Global Warming: Causes and Mitigation
It is an indisputable truth that global warming has become a major challenge and a cause of worry to humans who are at risk of extinction, bearing in mind the rate of continual rise in the earth’s average temperature. It is even more worrisome that some governments are yet to come to terms with the fact that global warming poses a serious threat to humans and requires urgent action.
As this phenomenon undermines food and water security, environmental sustainability and a disruption in the delicate balance of the ecosystem, climate change becomes inevitable coming with its dire consequences.
According to World Bank sources, the Millennium Development Goals MDGs and its prospects are also threatened by global climate changes. The resulting changes in weather “such as shifts in the intensity and pattern of rainfall and variations in temperature” would probably decrease agricultural/food output as a result of the death of the infrastructure; hence environmental disasters, like drought or flood, would displace people’s means of livelihood leading to poverty, migration and diseases. (World Bank, 2010).
Global warming is indeed a major challenge for the world today. Although the figures may vary between regions, most people all over the world, however, agree that it is a serious problem requiring urgent attention. For instance, the World Bank 2010 development Indicators puts it succinctly:
“The poorest countries and regions face the greatest danger. Africa – with the most rain-fed agricultural land of any continent, half its population without access to improved water sources, and about 70 percent without access to improved sanitation facilities – is particularly vulnerable to climate change”. (World Bank, 2010).
In the United States, the views are “divided along ideological lines.” The Pew Research Center’s 2009 survey on global warming discovered that between the liberals and the conservatives, the former agree more than twice that global warming is a severe problem (about 66% vs. 30%)”. According to that survey, a similar divide is also evident in Britain. With those on the political left and those on the right putting a severity rate of 66% and 42% respectively. Germany, Spain and France have smaller ideological splits (Pew Research Center, 2009).
The world is already experiencing the effects of this warming with rising sea levels when the surface temperature warms up, melting ice from the glaciers, severe heat waves, and dangerous storms. Even drought, desertification and perceived extinction of animal life, goes a long way to show that global warming is not just a hoax.
Scientists believe these are mostly caused by man’s activities including the burning of fossil fuels thus, “releasing carbon dioxide, CO2 that traps heat within the atmosphere”. (World Health Organization, 2007). Also according to WHO source:
“the Earths’ surface has warmed by more than 0.8oC over the past century and by approximately 0.6 oC in the previous three decades.” With the continuous emissions of CO2, it is projected that the surface temperature will “rise by 1.1 oC to 6.4 oC over the 21st century”. (World Health Organization, 2007).
GreenHouse Gas, GHGs – causes of global warming are emitted in various ways apart from the combustion of fossil fuels in car, the CO2 gas it is “also released in landfills and agriculture (especially from the digestive systems of grazing animals), nitrous oxide from fertilizers, gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes, and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2”
Carbon dioxide is the highest cause of global warming among other greenhouse gases which also include: methane, nitrous oxide, and some other artificial gases. This has been on the increase as a result of industrialization and commercialization. Especially in China, the United States, the Russian Federation, India and Japan who are the world highest emitters of carbon dioxide. (World Bank, 2010)
Although the activities of man as regards to contributing to global warming are overwhelming and substantial, they are also caused by natural influences such as solar and volcanic activities
The importance therefore of mitigating the effects of global warming cannot be overemphasized as the consequence of not doing same could be very devastating.
While the majority of the world leaders agree to the fact that global warming is indeed a global challenge. They are, however, divided on the method of tackling this menace or “which country is trusted to do the right thing on this issue” (Pew Research Center, 2009).
The United Nations has been spearheading moves to tackling the menace of climate change. The Copenhagen Conference on climate change further raised the awareness to a high level and the desire to tackle the menace and produced what is now known as the “Copenhagen Accord.” While the agreements were lauded by many as a significant success, many others doubted the practical application.
But what the conference achieved which is seen as a bold step towards ending the menace of global warming was the resolve of developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while adapting to the effects and to provide finance for doing same. The conference also agreed on a long-term plan of keeping the temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.
Whether these resolutions are adhered to remains to be seen. However, there are things we can do as individuals to reduce the rate of emission of greenhouse gases and the effects of climate change.
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Attitudinal change is the key to achieving this and being more environmentally friendly. Practical steps include the use of recyclable products and buying of goods with minimal packing as to reduce waste, using energy-efficient products, using less energy, heat and preventing air leakages in your room. Driving less and walking or riding to school and work. That not only reduces the emission of carbon-dioxide but also keeps you physically fit.
Also to further reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, one can plant trees. That is a very effective way of cutting down carbon-dioxide because during photosynthesis, they (trees) use-up carbon-dioxide and give out oxygen. Others include; conserving water and encouraging others to adopt environmentally friendly practices to protect our future.
Government at all levels should adopt long term measures towards sustainable energy and encourage their citizens to “go green”. The role of sustainable energy education here cannot be overemphasized as it would increase the awareness of global warming while it gradually re-orientate the masses and make them more environmental friendly. They should implement plans and international agreements on reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
Developed countries should assist developing countries to mitigate the effects of global warming and in implementing adaptation measures to the adverse effect of climate change.
A decisive action must be taken by all stakeholders to stop the way we pollute the environment, preserve and handover a safe environment generations yet unborn.
We must all act. The time is now.
- World Bank. (2010). 2010 World Bank Development Indicators. A World Bank publication. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/section3.pdf
- Pew Research Global Attitudes Project (2009). Global Warming Seen as a Major Problem Around the World Less Concern in the U.S., China and Russia. Retrieved from, Retrieved from http://www.pewglobal.org/2009/12/02/global-warming-seen-as-a-major-problem-around-the-world-less-concern-in-the-us-china-and-russia/
- World health organization (2007). Global climate change: implications for international public health policy. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/85/3/06-039503/en/
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There are a lot of studies being carried out in regard to the issue of climate change in the modern world because it has become a major area of concern. The climate change has caused a lot of changes that affect both human activities and the wildlife. The effects are very obvious and, therefore, this brings out the question as to whether such changes are due to manmade effects or they are natural causes. Therefore, this essay will be based on the argument that climate change is as a result of manmade activities.
One of the main evidences of climate change is the occurrence of droughts in areas that used to receive high rainfall. This means that the level of deforestation has increased hence making it difficult for such areas to receive rainfall. Also, deforestation has made the soil lose for forestation to take place hence climate change will keep on occurring since such soils cannot support the growth of vegetation. Therefore, this is proof that climate change is caused by human activities (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014).
In addition, global warming has become a major part of climate change and the main cause is the emission of gases such as carbon monoxide. As a result, such gases deplete the ozone layer which is responsible for reducing the amount of radiation reaching the earth’s surface. Such gases are as a result of human activities associated with the increased use of greenhouses. Therefore, with the increased level of technology, activities that omit such gases have increased hence, increasing the level at which global warming is taking place and, in turn, climate change. As well, the burning of fossil fuels have played a substantial role in the emission of gasses that contribute to global warming. As a result, this leads to global warming and hence climate change (Shine, 2014).
However, on the other hand, the earth’s atmosphere has the capacity to balance itself hence making it possible to argue out the recent climatic changes are examples of natural causes. An example is the increased sea levels due to the melting ice caps resulting from global warming. This happens when the ability of the earth to reflect back energy is reduced hence resulting in a hot climate. Also, the scientific data is inconclusive since some of it is obtained from assumptions. Therefore, some people argue that the lack of evidence means that the climate changes are just natural cycles. It is a way of the earth to balance its climate (Wiest, Raymond & Clawson, 2015).
Concisely, the human causes of climate change out do the natural causes and this makes it clear that human beings should control some of this activities to avoid making the earth a place that in unbearable to live in. A combination of the natural causes of climate change are not enough to bring a substantial change that would in turn affect the way of living on earth. Hence, research shows that human activities are the main causes of climate change. Some of the remedies to climate change could be educating people on the importance of reducing the activities that result to climate change or even seeking other alternatives. Therefore, this will ensure that any noticeable climate change is due to the natural occurrences on earth.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2014). Climate Change 2014–Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Regional Aspects. Cambridge University Press.
- Shine, K. P. (2014). Climate change.
- Wiest, S. L., Raymond, L., & Clawson, R. A. (2015). Framing, partisan predispositions, and public opinion on climate change. Global Environmental Change, 31, 187-198.