and thoroughly discuss some of these important questions to understand the bigger picture of the subject.


What is Climate Change?

“Things take longer to happen than you think they will and then they happen faster than you thought they could.”

Lawrence Summers, American Economist

Climate change is the change in long-term weather patterns and climate measures such as precipitation, humidity, temperature, wind patterns, etc.

Climate change is inevitable, but more importantly, it is an infinitesimal process by nature.

Had it been in the hands of nature only, it would have taken tons of (or even a thousand) years to reflect any drastic changes. 

However, it is we, humans, who have accelerated this change over the years, and we continue to do so, daily.

This catalysis is a consequence of reckless human activities and a lack of awareness of nature, for a long time.

Due to this, climate change is the most gigantic threat to mankind today, and it’s worsening each day.

With our careless actions, summers are getting hotter, winters are getting late & warmer; the sea level is rising and the air quality is degrading.


What Causes Climate Change?

“There is a chasm between a world that quickly breaks the link between modern economic growth and carbon emissions, and a world that fails to do so. The side of the chasm we are now on is a dangerous place. It would be reckless beyond the normal human irrationality for us to stay where we are.”

Ross Garnaut, Australian Economist

There is a common misconception among people that climate change is solely brought about by mankind. 

But that’s not really the case (which we discussed right above), climate change is just as natural as the growth of a plant.  

Some of the natural causes of climate change are volcanic eruptions, evaporation of water bodies, forest fires, and many more.

But as discussed, humans have been heavily responsible for deteriorating climatic conditions.

So, what is it so brutal that we’re doing? – Unfortunately, there is a lot.

Greenhouse Effect – Pong of Gases on the Planet! 

the greenhouse gas effect
Greenhouse gases allow sunlight to pass through the atmosphere, heating the planet, but then absorb and re-radiate the infrared radiation (heat) the planet emits. By Efbrazil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Not all that shines is glitter; not all that’s green is healthy.

Climate change and its causes – both natural and man-made – revolve around one simple (yet fatal) phenomenon that we call the greenhouse effect.

We know that the sun radiates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves.

These waves mostly consist of light (or radiation) in the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet (UV) regions.


Out of these, only the infrared and visible spectra make it to the earth’s surface. 

Did you know: 97% of the total energy radiated by the Sun is in the form of infrared radiation.

Every element in nature usually absorbs some kind of radiation; mostly in the visible spectrum or UV range (the ozone layer – a protective covering of ozone gas, absorbs most of the UV radiation, preventing it from reaching the surface.)

But some gases also absorb infrared radiation, which is mostly what the energy from the sun, racing towards earth, is made of.

Such gases are called greenhouse gases.

Some of the most abundant greenhouse gases are Water vapor, Carbon dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Ozone, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and Perfluorocarbons (PFCs).

These gases trap the heat coming from the sun, restraining it from escaping the atmosphere which, in turn, heats the earth’s atmosphere and eventually, the surface too.

This phenomenon is known as the greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

The emissions of these greenhouse gases are essentially the mother of all causes of climate change.

Alongside natural processes, our advancements and artificial setups have all been leading to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


Why Does Carbon Get the Most Credits?

The word ‘calamity’ starts with a ‘c’, and so does ‘carbon’.

Carbon is a greenhouse celebrity as it is the core content of some of the most abundant greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, CFCs, HFCs) from artificial (but also natural) emissions today, and most of our humanitarian emissions are very closely related to carbon.

Carbon (or CO2) is heavily responsible for the greenhouse effect, which is actually important for us since trapping heat from the sun helps maintain a suitable temperature on the earth.[1]

If it weren’t for carbon, most of the heat would have bounced back into outer space and we would have frozen to death at a constant temperature of -20°C.

Water vapor, for instance, is another significant greenhouse gas, but human actions do not affect it directly as it is controlled and caused by evaporation from the Sun (and we can’t stop that, can we?)

Excessive carbon is one of the deadliest things that our atmosphere can (not) afford. 

It has largely been driving the greenhouse effect and global warming, and our perpetual activities have contributed to it extensively. 

Emissions from the Nature

Natural sources of carbon dioxide are more than 20 times greater than sources due to human activities.[2]

This is indeed shocking to realize but over periods longer than a few years, emissions from these natural sources are closely balanced by natural sinks. 

Fact: Carbon-absorbers present in nature (such as oceans and plants) are called Natural Sinks.  

Plants, animals, and geothermal activities – all emit greenhouse gases, while natural sinks like forests and oceans absorb most of these natural emissions. 

It is because of this coaction that the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere remains constant for thousands of years, sustaining balance in the environment; until escalated by us.

Total Global Carbon Emissions by Energy & Industrial Sectors

As of 2021, we emit about 36.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year from the energy and industrial sector, and the figure rises on an annual basis.[3]

Today, China tops the ranking of carbon-emitting nations, by causing nearly 30% of global carbon emissions, the United States is the current runner-up at 14%, while India stands third at 7%, followed by Russia (4.65%), Japan (3.47%), and Germany (2.17%).

Excluding the United States, India, and Russia, China alone exceeds the total emissions by other top 21 countries.[4]

Energy Sector Emissions

Energy sectors are highly responsible for GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions since every single one of us is consuming energy more than ever before. 

The burning of fossil fuels alone has been one of its biggest causes.

Over 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions are due to the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation.[5]


More than 60% of the total energy consumed by the US comes from fossil fuels like oil, coal, natural gas, etc.[6]

Fact: Do you know how many barrels of oil have been consumed by the time you started reading this fact? More than 4000.[7]

It is to produce this energy that we are injecting greenhouse gases into the veins of the atmosphere, and it’s very unlikely that we would be able to reduce this consumption at any level.

We are required to transition to better low-carbon-emitting energy sources.

Industrial Sector Emissions

Our industries and factories shaped the fate of global carbon emissions.

Since 1850, carbon emissions have increased by more than 150 times[8].

The United Kingdom used to be the largest carbon emitter for it was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. 

The iron and steel sector is the largest consumer (of energy) of all manufacturing industries. 

The weight of CO2 emitted in the atmosphere is almost double the weight of steel produced in the process. 

Not just while burning, coal also emits methane (CH4) during its mining process as the gas, trapped inside the coal, sets free into the air when the coal breaks and crushes during mining. 

The industrial sector had also been identified as a major contributor to GHG emissions, being responsible for 23% of direct energy-related carbon emissions in 2021.[9]


Transportation Sector Emissions

Transportation holds a big stake in GHG emissions as it mostly relies on fossil fuels, contributing about 21% to energy-related emissions.[10]

Road transportation sits on about three-quarters (15%) of this share as most of our road vehicles are powered by the burning of fossil fuels.[11]

As electric vehicles (EVs) are already on the market, adapting to EVs will help reduce daily greenhouse emissions and air pollution caused by road transportation.

Aviation (air transport) and maritime shipment (water transport) transportation account for 2.8 percent (aviation, 2019)[12] and roughly 2 percent (maritime, 2021).[13]

Emissions from Agriculture & Food

Agriculture and food systems are yet another contributor to the greenhouse effect, causing about 21-37% of total greenhouse gas emissions.[14]

Production and management of fertilizers cause emissions of CO2  and N2O (Nitrous oxide), both of which are significant greenhouse gases.


Another major cause of carbon emissions is deforestation. We studied in elementary school that trees and plants absorb the CO2 that we breathe out.

So what do you think would happen if we cut these trees on a large scale? Nature would lose one of its crucial carbon sinks.

This is usually done for agricultural purposes (like livestock farming) to meet the steeply growing demand for food.

Post-production activities, such as manufacturing, transport, processing, and waste disposal in the food sector also contribute to GHG emissions.[15]

Animals-based food systems such as ruminant meat, recirculating aquaculture systems, and fishery, contribute the most to GHG emissions.[16]

The food that goes uneaten and ends up rotten, in the dump yards, is a heavy source of methane.


Food waste is just as dangerous as transportation when it comes to GHG emissions. 

Household Emissions

Man-made products used in our houses also contribute to global carbon emissions.

Almost all of the amenities that we use in our homes, whether to heat or cool our houses, wash clothes, cook food, use electric devices et cetera, all of these emit greenhouse gases. 

Hydrofluorocarbon(HFC), is an artificial industrial chemical majorly used as a coolant, in refrigerators and air conditioners. It is the reason we can relish cold air and consumables in scorching summers.

But, since the first law of thermodynamics can’t be violated, the ‘coldness’ consumed at one end must have heat dissipated at the other, this is how HFCs heat our atmosphere.

Fact: Just 1 kilogram of HFC is equivalent to 100 to 20000 kilograms(or more) of CO2, depending on what variant of HFC is used.[17]

An average US household emits about 7.5 tons of CO2 equivalents per year.[18]

CFCs and HFCs, from household emissions, contain chlorine and bromine which terribly react with ozone, causing ozone layer depletion.

Global Warming – Earth is Boiling

Change in average surface air temperature since the industrial revolution, plus drivers for that change
Change in average surface air temperature since the industrial revolution, plus drivers for that change. Human activity has caused increased temperatures, with natural forces adding some variability. By Efbrazil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Most of us are generally aware of the fact that climate change is triggered by global warming

However, some people usually confuse climate change for global warming, but actually, both of them are quite different from one another, at least by definition. How you might ask!

Well, as discussed earlier, climate change is the long-term change in the weather pattern and the measures that come along with it.

On the other hand, global warming is the overall increase in the average temperature of the earth due to an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 

Global warming can be described as an aspect of climate change that purely deals with the (rise in) temperature of the planet and its atmosphere. 

It is, more or less, a manifestation of climate change; not climate change itself.

All sources of the greenhouse effect that we discussed above, inevitably lead to global warming.


Global warming is a natural (and necessary) process that, when aggravated, can lead to a disaster unimagined and unparalleled.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) & Its Report

At the beginning of the article, we talked about the report of the IPCC, but to discuss it in detail, let’s understand what IPCC is and what it does.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988, jointly by the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

IPCC is aimed to study and review the science of climate change and evaluate its impact globally. 

It is not a body of original research; it rather adopts, analyzes, compiles, and publishes reports based on other publications and studies in the field; studying them themselves, in detail. 

What Does The IPCC Report Say – Effects of Climate Change?

IPCC, so far, has published six reports, and as discussed initially, it has lately come up with parts one and two of its sixth report which were published in August 2021 and February 2022, respectively. 

The first part of the report dealt with the science behind climate change and how the future would unfold for us based on our activities in the present.

The second part of the report assessed the socio-economic impacts of climate change. 

If we could summarize the report for you in a short sentence, it basically says that we are doomed!

Okay, that’s not exactly what it says (obviously), nonetheless, it’s logically close.

Some of the key points from the sixth assessment report of the IPCC are mentioned below[19]:

  • Human activities have led to a rise of 1°C in the global average temperature, heating three times higher over the arctic region. 

Fact: Poles, which are the coldest, heat the fastest.

  • The current annual CO2 emission is evaluated to be 36 billion tons and is further on the rise. That’s a ginormous number, considering the weightless air.
  • If the trend continues, the temperature hike will be 1.5°C by 2050 (or earlier), and the climate risks that’ll come along would be catastrophic.
  • Global warming has already caused some irreversible changes such as rising sea levels and the melting of polar ice caps. 
  • We might as well lose some of the greatest architectures built along the coasts.
  • Even if we manage to attain carbon neutrality by 2060, these changes will continue to occur for another hundred or even thousands of years.

Fact: Carbon Neutrality is the balance between emitted carbon and absorbed carbon, resulting in net-zero carbon emission.

  • By 2050, we would observe frequent and extreme weather conditions around the fields, such as high and irregular precipitation, frequent droughts, storms, heatwaves, and more. 
  • A peak temperature rise of 2°C would alter the terrestrial ecosystems twice as much (and severe) as that of 1.5°C would, posing a great threat to various associated plant & animal species.
  • Climate change will push over a hundred million people below the poverty line. 
  • People living along the coastal regions and those who primarily depend on agriculture for sustenance would be some of the most vulnerable sections of society (not that they still aren’t).
  • Vector-borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, and fever will spread over more geographical areas.
  • Climate change will promote mass migration of communities resulting in violent conflicts.
  • Climate change will deepen food insecurity, especially in low and middle-income countries. 

All of this (and more in the upcoming sections), without a doubt, sounds terrifying and if we don’t do something about it, we will surely be doomed soon.

Learning about the problems is important and we would all agree with the fact that what’s even more important is executing the solutions.

But before we even think about the solutions, we must first assess all the different aspects that surround the situation. 

We need to transcend one-stage thinking and understand how the world reacts to our implicit and explicit actions. 

Carelessly adopting solutions without analyzing the consequences beforehand can get dangerous as we would often encounter certain feedback mechanisms that often rule out the intended result of an action.

But how can feedback or solutions possibly make it worse? Turns out, it actually can.

Feedback Mechanisms – Loopholes in Mitigating Climate Change

What we essentially understand by feedback is information that sets on to improve the initial or existing condition, or often to stabilize it. 

A feedback mechanism, or feedback loop, is not much different, except for the fact that it does not always result in the betterment of the initial state.

These feedback mechanisms classify into two – positive and negative feedback mechanisms. 

Not to confuse ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ with their literal meanings here; a negative feedback mechanism, normally, prevents rapid change (global warming, for instance) and maintains equilibrium within the system.

However, a positive feedback mechanism takes the input and backfires into further destabilization of the system (causing an increment in global warming). This results in worsening the initial state.

These feedback mechanisms can often occur in loops, which is why they are also called feedback loops.


It wouldn’t sound as non-intuitive as you think, once you have truly understood it.

There are all sorts of feedback mechanisms but for the sake of relevance, let’s stick to climate feedback mechanisms herein. 

Climate Feedback Mechanisms

Feedback mechanisms, related to climate, decide the fate of our environment as much as anything else does. 

As mentioned, it is of great importance to learn about these climate feedback mechanisms to understand how the climate reacts to a variety of changes.

For instance, the increased temperature of the atmosphere causes an increase in the rate of evaporation.

This will result in the uprise of more vapor into the atmosphere, thus accelerating the formation of clouds. 

These clouds will, in return, block the sunlight reaching the earth’s surface, and as a result, less heat would be absorbed.

The primary causes and the wide-ranging effects of global warming and resulting climate change.
The primary causes and the wide-ranging effects of global warming and resulting climate change. Some effects constitute feedback mechanisms that intensify climate change and move it toward climate tipping points. By RCraig09 – Own workAlso, successive versions were developed through collaboration with users Efbrazil, Femkemilene, and J. Johnson on en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

This is an example of a negative feedback loop (as you see, it’s a cycle) wherein the system has been stabilized by feedback.

On the other hand, consider an increase in carbon emission that heats the atmosphere.

The oceans, providing feedback, would decide to absorb much of the carbon dioxide. 

But their capacity to absorb CO2 would decrease with time (as they absorb more, and more), this would eventually lead to lesser CO2 absorbed and an increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, leading to increased warming.

This is an example of a positive feedback loop where feedback has backfired into worsening the existing condition.

Studying positive feedback loops initially makes them sound paradoxical, lacking any possible solution. 

Paradoxes, in nature, can be quite confusing, yet super-fun when studied intuitively.

Building upon what we learned in this section, let’s discuss one such interesting paradox in environmental science, while also covering necessary prerequisites.

The Green Paradox – A Social Feedback Mechanism

The Green Paradox finds its crux in the concept of the social feedback mechanism

You may figure out that the social feedback mechanism works in a very similar way to what we have already discussed.

What’s different is that, unlike climate feedback mechanisms, it acts upon our social world where people usually have a motive behind their activities.

To better understand this, let’s have a look at the following theory –

We go back to 1931, when Harold Hotelling, an American statistician & economist, put forward a theory in an attempt to understand the economy and strategies behind resources, and their ownership.

His theory came to be known as Hotelling’s Theory of Exhaustible Resources, or simply, Hotelling’s Theory or Hotelling’s Rule.


To be very concise, Hotelling’s theory suggested that the owners (or investors) of exhaustible resources (like fossil fuels) would manifest their commodities in the market, only when they yield the most profit.

The theory showcases the effect of a competitive market on the time-dependent supply and distribution of exhaustible resources, led by the owners.

So here’s the deal, let’s say the government sanctions the use of fossil fuels for obvious reasons or devises certain environmental policies (or taxes) against the same.

What’s in it for the owners of exhaustible resources – a dip in their future business revenue. 

So if these resources are to be minimized in near future, the owners would maximize their production and sell them full-fledged, in the present, while they are still sought-after. 

This would ensure a hike, in not just their sales and revenue, but also in carbon emission and our ecosystem would catalytically deteriorate.

You can see for yourself how it links as a perfect example of (you guessed it) a positive feedback loop, but acting upon the social world (the owners and the market), as discussed above.

This is, in essence, what we call the Green Paradox

Not just it, Green Paradox is actually a book authored by Hans-Werner Sinn, a German economist, wherein he has discussed the same (and other feedback loops) in good detail.

So, we know for a fact that climate change does influence the world we live in, but how exactly?

The Deadly Impacts of Climate Change

“We are running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.”

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla & SpaceX

Something like climate change wreaks havoc on a gigantic scale; brutally manifesting itself over just anything that we can think of, being a part of a society and an ecosystem. 

Let’s discuss the broad spectrum of such areas and how they are corrupted by climate change.

Impact on Ecosystem

The earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere, all come together to create the biosphere – the sphere of life.


We, ourselves, are a small part of this biosphere, which is quite ironic, for it is us who are responsible for the degradation of the same.

Our activities have led to the pollution of our atmosphere which in turn has heated our planet, acidifying oceans, altering terrains, and wiping out forests and grasslands.

According to IPCC, 18% of insects, 16% of plants, and 8% of vertebrates would lose more than half of their natural habitat if the global temperature rises to 2°C due to climate change.[20]

Almost every natural thing, which makes our planet lively, would be wiped off the surface of the earth, leaving behind a dead and desolate planet to live (if possible) on.

About 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered[21] and the oceans hold about 96.5% of all the earth’s water[22], so the overall impact of global warming on the oceans is probably the worst.

Impact on Oceans

Oceans absorb a big chunk of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, maintaining the ecological balance.

It would take thousands of years for the oceans to absorb such a toxic amount of carbon dioxide as that produced by human activities.

Oceans not only help reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but also absorb almost 90% of all heat generated.[23]

Fact: The specific heat of water is actually larger than that of air. It, therefore, takes a lot more heat to heat water than to heat air, which is why oceans can absorb much heat without raising their temperature by a huge margin. 

The significant problem with heating water bodies is that it’s nearly impossible for the oceans to dissipate this heat someplace else, and because of this very reason, the changes caused by the heating are irreversible. 

Some of these irreversible changes are – the melting of glaciers, vanishing coral reefs, decreased solubility of oxygen, increasing acidity of the sea and the list goes on to the inevitable devastation of nature.

Ocean currents are the continuous flow of ocean water which are responsible for the even distribution of heat, in the oceans, along the latitudes. 

When the atmosphere warms up, these ocean currents (and water density) are directly disturbed due to which, the oceans fail to transmit the heat at the equator to polar regions, thus disturbing the overall symmetry and weather patterns.

Such disturbances in ocean flow cause irregular monsoons over global subcontinental regions, which are only predicted to get more intense in the near future.

This could affect a billion lives as agriculture is their primary source of livelihood.

Aquatic Lives at Risk – Ocean Acidification & Thermal Contamination

Excessive carbon, being absorbed by oceans, also leads to the production of carbonic acid in large amounts.


This causes ocean acidification, which is hazardous to fish and corals.

The rising temperature of water bodies also decreases oxygen levels, as gases are less soluble in hotter liquids, making respiration harder for aquatic animals.

This rise in ambient temperature may also affect aquatic life by increasing their metabolic rate and enzyme activity, due to which organisms may start consuming more food in a shorter time, resulting in fewer resources.

Coral reefs are a crucial and underappreciated part of our hydrosphere, which too are in grave danger.

Many coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, are already vanishing out of existence. 

The rise of global temperature to 1.5°C alone is expected to eliminate 70% to 90% of all coral reefs.[24]

Rising Sea-Level – Lesser Land To Stand On

The temperature rise in oceans has been about 0.13°C in the last decade.[25]

This heat, responsible for the continual rise in temperature, is big enough to melt the mighty glaciers, posing another grave threat that would affect millions of people in the future – A rise in sea levels.

According to NASA, sea levels have already risen by about 20 cm since 1900, and the current rate of rising sea level is around 3.4 millimeters (or 0.14 inches) per year, which only increases with time.[26])

Coastal regions would also be severely affected, according to reports, many coastal plains would be submerged by 2050, rendering local people homeless.

The flattest country on Earth, the Republic of Maldives is extremely vulnerable to rising sea level and faces the very real possibility that the majority of its land area will be underwater by the end of this century.[27]

It seems we would be running out of places for vacations to enjoy.

We’re already deep underwater, and we can not afford to be careless now when we don’t really have much land to stand on. 


Socio-Economic Impact

Impacts of climate change spare none, and our society and economy – two things we obsess over, are no exceptions to this. 

Our society and economy have heavily suffered from the wrath of climate change for a long time. 

Impacts on Society

Climate change severely impacts the marginalized sections of society.

The calamities that come along can be fatal to the people living on coastlines, which are prone to storms.

Probably, the hike in the human population might not meet well with the upcoming (and ongoing) shortage of vital resources, which can also lead to discrimination and inequality. 

India is, primarily, agricultural land. Around 58% of the Indian population is engaged in agricultural activities, and the annual rainy season, or the monsoon, is what drives agriculture in India.[28]

But climate change would affect the monsoon pattern, resulting in extreme oscillations between minimal and maximal rainfall.

This will disrupt the crop cycle in India and farmers would be left stranded. 

A more terrifying scenario would be a war between countries for basic resources like food and water. 

Rich countries might mitigate this problem regionally, but poor countries would be terribly affected by this.


Both, the effects of climate change and the affordability of measures taken against it come at a high price for the poor and backward classes.

Impacts on Economy

If the global temperature continues to rise further, the economy would be awfully impacted. 

According to the Swiss Re Institute, a rise in temperature by 3.2°C, would wipe off 18% of the global GDP (Gross Domestic Product), whereas, at 2°C, this figure would be about 11%.[29]

Asian countries would be the most affected by it. China, which is the second-largest economy in the world after the US, would lose about 24% of its GDP.[30]

Inflation might touch new heights, as changing weather would affect crops as well.

This will seriously impact the food security of the farmers, and other vulnerable communities.

The economic activities on shorelines would also be disrupted, causing a further reduction in the GDP.  

However, the economic impact is not just about the damage and losses.

The process of overcoming and suppressing these consequences would have its own impacts.

Fossil fuels have, for a long time, been the favorite source of energy production for humans.

More than 80% of our total energy production comes from these fossil fuels.

They have made it cheaper for people to meet their power, commute, and material needs. 

It would certainly require a lot of capital to shift our economy from fossil fuels to renewable technologies.

This shift would transfer some of its burdens over to the common people, and could also introduce new challenges – remember Hotelling’s Theory and the Green Paradox that we discussed above

The upper and middle class might manage their expenses, but people living on or below the poverty line would be left helpless, struggling for affordability.


It will not only deepen the economic gap but might also lead to social discrimination; not just among people, but also among countries. 

We already saw similar things happening during the COVID-19 pandemic in several regions. 

Many countries also lack the necessary resources, including money, to make the transition.

Another major issue will be posed by changing demographics and lowering the productivity of workers. 

Increased temperatures will result in decreased productivity for the workers, causing decreased income.

Well, economically, the restoration of climatic balance would cost approximately 2.5% of the global GDP; doesn’t sound much (or does it?); however, it’ll only increase the later we act.[31]

Hence, bringing about a change, for good, would apparently come at a high price.

But if we don’t, we would still have to pay for it, not only in terms of the economy but also for humanity.

It’s the fate we’re enduring, of decades of ignorance and inactivity. 

Impact on Health and Lifestyle

Climate change would also, obviously, prove to be deadly for our health and lifestyle in many ways.

Heatwaves would be more severe, affecting occupational groups such as outdoor workers and other professionals in field jobs.

Water scarcity would deepen in certain African, Middle Eastern, and Indian subcontinental regions.

Natural disasters, such as floods and landslides, would disrupt communication and transport and are deadly to human and animal life.


Climate change would also influence microbial life which would lead to new diseases, affecting everything from plants to animals (we’ll never be able to forget COVID-19, would we?)

Waterbody contamination will lower the availability of fresh water, and also affect aquatic life that is subject to seafood consumption, having a direct impact on our health.

The increasing global temperature would also let mosquitoes and insects thrive in cold areas, hence more people would be affected by vector-borne diseases.

People would be forced to stay indoors most of the time as the outdoor conditions would be too harsh.

Impact on Mental Health and Wellbeing

The second part of the sixth assessment report by IPCC emphasized mental health outcomes due to climate change. It claims that climate change would bring forth more problems related to mental health.

Until now, mental health was usually overlooked in studies related to the impacts of climate change. 

During the pandemic, when people got enough time to spend with themselves, many redirected their attention toward their mental health.

Children, adolescents (especially females), elders, and people with existing mental health problems will be affected the most. 

Scientists claim that increasing temperature is linked to higher psychiatric admissions, due to increased levels of stress and anxiety (there is, however, a lack of crucial data on this subject as the discussion is fairly new).[32]

Studies have shown that mental illness triples the risk of death during a heatwave.

Hotter temperatures impact blood flow and sleep cycles which can lead to stress and depression in the long run.


People who were forced to lock themselves in their homes and or those who had to migrate long distances to their hometowns, often face distressing and traumatic situations.

With time, temperature, death, and suicidal rates will only increase, which will affect not only the demographics of the region but the overall economy as well.

It is evident that the hardships that’d be brought about by climate change would leave us not just physically, but also mentally drained.

Confronting Climate Change! 

“Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, it’s common sense.”

Ronald Reagan, Former US President

We’re long past the time when climate change required attention; now is the time for immediate action, for it is a global problem that can not be side-lined anymore.

Climate change is not waiting to happen; it’s real, it’s here in its full form, and it’s here to stay (we hope it doesn’t though).

It is a slow poison, so to revert it into something we can withstand, will take not just years, but decades of rigorous efforts and determination. 

It’s all up to us, the whole problem has been narrowed down and we have to make the necessary move against climate change.

No government would be able to leap a bold stride and act accordingly, without strong sentiments among the individuals. 

When it comes to the deteriorating condition of the earth, it will always come back to bite us. So it’s best (and important) to be loving and devoted towards our home, before it kicks us out, or worse. 

Mother earth is not just our best, but also our only option. 

We must preserve what sustains life, sustains us; before it gets any later, because –

Men argue. Nature acts

Voltaire, French Writer-Philosopher


  1. Climate and The Carbon Cycle: Unit Overview‘, EarthLabs, “The greenhouse effect itself is a naturally occurring phenomenon that makes Earth warm enough for life to exist. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth would be a much colder place.”[]
  2. Greenhouse Gas Emissions‘, Wikipedia, “Natural sources of carbon dioxide are more than 20 times greater than sources due to human activity, but over periods longer than a few years natural sources are closely balanced by natural sinks – mainly photosynthesis of carbon compounds by plants, and marine plankton.”[]
  3. Global CO2 emissions rebounded to their highest level in history in 2021‘, 8 March 2022, International Energy Agency (IEA), “Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by 6% in 2021 to 36.3 billion tonnes, their highest ever level”[]
  4. Ian Tiseo, ‘Carbon dioxide emissions in 2010 and 2020, by select country‘, 22 June 2022, Statista[]
  5. Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Electricity‘, May 2021, World Nuclear Association, “Over 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions are due to the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation”[]
  6. What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source?‘, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “More than 60% of the total energy consumed by the US comes from fossil fuels like oil, coal, natural gas, etc”[]
  7. Oil is left in the world?Worldometer & N. Sönnichsen, ‘Daily demand for crude oil worldwide from 2006 to 2020, with a forecast until 2026‘, 27 July 2022, Statista[]
  8. Johannes Friedrich and Thomas Damassa, ‘The History of Carbon Dioxide Emissions‘, 21 May 2014, “Since 1850, carbon emissions have increased by more than 150 times”[]
  9. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ‘Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions‘, 25 August 2023 (last updated), IEA, “Industry (23% of 2021 greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily come from burning fossil fuels for energy, as well as greenhouse gas emissions from certain chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials.”[]
  10. Hannah Ritchie, ‘Cars, planes, trains: where do CO2 emissions from transport come from?‘, October 6 2020, Our World In Data, “The entire transport sector accounts for 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions.”[]
  11. Hannah Ritchie, ‘Cars, planes, trains: where do CO2 emissions from transport come from?‘, 6 October 2020, Our World In Data, “Road travel accounts for three-quarters of transport emissions”[]
  12. Jacob Teter et al., ‘Tracking Aviation 2020‘, June 2020, IEA, “CO2 emissions from aviation have risen rapidly over the past two decades, reaching nearly 1 Gt in 2019, or about 2.8% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion”[]
  13. Jacopo Tattini and Sarah McBain, ‘International Shipping‘, November 2021, IEA, “International Shipping via maritime accounts for roughly 2% of the global energy-related emissions”[]
  14. Summary for Policymakers‘, IPCC, “If emissions associated with pre and post-production activities in the global food system are included, the emissions are estimated to be 21–37% of total net anthropogenic GHG emissions”[]
  15. Francesco N Tubiello et al., ‘Greenhouse gas emissions from food systems: building the evidence base‘, IOPscience, “Three quarters of these emissions, 13 Gt CO2eq yr−1, were generated either within the farm gate or in pre- and post-production activities, such as manufacturing, transport, processing, and waste disposal.”[]
  16. Greenhouse gas emissions‘, Wikipedia, “Mean greenhouse gas emissions for different food types”[]
  17. Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an F gas‘, GOV.UK, “Just 1 kilogram of HFC is equivalent to 100 to 20000 kilograms(or more) of CO2, depending on what variant of HFC is used”[]
  18. The average US household produces 7.5 tons of CO2 equivalents per yearChampaign County Forest Preserve District[]
  19. Summary for Policy Makers‘, IPCC[]
  20. Summary for Policy Makers‘, IPCC, “According to IPCC, 18% of insects, 16% of plants, and 8% of vertebrates would lose more than half of their natural habitat if the global temperature rises to 2°C due to climate change”[]
  21. Water Science School, ‘How Much Water is There on Earth?‘, 13 November 2019, U.S. Geological Survey, “About 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered”[]
  22. Water Science School, ‘How Much Water is There on Earth?‘, 13 November 2019, U.S. Geological Survey, “The oceans hold about 96.5% of all the earth’s water, and the overall impact of global warming over the oceans has probably been the worst”[]
  23. Ocean Heat Content Rises‘, 20 January 2020, National Centers for Environmental Information, “Oceans not only help reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but also absorb almost 90% of all heat generated”[]
  24. Summary for Policy Makers‘, IPCC, “The rise of global temperature to 1.5°C alone is expected to eliminate 70% to 90% of all coral reefs”[]
  25. Ocean Warming‘, November 2017, IUCN, “The temperature rise in oceans has been about 0.13°C in the last decade”[]
  26. Sea Level‘, NASA, “According to NASA, sea levels have already risen by about 20 cm since 1900, and the current rate of rising sea level is around 3.4 millimeters (or 0.14 inches) per year, which only increases with time.” (Accessed: 25 March 2022[]
  27. Republic of Maldives‘, Climate Hot Map, “Countries like Maldives and Austria (Vienna) are already facing the threat of drowning, and according to research, 200 million people are predicted to live below sea level by the end of this century”[]
  28. Agriculture in India: Information About Indian Agriculture & Its Importance‘, August 2022, India Brand Equity Foundation, “Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population”[]
  29. World economy set to lose up to 18% GDP from climate change if no action taken, reveals Swiss Re Institute’s stress-test analysis‘, Swiss Re, “According to the Swiss Re Institute, a rise to 3.2°C, in temperature, would wipe off 18% of the global GDP (Gross Domestic Product), whereas, at a rise to 2°C, this figure would be about 11% – 18% if no mitigating actions are taken (3.2°C increase)”[]
  30. World economy set to lose up to 18% GDP from climate change if no action taken, reveals Swiss Re Institute’s stress-test analysis‘, Swiss Re, “China is at risk of losing nearly 24% of its GDP in a severe scenario”[]
  31. Summary for Policymakers‘, IPCC, “Global model pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C are projected to involve the annual average investment needs in the energy system of around 2.4 trillion USD2010 between 2016 and 2035, representing about 2.5% of the world GDP”[]
  32. Jingwen Liu et al., ‘Is there an association between hot weather and poor mental health outcomes? A systematic review and meta-analysis‘, 30 March 2021, ScienceDirect, & Phan Minh Trang et al., ‘Heatwaves and Hospital Admissions for Mental Disorders in Northern Vietnam‘, 19 May 2016, PLOS ONE, “Researches claim that increasing temperature is linked to higher psychiatric admissions, due to increased levels of stress & anxiety”[]