The greenhouse gases we've been pumping into the atmosphere are already changing Earth's weather, ecosystems and even its tilt. Here's how:
IT may not be immediately obvious, but the world outside your window is already a changed one. Since the industrial revolution, global temperatures have risen by about 1°C, which has had an impact at even the largest scales. For example, melting glaciers in Greenland are shifting the distribution of water on Earth, and nudging the planet’s axis. As a result, the position of the North Pole has moved eastwards by more than 1 metre since 2005. An upshot of this is that Earth will spin faster and, by 2200, days could be 0.12 milliseconds shorter.
Earth’s tilt is unlikely to affect your life or even that of your children, but other changes are happening closer to home. In the UK, for instance, spring is beginning about two weeks earlier on average than it did half a century ago, and autumn a week later. In the seas, many animals have shifted their range hundreds of kilometres polewards. On land, we are seeing similar shifts, but it can be much harder for terrestrial wildlife to move, not least because of roads and cities.
Climate change is a big issue and I feel as equally guilty to be a part of an industry which is adding more to the carbon emissions table. Being part of the problem has enlightened me to begin a part of the solution.
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