Biology Questions: Can Climate Change Be Reversed?

June 2, 2021
Exams & Revision

Global warming could lead to world destruction. I bet that caught your attention — we’re not being dramatic. While it has now fallen on Gen Z to take control, there’s still a long way to go. A-Level Biology students will be very clued up on the effects of climate change. It’s one of the key topics on exam papers because it’s so prominent. One of the biggest biology questions is: can we reverse the effects of climate change? This essay question will very likely come up in exams. So to give you the best advantage in answering it, here’s everything you need to know.

The current state of affairs

According to the Met office, temperatures have risen by 1° each year since the 1850s. Another scary fact is that the arctic caps have been melting quickly. Now, there’s only 65% of ice in the poles. Whilst this doesn’t seem like an issue, research shows that this will affect the ecosystem, from top to bottom. 

Essentially, what we can expect are global heatwaves, increase of drought, tropical storms and heavy rain. You may notice British Summers are much hotter than they used to be, whilst also seeing snow in April. How bizarre! Long-term, this has an effect on agriculture, health and safety and living conditions across the world. 

How to reduce carbon emissions?

What is interesting is that during the pandemic the global carbon footprint fell by 3.8% — a significant drop! NASA also discovered that the ozone layer sealed up in this time, an issue caused by air pollution.

So let’s explore what happened as a result of the coronavirus which caused this trend.

  1. Reduced travel and jet-setting
  2. Working from home 
  3. Online schooling

If all it takes to reverse climate change is travel restrictions and remote learning, then we should think about ways to make this more permanent. And feasible. 

Let’s consider an example of travelling to school. The average car journey to school and back is 10 miles and uses 0.4 gallons. Over the course of a week, this equals 2 gallons! Approximately 19 tonnes of carbon is produced when burning 1 gallon of fuel. Although car-sharing and public transportation are viable options, they too still contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

One way to combat this is by learning at home. Rather than go to school for a one-hour lesson, you could hire a Biology tutor, for example. This saves time, money and also reduces carbon emissions. 

The question is: do we really need to travel? If you’re travelling to work or school for one meeting, weigh up whether it can be done remotely. Perhaps we can encourage people to prioritise what is most important. In the long run, this will reduce the carbon footprint.

From 2030 there will be no choice, as this is when the government aims to ban production and vending of both petrol and diesel cars. So it’s worth thinking of alternatives now.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

What is being done right now?

Climate change charities like Friends of Earth and Climate Coalition are looking at sustainable solutions to reverse the effects of climate change. 

Protests, legislation and use of renewable energy to replace fossil fuels are in action. This is to prevent temperatures from increasing. The aim is to cap warming to 1.5° — this limit is an international initiative. 

NASA explained that even with universal effort, global warming would still prevail. This is because it takes a lot of time for the environment to catch up with local initiatives. In layman’s terms, the rate of global warming increases quicker than the positive changes. Gases will still linger in the air while we work hard. 

However, this doesn’t mean climate change is irreversible — there’s just a time lag.

Think: Action!

The response requires two huge factors: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation refers to how we can reduce the level of greenhouse emissions consistently. Adaptation is how we can collectively adjust our lifestyle to meet the demands of the plan. It’s simply really, just think action.

To answer the biology question at hand, yes we can reverse the effects of climate change. But, it will take a global effort akin to the measures set during lockdown for changes to become noticeable. Although that might not seem feasible, it’s not impossible. 

It’s not about whether we are capable, it’s just whether globally we can be strict. This is the level of commitment it will take to undo climate change.

Photo by Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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Naida Allen

Naida is a witty wordsmith with a love for writing and reading. She is a Content Writer and Social Media Executive at Tutor House — the top UK provider of online and in-person tuition. She specialises in topics relating to mental & physical wellbeing and career advice.

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