Climate changes and huge swings in weather conditions around the world are generating intense debates amongst the population and the scientific community. In North America, this topic is very controversial because there are opinions varying from one extreme to another. On one end, many people believe changes observed in the last 20 to 25 years are totally natural while a huge majority of climate scientists advocate that human activities have a direct effect on the climate. In fact, the Planetary Boundaries organisation firmly believes the extent of these changes has already passed a critical tipping point.
According to the scientific community, one of the most relevant metric used to measure the risk of negative impact on weather conditions is the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In order to maintain stable conditions, scientists agree to a maximum of 350 ppm, a level already higher than pre-industrial times. Beyond this level, the risk of irreversible and catastrophic changes will massively increase. For example, the Greenland ice sheet is currently melting at an annual rate of 48 cubic miles or 200 cubic kilometers. At the present time, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is at 390 ppm and steadily increasing by roughly 2 ppm annually.
While reducing atmospheric carbon levels is critical, creating and implementing a credible and efficient reduction plan has become the most difficult worldwide challenge. It is so because it requires a commitment from a strong majority of countries around the world and implies significant improvements in energy conservation and efficiency, an overhaul of land use regulations and practices as well as massive acceptance of energy generation processes involving more neutral forms of carbon.
On a more positive note, the evolution in climate conditions is directly linked to environmental problems such as Loss of Biodiversity, Water Cycle, Ocean Acidification, Chemical Pollution, Atmospheric Aerosol Pollution, the Stratospheric Ozone Layer, which can all be solved by working on the causes of climate changes or vice versa. In other words, if you work on one issue you ultimately improve on the other environmental problems.
Pick your battle, implement changes in your day to day life and you will contribute to improvements you wish to see happening around the world.