This research paper reflects on global warming as a whole, what causes global warming, its effects, its importance if any to the world and human life. The paper also emphasizes the reasons why global warming arises and how it can be prevented. The great disadvantages of global warming are highlighted.
Global warming is the rise in the average temperature of the atmosphere and the earth’s oceans. Global warming has been there and it is said to have occurred through human activities. Such activities include cutting of trees/deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, and especially the increased concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere.
According to a study carried out at the University of Chicago between 2002 and 2004 found that global warming can be reduced significantly if nations signed agreements to reduce carbon emissions. It was however determined that if this was possible, there would be repercussions of the move especially to the citizens of the US. As much as the efforts to reduce the rate of global warming are concerned it is clear that embarking on cutting down on nation’s emissions would impact its citizens in different ways that could be harmful to the economy. If to achieve the goal of is co remove all sources of the emissions of the carbon, this means that all automobiles would be required to do away with fossil fuels and only use sources of energy that produce zero carbon emission.
U.S. and China as of the period between 2000 and 2004 have been the greatest carbon dioxide emitters. The study by University of Chicago shows argues that if leading emitters and other significantly contributing emitters were to be taxed per ton of carbon dioxide they emit to the atmosphere would to some point reduce the rate at which global warming advances. However, the research showed that at approximately $70 million per ton to address the issue, US would not be a benefiting party of the agreement or the treaty. The reason for this is the fact that, global warming is not a one party calamity. If all emitters cut down on their contribution, the damage done before then would significant affect all the players.
The major emitters of carbon dioxide as noted on a second study by the University of Chicago in 2007 argue that they will remain to be so. Leaders in the emission of carbon dioxide would try all they can to be termed otherwise with all sorts of measures. However, there is a group of potential polluters that are not addressed; the developing countries stand a better chance of becoming the leading carbon emitters of the future. With this in mind, we can argue that countries like China and India would remain as potential leading carbon dioxide emitters with the entire of Africa posing a threat of taking over from them. There is a significant shift in the emissions of carbon dioxide, when the leaders’ contribution is subsiding, the rest are advancing as potential emitters. The case of Germany and Russia had the same scenario; they were once the leading carbon dioxide emitters, with time they cut of their emissions significantly but on the other hand, China and India popped into the image taking up the deteriorating ‘responsibility’ of emission from Germany and Russia.
Global warming damage will be done all through the world by the year 2100, it is however not clear at what estimates the studies showed. The main losers of the global warming war would be the third world countries. It is argued that wealthy states have a higher capability of dealing with the consequences better than the poorer nations. This fact is because wealthy nations do not rely on agriculture as the poorer nations do. Global warming and the resulting consequences have always affected mostly the agricultural sector than any other of any country. Wealthy countries are also found on the cooler altitudes where the warming would not be felt as greatly as those poor nations lying within the tropics and high temperature zones.
Measures of world leading emitters of carbon dioxide have embarked on measures to reduce every state’s emissions. Some of the measures include the Kyoto protocol linked to the UN convention on climate change. The purpose of the Kyoto protocol is to bring all the 37 industrialized nations and the European nations together in an effort to reduce Green House Gas emissions in all the nations. The difference between the protocol and the convention is that the convention encourages nations to cut down on Green House Gas emissions; the protocol commits the nations to do so. Given that the developed countries are the major players on Green House Gas emissions, the protocol applies the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities to impose heavy burdens to the Green House Gas emitters. In this sense that where the major players in the emissions are fined according to the amount of Green House Gases they emit to the atmosphere.
The problem of global warming
Global warming exists where there is emission of gases. This is through almost all human activities. This includes activities like deforestation, industries and transport that lead to emission of increased quantities of gases in particular carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This increases the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so much that the normal carbon dioxide level becomes harmful instead of useful to living things. In his book, John Theodore Houghton stated that in every year these emissions from human activities add to the carbon dioxide already present a further seven thousand million tones whereby much of it is most likely to remain there for hundreds of years. This is a huge problem caused by global warming since excessive carbon levels into the atmosphere are harmful to living things on earth. Plants will tend to grow immaturely and unhealthy. This is because carbon dioxide is a good absorber of heat radiation coming from the earth’s surface. Increased carbon dioxide will tend to create a kind of blanket that keeps the earth warmer than it would otherwise be. This increased in global temperature will lead to unwanted climate changes that don’t suit certain living things i.e. plants.
Global warming basically refers to the average increase in the global temperatures. The green house gasses such as carbon dioxide cause the increase in these gasses to the atmosphere. Most human activities and natural events cause the increase in the global temperatures. Global warming has positive and negative effects but this varies from place to place whilst the negative impacts are the greatest. This paper will focus on the benefits of global warming no mater how minute, the impacts that global warming has to the world, the problems associated with global warming and the challenges of global warming.
Importance of global warming
Although the negative impacts of global warming are many, there are some positive effects.
Research has it that warmer temperatures will actually reduce the probability of the hurricanes happening. Increase in temperatures will lead to long summers that will in turn lead to a longer growing season. Global warming leads to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is essential for plants during photosynthesis. It acts as a free airborne air fertilizer, which will lead to increased crop production as long as global warming does not cause massive drought that will destroy the crops. Global warming will lead to a booming business. This is for the reason that the Arctic Ocean would be completely open creating a new trade route from the Atlantic to Asia. It is normally traversable in the summer but global warming would open it for the whole year. This will not only save money but will also lead to great business in the North.
Global warming could also lead to fewer deaths of people. Assuming there are no wars over scarce resources such as food, sea levels caused by global warming will replace the cold winters that kill many people. Global temperatures increasing would also mean that people would not spend too much money on heating bills and in healthcare facilities. A study conducted showed warmer winters could save up to forty thousand lives in a single year in the united states alone, mostly to the young people and the elderly from such illnesses like pneumonia. Summer fun will also increase since as the dates are based on the sunlight and not the temperature. Due to the sun, there will b more outdoor activities than the indoor activities. The Antarctic, arctic, Siberia and other parts of the earth that are always frozen will experience more mild climates and plant growth. The disputes usually caused between countries over low-lying islands will no longer be there since the islands will disappear.
Impacts of global warming
Although some parts of the world will still have cold temperatures, most parts will experience high temperatures caused by the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Global warming will have a great impact to not only people but to the environment as well. Most scientists believe that the increase in global temperatures will lead to very extreme weather patterns like: longer periods of heavy rainfall or dry heat depending on where a person is in the world; more draught and hurricanes; the Himalayan glaciers would draw back which would lead to its scarcity; and the arctic will melt leading to fresh waters drifting further south. Hurricanes will also occur due to global warming such as the one that happened in 2004 where a stern hurricane left many part of the southeastern United States and Caribbean island devastated due to loss of lives and property.
The odds of various ecosystems to adopt naturally are thinning because global warming has lead to the decrease of species’ habitats. Great changes have been experienced since the industrial revolution on the rates at which plant and animal species are becoming distinct following the temperatures increase. Following analysis on population trends, pollution and diseases, it has been found that the environmental factors play the greatest role in all of the factors. Global warming will also lead to such impacts as a collapse of ecological and biological systems that will take a long time to recover, and the extinction of many plant and animal species, which will lead to an environmental crisis. Climate change will also lead to many pests and diseases, which will also lead to the death of many plants and animals.
When water is heated, it expands; therefore, due to climate change, sea levels are expected to rise. Rising sea levels will not only lead to the melting of polar caps but also to the loss of many lives by the people living around the coastal regions and those living in the islands. The released carbon dioxide in the atmosphere combines with water in the ocean and other water bodies to form carbonic acid. This changes the PH of water, which further affects the aquatic life by killing them.
Other impacts of global warming include desertification and draught caused by food shortages due to the high temperatures hat lead to a low crop yield. Many livelihoods (and the agricultural sector) are also affected greatly due to the hot weather that is experienced throughout the season in the subtropics and tropics. These are some of the impacts of global warming though they are not exhaustive.
Problems and challenges of global warming
Most of the problems associated with global warming have actually been discussed under the impacts of global warming. Most of the impacts of global warming are actually negative leading to losses of plant and animal lives as well as humans. Some of the very common problems of global warming are: increased migration of people from the poorer to the wealthier countries in search of non-deadly conditions; increased air pollution caused by emission of the greenhouse gasses; additional usage of energy sources for cooling purposes due to the increased temperatures; the melting of permafrost will lead to landslides, destruction of structures, and avalanches, increased and intense forest fires due to the earlier drying of forests and an increase in he acidity of rain. The costs of insurance will also hike since the insurers will be concentrating more on the people who have been caught up by large disasters. Many people will become more aggressive which will increase the murder rates among the people.
More effects of global warming
If global warming is not tackled fast enough, it will have specific impacts now and in the future. Some of its effects are the following.
a) It may lead to spread of diseases
Disease carrying insects usually migrate to the north as the northern countries warm up. These insects carry with them viruses that are do not have immunity thus may lead to many deaths in the human population.
b) It may cause floods and droughts
As global warming progresses, strong shifts in precipitation patterns occurs thus making some areas of the earth become wetter and others to experience heavy droughts. Global warming causes the air to become warmer leading to an increased chance of stronger and life threatening storms as warmer air brings heavier storms. It also leads to occurrence of heavy rains due to the warmer air which has the ability of holding more water vapor than the cooler air. Increased floods and droughts will greatly affect human safety as well as the economy.
c) It will lead to a population risk
Low lying coastal areas with large population in both the developed and developing countries will be greatly affected by the projected sea level that will arise as a result of global warming. Climate change will also impinge on sustainable development. This will call for heavy industrialization and urbanization which greatly needs natural resources for their achievement. This industrialization will create immense amounts of greenhouse gases thus depleting the natural resources needed for further development of the country.
d) It may lead to an economic disaster
Due to the disasters associated with global warming, disaster reliefs will be called upon which will take a heavy toll on the world’s economy thus making it very expensive. The diseases caused by global warming are also so expensive to treat and will in turn affect the economy.
Measures to be taken so as to reduce global warming
Due to the adverse effects caused by global warming, specific measures should be taken so as to help in reducing global warming. The following are some of the measures that should be taken.
a) Different personal actions
Greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through different small actions. The first action to be taken should be that of the reduction of the electricity use in the house. This can lead to a reduction in global warming as it contributes more to global warming than the average car. A change in emissions can be met with the switching to energy efficient lighting or the reduction the energy needed for heating or cooling. An improvement of vehicle fuel efficiency can also lead to the above reduction. Purchasing of a fuel efficient car or less driving can also impact in reducing the green house gas emissions. Lastly recycling also greatly reduces the energy needed to create new products.
Increasing the forests will help alleviate global warming because plants usually absorb the green house gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere for photosynthesis to take place, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy by living organisms. This will help reduce one significant greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
c) Coming up with a climate policy
Global warming can also be reduced by coming up with a policy that: will reduce emissions through technology improvements and dissemination, improve the efficiency of energy use and voluntary programs with the industry. Green house emissions can also be reduced through international cooperation.
Most scientists have accepted that human beings are contributing mostly to the climate change. World leaders have been called upon by the National science academies to come up with policies that will help in cutting global emissions. Climate change scenarios have been challenged by different organizations such as the Libertarian competitive Enterprise Institute, Conservative commentators among other companies. Environmental organizations and public figures have also emphasized on changes in the current climate and the risks they pose while promoting the adaptation to changes in infrastructural needs and emission reductions. Policies to reduce global warming have also been called upon by some fossil fuel companies.
Most of the impacts of global warming have been negative therefore it should be avoided under all circumstances as it affects the environment in a great manner. To reduce it people should also be educated on the effects and causes of it so that they can help in its reduction as they greatly contribute to the climate which is a factor that causes it.