|← Neil Young’s Conservation of the Environment||Environmental Leadership and Climate Change →|
Humans being evolving industrious beings have over time made scientific and industrial progress. The advancement in technology and rapid increase in human population in the world have led to increased usage of fossil fuels. Developments and advances in industrial inputs and outputs have led to increased demand on usage of fuel. The critical and readily available sources of fuel in the world are fossil fuels. Therefore, man has opted to maximize his potential by utilizing fossil fuels as the significant source of energy in industrial and domestic appliances.
Climate change has been occurring gradually over time as human activities continued to pollute the atmosphere with impurities and harmful gasses. The processes involving burning of fossil fuels lead to gasses like carbon dioxide being emitted in the atmosphere. According to The Scientific Basis report on climate change, “Carbon dioxide is the Dominant human-influenced greenhouse gas, with a current radiative forcing of 1.46 Wm−2, being 60% of the total from changes in concentrations of all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases” (Base Scientific) contributes to the green house effect in the atmosphere. The Green house effect is characterized by raising shifts in atmospheric temperature. This is detrimental to climatic orientation across the world.
Aerosols, which are significantly fossil fuel impurities and gasses, are the highest contributor of shifts in climatic conditions. The burning of these fuels disposes carbon dioxide and other gasses into the atmosphere. Over time, human activities have led to more Carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. Carbon related gasses are characterized by increasing temperatures as the gaseous concentrations increase. The atmosphere, when concentrated with carbon dioxide is prone to increases in atmospheric temperatures, which prove to, be detrimental to climatic dispensations across the world.
The increases in carbon dioxide concentrations have been significantly high during the industrialization periods where more fossil fuels were burned to provide energy. In contrast to pre-industrialization periods where human activities required minimal burning of fossil fuels, the concentrations of carbon emissions were low. Therefore, atmospheric concentrations were stable in comparison to the industrialization period.
Climatic change has pronounced negative effects on the environment and human population. Though, the critical factor in global warming has been human activities, humans are the significant victims of their own actions. Increased concentrations in aerosols as a result of burning fossil fuels have lead to depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone blankets the earth from ultraviolet radiation emissions from the sun. Its depletion by these emissions has led to a significant weakening of the ozone hence emissions of ultraviolet radiation. This radiation has the effect of increasing the atmospheric temperatures. This results into global warming and subsequent shifts in climatic conditions.
The increase in atmospheric temperatures leads to melting of icecaps leading to abnormal increases in sea levels. These have adverse effects as it creates adverse weather patterns which prove disruptive to essential human activities like agriculture. Ecosystems in these regions are destroyed with some becoming extinct. According to Pittok, “changes in the frequency and severity of extreme events are expected, and will be likely a major cause of damages to ecosystems, crops and society”. Instances of adverse weather patterns leading to disasters like abnormal, heavy rain fall; characterized by floods, and destruction of lives and infrastructure in most cases. In some cases prolonged periods of drought due to lack of adequate rain.
The argument as to human activities being the dominant contributor of climate change remains undisputed given the facts. Scientific facts have established a direct link between human activities like fossil-fuel burning, to adverse climatic changes that keep on being experienced. Climatic conditions, normal environmental conditions, compositions and patterns are, according to the American Geophysical Union position statement on climate change, “Changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity” (AGU Position statement).
The projected effects of continued unmitigated release of fossil-fuel emissions are a threat not only to human life, but to the entire biodiversity across the planet. Though human activities are the predominant aspect of Climatic changes, it proves difficult to sufficiently control the emission of fossil fuels. The need for clean sources of energy which do not require burning of fuels or emissions of gasses into the atmosphere is critical. It is evident that the continued use of fossil fuel will lead to irreparable damages to the earth’s climatic compositions and ecosystems. Erratic weather patterns like El Niño and shifts in the earth’s crust as a result of increased pressure from rising sea levels leading to tsunamis are catastrophic to life.
Fossil fuels, though have contributed to industrialization and development of numerous civilizations are in retrospect a danger to the same. Therefore, the desire to develop especially to the undeveloped world seeking to be at par with the developed world should be encouraged to use alternative sources of energy. In these developing economies, fossil fuel emissions are significant and are the most affected by the resulting adverse effects of climate change. Human activities are continuous in nature; therefore, lasting solutions for the alternative energy sources are essential as are mitigating measures to control the already existing climate changes.
The dangers and vulnerabilities involved in climate change can be significantly attributed to human activities. Essentially the burning of fossil fuel and general disposal of aerosols in the atmosphere should be put in stringent, controlled measures across all industries. Unless this is done with expediency, humans are exposed at relatively high risk of destructive climatic conditions over time. It is necessary to create awareness of these dangers and to dedicate resources to research in clean, renewable energy sources which have no effects to the atmosphere or climatic conditions.