Ever since the Industrial Revolution (1760 – 1840), the Earth’s climate system has been heating up, due to human activities. These include deforestation/tree clearing, agriculture and farming, and most of all, the burning of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are gasses like coal, petroleum, and natural gas, so when people burn coal or gas to create electricity or power our cars, carbon dioxide (CO2) gasses are released into the atmosphere. Alongside other air pollutants, carbon dioxide collects in the atmosphere and absorbs sunlight and solar radiation, usually escaping into space. However, the pollutants trap the heat, causing the planet to become hotter. These pollutants (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and synthetic fluorinated gases) are known as greenhouse gases, and this effect is known as the greenhouse effect.
The human influence in the world has clearly made and shown an impact. Since the 1800s, or the Industrial Revolution, the global annual temperature has increased by about two degrees Fahrenheit. Between the 1880s and 1980, the global temperature rose on average by 0.07ºC (0.13º F) every ten years. Furthermore, the rate of increase has doubled since 1981. Nine of the ten warmest years since 1980 have occurred since 2005, and the five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2015.
Along with the weather change, global warming came with many negative impacts. For instance, the Earth’s rising temperatures, due to global warming, fuels longer and hotter heat waves, more powerful hurricanes, heavier rainfall, and more frequent droughts. In 2015, a prolonged drought was concluded by scientists as the state’s worst water shortage in 1,200 years, in which 15-20% has been intensified by global warming. Not only that, the odds of droughts like this happening in the future have doubled as a result of global warming. Additionally, the ocean temperatures are becoming warmer, meaning that tropical storms can pick up more energy. Since the early 1980s, scientists have discovered that the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes have increased, as well as the number of storms reaching categories 4 and 5.
Furthermore, Antarctica has lost nearly four trillion tons of ice. At the pace of how much fossil fuels are being released, experts say that sea levels will rise several meters throughout the next 50-150 years and damage coastal communities across the world. Alongside droughts, hurricanes, and sea levels rising, wildfires, heatwaves, and many more disasters are amplified as a cause of this. These disasters lead to many lives being fractured and lost, and communities destroyed, all because of global warming.
Despite all of this, many argue against global warming with numerous claims. For example, one claim is that climate change is a conspiracy made up by scientists. Many eccentric rumors float around about the topic, and how “climate change reports aren’t to be trusted.” This isn’t true, of course, as the evidence over the years says otherwise. Another argument climate change deniers point out is that global warming can’t be real because of how frequently it rains. To counter this argument, the simple explanation is, the hotter, the wetter. Because heat evaporates water, this causes water vapor to gather in clouds, and rain is produced. In short, because of how warm the planet is, rain is produced through the water cycle.
Although the effects of global warming may seem overwhelming, it is, indeed, preventable. By 2040, scientists say that global warming must be limited to 1.5º C (34.7º F). To do this and help contribute to that goal, anyone can help by conserving energy and reducing emissions. Conserving energy can be done through buying products using less energy, meaning fewer fossil fuels being burnt. Using cars with higher gas mileage and lower emissions, taking public transportation, carpooling, etc. are ways to reduce emissions, thus burning fewer fossil fuels.
All in all, to answer the question in the title, yes, global warming is real. As a result of fossil fuels burning, the earth heats up and amplifies many disasters, as well as causing destruction to communities worldwide. Though some deny global warming, the evidence over the years clearly points otherwise. To avoid further chaos concerning global warming in the near future, conserving energy and reducing emissions are some of the many great ways to help.