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Environmental Studies of Global Warming: Cause and Mitigation

Natural versus anthropogenic climate changes

The wealth of information acquired by environmental scientists across the world has revealed that the current state of global climate change is attributed to both natural and anthropogenic climate changes. Natural climate changes occur in cycles in the world, and they are caused by the natural interaction of the world with different forces, whereas human activities cause anthropogenic climate changes. Over the past century, anthropogenic climate changes have been overly witnessed, especially in the past two decades.

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The similarity of natural and anthropogenic climate changes over the past years is that they both lead to global warming. The difference between the two is that natural causes of climate changes take a very long time, whereas anthropogenic ones have caused very fast changes to the world’s climate.

Previous trends in global warming took thousands of years, but the current trends are too fast. Another difference between natural and anthropogenic climate changes is that past natural causes did not involve any human activities, whereas the current changes are primarily caused by humans. Some of the natural causes of climate change include the amount of solar energy retained by the Earth over a long period, and natural forces on the Earth like heat waves.

Nature activities like volcanic eruptions are natural causes of the emission of greenhouse gases to the environment, but the effects on climate are slow. Anthropogenic causes include human activities, such as the emission of greenhouse gases, leading to global warming effects on the Earth. These activities include the emission of carbon dioxide from manufacturing companies, vehicles’ exhaust pipes, and power generation plants (NASA, 2014).

Global warming is taking place

Over the past half millennium the climate of the world has gone through seven complete cycles of glacial retreat and advancement. One of the clearest evidences of global warming is the rise of sea levels across the world. The rate of sea level rise over the last decade is double the rise in the last century.

The second evidence is the fast rise of the Earth’s surface temperature. Glaciers across the world are retreating at a very fast rate, indicating fast rates of global warming in the world. Ice sheets are also shrinking at a very fast rate, and sea ice in the Arctic is also declining (NASA, 2014).

Current mitigation strategies

Alternative energy sources

The use of oil is attributed to being the leading cause of global warming with reference to human-related causes. The emission of greenhouse gases is the cause of global warming, hence, reducing the rates of emission from some industries, such as the manufacturing and the transportation industries, is the most feasible way to mitigate climate changes.

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Many nations have developed facilities to provide cleaner energy sources to different industrial sectors to reduce their greenhouse gas emission levels. The use of alternative sources of energy, like solar, wind and bio-fuels, are gradually gaining popularity across the world (Michaelides, 2012).

Effectiveness, cost and policy implications

Alternative energy sources are the most effective way of reversing the drastic changes in climate change because they slow down the global warming rate. The cost of purchasing alternative sources of energy like solar and wind energy is relatively lower than oil. Governments across the world have adopted international policies on the use of sustainable energy sources to reduce the over reliance of the world on oil.

Carbon taxing

Carbon taxing is a popular policy in the modern world. Authorities across the world have adopted a policy to compel companies to reduce their carbon footprints. Manufacturing companies are some of the biggest consumers of oil for energy, hence, their carbon footprint has a big effect on global warming. Many governments across the world have placed very high rates for the levy to lure manufacturing companies into using cleaner energy sources.

Carbon taxing has resulted in many companies across the world being forced to develop new strategies to go green in their production processes. Reducing the rate of greenhouse gas emissions from various human activities is the only viable way of slowing down the rate of global warming; hence, carbon taxing should prevail in this era (Marron & Toder, 2014).

Effectiveness, cost and policy implications

Carbon taxing is an effective global warming mitigation option, but companies across the world have managed to meet the taxes levied; thus, most companies are still polluting the air at will. The cost is quite high for some companies, and it has compelled them to use cleaner energy sources. Carbon taxing policies should be re-evaluated to make it difficult for companies to meet the taxes.

Recommended policy changes

One of the policies that should be applied on a global scale is taxing companies across the world, depending on their ability to use alternative energy sources. Companies with deep pockets have little problems with paying carbon taxes in the developing nations, because carbon taxes are lower. Applying carbon taxes on the merits of a company’s financial performance would yield better results in the compliance of the reduction of emission levels (Burniaux, Chateau & Duval, 2013).

Authorities across the world need to develop policies that target the biggest air polluters. These polices should include imposing huge carbon taxes to transport companies and manufacturing companies. Governments also need to develop policies that compel companies in the major cities to depend exclusively on renewable energy sources like solar.

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Burniaux, J. M., Chateau, J., & Duval, R. (2013). Is there a case for carbon-based border tax adjustment? An applied general equilibrium analysis. Applied Economics, 45(16), 2231-2240.

Marron, D. B., & Toder, E. J. (2014). Tax Policy Issues in Designing a Carbon Tax. American Economic Review, 104(5), 563-68.

Michaelides, E. E. (2012). Alternative energy sources. New York: Springer.

NASA: A blanket around the world. (2014). Web.

NASA: Global Climate Change. (2014). Web.

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