Glaciers in the coldest places on earth — Greenland and Iceland — are rapidly melting as the planet’s temperature has risen at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade since 1975.
Just two days ago, Icelanders gathered for a funeral at the site where the country lost its first glacier to climate change, declared dead in 2013.
On August 2, 1.5 billion tons of ice melted in Greenland in a single day — the highest in history, according to CNN.
An investigation led by NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) scientist team in Kulusk, Greenland revealed an ice-free lake amidst an ice-covered area.
Discovery of this lake indicates that hot water will melt down the frozen areas after coming in contact with it.
The OMG research team reported that icebergs are melting not only by the rise of air temperature but also by warming seawater.
This year, our planet saw the hottest summer ever recorded as heatwaves scorched through the US, Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia in July — the warmest month of the year.
Kuwait and Dubai recorded the highest temperature of 630C. Germany experienced a heatwave measuring 380C.
The rapid rise in industrialization, emission of greenhouse gases, and burning of fossil fuels are to blame for this global warming, according to the global scientific community.
The Arctic is also heating up 2.3 times faster in winter and 1.7 times in summer than the northern hemisphere, cited a report by Inside Climate News. This is causing a rise in humidity, cloud, rain, snowfall, lightning and contributing to a rise in sea levels.
If global warming continues at its current pace, temperatures are likely to rise by 1.50C between 2030 and 2052, found a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Furthermore, the World Bank found that more than 143 million people will become “climate migrants,” if global warming continues at its current pace.
Bangladesh, being the home to the largest river delta, is also a hotspot of climate change as per World Bank’s report in 2013.
The country is already seeing a surge in floods, rain, lightning, intense tropical cyclones, and rising sea levels.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found in a study that about 3.5 million people in Dhaka, and 15 million in the country, will become climate refugees by 2050 — making it the worst environmental migration in the history.
Global efforts to tackle climate change
To tackle climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has established a Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the victims affected by the phenomenon.
Countries responsible for highest greenhouse gas emissions, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2), will pay $10 billion to the affected countries, most of which are least developing countries.
The guilty countries — China and the US — are responsible for more than 40% of the world’s total CO2 emissions, and neither seems to be interested in reversing this trend.
Although, China has recently considered curtailing their emissions by curbing the use of coal in heavy industries. However, no action has been taken yet.
One solution, introduced by Australia, is carbon taxes to be paid by industrialists.
Bhutan has become the international role model by covering 80% of its land with plants and trees.
The Philippines enacted a law to plant at least 10 trees by high school and college graduate students before they graduate to produce more greens. The country assumes that 525 billion trees could be planted in a generation if the law is followed.
Limiting the usage of air conditioners, elevators, motor vehicles, and refrigerators can help reduce emissions. Using eco-friendly equipment can also help.
Creating a greener world by planting more trees and curbing our dependence on greenhouse gases may save the planet, and it is up to us to see it through.