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Climate change and global warming

Climate change - All about global warming

The climate change and the global warming keep the list of biggest environmental problems of our time on. Even though slight fluctuations in the average temperature on earth are not unusual, scientists have recorded an enormous increase since the 1960s. Today, one heat record follows the next in Germany too - extreme weather such as droughts and floods are becoming more frequent.

In this article, I would therefore like to give you everything you need to know about climate change. From facts, causes and consequences to solutions for everyday life.

Here is another short Table of contents about the article:

  1. Definition
  2. Statistics
  3. Myths
  4. Causes
  5. Follow
  6. Solutions
  7. Closing words

Notice: Global warming is an environmental problem that has thousands of causes and consequences, but also thousands of possible solutions. In this article, I have concentrated on the most important aspects. Feel free to comment below this article if you are missing something important.

What is climate change?

When people talk about climate change today, they are referring to man-made global warming. The term Climate basically refers to the totality of weather conditions over a longer, meaningful period of time. For example, temperatures, precipitation, wind speeds and hours of sunshine are measured and compared. In the case of global warming, a rise in temperature of just 1-2°C can have serious consequences for humans, animals and plants.

Greenhouse effect briefly explained

Global warming is basically caused by the so-called greenhouse effect. Short-wave radiation is sent from the sun to the earth, where it is converted into long-wave radiation and reflected back. However, the earth's atmosphere has a natural layer of carbon dioxide, which reflects back some of the long-wave radiation and ensures that it is not freezing cold on earth. However, as the gases in the atmosphere have increased massively, we now speak of the man-made, so-called anthropogenic greenhouse effect. The following gases play a decisive role in this:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common greenhouse gas produced by human activities and is responsible for about 63% of man-made climate change.₁ Each person is assigned a personal CO2 budget attributed.
  • Methane (CH4) is responsible for around 19% of human-induced global warming. It is emitted by cows, for example, and has around 25 times more impact on climate change than carbon dioxide.₂
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O) is also known as nitrous oxide. Around 80% of nitrous oxide emissions in Germany come from agriculture. This greenhouse gas is around 300 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide.₃

Facts, figures & statistics on climate change

Climate change - statistics, facts and figures on global warming
The development of the global average temperature based on independently measured data sets / Source: ©

This graph from the WMO₄ (World Meteorological Organization) impressively shows the alarming development of the average temperature on Earth. Especially because this is a much-discussed scientific topic, it is important to be able to back up your own statements with figures. Here you can find some of the The most important facts about global warming:

  • According to NASA, 2017 was 0.90 ± 0.05 °C warmer than the average value over the period 1951-1980.₅
  • The number of climate-related disasters worldwide has tripled since 1980.₆
  • In 2016, the average global near-surface air temperature was around 0.94°C higher than the 20th century average.₇
  • Since 1990, the global average sea level has risen by around 20 cm.₈
  • The average annual extent of Arctic sea ice is shrinking by 2.7 percent per decade, and by as much as 7.4 percent per decade in summer.₉

At Climate you will find further important figures, data and statistics on global warming.

4 typical climate change myths

When the topic of global warming comes up in everyday conversations, it is not uncommon for typical myths surrounding the environmental problem to fly around your ears. Here I have listed four examples for you and also written a short but appropriate explanation.

"It's not getting any warmer, because we've had extreme cold spells."

It is true that we had a very cold winter in Germany in the winter of 2016. But please do not confuse the weather with the climate. The Weather refers to a physical state of the atmosphere at a certain point in time at a certain location. However, the term Climate refers to the statistics of the weather over a longer period of time, from which characteristics and changes can be derived.₁₀

"Climate change is just a conspiracy."

It is not surprising that there are many climate skeptics. Especially as climate change is creating the need for social, economic and political change. Of course, the main headwind comes from the industries that are blamed for climate change. However, there are 4014 studies on global warming, all of which were analyzed in 2013. 97% of the studies and 98% of the authors came to the conclusion that climate change is man-made.₁₁ It is therefore highly likely that the earth is warming.

"The fact that the climate is changing is completely natural."

This myth is true to the extent that the sun's radiation on the earth's surface creates a natural greenhouse effect. Volcanoes also spew out masses of CO2 into the atmosphere. However, as the average temperature on Earth has been increasing at a disproportionately high rate, especially since the 1960s, the current global warming is anything but a natural process.

"A few degrees more or less makes no difference."

Please don't make the mistake of equating the current temperature on your doorstep with the temperature used to assess global warming. This is because the latter is always based on the global average temperature of the earth. Since the middle of the 20th century, the average global temperature has risen by around 1°C - we are feeling the first consequences of this seemingly small change with increasing extreme weather events, such as droughts or floods already today.

With average temperatures starting at 2°C, up to 2 billion people worldwide are already affected by increasing global warming. Water shortage affected. Up to 3 billion people are at risk from coastal flooding. In addition, infectious diseases are increasing dramatically and animal and plant biodiversity is declining drastically.₁₂

Causes of global warming

Climate change and global warming
The main cause of rapid global warming is mankind.

In addition to the natural causes of climate change, such as the sun's radiation on the earth, the environmental problem has many man-made causes. I would like to give you the most important ones below.

Combustion of coal, oil and gas

Energy, heating and transportation - we burn coal, oil and gas for our lifestyle. But this cannot go on forever, as fuels are only available in limited quantities and the processes blow masses of emissions into the atmosphere. The resulting greenhouse gases prevent the sun's rays from being reflected back into space. This increases the temperature on Earth and results in the consequences that I will explain in more detail in a moment.

Deforestation of rainforests

In 2017 alone, 29.4 million hectares of forest the size of the UK and Ireland were cut down worldwide.₁₃ Around 80% of the forest loss is attributable to expanded agriculture for palm oil and soy as well as timber and pulp plantations.₁₄

Trees store the CO2 and make a decisive contribution to preventing our planet from becoming even warmer. Deforestation causes carbon dioxide to escape again and contributes to global warming. Rainforests also have an almost perfect water cycle, which prevents the spread of deserts.₁₅

You can find out more about this in the separate article on the Environmental problem of deforestation.

Increasing livestock production due to rising demand for meat

According to the WWF, almost 70% of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are attributable to animal products.₁₆ One reason for this is that cattle emit methane every minute - a greenhouse gas that drives the man-made greenhouse effect around 25 times faster than CO2. There are around 1.5 billion cattle in the world alone, each of which emits around 150 to 250 liters of methane per day.₁₇

In addition, (rain) forests are cut down for pastures and animal feed production and a total of around 15,500 liters of water are required to produce one kilogram of beef. Water wastage and livestock farming are direct causes of climate change.

Poisoning, littering and overfishing of the oceans

Wastewater from industry and agriculture, Plastic waste in the environment and in addition the hyperacidity and Overfishing the oceans - It seems as if we don't care about the oceans. Yet they regulate the climate and store the gases we emit. Plankton, for example, is an excellent carbon dioxide reservoir.₁₈

Rapid growth in the world population

All the causes of climate change mentioned so far are also partly due to the disproportionate Rising world population to this. Today, there are already 7.55 billion people living on our planet.₁₉ In 1980, there were still around 4.45 billion.₂₀ The global population has risen at a similar rate and disproportionately faster than the average temperature of the earth. This is not surprising, as everyone has to eat, drink water and wear clothes. Everyone consumes and very few of them consciously consume sustainably.

Notice: We must not forget the Climate tipping pointssuch as the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. These "tipping points" can lead to a chain reaction that further accelerates climate change.

The consequences of climate change

Secretary General of the German Advisory Council on Global Change
For example, climate change is leading to flooding and rising sea levels.

In the end, global warming affects every living being on this earth. But only one of them bears responsibility for it - humans.

The easiest way to visualize the consequences of climate change is to look at what happens to the earth at certain global average temperatures. These effects can be expected if the earth warms as follows in relation to the global average temperature in 1850 (around -0.4°C):

Up to 2°C:
  • Up to 1.7 billion people are affected by water scarcity.
  • Increased coral bleaching due to higher sea temperatures
  • More damage due to flooding and storms.
At 2-4°C:
  • Up to three million more people are at risk from coastal flooding.
  • Increasing burden of infectious diseases, malnutrition or heart disease
  • Up to two billion people are affected by water scarcity.
Above 4°C:
  • Up to 15 million more people are exposed to the risk of coastal flooding.
  • Worldwide species extinction - especially in wetlands, forests and coral reefs.
  • Up to 3.2 billion people are affected by increasing water scarcity.

These effects are based on the information provided by the Federal Environment Agency and the NABU summary.₂₁

I would now like to present the ecological, economic and social consequences of global warming to you in more detail.

Effects on the environment

Consequences of climate change and global warming
Animal species such as the polar bear are threatened with extinction due to their dwindling habitats.

First and foremost, man-made climate change has ecological effects before it forces us humans to make changes. Below are some of the most important changes to our natural environment:

Ice Melt & Sea Level Rise

The increasing global average temperature is provoking an enormous loss of ice, which is particularly visible in Greenland. Since 2010, around 290 billion tons of ice have disappeared every year.₂₂

The melting ice also promotes global warming even more, as the sunlight is no longer reflected by the light-colored ice but absorbed by the dark seawater.₂₃

The melting ice is causing the sea level to rise. It is currently rising at a rate of 0.3 cm per year.₂₄

First islands sink

The Fiji Islands to the east of Australia are a popular example of the consequences of climate change. The entire ecosystem of the islands is suffering from storm surges and changes in rainfall. Even though many things have been changed on the islands to make them more sustainable, they are in danger of being submerged in a few years' time. The "fishies" would then be among the first real victims of rising sea levels.₂₅

By the way: The higher the sea level rises, the more severe the impact of storm surges and the more saline the soil becomes.

Deserted landscapes & dying soils

Another consequence of global warming is a fundamental change in landscapes due to dried out soils. Where deciduous forest still grows and thrives now, soon only dwarf shrubs could grow.

According to a study by the French research center CNRS and the Aix-Marseille Université, the Mediterranean region in particular is at risk of becoming deserted as soon as global warming reaches a plus of around 1.5°C.₂₆

Extreme weather & precipitation shift

We are already seeing an increase in droughts, storms and heavy rainfall. The calculation is basically quite simple: the more the temperature of the oceans rises due to climate change, the more water evaporates. The higher the air temperature, the more water is absorbed by clouds. The logical consequence is extreme weather and changes in precipitation patterns.₂₇ Prolonged periods of drought and simultaneous water shortages are particularly extreme ecological effects of global warming.

Extinct animal and plant species

When lakes are pumped dry, forests are cut down, the oceans are overfished and weather conditions change, the animal and plant world also changes. Habitats become smaller and they cannot adapt to the new conditions as quickly as we do. As a result, thousands of animals and plants are threatened with extinction. The best example is the Polar bearwhich is visibly losing its habitat and food source due to the melting ice sheet and overfished seas. The rising temperature of the oceans as a result of climate change is also leading to increased Coral bleaching, a typical marine disease.

Impact on economy & society

Climate Change Impact on Environment & Society
One consequence of climate change, for example, is global water scarcity.

As soon as the environment changes, there are naturally changes for us too. Society and the economy face major challenges. The following effects of global warming are already being felt today from an economic and social perspective.

Consequences of climate change for major economic sectors

The main costs of climate change are as follows.

  • Costs due to direct climate impact damage (e.g. due to high water)
  • Adjustment costs (e.g. the raising of the dikes)
  • Mitigation costs (e.g. investments in low-emission technologies).

On the Wiki education server these follow-up costs are explained in detail once again.

Industries that are dependent on constant temperatures and precipitation are already suffering greatly from global warming. These are, for example Agriculture, forestry, energy and tourism.

Floods alone caused direct economic damage of over 90 billion euros between 1980 and 2011.₂₈

Health consequences of climate change

Global warming is already having a significant impact on our health around the world. The rise in temperature is promoting the spread of infectious diseases and allergies.₂₉ The number of heat-related deaths has also already increased, while the number of cold-related deaths has decreased.₃₀

Floods, droughts, forest fires, landslides, storms - extreme weather takes its toll. Crop failures and drinking water shortages are no less severe. Fluctuations in food production in particular, which are made even more extreme by natural disasters, increase the risk of food insecurity. Famine.₃₁

Consequences for developing countries

The ecological consequences associated with man-made climate change affect developing countries in particular. The people in countries such as Sri Lanka, Fiji and Madagascar are mostly strongly dependent on the natural conditions in the environment. If there is no fish, the fisheries are on the brink of extinction and the people go hungry. The same applies to crop failures due to extreme drought or flooding. In addition, developing countries usually do not have the necessary resources to prevent climate change, let alone mitigate the damage caused by climate change. This means that global warming particularly affects the countries that are least able to do anything about it.

Moreover, due to rising sea levels and other reasons for dwindling living conditions, 21.5 million people are already on the run today.₃₂ This in turn, as can be observed in Germany, is leading to increasingly brutal social conflicts.

Solutions against climate change

What to do about climate change?
Switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against climate change.

To stop global warming in the long term, consumers, business and politics must work together. There is no more room for greed or corruption. In this part of the article, I would like to explain exactly what you can do in your everyday life to combat climate change and what tasks business and politics need to solve now.

What everyone can do for the climate

Over the course of time, an increasingly convenient lifestyle has crept into our Western society - orders can be placed via the Internet 24 hours a day, for example, and arrive the next day. You don't even have to leave the house anymore. This ingrained habit is one of the reasons why we have a great opportunity to counteract climate change in our everyday lives. Use the following Climate protection tips, to your Making everyday life more sustainable.

Eat a vegan diet or simply give up meat

Of course, you can also simply reduce your meat consumption - that's a valuable start. Avoiding beef is a wonderful example of how you can bring about change through your everyday behavior. For one kilogram of beef, a total of 15,500 liters of drinking water are consumed by livestock farming. You are counteracting the global shortage of drinking water. Tropical rainforests have to be cut down to grow animal feed such as soy. Soybean meal is also imported and fed in Germany - you are therefore counteracting global deforestation. Since you are changing the demand for beef, fewer cows have to be raised in Factory farming and there are generally fewer cows that emit methane. Consider meat as a delicacy again and not as an everyday meal. At best, give up meat altogether for a really big climate effect.

Tip: By adopting a vegan diet, you can counteract so many environmental problems at once. Deforestation, climate change, water scarcity, species extinction... the list is basically endless. Just take a look at our text about the Start into a vegan life.

Buy regionally and seasonally

By eating regional and seasonal foods at your best plastic-free shopping you are actively counteracting climate change. For example, avoid oranges from Spain, as they are irrigated with groundwater, the local groundwater level sinks faster and the regions are at risk of drying out as a result. It takes 438 liters of water to produce one kilogram of oranges. In addition, energy-intensive transportation is necessary, during which the fruit is usually chemically treated.₃₁

Tip: Read the article about regional shopping inspire a little bit.

Prefer bicycles and public transportation

According to the Federal Environment Agency, the average car accounts for 12% of annual CO2-emissions of Germans.₃₂ But in cities in particular, it is now possible to do without a car - no more parking tickets, no more traffic jams, no more traffic lights. The alternative is public transport such as buses and trains. To counteract climate change, you should also avoid domestic flights and take the train instead. Prices are still a little more expensive these days, but this will change in the next few years due to social pressure. Just try your best to travel emission-free - and if it has to be by car, try to organize carpooling. This will save you money and make other journeys superfluous.

Notice: Please also avoid cruises. Ships are still allowed to sail with heavy fuel oil and thus contribute significantly to climate change.

Switch to a green bank and green electricity

Did you know that it matters where you invest your money and where the electricity from your power line comes from? You make the money in your accounts available to the banks - in return you receive interest. Many banks use the money to support nuclear energy or brown coal companies. It is therefore better to invest your money with environmentally friendly, transparent banks. Here is one Eco banks comparison for you.

Electricity from hard coal or lignite or electricity from nuclear power plants is anything but climate-friendly. Nowadays, there are many suppliers of Green electricitythat generate their electricity exclusively from renewable energies such as wind, solar or hydroelectric power. You should give preference to these.

Save energy in the home

Green electricity is great, but it can be even more climate-friendly. In Germany, electricity and heat consumption emit around 11 tons of CO2 ₃₃ You can also start here and reduce your personal energy consumption in the fight against climate change. Here are a few energy-saving tips for you:

  • Don't use the air conditioning and rather ventilate in the morning and lower the shutters.
  • Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need.
  • Wash at 30°C without pre-washing - and air dry the laundry.
  • Close your fridge again quickly
  • Always boil water with a lid on the saucepan.

Do you have any other ideas? Then feel free to write a comment below this post.

What politics & business must do to combat climate change

Of course, it's great when consumers change their mindset on their own and give up meat, for example, or save energy in the household. However, in order to accelerate the transformation of our society, business and politics have a particular responsibility. The following measures must be implemented promptly:

  • Complete coal phase-out by 2030 at the latest
  • Intensive promotion of renewable energies
  • Introduction of the CO2-tax (according to the Federal Environment Agency, one ton of CO2 long-term 180€₃₄
  • Reducing the costs of local public transport & rail
  • Expansion of cycling infrastructure in German cities
  • Compliance with the objective of the Paris climate agreement
  • Radical fight against illegal overexploitation (e.g. in the fishing or timber industry)

Do you have any other ideas? Then feel free to write a comment under this post.

Will global warming come to an end?

Climate change and global warming
Climate change is a global problem that can only be solved through cooperation between consumers, business and politics.

Yes - but the question is whether we can do it ourselves or whether nature will take over. We still have a realistic chance of stopping climate change. As we are already feeling the effects of global warming, society is finally starting to rethink. It is important that we consumers and especially business and politics wake up from their deep sleep.

We have No environmental problem. We have a Society problem.

Prof. Dr. Maja Göpel, Secretary General of the German Advisory Council to the Federal Government.

And for all the skeptics: even if we eventually find out that thousands of scientists from all over the world were wrong, we certainly won't be upset about clean rivers, pleasant air, the decline in the number of starving people and the unique biodiversity on our planet, right?

Finally, I would like to give you four sustainable documentations on climate change, which you can watch on Netflix, for example:

  • Before the Flood (the film depicts the consequences of global warming and shows honest reactions from world leaders)
  • Chasing Coral (on the effects of climate change on the oceans)
  • Cowspiracy (on the connection between meat consumption and climate change)

Do you have any questions, suggestions or your own experiences with global warming that you would like to share? Then please write me a comment below this article. Thank you for sharing this article with others in order to convince as many people as possible to take action against climate change.

Stay clean,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS.: Take a look at our Environmental protection blog over. There you will learn a lot more about the things we have done to the planet - but also how we will solve the problems that have arisen.








₈ Prof. Dr. Karen Helen Wiltshire, Federal Press Conference #Scientists4Future, March 12, 2019.



















₂₉ Dr. Eckhart von Hirschhausen, Federal Press Conference #Scientists4Future, 12 March 2019.








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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

1 thought on “Klimawandel – Alles über die globale Erwärmung”

  1. Simon environmental rescuer

    Hello Christoph,
    Thank you for your detailed contribution. I think you get to the heart of the causes of climate change. In my opinion, almost all of the causes can be broken down to a not inconsiderable extent to excessive livestock farming or agriculture. If we buy less animal products, this would have a positive effect on animal welfare, greenhouse gases, biodiversity (also in the rainforests) and plastic consumption.
    Thanks again and best regards

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