Global warming is referred as the climatic change as a result of increased temperatures on the earth surface. This climatic change is caused by two factors, which include human activities on the environment, as well as the natural effects. This has resulted into adverse effects, thus calling for the environmental sustainability which can only be achieved from the sustainable development.
Human activities, which are referred as anthropogenic factors are the major causes of global warming as the natural factors are not known to account to the greater effects. The following discussion comprises of the effects of the global warming as well as the mitigating measures to be put in place (Houghton 20).
The global warming increases the temperature in the sea which in turn results to rising of the sea level. This effect result into flooding leading to the destruction of properties, vegetation, land, and loss of habitats to the wildlife and the displacement of people which increases the number refugees. Due to the high release of greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons, sulphur oxides and methane among others have resulted into depletion of the ozone layer (Union on Concerned Scientists18).
This has in turn led to direct reach of the ultraviolet rays into the earth surface where there have been increased cases of skin cancer. The vegetation has dried up in many areas thus causing desertification and also continuous occurrence of prolonged droughts thus starvation and loss of lives. Excess evaporation of water from water surfaces has increased due to increased temperatures thus lowering the water quantity and drying up of these sources (Weart 42).
The above effects can however be reduced through practicing environmental sustainability by every person. This can be done through promotion of reforestation in the cleared forest as well as increase of tree plantation in private land. Trees are known as natural carbon sinkers thus they reduce the carbon in the atmosphere which leads to reduction of green house effect by the carbon oxides.
Carbon oxides emissions from the fossil fuels and charcoal burning can be reduced by use of natural sources of energy such as solar and wind energy. Electric power can also be used on vehicles instead of using the fossil fuels and, promote use of bicycles and walking in small distances instead of driving (Weart 45).
Waste should be reduced as in its composition there is production of methane which is also a green house gas. Reduction of this waste can be done through recycling of materials for instance used newspaper as tissue papers. Waste can also be reduced by use of materials which are reused more than once. There should be minimization of equipments that emit chlorofluorocarbons like refrigerators in our houses, less use of sprays and air conditioners which are used to cool building during summer seasons.
This can be done by adding insulators in the buildings such as ceilings as well as building of thick walls to reduce the amount of heat getting onto the buildings. Human population should be controlled by family planning. As a result of population increase people have engaged themselves in clearing of the forest in search of settlements, (Houghton 54)
In conclusion, there is a need to promote environmental awareness on the environmental conservation. This can be done through carrying out of environmental education programs where people are exposed on causes and effects of global warming. Through this they should be taught on the various ways of reducing these effects.
Environmental policies should also be put in place like the polluter pay principle where individuals or industries are supposed to pay for their emission of the green house gases. To avoid this cost they will therefore prefer use of materials that are green house free (Union on Concerned Scientists 36).
Houghton, John Theodore. Global Warming. London: Cambridge University, 2004. Print.
Union on Concerned Scientists. Global warming: Global warming 101. New York: Union of Concerned Scientists, 2006. Print
Weart Spencer. The Discovery of Global Warming. New York: Harvard University Press, 2008. Print
One of the biggest climatologic concerns that are capturing the minds of not only scientists but also general public is global warming. As such, global warming is a dramatic increase in the average temperature of our planet’s near-surface air and ocean waters. This increase has been especially observed within the twentieth century, when the average temperature rose by almost one degree (Oxlade 4).
The most worrying thing is that according to the climate projections, scientists expect the warming to continue further, which may have dramatic effects on the planet’s climate and on the life on the earth in general.
The key reason for emergence of global warming is envisioned by scientists in the so-called greenhouse effect. This effect emerges due to high concentration of greenhouse gases in the earth atmosphere, with the major gases being water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (Soon 3).
Despite their small concentration in the earth atmosphere (they make up less than 0.1 percent of the atmosphere), those gases play a crucial role in regulating the planet’s temperature balance (Oxlade 10). Greenhouse gases possess the property of absorbing some of the energy that would otherwise, in their absence, escape into the atmosphere. Some of greenhouse gases, like water vapor, occur naturally; others result to a large extent from human activities.
With respect to global warming, one of the biggest concerns of scientists has been carbon dioxide. Although it is crucial for the plants and animals to live (Faust 5), carbon dioxide is considered one of the major gases causing greenhouse effect. In normal carbon cycle, carbon dioxide moves between plants, animals, oceans, and the atmosphere, which it constantly leaves and enters. This is a normal state of things; however, after the Industrial Revolution of the mid-eighteenth century, the carbon balance has been upset by human activities that added disproportionately big amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
By burning enormous amounts of such fossil fuels as coal, gasoline, and oil in car engines, power stations and factories, carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere. Another misbalancing factor is deforestation, cutting out the world’s green belts: burning out vast massifs of rainforests for farming purposes releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; in addition, diminishing the amount of trees on the forests makes it impossible for the remaining trees to take in the extra carbon dioxide.
As a result of modern human activities, scientists predict the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to rise by 2100 to a rate three times as big as before the Industrial Revolution (Oxlade 13).
In addition to carbon dioxide, the atmosphere is overfilled with other greenhouse gases. Within the twentieth century, extensive cattle raising and rice growing has resulted in more than doubling the amount of methane in the atmosphere. Supernormal activities in the spheres of agriculture and chemical industries have led to increase in nitrous oxide.
A new type of gases, called chlorofluorocarbons, initially widely used in sprays, air conditioners, and refrigerators, also add to the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect, first described in 1827 by the French scientist Jean-Baptist Fourier, bases on the notion that the earth atmosphere acts like the glass roof of the greenhouse, trapping the heat inside (Silverstein, Silverstein, and Silverstein Nunn 15).
As the sun energy gets through the atmosphere to the plants, the ground, and the oceans, they become heated and produce infrared radiation which is directed back to space. But trapped in greenhouse gases, some of the infrared radiation remains in the atmosphere; and the more greenhouse gases there are, the more energy remains and heats up the planet.
Confirming the onset of the global warming are the multiple facts of climate change identified by meteorologists. Recording ocean temperatures and currents, the areas of snow cover, the amount of ice at the poles, the length of glaciers and the changing vegetation patterns, climatologists report sufficient alterations. Since the global warming alarm sounded already in the mid-nineteenth century, over the last hundred and fifteen years temperature has been measured by thermometers on land and on sea.
Placed in various locations all over the world, those thermometers have shown that the temperature at the surface of earth has been rising. In addition to this fact, the data drawn from mountain glaciers, tree-growth rings, coral layers, and other biological and geological indicators sensitive to temperature change, confirms that the twentieth century has witnessed a major temperature change. (Soon 3).
Global warming triggers further effects on the earth condition: water that comes from the melting ice caps raises the sea levels; approach of the sea endangers people settlements located nearby the shores; as a result, the number of refugees increases dramatically. Contradicting those negative effects are certain positive effects of climate change.
The increase in plant growth triggered by the global warming stimulates reduction of carbon dioxide and thus decreases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. From this discrepancy emerges the debate among the climatologists, the policy makers, and the general public about what — if something — should be done in order to adequately respond to global warming.
The issues to consider in connection with the global warming problem are numerous. Implementation of alternative energy sources and new technology for capturing carbon; assigning responsibility for reducing global warming; the share of developed and developing countries in reducing emissions and bearing the burden of responsibility for the majority of greenhouse gases; international and national laws concerning global warming; personal responsibilities of people, — those are but a few ideas considered by modern society in respect to global warming.
But perhaps the most burning questions asked are if global warming could be stopped at all or if it is a natural irreversible process. Many scientists hold the opinion that it is already too late to restore the damage caused to the planet by global warming. The major way out of the situation is envisaged in cutting down the emissions of greenhouse gases so that their levels in the atmosphere are stabilized.
But even then it will take the earth no less than several decades to cool down (Farrar 88–89). In any case, it has been agreed that joint effort is taken by the international community to follow the greenhouse gases reduction strategy, and to legalize this decision Kyoto protocol has been ratified by over 160 countries of the world covering fifty-five percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Human activities have had a devastating effect on the planet. Not only have people exhausted the natural resources, but they have also created conditions that have led to accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to the resulting from it global warming.
This, in its turn, is having dramatic effects on the climate of the planet and may end tragically for all life on earth, unless urgent actions are taken to hamper and prevent the global catastrophe. Therefore, the world community should unite in the joint effort to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emission and save our planet from the climatic catastrophe that impends over it.
Farrar, Amy. Global Warming. Edina, MN: ABDO Publishing Company, 2008. Print.
The author discusses the controversial viewpoints regarding global warming.
Faust, Daniel R. Global Warming: Greenhouse Gases and the Ozone Layer. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2009. Print.
The author discusses the ozone layer, the effect of ultraviolet radiation on living things, and the causes and effects of global warming.
Oxlade, Chris. Global Warming. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2003. Print.
The author explains what global warming is, the factors that cause it, how it affects the environment, and what is being done to prevent it.
Silverstein, Alvin, Virginia Silverstein, and Laura Silverstein Nunn. Global Warming. Brookfield, CT: Twenty-First Century Books, 2003. Print.
The authors examine global warming and the greenhouse effect, changes in earth’s climate since its formation, the effects of these changes, and whether anything can be done to reverse them.
Soon, Willie, Sallie L. Baliunas, Arthur B. Robinson, and Zachary W. Robinson. Global Warming: A Guide to the Science. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 2001. Print.
The authors review scientific literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and come to the conclusion that increases during the twentieth century have produced no deleterious effects upon global climate or temperature.