Fequently Asked Questions
How does the greenhouse effect cause global warming?
The more greenhouse gases fill the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped. If levels of these gases reach higher levels than the earth can handle through natural processes such as photosynthesis, they will trap more heat than safe levels, causing climate change. The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon that normally keeps the planet at a suitable temperature, but human activities are increasing the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, making the greenhouse effect stronger, increasing the earth's temperature, and changing climates.
Could natural factors be the cause of global warming?
No. This is theoretically possible, for example, if the Sun starts to produce more radiation, it will cause the earth to warm up. However, scientists have studied in detail the natural factors known to affect the temperature of the planet and concluded that these factors have not changed enough. The scientific determination is: Global warming is progressing extremely rapidly on the geological time scale, and apart from greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities, there is no other factor to explain this rapid warming.
How does global warming change the climate?
It has been scientifically proven that the temperature increase should not exceed 1.5°C to sustain life on the planet. If this limit is exceeded, the effects of climate change that have started today will not be stopped, and natural events such as drought, heat waves, floods, typhoons and storms, and seawater rise will become increasingly commonplace. Coral reefs and other sensitive environments, the most important carbon sinks, will be destroyed.
Why does climate change?
Solar energy reflections, earth's orbit, atmospheric components, albedo properties of the atmosphere, volcanic ash, and cloud cover factors cause climate change. These factors, together or alone, increase the greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. Climate change is caused by an increase in the temperature of the earth, i.e. the warming of the globe, which comes from adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than those that occur naturally. The cause of global warming is the higher than normal values of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. When the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere changes, the composition of the atmosphere also changes. As a result of this change, deterioration in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere that make up the climate system has begun and the process of changing the climate has begun.
What/who is changing the climate?
The primary culprit of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels, and this creates more heat in the atmosphere than the earth can safely handle. This extra heat causes average temperatures on the planet and in our oceans to rise, which disrupts our seasons and all natural processes. With the widespread use of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution, the average temperature of the globe has risen by 1°C and it may not seem like much on the scale, but given the difference between 0°C and 1°C, this difference is the difference between ice and water. This explains why the world's continental glaciers are beginning to melt and ocean levels are rising rapidly. While the most obvious effect of man on the planet was considered to be environmental pollution, it took time to accept that it can affect the climate system. Today, science has proven that human activities are largely responsible for the global temperature rise. Since the industrial revolution, due to the rapid increase in the accumulation of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by various human activities such as the unlimited burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land use change, waste management, agricultural activities, animal husbandry, chemical production and industrial processes, and various natural causes, in the lower parts of the atmosphere. and the temperature on earth has increased and continues to rise.
Is climate change an environmental issue?
While the fight against climate change was initially thought to be a scientific and technical issue focused on the solution of environmental problems, its effects have been seen to be much more comprehensive with increasing information and research. Climate change affects not only temperature and precipitation regimes but also economic and social life. Climate change has begun to take its place at the forefront of issues that will reshape the global economy in this century. Therefore, climate change is not an original environmental problem in the sense of cause and effect, it is not only the subject of natural sciences but also takes place in the study area of social and economic sciences with the same weight. This situation creates the need for the relevant parties to take part in the fight against climate change from a very broad perspective.
How is climate change measured?
Climate change is measured in four scientific ways. Ice samples were taken from deep in Antarctica contain air bubbles dating back 650,000 years. These provide information on greenhouse gas levels in the past and reveal that the concentrations of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere were much lower than they are today. Tree rings are records of annual development. Scientists study rings in very old trees to understand how the climate changes over time, for example, the rings become thinner when the air is cold or dry. The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, USA, has been measuring CO2 levels in the atmosphere since 1958. Measurements taken from this remote environment where the air is undisturbed are considered one of the best indicators of global CO2 levels. Satellite images are used to show the variation of the polar sea ice cover over a given period.
What is the carbon dioxide density of the atmosphere, what does 350 ppm mean?
The scientific limits of the carbon dioxide density of the atmosphere are clear. As a safe limit in terms of monthly measurements, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should be 350 ppm (ppm=parts per million). This value, which was 280 ppm before the Industrialization Revolution, was exceeded for the first time at the beginning of 1988. This rate has increased to over 400 ppm today. The fact that the rate of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has exceeded the reliable limit value of 350 ppm has been accepted as an important scientific indicator that the delicate balances that ensure the continuity of life on earth are deteriorating.
What can happen if no action is taken? How serious of a problem are we facing?
To a very large extent! Scientists state that in the next 25-30 years, humanity will face significant climatic extreme weather conditions. If emissions spikes are not controlled, scientists are of great concern that climate impacts could generate waves of refugees, accelerate the extinction of plants and animals, causing the 6th mass extinction in Earth's history and that the polar ice caps could melt and seas could rise enough to flood many of the world's coastal cities.
What are the consequences of climate change?
Warmer oceans mean storms become stronger and more destructive. The temperature increase in the air and seawater melts the glaciers, which causes the seas to rise further toward our shores. Extra temperatures also mean prolonged famines and more deadly wildlife fires. This list goes on and on, creating a worldwide climate crisis, and all of these consequences are interconnected. The ongoing strings of warming and climate change for our planet are enormous.
How are we affected by climate change?
Climate change affects many systems together. Changes in precipitation patterns cause floods, disasters increase, people die, increasing temperatures and droughts change crop production periods and threaten food security, food prices rise, the livelihoods of people working in sectors such as nature-based agriculture and animal husbandry are under threat, and the agricultural structure based on water resources. and crop patterns are affected, sensitive ecosystems and species begin to disappear, and forest fires become more frequent; The effects that cause infectious diseases are increasing, the rise in sea level damages the coastal areas, especially the deltas, and the island states are in danger of extinction.
Will climate change warms the oceans or raises seawater?
Between 1901 and 2010, the world's average sea level rose by 19 cm. There are two main reasons for this; first, water expands and takes up more space as it warms, and second, global warming is causing massive ice sheets and glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica to melt faster, adding more water to the oceans. Over the past 40 years, the oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the additional heat of atmospheric changes from human activities. Thus, the oceans began to warm. Rising sea levels will cause low elevation areas to be submerged. Scientific calculations show that the oceans are rising gradually due to climate change. More than half of the world's population lives on the coastline of 60 km from the sea. For example, the Nile delta in Egypt, the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta in Bangladesh, the Maldives Island in the Indian Ocean, and the Marshall and Tuvalu islands in the Pacific Ocean are extremely vulnerable to future floods and flooding due to climate change. The rise in sea level on the coasts also causes the displacement of the population.
Will cities get warmer?
Cities consume 60-80% of the energy produced all over the world and produce carbon dioxide emissions roughly equivalent to this rate. Population dynamics, income rates, and physical and economic structure of the city play a key role in increasing greenhouse gas emissions in cities. Urban heat islands are formed by factors such as the decrease in humidity and air currents due to the shielding effect of the buildings, the increase in asphalt temperature, the increase in traffic and air pollution, and the decrease of the shade in the settlements by insufficient vegetation and the storage of solar energy more, contribute to global climate change. The development of the city canyon also changes the wind pattern, preventing the wind from entering the streets, and causing the heat to be trapped inside the canyon. Thus, cities are warmer than the areas surrounding them.
What are the effects of the urban heat island effect on cities?
Cities are on average 5-6°C warmer than the surrounding rural areas, due to concrete construction and building density. The reason for this is the City Heat Island effect, which occurs depending on the concrete construction and building density in the cities. The urban heat island effect is caused by the fact that urban centers, where population density and high-rise buildings are more common, are warmer than their other surroundings on sunny and hot days. Asphalted areas reach very high levels of asphalt temperature, especially in the hottest summer months. Regions, where plant communities are atrophied and black floors, are also among the causes of the heat island effect. The urban heat island effect is among the factors that increase global warming. City heat island makes city centers to be warmer than their surroundings, therefore, intensive cooling systems are used especially in the summer months. The energy demand for cooling brought by the increase in temperature in the cities also poses significant threats to the energy system of the countries.
Can the urban heat island effect be reduced?
City breezes can be created by preserving or creating large green spaces within city limits. Thus, both the temperature can be reduced and the effect of pollution can be reduced. In newly planned residential areas, street widths and the number of floors around should be calculated by taking into account the sky view ratio. Because city canyons with small sky visibility affect the temperature and pollution distribution by reducing the wind speed.
How will the Mediterranean Basin be affected?
The Mediterranean Basin is one of the regions vulnerable to climate change. It has been scientifically proven that the decrease in precipitation together with the increase in temperatures in the future in the Mediterranean Basin will further reduce the already insufficient water resources and this will cause serious problems from the basin scale to the scale of the countries. According to scientific studies examining the relationship between climate change and freshwater, with global climate change, countries located in the Mediterranean region (including Turkey) in the subtropical and arid, semi-arid zone in the middle longitude will receive less precipitation, and the precipitation will be shorter and more intense than before. Floods and overflows are expected to increase. In this belt, more surface soils are transported by heavy rains. In the face of floods and drought, water quality and quantity, ecosystems, and human health will be adversely affected.
To what extent will waters be affected by climate change?
Water resources are the main source of life for humanity. Today, with the deterioration of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere that make up the world's climate system, the natural balance has also deteriorated, and the consequences of this have also affected the climate. One of the most important consequences of climate change, perhaps even the most important, is its negative effects on water resources. It has been proven in all scientific reports that the most important impact of climate change will be on the water cycle. Studies reveal that more than 3 billion people will experience water scarcity by 2025. Due to climate change; (i) Changes in the water cycle (extreme consequences such as increased atmospheric water vapor, changes in precipitation regimes, droughts and floods, extensive melting of mountain glaciers, glacier cover that impedes water availability during dry periods, changes in soil moisture), (ii) high air temperatures can improve water quality. and (iii) high sea level causes salinization of estuarine and coastal groundwaters, thus reducing the access of people and ecosystems to fresh water in coastal areas.
Does climate change have effects on human health?
This change in the global climate has brought risks to health, deaths from high temperatures and the spread of infectious diseases have changed. The direct impact of climate change on human health is a result of heat waves, floods, storms, and extreme weather events. The indirect impact of climate change on health is through infectious diseases, water use, and food supply. With global warming, especially since heat waves can be more frequent, longer-lasting, and severe, the combination of heat and humidity in hot and humid weather has a significant negative impact on human health. In these conditions, there are serious increases in many health problems, especially in children, the elderly, sick and overweight people, especially in psychological diseases, asthma, brain hemorrhages, and heart attacks, and even many deaths occur.
Will climate change affect the food industry?
The food sector, which is shown as one of the strategic sectors of the 21st century, faces a significant threat to the nutrition of the world population, which is calculated to reach 10 billion in 2050. Research indicates that agriculture and food production must be increased by at least 50% from today's level to feed the world population by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Evaluation Reports predict that water shortages and droughts will increase, agricultural productivity will decrease, and food prices will increase by up to 85% worldwide due to the impact of climate change. It is known that due to the change in the precipitation regime, some agricultural areas become dry, the maturation times of agricultural products change, some agricultural areas become unusable due to flood waters, or they become saline due to the rise of seawater, and the yield decreases under these conditions. Bacterial production will increase in foods at high temperatures. Climate change also threatens food security.
Does climate change deteriorate air quality?
It is also known that temperature increases and heat waves that come with global warming will cause a decrease in air quality, especially in cities. This situation is explained as the concentration of particles and organic substances causing air pollution in air increases in direct proportion to temperature and insolation. It is expected that such problems will deepen in cities with air pollution. Moreover, in the case of a humid heat wave on top of the increase in temperature due to urbanization in residential areas and the increase in temperature due to global warming, deadly results can occur.
What will be the consequences if we fail to tackle climate change?
Until the Industrial Revolution, the average temperature of the world remained largely at the same level for 10,000 years. Since 1850, when regular and reliable measurements began to be taken, the temperature has increased by 1°C. The world has to be stopped at 2°C, which is calculated to be the last transit point. If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be reduced in line with the determined targets and adapted to the effects of climate change, it is emphasized in scientific scenarios that the surface temperature of the globe will increase up to 6.4 °C by the end of this century.
Does climate change also cause involuntary migrations?
Climate change is also a social policy issue. Today, climate change has become one of the important causes of social risks related to involuntary migration. Climate migrants/refugees, which define people who have to leave their settled areas and migrate due to climate and environmental changes, and who have settled as a new concept in the ever-expanding terminology of climate change issues; It refers to individuals who have been displaced and made homeless by disasters such as drought, desertification, flooding, sea level rise and tsunami due to climate change. The predictions about climate migration are not to be underestimated. British economist Nicholas Stern, in his book titled Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change (2007), warned that climate-related migrations will occur on a massive scale at the beginning of the 21st century and emphasized that this means that hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of people will have to move. The results of scientific research show that 200 million people will be climate migrants by 2050. In terms of internal migration, scientific studies indicate that in three densely populated regions of the world (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America) by 2050, 140 million people may migrate within their own country, leading to a humanitarian crisis. As causes of internal migration in these regions, climate risks such as drought, crop failure, rising sea levels, and storms are shown to be increasing problems.
What is the importance of being fair in the fight against climate change?
The way to be successful in the fight against climate change is not only to include all elements of economic and environmental sustainability in development models but more importantly, to establish social justice. Although the concept of climate justice is interpreted in various ways, in general terms it means "handling climate change from a human-centered perspective, adhering to human rights and development". What is meant by a human-centered approach should be perceived as protecting the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing their burdens? When we look at the balance of justice at the scale of states, climate justice is built on the failure of rich countries to fulfill their historical responsibilities. States, which are primarily guilty of changing the climate, have depleted the resources of tomorrow with an understanding of intergenerational injustice, leaving a world that is not resistant to climate for future generations. Poor and developing countries perceive this situation as a violation of development rights and define it as climate injustice. However, while evaluating this approach, moral values (climate ethics) should not be ignored.
What is the importance of women in the fight against climate change?
While climate change affects everyone, it is not gender neutral because climate change tends to magnify existing inequalities between women and men. Climate change makes women even more vulnerable, further reducing their ability to cope with environmental risks. As women are more responsible for water supply and food production in the developing world, the impact of climate change on agriculture is mostly on women. During increasing disasters due to the effects of climate change, women are more at risk than men. However, women are not only victims to be protected, but also the society they live in, struggling with disasters and in many areas (energy saving, water saving, the adaptation of agricultural practices to climate change, ecological protection, entrepreneurship, and earning income from alternative sources, creating mass awareness, etc.). They are important individuals who will help them adapt.
What is the importance of the ecosystem-based adaptation approach in the fight against climate change?
An ecosystem-based adaptation approach using biodiversity and ecosystem services should be adopted within an overall adaptation strategy. This approach encompasses the sustainable management, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems to provide services that help adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. Examples of ecosystem-based adaptation activities; the defense of coasts by protecting and/or restoring mangroves and other coastal wetlands to reduce coastal flooding and erosion; sustainable management of dominant plains to maintain water flow and quality; conservation and restoration of forests to stabilize land slopes and regulate water flows; establishment of various agroforestry systems to cope with the increased risk from changing climatic conditions; Conservation of agricultural biodiversity to provide specific gene pools for crops and animals to adapt to the effects of climate change.