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Should you be obsessing over climate change and does individual effort really matter?

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Image of three industrial chimneys releasing pollution in air

We see people all over who are going vegan, riding a bicycle to work, buying electric vehicles instead of gas guzzling fossil fuel vehicles who do all these things in order to save the planet. But does it really matter on what we do and what impact do we have on the climate. In another view, it seems we individually are off the hook as it is out of our hands. You can continue doing all these feel good things though it's very difficult to change the big picture.

According to the scientists, immediately phasing out all the fossil fuel infrastructures and devices is the only way to keep the plants temperature from rising over the disastrous 2.7degrees Fahrenheit. All the existing coal, oil and gas plants once they reach the limit of their life they should be shut down instead of refurbishing them, otherwise the estimates for increasing temperatures start shooting up[1].

The release of methane from the Arctic is a major contributor to global warming due to a result of polar amplification. Layers of permafrost formed over years on the Artic helps keeps containing methane and releasing into the atmosphere. This methane is about 21 times more efficient at warming the atmosphere compared to CO2. The warm temperature causes these permafrost layers to thaw releasing the contained methane in air. At 3.6 deg F, positive feedback loops of evaporating Artic methane starts kicking in. The extra methane released makes the atmosphere more warmer, melts more permafrost, releases more methane - creating a loop[2].

Graph which shows the increase in methane release over years
Methane levels in Atmosphere


Shutting down the fossil industry is a dream many environmentalists have but practically thinking it is not very likely. The industry has invested billions upon billions of USD to develop a technology for natural gas liquefaction plants to easily transport this fuel around the world.

Graph which shows the level percent of oil exports per country

The industry will not give up easily without fighting hard and they have the capital to do it. 25 countries whose oil percentage of exports range from 22.3% (Malaysia) to 99.8% (Iraq)[3] will have to completely revamp their strategy. Huge investment will be required to keep the airline, railways and ship industry alive so as to shift them from fossil fuel to alternative sources. All the 195 countries in the world would need to have strict laws to restrict use of fossils.

The next decade or maybe less is kind of a pivotal point in the history of mankind. We have a choice right now about to change something for the better or ignore the solution and try to live with the consequences till we can. Scientists are already claiming we are all doomed, but the local news channel will never talk about it on the news as it might upset people. We are so polite and civilised in our denouement !

A 16 year old Greta Thunberg is up for the Nobel Prize[4] for her admonitions to do something about climate change. Something 36, 46 or even 56 year olds must learn from.

Maybe the climate change issue cannot be pinned upon us or the generation. Besides us being stupid and greedy, we simply don’t live long enough to face the consequences of our actions. People with power and money who can really be game changers in this fight simply don’t care that much as they would have to part with some of this power and wealth for the solution. If every human lives for more than 100 years, 2-3 generations down the line you would start to see some real changes.

Currently, most artificially intelligent machines[5] work well for selective use cases, such as in mapping apps or face and voice recognition or for the very useful intelligent response options in GMail. Maybe, by the grace of God, it will take over some what like in the movie terminator and guide the human race rationally into the future.

You can say sorry and apologise to your children for the fiasco with the climate, but it’s not your fault entirely. People who can do something about it would do anything cause of their love for power and the people who can’t do anything, well suffer. You need to vote and elect your representatives in the government who really cares about this issue. Maybe there is time if we elect the right leaders who do right things. You can support your children who have a knack for it - to study science and engineering so to help in finding the solution or figure out possible adaptations to help deal with it.

Unless you are a head of state, king, president or prime minister it is above your pay grade. All that you have left to do is to vote for the right people in power. Other than that …. nothing.

Source: Refrence Page



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