[Music playing] Sometimes it’s the little things that can make big things happen. Fleas and the plague, atoms and nuclear bombs. Diminutive leaders in world history. [Man laughs] Soot is one of these little things. Soot also known as black carbon is released when you burn dung, coal, diesel fuel and wood. [Trunk horn] From Los Angeles to Mumbai, soot causes respiratory illnesses like lung cancer and asthma [Man coughs] and contributes to one point six million premature deaths every year. Mostly among the poor. And it gets worse. Atmospheric currents carry soot thousands of miles from where it is produced, to the Himalayas and the arctic. Black carbon being black, absorbs sunlight, so even a little soot on snow makes it melt faster. And when snow melts global sea levels rise, threatening our freshwater indigenous communities and polar bears who hunt on the arctic ice. [Fish squeaks] Climate Change has been a big thing for awhile and carbon dioxide has been it’s main cause. Scientists estimate that soot causes twenty five percent of human caused global warming.
It’s the second leading cause of arctic warming after carbon dioxide. Let’s not underestimate the impact of this tiny particle. But there’s good news, reducing black carbon maybe the fastest way to slow global warming. Buy time for the arctic. Yes even more so than changing a light blub. Since black carbon only stays in the atmosphere for a couple of weeks, reducing it will produce results immediately. Of course reducing soot alone won’t solve global warming, but solving our soot problem now will help buy time for the arctic and allow us to deal with the bigger problem of carbon dioxide. We have the cleaner industries, cook stoves, and diesel now we have to use them. In developed nations, we’ve significantly reduced our black carbon, but we still have much more to do. [car horn] We need to tighten our standards at home and invest in cleaner technologies in developing nations.
In a world going on seven billion people, you might feel rather little yourself. But if you urge the US government and the European Union to take the lead on black carbon reduction, you can make a big difference. Go to www.stopsoot.org And help stop these little things from causing big trouble. [Music ends].
imagine its a beautiful day in April of 2017 three children in different parts of the world are going about their daily lives as they do every day and as their parents have done for countless generations meet Hiro in Japan Hiro wants to be a successful banker one day just like his father but right now he is more interested in spaceships and planets Abasie lives in Kenya with his parents and grandparents one day he wants to travel the world in his own little sailboat akash lives in india with his big happy family when Akash grows up he wants to be the world's greatest chef and so life goes on hiro becomes an astronaut much to his fathers suprise Abasie travels the world in his sailboat and Akash opened his own restaurant in his home town they grow old and pass on having lived fulfilled lifes their children follow and thier children's children until one day in April of 2100 Akoh and his family are crammed with thousands of other people at Haneda Airport hoping it's not too late sadly the people of Tokyo never had a chance the once-proud city is reduced to rubble by tsunami the likes of which has never been seen Anassa lyes in the dark of his quiet home and he knows his time has come it hasn't rained in months all the crops and livestock have died and the well dried up long ago the people of Kenya suffer the slow death of starvation and dehydration oni draws ragged breaths in his hospital bed his body ravaged by disease is the last living member of his family the population of India has fallen drastically these are a few hypothetical scenarios from various parts of the globe while they may seem unrelated they all share a common catalyst climate change as 2017 begins and the United States presidency changes hands it has become increasingly apparent that the new regime is full of climate change deniers and fossil fuel advocates it is more important than ever to spread real information regarding climate change and the catastrophic effects it can produce within the next 100 years let's start with the common misconception when some people hear the term global warming they'll point to an instance of colder than normal weather like the Sahara Desert recently and say that's ridiculous it's snowing here this objection stems from a misunderstanding of how weather differs from climate weather refers to local changes over short periods of time such as minutes hours days or weeks typical examples of whether include rain clouds snow wind and thunderstorms climate refers to longer-term averages and maybe regional or global in scale and can be thought of as weather averaged over an extended period of time typically years or decades an easy way to remember the distinction is weather is what you get climate is what you expect now that we have a good understanding of how climate and weather differ let's look at the scientific consensus over ninety seven percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate warming trends over the past 100 years are extremely likely to have been caused largely by human activity that number goes up to over ninety-nine percent if you include climate scientists who have not recently published scholarly articles most of the leading scientific organizations around the world have issued public statements endorsing this position there are too many to list in this video so i put a link in the description of organizations and their statements climate change deniers tend to latch onto studies that disprove the trend but you always notice that the studies are either not peer-reviewed come from a known anti-science publisher or come from a scientist in a completely unrelated filled with an agenda of their own so where does this problem come from the largest contributing factor to climate change is the burning of fossil fuels oil coal and natural gas all release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burned carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas which simply means it sticks around in the upper atmosphere and traps heat the more carbon dioxide is released the more the atmosphere heats up this temperature increase then causes other problems such as melting glaciers and polar ice as arctic ice melts it releases co2 and methane a more potent greenhouse gas compounding the problem by making the atmosphere even warmer the smelting morais it's a vicious cycle ok but where do we stand right now what's the damage as of the end of 2016 carbon dioxide levels are up by nearly 405 parts-per-million the highest in 650,000 years global temperatures up by one point seven degrees since eighteen eighty and nine of the last ten hottest years on record happened since 2000 the tenth being 1998 Arctic ice is shrinking at a rate of 13.
3 percent per decade and land ice is disappearing at a rate of 281 gigatons per year Greenland ice loss doubled between 1996 in 2005 and finally the global sea level has risen seven inches in the last 100 you're probably thinking well that doesn't sound too bad let's look at the consequences by category first the melting of polar ice of course we've all heard that global warming affects the poor polar bears but it's true and it's severe at the current rate of melting which is likely to increase the Arctic is projected to see its first ice-free summer by 2050 imagine that all of the ice gone and yes that likely means extinction for the polar bears within a hundred years and it's not just polar bears some species of ice dependent seals will die off if they can't adapt including harp ringed ribbon and bearded seals then there are the ivory goals and ox ivory goals have already suffered a ninety percent population reduction in Canada over the past 20 years then there's the walrus the arctic fox small plant eaters like ground squirrels hairs lemmings involves large planters like moose caribou reindeer and musk ox and meat eaters like weasels wolverines wolves foxes bears and birds of prey the melting ice is likely to cause a domino effect knocking out species that other species depend upon for food melting ice brings us to our next category rising sea level over the past 100 years the global sea level has risen approximately seven inches the more alarming fact is that the rate of rise in the last decade is nearly double the rate of the entire last century at this rate rising sea level puts coastal cities and islands at great risk SC water reaches further inland it can cause destructive erosion flooding of wetlands contamination of aquifers and agricultural soils and lost habitat for fish birds and plants most projections show the sea level will rise between point 8 and 2 meters by 2100 which would be catastrophic for many low-lying islands and much of the eastern coast of the United States more dire predictions based upon the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet project a rise up to seven meters that's enough to submerge London the third category is the one with which most people are familiar global temperature rise as CO2 accumulates in our atmosphere the temperature creeps steadily upward the annual increase is measured at roughly 1.
7 degrees Fahrenheit this increase in temperature could cause the most drastic immediate effects of all three categories the list is long and distressing so here we go global warming will cause droughts and heat waves which are already responsible for killing more people per year than floods hurricanes lightning and tornadoes combined it will aggravate the spread of disease warmer weather allows disease bears to be active longer and further abroad warmer ocean temperatures will allow pathogens to flourish as we've already seen with the widespread coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef this coral houses twenty-five percent of all marine diversity and the reef is already declined by fifty percent in the last thirty years when the coral goes we'll lose hundreds of thousands of species dependent upon it for shelter which will collapse much of the marine food chain back on land fishing will suffer droughts will destroy crops and livestock and create a water scarcity pushing farmers and people in rural areas into the city this will cause overcrowding and help spark civil wars that killed hundreds of thousands like it did in Syria GDP is expected to plummet by twenty-three percent by 2100 caused by property damage from flooding droughts wildfires storms loss of productivity loss of tourism and illness you can see how quickly the situation can snowball wildly out-of-control it seems very dire but what can we do is it too late to stop the changes we put in motion it's hard to say for sure but the affect humans have had on this earth is severe and the changes have indeed been set in motion even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today global warming would continue for at least several more decades since carbon dioxide can linger in the atmosphere for up to centuries some experts believe we're approaching a tipping point a point at which abrupt perhaps irreversible changes would tip our climate into a new state however it may not be too late to limit some of the worst effects of climate change two important steps are required one mitigation the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and two adaptation learning to cope with and adapt to the climate changes that have already been set in motion recycling and driving fuel-efficient cars are important steps in the right direction but not sufficient on their own it will take a globally coordinated response such as clean energy agreements between nations as well as local efforts on the city and regional level such as sustainable City Planning public transportation upgrades and energy efficiency improvements so yes climate change is the biggest threat to existence as we know it and is deeply troubling that the United States government seeks to normalize ignorance of good science so if you're concerned for the future of the planet and generations to come do your part help spread this information because the earth truly is worth saving if you enjoyed this video please leave a like or a comment and subscribe to keep up with the latest content thanks for watching and we'll see you in the next video.
Climate Connections: Questions from the Caribbean – San Juan, Puerto Rico [Music] Jessica Robertson: Welcome to USGS Climate Connections. I’m your host, Jessica Robertson. In this episode, our questions came from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let’s see what questions they had for our scientists. Lorana: Hi my name is Lorana, and I’m just wondering why the rainy season has taken longer than usual. Coral Roig-Silva: Hello Lorana, thanks for your question. My name is Coral Roig-Silva with the USGS. The amount of rain and length of precipitation varies from year to year. As the climate gets warmer, extended droughts broken up by intense storms may become the norm. Hurricanes may become more intense with stronger peak winds and may increase the rainfall in some areas. In Puerto Rico, the USGS Caribbean Water Science Center monitors groundwater levels, stream flow and precipitation. Go to their website to find out more information: http://pr.water.usgs.gov Maria: Hello, my name is Maria De Azúa, and I live here in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and I do have a lot of questions. What about those solar tsunamis — is that for real? What can we do and what’s next? Jeffrey Love: Maria, thank you for your question about the sun and climate change. Your question about tsunamis, well, those are what scientists call solar storms. The sun is always emitting radiation and it also gives off a wind of electrically charged particles. When that happens abruptly, that’s what we call a solar storm. As for whether or not solar storms and magnetic storms are themselves responsible for recent climate change, that has not been definitively shown. The consensus among scientists is that the sun is not responsible for most recent climate change and it is we humans who are having the greatest impact. Mina: Hello, my name is Mina. We are in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I’m wondering if we are going to see polar bears anytime soon by the island because I know the ice caps are melting. Thank you.
Matthew Larsen: My name is Matt Larsen and I am the Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change with the U.S. Geological Survey. We are unlikely ever to see polar bears swimming near Puerto Rico, but we are likely to see changes in other types of local fauna and flora. We may see different types of birds moving to that region. We may see different types of birds moving out as the changes in climate make it less hospitable for those animals. We may also see different types of plants that can no longer survive in an island climate that maybe gets more frequent droughts or more frequent storms. These are just some of the things that we anticipate in the Caribbean and we are already seeing in some parts of the world. Jessica Robertson: That’s it for this episode of USGS Climate Connections in Puerto Rico. We hope you join us again next time. [Music].