Global Warming Causes and Impacts

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Topic: Sciences
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Introduction

A large percentage of people have continuously ignored scientific attests on the severity of global warming. According to research, the large-scale intervention will effectively counteract global warming effects. Environment advocates accentuate public to participate in all initiatives to counteract environmental degradation due to global warming.

Dire messages about the impending chaos and unpredictable catastrophe seem to bring minor efforts. More so, although man activities have continued to elevate the greenhouse effect and global warming, they are frequently disregarded (Lindzen 5). Undoubtedly, global warming is a dramatic problem. The solution to this problem lies in everyone through the adoption of a responsible lifestyle.

Such solution ranges from daily activities at home to complex government initiative such as carbon trading to minimize these effects. This paper endeavors to delineate the history of global warming, the causality and every potential revelation towards the diminution of the impacts of global warming.

The History of Global Warming

Scientists predict that the planet will get warmed by 1.1 and 6.4 Celsius in the next 100 years due to global warming. Economists rate the effect to cost 20% of World GDP. Such threat brings the urge to comprehend the history of global warming theoretically, and the evidence that supports it (Lindzen 5).

It is over 100 years since global warming was discovered. This was by a Swedish Scientist, Svante Arrhenius, in 1896. Other researchers also discerned that human activities were degrading atmosphere by adding Carbon dioxide to the air; consequently, warming the earth.

The conclusion became common as another research demonstrated that the decreased carbon dioxide was the causality for the ice ages. This theory still stands up to date. The 1987 Antarctic Vostok ice score results confirmed the theory that atmospheric carbon dioxide had a pivotal role in controlling global climate. However, the notion lacked popularity then.

This was because the scientists of that time felt the influences were due to other factors too such as ocean circulation and sunspots and argued that though human activities had influences, they were insignificant when compared to geology and astrology forces (Weart 1). The idea became reinforced in the 1940s. However, then there was fear that the next great ice age generation was about to occur.

Several factors led to recognition and acceptance of global warming, including the ‘honey stick’ upturn of global temperature in early 1980s, increased knowledge about the past climate, the advanced technology that would facilitate prediction of future changes, the emergence of environmental awareness and the realization by the politicians and economists on the potential threats bestowed by climate change (Weart 1).

Global Warming Causality

The greenhouse effect is the major cause of global warming. Earth’s atmosphere is made up mainly of three primary gases namely oxygen (20.95%), nitrogen (78.09%) and argon (0.93%). These gases have high absorption rates. Therefore, they allow a controlled amount of energy to reach and leave the earth.

However, there are traces of rare gases such as methane, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, chlorofluorocarbons and ozone that cause the greatest effect on our climate. These trace gases are often referred to as the greenhouse gases or Radiately Important Trace Species (RITS). These gases alter the normal gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

RITS allows heat radiated from the sun to pass through to earth and also trap emitted heat. The increase in greenhouse concentration has lowered the atmosphere heat absorption and radiation rate, consequently, allowing most of the light to reach the earth’s surface (Newell and Pitman 1003).

Green gas house effect has been fully attributed to human activities. Carbon dioxide is one of the green gases that warm the atmosphere. Research indicates that Carbon dioxide gas concentration has been on the rise since the pre-industrial times. The increase was estimated to be 280 parts to 380 parts per million (ppm).

From various sources, human activities such as burning fossils and deforestation are the major cause of global warming. Deforestation is carried out to create land for use. Deforestation is also done due to many reasons, including urbanization, settlements and agriculture practices such as wetland rice cultivation, livestock rearing, artificial fertilization of nitrogenous waste and solid waste landfilling (Nordhaus 4).

Other arguments indicate that human activities are not wholly responsible. Arguably, carbon dioxide has natural sources such as volcanoes and exhales from other animals. It is evident that natural processes emit large quantities of carbon dioxide. However, they also remove it at an almost identical rate.

The fingerprint shows scientists that the major share of additional carbon dioxide accumulation is from burnt fossils. A significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions comes from energy production. This may include industries and transport system. Therefore, the industrialized nations contribute carbon dioxide to the atmosphere (Xianlai 1876).

Potential Ways to Mitigate Global Warming

Strikingly, global warming has macroeconomic effects. These effects are impacted in fields such as agriculture where production has declined substantially. As a result, there is an increase in world food price. Consequently, famine is experienced especially in the developing world.

The rise in sea levels has resulted in increased losses due to floods, the property destroyed and in relocating the displaced refugees. Such costs are obtained primarily from the tax payer’s money. Other associated problems include water shortages, health-related complications such as malnutrition, hypertension among other diseases (Newell and Pitman 1003).

These effects need interventions. Interventions to mitigate potential global warming can be personalized, and government based. Personalized interventions include adopting lifestyles that emit a minimal amount of greenhouse gases. These activities would include the use of compacted fluorescent light bulbs, recycling of waste from home such as shopping bags, walk or cycle for short distances, or even sharing cars to reduce net emissions.

More so, deforestation should be stopped. The environmental activist Prof. Wangari Mathai had continuously encouraged tree-planting activities. Governments too should play a part in conserving the land by protecting government lands such as Forests and water catchment areas (Anon. 3).

International efforts to curb global warming include the establishment of non-governmental associations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (ICCP) and the Kyoto protocol. Such organizations have laid down policies and regulations to member countries to reduce the amount of RITS emission.

They have also incorporated the aspects of carbon trading and carbon taxes where countries can trade carbon units and for countries that defy the set regulations respectively (Xianlai 1876). Other organizations view population control as another means of mitigating global warming.

This can be done via family planning, reduction of nationalistic politics, and community-based education on the dangers of overpopulation about global warming. It has been evidenced that population size impact differently on countries and in the production of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

The other alternative is carbon sequestration. Cutting down the level of industries to reduce greenhouse gases will affect the economy and lifestyles of many. Therefore, an alternative must be reached. Geo-engineering is one of the ways suggested by scientists. It involves tinkering with the climate. Various researches have been funded by the U.S. government, especially on those that study on ways to pump carbon dioxide into coal seams.

Some idea that has been reached is plankton boom. The tiny ocean plants are known to absorb carbon dioxide. However, its growth is limited by low iron rates. Such studies will facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gases thus mitigating global warming. Such and other marine organisms will provide the blue carbon sinks (Coast track 1).

Future Forecast

From the brief discussion above, there is strong evidence that points to human activities as the main contributor to greenhouse gases’ emissions. The sophisticated technology and powerful computer models suggest major climatic changes to occur by the end of the 21st century.

Estimates have been made on the consequences of global warming but in reality, it is very difficult to do such prediction as impacts on one area will have an indirect influence on the other. More so, the climate is complex, and many uncertainties arise to properly predict the future outcomes.

Researchers argue that they have enough knowledge about climate to sufficiently make useful long term forecasts about global warming. However, there are suggestions that scientist predicts that the planet will get warmed by 1.1 and 6.4 Celsius in the next 100 years due to global warming. Economist rate the effect as cost 20% of World GDP (Leiserowitz 6).

To provide forecasts that are useful, the following should be put into consideration; temperature changes, the effects of any temperature changes and the effects of feasible proposed policy changes.

Conclusion

It is incontestable that global warming poses a great threat to society at large. Undoubtedly, global warming is a dramatic problem. The increased technology and industrialization are creating more harm to the universe. These effects include water shortages, agricultural productivity, human health, and civil conflict. The challenge of coping with global warming is very difficult because of its diverse disciplines in society.

Ecologists view it as a threat to the ecosystem, marine biologists worry about the acidification of the ocean, economists and politicians view it as a challenge or an opportunity. It is, therefore, upon everyone to adopt sustainable life lifestyles.

Such solution ranges from daily activities at home to complex government initiative such as carbon trading to minimize these effects. This paper endeavored to delineate the history of global warming, the causality and every potential revelation towards the diminution of the impacts of global warming. More discoveries on environmentally friendly technologies should be adopted.

Works Cited

Anon. “Global warming.” Columbia University, 2010. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/…/NAS_20060424.pdf>.

Coast track. “Issues and challenges in coastal management.” Blue carbon. Introduction and concept on the roles of mangroves in Blue carbon, 2011. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://www.iomenvis.in/pdf_documents/coastrack_oct10_mar11.pdf>.

Leiserowitz, Antony. “Climate change in the American Mind: Americans Global warming beliefs and attitudes.” George Mason University center for climate-change communication, 2010. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://www.climatechangecommunication.org/images/files/ClimateBeliefsJune2010(1).pdf>.

Lindzen, Richard. “Global warming: how to approach the science; fourth international conference on climate change.” Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, 2011. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/how_to_approach_the_science.pdf>.

Newell, Ben, and Pitman, Andrew. “The psychology of global warming improving the fit between the science and the message.” American Meteorological Society Journal 91 (2010): 1003-1014. Web. <http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2010BAMS2957.1>.

Nordhaus, William. “Economic aspect of global warming in a post- Copenhagen Environment.” Department of Economics, Yale University, 2010. 6 Nov. 2011. Web. <http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/documents/Copen_020310.pdf>

Weart, Spencer. “A hyperlinked history of climate change science.” The discovery of global warming, 2010. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://www.aip.org/history/climate/summary.htm>.

Xianlai, Zeng. “Integrated solid waste management under global warming.” The open waste Management Journal 3.1 (2010): 13-17. Web. < <http://www.benthamscience.com/open/towmj/articles/V003/13TOWMJ.pdf>.