Climate change is a well-known term and has been a recurring theme since the middle of the last century, although it was not until 1988 when the scientific community acquired a broad consensus that the temperature of the planet is increasing and that human activity is the main cause.

Despite being considered one of the consensuses broader scientists, detracting voices are still heard. some stand out few scientists, and citizens and above all economic and political elites with interests based on fossil fuels.

Combustion is a chemical reaction that involves the rapid oxidation of combustible materials (solids: wood, liquids: gasoline or soft drinks: natural gas). This oxidation generally generates light and heat (usable as a source of energy), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, in addition to other components, depending on the quality of the combustion process.

Is that CO2 and other elements of combustion have two characteristics, they remain in the atmosphere when they are released and have the ability to absorb ultraviolet radiation from the Sun and reflect it back all directions. This effect is the well-known Effect Greenhouse and that’s why these gases are known as Greenhouse Gases (GHG).

The greenhouse effect is an effect of the natural dynamics of the Earth fostered by the presence in the atmosphere of these GHGs. It is the drastic increase in the concentration of these GHGs in the atmosphere which generates global warming.

Of the increase in average temperatures at scale planetary crisis, a multitude of consequences are foreseen, among which stands out the change climate. This change in climatic (non-meteorological) regimes translates into a variation in the temperatures, rainfall and a foreseeable increase in events Adverse weather increasing in scale and frequency periods of droughts< /a> and floods.

The melting of polar and mountain glaciers, is another consequence. This decreases the albedo (percentage of reflected radiation with respect to that received by a surface) and therefore the global warming is accelerating. Also, a variety of temperature and salinity in the oceans and causes an increase in the level of the sea.

The melting of large areas of frozen ground (permafrost) in areas near the poles release large amounts of other GHGs such as methane, accelerating warming.

The increase in the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere also implies an increase in their presence in the oceans. This variation in the composition implies the acidification of the oceans.

Drastic changes in climate regimes and physical changes in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems lead to a scenario of collapse of biodiversity. Current situation and that is aggravated by other human activities.

Human societies are also affected by the consequences of climate change. Some have a greater (economic) resilience capacity to face it. Others, more vulnerable, are exposed to the emergence of famines, political instability, war, migrations and social collapse

Aitor Mingo

MSc in Cities and Sustainability