This book is intended to introduce the reader to examples of the range of practical problems posed by "Global Warming". It includes 11 chapters split into 5 sections. Section 1 outlines the recent changes in the Indian Monsoon, the importance of greenhouse gases to life, and the relative importance of changes in solar radiation in causing the changes.
Cimate change is one of the most important global environmental
problems facing the world today. Evidence of a
changing climate is all around us, from rising sea level to
retreating mountain glaciers, melting Arctic sea ice, lengthening
growing seasons, shifting animal migration patterns, and other
changes. Such changes are already having adverse impacts on people’s
well-being, as climate change amplifies the effects of other
environmental and socioeconomic changes and problems and produces
new effects of its own.
Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It's becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years.
The scientific evidence is clear: before 2020 global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) must peak and by 2050 they must be reduced by 50-85% below 2000 levels, in order to avoid a rise in global temperature of 2°C or more above the preindustrial level.2 Without ambitious international action, new scientific research3 predicts close to, or even more than, a metre of sea level rise by the end of this century, due to melting glaciers and expansion of the oceans. Tthese and other changes will have serious economic and human consequences....
Climate change can also be expected to have serious consequences on water resources. Melting
glaciers, higher intensity and more variable rainfall events, and increasing temperatures will
contribute to increased inland flooding, water scarcity and decreasing water quality. Overall, the
greatest human requirement for freshwater resources is for crop irrigation, particularly for
farming in arid regions and in the great paddy fields of Asia.
The impacts of climate change ranging from sea level rise,
melting ice caps and glaciers, severe weather events,
drought, flooding, warming, subtle changes in ecosystems –
will impinge on every aspect of society and economic life.
The costs of inaction will more than outweigh the costs
of action. There is only a narrow window of opportunity
to redress the situation.
Kanchha’s family relied on agriculture and they decided to leave their village for
greener pastures in Kathmandu. On their way there, Kanchha has observed signs
of climate change everywhere. The Himalayan glaciers are slowly melting as the
snowline shifts higher; indigenous people along the way expressed their worry about
the arrival of new bug and plant species in the highlands; floods and landslides were
common and triggered by unpredictable rains. He picked up a rock that he had never
seen before, because it had been buried under the thick snow-cover.
As a country which contains significant concentrations of population in fragile mountain eco-
systems, expanding arid zones, various regions which are subject to periodic flooding, increasing
deforestation and environmental degradation and high levels of poverty, Bolivia is particularly
vulnerable to climate change. Its damaging impact can be seen in a range of phenomena such as
increasingly severe and frequent flooding and landslides and the accelerated melting of tropical