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Climate Change and Future Generations

Earthlings need to prepare for severe trials that will affect the life of every person on the planet. The constant craving for consumption and inattention to the words of scientists who have warned for over 20 years that seemingly apocalyptic future scenarios may become a reality became the main reasons. Such conclusions were made on the agenda in the Sixth Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (Gernaat et al., 2021). If earlier in such reports about human guilt in global warming it was said with caution: it exists, but only with a high probability, then UN experts are categorical: human activity contributes to the acceleration of global warming. The consequences of global warming can be extremely dire for future generations.

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Temperature, if increased by one and a half degrees, will push many natural systems to a dangerous turning point, which in many respects may become irreversible. These are risks to human health, livelihoods, food security, human security, water supply, and the economy. The regions at most significant risk include Arctic ecosystems, drylands, small island developing states, and least developed countries (Kundzewicz et al., 2018). However, ahead, with a high probability, an increase in the average temperature on the planet is expected by 2 C and even 3 C. Here, humanity finds itself in apocalyptic scenarios, with the flooding of many megacities, epidemics, droughts and floods, economic problems that can turn into conflicts between countries.

There are also non-obvious effects of this climate catastrophe. For example, the nutritional value of food decreases, and freshwater fish die en masse (Kundzewicz et al., 2018). Such a decrease in nutrients was initially explained by the choice of not the best varieties for further breeding, but later other researchers noticed a connection between the loss of valuable components and an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Leisner, 2020). One of the main problems of global warming: is greenhouse gas emissions that need to be reduced as soon as possible. The effect has long remained unnoticed by the authorities of the states, but now changes are noticeable. In any case, the leading countries have announced a transition to a “green economy” of the desire to achieve carbon neutrality when the volume of carbon dioxide emissions is equal to its absorption (Sullivan, 2017). True, and this, according to many experts, is unlikely to stop warming but will only slow down its rate (Kahn et al., 2021). The fact is that the climate is an inertial system: it is difficult to disperse it, but if it succeeds, it is even more challenging to stop it.

Processes are already underway that cannot be reversed even after centuries and possibly millennia. For example, the oceans will continue to heat up, acidify and lose oxygen, and the sea level will rise, which has risen by more than 20 cm (Rodriguez & Durán, 2020). The permafrost will melt and release even more carbon into the atmosphere, which means it will whip up warming. Mountain slopes, which, due to shallow temperatures, were previously considered unsuitable for the life of plants and animals in recent years, have become actively covered with grasses and shrubs.

Climate change poses a significant danger to future generations. It is why millions of children, adolescents, and young people advocate for the climate and talk louder about the coming disaster. If now the processes are not noticeable to most of the world’s population, then their consequences will affect every inhabitant in the future. They will have to experience the full range of consequences of the activity or inaction of the older generation, whose representatives now head states and businesses and make decisions on which the future of individual countries, regions, and the entire planet depends. Humanity no longer has time to argue about global warming; extraordinary measures to reduce emissions and save future generations, devoid of political and economic interests, are needed.

References

Gernaat, D. E., de Boer, H. S., Daioglou, V., Yalew, S. G., Müller, C., & van Vuuren, D. P. (2021). Climate change impacts the renewable energy supply. Nature Climate Change, 11(2), 119-125.

Kahn, M. E., Mohaddes, K., Ng, R. N., Pesaran, M. H., Raissi, M., & Yang, J. C. (2021). Long-term macroeconomic effects of climate change: A cross-country analysis. Energy Economics, 105624.

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Kundzewicz, Z. W., Krysanova, V., Benestad, R. E., Hov, Ø., Piniewski, M., & Otto, I. M. (2018). Uncertainty in climate change impacts on water resources. Environmental Science & Policy, 79, 1-8.

Leisner, C. P. (2020). Climate change impacts food security-focus on perennial cropping systems and nutritional value. Plant Science, 293, 110412.

Rodriguez, R., & Durán, P. (2020). Natural holobiome engineering by using the native extreme microbiome to counteract the climate change effects. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 8, 568.

Sullivan, S. (2017). What’s ontology got to do with it? On nature and knowledge in a political ecology of the green economy. Journal of Political Ecology, 24(1), 217-242.

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