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Earth, Air, Fire and Ice: Exploring Links between Human-induced Global Warming, Polar Ice Melt and Local Scale Extreme Weather

Science, Faith and the Climate Crisis

ISBN: 978-1-83982-987-1, eISBN: 978-1-83982-984-0

Publication date: 17 June 2020


Global temperature has risen by 1°C since 1900, while since the 1990s the Arctic has recently experienced an accelerated warming of about double the average rate of global warming. Nearly all climate scientists agree that the main cause of this temperature rise is ever-increasing accumulations of ‘greenhouse gases’, especially carbon dioxide and methane, within our atmosphere. Sea level rise could easily exceed one metre this century under ‘business as usual’. However, global warming is not just about rising temperatures, melting ice and rising sea levels, but it also affects the frequency and severity of many extreme weather events. Planetary warming is not a uniform process, can spring surprises in regional climate change and is probably linked with the tendency for Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes to have more extreme (variously hot/cold/dry/wet) weather, especially during the recent period of rapid Arctic warming. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that human activity through enhanced greenhouse gas emissions is largely responsible for recent climate change and accompanying extreme weather, and we are already clearly seeing these changes. However, it is equally evident that, although initial remedial steps are being taken, finding an adequate solution will not be easy unless much larger changes are made to the way in which we all live. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures would require global carbon dioxide emissions to decrease by approximately 40–60% by 2030 relative to 2010 levels. This can only be achieved through a collective solution that fully involves diverse communities, among them religious stakeholders.



Hanna, E. and Hall, R.J. (2020), "Earth, Air, Fire and Ice: Exploring Links between Human-induced Global Warming, Polar Ice Melt and Local Scale Extreme Weather", Myers, S., Hemstock, S. and Hanna, E. (Ed.) Science, Faith and the Climate Crisis, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 47-64.



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