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Climate Change, Its Causes and Implications

Introduction

Climate change refers to the long-term transformation of regional climatic patterns. Warming unequivocally results from the high greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration in the atmosphere (Seo, 2017). The earth’s surface has significantly warmed following the industrial revolution, although some regions have experienced increased precipitation. If these changes are not mitigated to fall below or within the sustainable levels, either temperature will rise or fall beyond the patterns to which ecological components are adapted (Bodansky et al., 2017). Domestic and international actions have emerged to address the issue, but more efforts are needed to ensure that such activities are globally implemented.

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Intended audience

Local and international stakeholders in environmental issues.

The purpose of this paper is to present the causes and implications of climate change and to elaborate on the current climate change policies.

Climate Change Issues

Since the industrial revolution, the earth’s temperatures have significantly risen, apart from experiencing high precipitations in some regions. These findings demonstrate that high GHG concentrations impact regional climate. Moreover, the rise in ocean temperatures, melted ice and glaciers, and changes in wind patterns have been reported by various researchers. Thus, climatic changes are undisputable, necessitating both domestic and international remedies.

Causes of climate change

The earth’s climate varies significantly, but researchers have concluded that human activities cause global warming. The activities emit GHG, which allows short wave rations from the sun to reach the earth’s surface. The radiations are re-emitted as longwave, and this time GHG absorbs atmospheric heat, causing the greenhouse effect. Similarly, there is natural availability of carbon monoxide and water vapor in the atmosphere, warming the earth to sustainable temperatures. However, solar effects variability due to pollutant GHG across the world is the primary cause of observed climate changes. The leading causes include emissions from burning fossil fuels, land clearance, which leaves no water catchment resources, and industrial activities.

Projections

Future changes in the earth’s climate will prolong either sporadically or slowly. Some regions will experience transformations in precipitation, temperature, and wind directions (Bargués-Pedreny & Schmidt, 2019). While warming intensifies in other places, warm and dry climates will be experienced. The melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will accelerate. Findings consistent with various researchers present standard projections, including intensified summer warming in the central regions of continents, and more intense precipitation, causing flooding and runoff damages (Bodansky et al., 2017; Broto, 2017).

Potential impacts of projected issues

Climate change will be beneficial and detrimental (Nissan et al., 2019). For instance, regions with lower warming degrees will thrive in agricultural production. Higher temperatures will also decrease heating needs in the cold areas while melting ocean glaciers and ice will favor shipping and marine resource exploitation. In contrast, regions with adverse changes will experience lower agricultural productivity, drought, high sea levels, higher demands for cooling, and the spread of vector-borne diseases. Such extreme conditions will spark population dislocations and change social and natural economic systems beyond tolerance levels.

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GHC Targets

There is significant uncertainty concerning how much greenhouse gas emissions will and how the climate will change further. The issue raises many concerns on how GHG emissions can significantly be targeted to be reduced. Experts propose that the world stabilizes atmospheric concentrations of GHG to a certain level to receive considerable temperature outcomes. For example, carbon monoxide can be controlled by between 400 and 600 parts per million (Jones, N. 2017).

Current Policies

Corrective measures are set both locally and internationally. A larger percentage of GHG emissions originates from developing countries worldwide (Iacobuta et al., 2018). Therefore, effective mitigation of climate change requires a significant reduction of GHG in most states. Other countries may not have similar needs to reduce these gases; therefore, imposing reduction laws in specific countries will pose adverse trade impacts on competitor markets. With sovereignty and leadership concerns, the US is among the debaters of short-term and long-term GHG reductions (Zhang et al., 2017). Legislative measures would be included in the existing federal programs and other local policies to reduce emissions. However, it would be challenging to establish a coherent framework from new components.

International laws

Different countries have unanimously taken measures against climate change (Zhang et al., 2017; Henderson, 2009). Most of the global concerns over the issue revolve around energy consumption because the primary source of power is fossil fuel use, which emits GHGs. The development of the Energy Program Act of 1992 was a fundamental step toward environmental protection (Krosnick & Maclnnis, 2020). Moreover, the Paris Agreement on climate change formulated in 2015 majorly focuses on the European Union’s sustainable environment. It was the ultimate policy for the world to reduce global warming, provide financial and technological support, and capacity building to the less fortunate states to attain the same goals (Oberthur & Groen, 2018).

The US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

The US left the group during Trump’s administration, and the action will reduce funds and other efforts aimed to mitigate climate change (Jozto et al., 2018).

Domestic policies

Since George Bush announced the initial goal for climate change mitigation, the United States has imposed regulatory policies and marketing incentives to promote the use of green technologies (Bodansky et al., 2017). The plan has been included in the international agreements unanimously with those of other willing states.

Federal Policies

Current rules encourage citizens to utilize emission-free facilities to reduce GHG. Tax incentives have been introduced to encourage people to purchase energy-efficient vehicles and make efficient changes in residential places (Krosnick & Maclnnis, 2020). Others focus on agricultural production to minimize the release of GHG. Examples of federal policies include carbon-pricing rules, which count businesses financially responsible for releasing each ton of GHG. Similarly, Cap and Trade policy allow the government to impose a cap on each GHG released by enterprises. Nuclear power tax breaks offer tax credits to new nuclear power plants, while consumer incentives help citizens utilize fewer fossil fuels.

Conclusion

Summary: Climate change is among the major global concerns in environmental sustainability. Various researchers reveal that many states across the world have implemented climate change policies. The US and the EU formulated anti-GHG emission rules to reduce global warming. The Paris Agreement was substantial in mitigating the international perspective, but the US withdrew its efforts, reducing financial support for the initiative. The less fortunate states receive funds, technology, and capacity building through the agreement. Private and public sectors have a role to play in mitigating global warming resulting from industrial emissions.

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Recommendations: Each state should establish an integrative and comprehensive climate change program that informs and expands citizens’ choices on the issue. Climate change research should be inclusive of supporting decision-making at local, regional, and international levels (Seo, 2017). It is also necessary to practice environmental protection initiatives such as tree planting as they reduce carbon dioxide levels, the primary GHG available in the atmosphere.

References

Bargués-Pedreny, P., & Schmidt, J. (2019). Learning to be postmodern in an all too modern world: “Whatever action” in international climate change imaginaries. Global Society, 33(1), 45-65. Web.

Bodansky, D., Brunnée, J., & Rajamani, L. (2017). International climate change law. Oxford University Press.

Broto, V. C. (2017). Urban governance and the politics of climate change. World Development, (93), 1-15.

Henderson, C. W. (2009). Understanding International Law. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Iacobuta, G., Dubash, N. K., Upadhyaya, P., Deribe, M., & Höhne, N. (2018). National climate change mitigation legislation, strategy, and targets: a global update. Climate policy, 18(9), 1114-1132.

Jones, N. (2017). How the world passed the carbon threshold and why it matters. Yale Environment 360.

Jotzo, F., Depledge, J., & Winkler, H. (2018). US and international climate policy under President Trump. Climate Policy, 18(7), 813-817.

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Krosnick, J., & Maclnnis, B. (2020). Climate insights 2020: Policies and politics. Resources for the Future.

Nissan, H., Goddard, L., de Perez, E. C., Furlow, J., Baethgen, W., Thomson, M. C., & Mason, S. J. (2019). On the use and misuse of climate change projections in international development. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 10(3), e579.

Oberthür, S., & Groen, L. (2018). Explaining goal achievement in international negotiations: The EU and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Journal of European Public Policy, 25(5), 708-727.

Seo, S. N. (2017). Beyond the Paris Agreement: Climate change policy negotiations and future directions. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 9(2), 121-140.

Zhang, Y. X., Chao, Q. C., Zheng, Q. H., & Huang, L. (2017). The withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement and its impact on global climate change governance. Advances in Climate Change Research, 8(4), 213-219.

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