Global warming and climate change are prominent, ongoing issues that have a detrimental effect on people, flora, fauna and our infrastructure. Florida is highlighted as one of the primary states to experience such drastic changes in weather patterns. During the past week, it was recorded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that there have been abnormally dry conditions in the Tampa Bay region even though Florida’s weather is typically more humid than dry. The lack of rainfall in Central Florida has direct ties to La Niña, a period in which global weather patterns are subject to extensive change.
However, when it comes to rising sea levels affecting areas of South Florida and the bleaching of coral beaches, the problem becomes more alarming. The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on climate change mentions that due to the accelerating climb in sea levels, Floridians could be forced to retreat more inland. Miami-Dade County has made efforts to install stormwater pumps and raise roads and buildings to address sea level rises, but this hasn’t turned out to be the ideal solution as it has raised property values in the county.
Not only are sea levels rising but they’re also increasing in temperature. Due to this factor, coral reefs are dying and as a result, reef-related tourism in Florida could lose up to $55 billion by 2100, according to experts. Additionally, red tide algae blooms have led to the loss of sea life, and an inability to enjoy Florida’s beaches, along with other massive economic losses.
Lowering greenhouse gas emissions is one key to gaining some control on global warming. A complete elimination of burning fossil fuels could lessen the impact global warming has on climate change around the world. According to nrdc.org, petroleum, coal and natural gas are all main examples of fossil fuels. The burning of these fossil fuels contributes directly to air pollution and the heating of the planet in the atmosphere and water pollution by means of ocean acidification, disrupting the ocean’s basic chemistry.
However, only lowering greenhouse gas emissions will not entirely get rid of global warming and climate change, according to Michael Abazinge, a professor in FAMU’s School of the Environment.
“There are some inventions in the works such as a TV running on radio waves as well as recycling more and using biodegradable materials,” Abazinge said. “Everything starts with us first … our commitment to changing some things in place, could really go a long way.”
The world’s transition from burning fossil fuels to using renewable energy like wind and solar, may be cheaper alternatives and promote a cleaner, more efficient environment. It also will create 10 times more jobs than oil and gas drilling or coal mining.
A bold yet perceptive prediction seen from the rise of gasoline prices across America could result in people finding other ways of transportation, and unintentionally lowering greenhouse gas emissions. For example, more people could switch from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric car or a hybrid.
Time, along with initiatives, laws and responses from government officials and top scientists, will be the ultimate tell-tale sign in determining the planet’s sustainability.