Are we seeing the last days of planet earth? That is indeed the question that comes to the fore considering the seemingly insurmountable challenges that global warming poses to the survival of the planet. Disappearing Islands, melting polar ice, floods like never seen before, famine and outbreak of tropical diseases are just some of the realities of global warming. This paper asserts that global warming must be stopped and collective measures taken especially by the world’s most influential countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other industrial activities that contribute to this phenomenon.
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This is the warming up or heating of the oceans as well as the air within the earth’s atmosphere. Due to the amount of sunshine that makes the Earth’s exterior to heat up, it results in the glowing and to radiation of long infrared waves into space. When it passes through our environment, this earth light comes across gases such as carbon dioxide that absorb quantities of its wavelengths. These gases are called greenhouse gases, and they add to global warming (Philander p.44). Due to the advancement of technology, scientists have been able to link such activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and additional human activities to the increase in global warming. Global warming has caused the world more harm than. Some of the negative effects caused by global warming include; the spread of diseases in places where such diseases were previously unknown, poverty in places where food production depended on climatic conditions, floods, human and wild animals conflicts, and adverse weather conditions among other things. Global warming threatens the very survival of world species with mankind included.
According to Weart (p.116), global warming was first talked about in the public view surveys in the 1980’s. Climatic change however started long before this time. Svante Arrhenius a chemist of Swedish origin hypothesized that much of the activity accompanying the industrial revolution in the 1890s like burning of coal was affecting the global temperatures (Mary, H. C., 1). The prophetic nature of his utterances only became apparent retrospectively because the weather patterns were quite different in those days before much of the current developments that have been caused by human activity.
Elizabeth Kolbert observes that the world is thrusting towards disaster as many people will attest that global warming is no longer an issue requiring great scientific exposition; it is a daily reality. What with disappearing islands (caused by rise in ocean water levels) that many have called home for their entire lives? Melting of ice glaciers in several mountain tops as well as in Polar Regions spells doom to many plant and animal species (p 7).
A warmer world also means filthier air and water, extra harsh floods and famines, added wildfires and other severe outcomes. Scientists accounted in 2005 that some Antarctic bears were sinking since they had to swim for very long distances to arrive at ice floes. Earlier on, deaths caused by global warming have been accounted in a number of areas in the world: In Europe, 70,000 deaths were evidenced, while in France about 15,000 lives were lost because of the global warming. More than 140 people died in North America in July 2006. In a different case, 739 people died in Chicago in global warming related circumstances within a span of one week.
Another effect of global warming is contamination of air, hypersensitivity, and Asthma. High temperatures, irregular periods of famine and floods, and ecosystem disturbance have brought about more extensive outbursts of illnesses like malaria, dengue fever, and diarrhea, which are likely to affect the poor. Infection-bearing mosquitoes are multiplying as the climate permits them to stay alive in previously unwelcoming areas. Mosquitoes bearing dengue fever viruses were before restricted to altitudes of 3,300 feet although of late it appears at 7,200 feet in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. Malaria is perceived in new higher-altitude areas in Indonesia and Africa, announcing fresh dangers to millions of poor people with previously challenged wellbeing. Higher open-air warmth can bring amplified epidemics of food-borne diseases like salmonella, which replicates more quickly as heat raises. A hotter atmosphere is able to grasp and put more wetness, contributing to severe weather conditions, which risk people’s lives in the end. For instance; 1.7 million People were displaced in 2005 by the hurricane Katrina which led to loss of lives and prolonged wellbeing difficulties for 200,000 New Orleans communities. Elsewhere in California, people are being threatened by increasing sea levels, condensed snow, and amplified heavy showers that threaten to overflow the homes of 300,000 inhabitants. Food and water shortages in Africa cause irregular famines, relocations, and conflicts.
Drought levels shall increase if the temperatures remain high, evaporation shall increase too, mostly at summer and fall, could worsen famine, and the danger of wildfires. Global warming has also increased the power of the climatic system thus leading to higher rainfalls in some of the areas. Reports from the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say that strong rain occasions have amplified in regularity in the past 50 years and individual-persuaded global warming has added to the drift. Al Gore (p.73) warns that if the climate continues like this, people are going to lose their homes, because of rising sea levels.
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Silver (p.156) lists some of the examples of positive climate feedback: The rise in atmospheric temperature because of the greenhouse gases causes softening of snow on glacier and ice caps, which makes them less reflective and retain more heat thus a warmer atmosphere; Heated temperatures increases evaporation which absorbs greater amounts of sunshine, which makes the atmosphere warmer; Higher sea temperatures lessen the solubility of carbon dioxide in the oceans, which boosts greenhouse gas thus a warmer atmosphere than it would have been.
Lafreniere (p.9) states that the global warming crisis is the conclusion of thousands of years of human being exploitation and alteration of Earth’s ecosystems, with the point of extreme development and environmental effects coming over the last two centuries as the beginning of the manufacturing uprising.
Today global warming continues to be a sensitive subject that is rife with controversy. This can be gleaned from the case of the U.S. The American economy is heavily dependent on fossil fuel, coal and natural gas and it produces one fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases. Due to these economic factors, politicians and other groups with vested interests have led campaigns against obligatory policies to control emissions. This hard stance has only served to complicate issues and slow down the process that would require nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (Mary, C., 1).
How to reduce global warming
The world should slow down the growth of tropical tree. Due to the amount of heat produced from the climate, a lot of carbon dioxide is produced, which is more than the ones they absorb. Therefore a distress to the obvious thought that hot forests are an offset to carbon, with massive sums from the ambiance. Rain forest trees nurture slower in hotter nights, being a seal to the altering of the weather in the tropics.
Governments should be encouraged to practice all ways that can preserve our environment so that it would be easier and friendlier to live in. If we do not do justice to the environment, we shall not be doing well to ourselves. Planting of trees and less pollution to the environment should be practiced in all countries. Basic education on how to preserve our environment should be given to all people especially those in the rural areas, so that they understand why they should not cut down trees for charcoal burning, and not plant others. People should know the negative effects so that it becomes their responsibility to take care of the environment. If all people felt obligated to take care of their own environment, it would be easier to deal with the global warming that is threatening the whole world.
People should be encouraged to buy hybrid cars as well as fuel efficient cars because an average driver possibly will spare a lot of carbon dioxide annually. Taking a drive together with mates and co-workers saves about 790 lbs of fuel. One should always maintain the exhausts of their car sufficiently inflated, which will save them 250 lbs carbon dioxide and $840 annually. Checking the vehicle’s air filter on a monthly basis saves 800 lbs carbon dioxide and $130 every year. Purchase items with fewer wrapping and reprocess paper, synthetic, and thus spare carbon dioxide which is close to 2,000 lbs yearly. Compositing is used to decrease greenhouse gas releases thus minimizing trips trucks should take as well as the quantity of methane at large.
According to Singer (p.15), cold is more terrifying than warmth. He says that even species are able to stay alive the change of whether like they have before. Nevertheless, global warming has brought more damage to the human beings than good. There are future predictions on the warming, which will definitely result from releases already in the atmosphere says Michaels (p.19).
Global warming is one of the most severe challenges facing us today. To defend the health and economic security of current and future age brackets, we must lessen our discharges of heat-trapping gases by means of the equipment, know-how, and realistic answers already at our disposal.
Elizabeth Kolbert. Field Notes from a Catastrophe New York. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; (2007).
Gore Albert. Earth in the balance: forging a new common purpose. London: Earthscan. (2007).
Lafreniere F. Gilbert. The decline of nature: environmental history and the western world view. Palo Alto, CA: Academica Press. (2008).
Mary, H. Cooper. Global Warming. Are limits on greenhouse gas emissions needed? CQ Researcher. 1996 • Volume 6, Issue 41.
Michaels J Patrick. Meltdown the predictable distortion of global warming by scientists, politicians, and the media. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. (2007).
McKibben Bill; Step it up Team; et al. Fight global warming now: the handbook for taking action in your community. New York: Henry Holt. (2007).
Philander S. George. Is the temperature rising? Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. (1998).
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Singer S. Fred; Avery T Dennis. Unstoppable global warming: every 1500 years. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. (2007).
Weart R Spencer. The discovery of global warming. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. (2003).