Reported by: Pearl Cooper
Last week, temperatures reached the fifties, sixties, and even seventies. While many people welcomed the warm weather, it represents a trend of rising temperatures worldwide that has many scientists worried about the future of the planet.
CPPHS student Maeve Holman, a senior taking IB Environmental Systems and Societies, expressed her concern, saying, “seventy degrees in February is not a good sign for our climate.”
For the past fifty years, temperatures have been increasing at a rate much faster than historic trends. The last 3 years, 2014, 2015, and 2016, all surpassed each other to become the hottest year on record. Summer weather in the middle of winter carry an ominous message for our planet as temperatures continue to rise.
Global warming and climate change are caused by increased carbon dioxide emissions from factories, vehicles, and the burning of coal. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means that it prevents the sun’s radiation from leaving the atmosphere, warming up the earth like the inside of a greenhouse. The consequences of global warming are already being felt in the form of rising sea levels, extreme weather, heat waves, and droughts.
Actions are already being taken to reduce the use of fossil fuels globally. On December 12, 2015, the United Nations approved the Paris Agreement, a historic consensus in the effort to fight global warming. 195 countries, including the United States, committed to reducing their emission of greenhouse gasses by 2020. Approaches such as the Paris agreement have been met with criticism due to the wide usage of fossil fuels and the massive corporations that depend on them to make money.