Center Spread: Climate Change, Should We Be Afraid?

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Angel Guzman, age 10 and IndyKids staff

Have you noticed a change in the weather, the oceans rising and melting glaciers? This is all because of climate change. 

The recent results of the biggest climate poll ever conducted by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) found that of the 1.2 million surveyed in 50 countries, half a million of which were aged 18 and under, two-thirds said they believe that climate change is a global emergency.

Climate is defined as the average weather over long periods of time. Climate change refers to a notable change in a region’s average weather conditions which results in more extreme weather, like severe drought and snow storms. Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases collect in the Earth’s atmosphere and cause the Earth to get warmer over a period of time.

The global temperature has gone up by 2.2% over the last 100 years. Most scientists agree that this is due to human activities, like burning fossil fuels to power cars and factories. According to NASA, the glaciers in Antarctica and the Arctic have been melting at a staggering rate of 13.1% per decade. The Arctic sheets are melting by 428 billion metric tons per year, and sea levels have gone up by 3.3%. 

The UNDP survey revealed people around the world want their leaders to tackle climate change with measures like climate-friendly farming, protecting nature and investing in green energy. “[This] signals the ways in which countries can move forward with public support as we work together to tackle this enormous challenge,” Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator, said in a news release.

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