Over the years we have heard the term climate change being used in so many different ways. We hear what climate change has caused or things we can do to prevent it. But we never get the actual definition of what climate change is or where the term comes from.
To simplify the definition, climate change is a large change in the normal conditions for a specific place and time. For example, on January 4, 2023 in New York City, the temperature for the day was approximately 66 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so warm that it broke the previous record for the warmest winter from the year 1932.
Now that you have that image in your head, we can see why climate change has become such a huge topic in the recent years. Because of climate change we have experienced abnormal things such as glaciers melting, having a non existing ozone layer, wearing a hoodie during winter because it’s in the mid 60’s when it should be below 40.
But where does the term come from?
The term was actually first known as global warming. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when Wallace Broecker published an article and named it climatic change. From then on, it has been known as climate change. As the human population grows we have caused climate change to speed up. Cars, agriculture, landfills, deforestation are some of the things we have done to contribute to speeding up the process.
You are probably wondering how agriculture contributes to climate change . Well, agriculture produces something called Greenhouse gases, according to npr.org, agriculture actually “contributes 25% of annual greenhouse gas emission.”
Even though that’s only one contributor, the biggest one in my opinion is cars and the exhaust the gas produces. Co2 or carbon dioxide is the biggest contributor when it comes to climate change. The co2 from the exhaust traps the heat in the earth and prevents the earth from cooling off. Even though in the last couple of years we as a society have tried to decrease this number by creating electric cars and promoting the use of them, they still contribute a huge amount of emissions. According to climate.mit.edu, “One source of EV emissions is the creation of their large lithium-ion batteries. The use of minerals including lithium, cobalt, and nickel, which are crucial for modern EV batteries, requires using fossil fuels to mine those materials and heat them to high temperatures. As a result, building the 80 kWh lithium-ion battery found in a Tesla Model 3 creates between 2.5 and 16 metric tons of CO2 (exactly how much depends greatly on what energy source is used to do the heating).1 This intensive battery manufacturing means that building a new EV can produce around 80% more emissions than building a comparable gas-powered car. A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This number can vary based on a vehicle’s fuel, fuel economy, and the number of miles driven per year.”
Overall, climate change will continue to occur until we as a society find a better solution to help slow down the number of greenhouse gases emitted in the atmosphere. Who knows, maybe in the future electric cars wont create any carbon footprint.