The Earth’s temperature is maintained by balance between the energy emitted from the sun and re-emission of the same into the atmosphere. This balance can be altered if certain atmospheric gases are injected into the atmospheric system.
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Energy from the sun is radiated back into the atmosphere in form of long wave radiation which is then held back by these greenhouse gases. If the condition becomes extreme, it results into a general global temperature rise leading to a phenomenon called global warming.
There has been increasing awareness over the past few years over the devastating effects of global warming. The political class, research scientists and the general public have voiced their concerns and views on the global warming debate. The proponents of this debate argue that unhealthy human activities have significantly changed the climate patterns of the world, probably to the worst state.
Those who oppose this point of view assert that the concept of global warming is just a creation of the mind and not a reality. They feel that the world has ever been hotter than it is today and that whatever is being experienced today are mere climatic variations which are not permanent.
The arguments presented in this paper will expound the causes of global warming and its potential impacts to the human race. It is evident that aspects of climate change are being experienced and deeply felt in most parts of the planet today. For this reason, mitigation strategies are necessary and not the politics behind it.
There is a natural greenhouse effect that keeps the temperature of the earth in a certain state with expected continual increase. The available greenhouses responsible for the narrow band of temperature found on earth include carbon dioxide, methane and Nitrogen dioxide. It has been estimated that concentration of these gases in the atmosphere lead to change in the average temperature of the earth.
For instance, in the last one century, scientists have directly linked the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere with the increase in temperature of the earth. These gases are released from different sources. Carbon dioxide, which is considered as the chief green house gas, is released from combustion of fossils and deforestation.
Nitrogen dioxide is chiefly emitted from industries during industrial processes while methane released from a combination of industrial and agricultural processes. Predictions of future climate warming changes are hard to be accurate but serious estimations from IPCC indicate a climate change of from 2.3-4.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This change is thought to cause devastating consequences on earth.
Problems associated with global warming
Some of the most important questions we should be asking ourselves are for example, what effect will we have in consideration of the rise in sea level? Will water volume impact us negatively?
What about food availability to the population? Will the ecology be in any harm and will man also be affected? If we can get the right response to each of these questions, then we will be in a position to address global warming in totality and without bias.
The change in climate will automatically lead to changes on earth. To begin with, earth snow resources which include snow on mountains and other parts will melt and lead to formation of water. This water will flow to oceans and seas and lead to a rise in sea levels. The rise in sea levels will negatively alter the lifestyles of people near coastline.
Due to increased temperatures on natural ecosystems animal and plant life will shift towards the poles and cause loss of reefs, mangroves and other species found here. Associated droughts will lead to reduced agricultural produces and thus cause hunger especially in the developing world. Increased sea levels would lead to increased storms which will be severe and frequent.
There will be creation of geopolitical instabilities in regions experiencing climate change. Serious droughts and heat waves are bound to increase and lead to catastrophic deaths. For instance the sea wave that killed more than 20,000 people in Europe back in 2003 is thought to be as a result of climate change.
Primary causes of global warming/climate change
The exact causes of global warming have not yet been established. Scientific linkages to greenhouses have been considered sufficient in explanation of the causes of global warming. Scientific facts reveal that global warming is caused by the blanketing abilities of the Greenhouse gases available in the atmosphere. These greenhouses gases discussed above trap different amounts from escaping the earth and thus lead to rise in temperatures.
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For instance methane is has been proved to trap the highest capacity, as much as 21 times that of carbon dioxide. But the major greenhouse gas attributed to global warming is carbon dioxide due to its abundance over all the other greenhouse gases.
Carbon dioxide is released from industrial activities such combustion of fuel and petroleum related products. This gas is very important for plants for in the processes of photosynthesis. As a result, it gets regulated by the presence of enough plants.
But under overproduction of the gas, its levels continue to increase in the atmosphere due to frequent releases and continual depletion of resources, forestation, that reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus leading to over-accumulation of the gas in the atmosphere.
This over-accumulation now leads to great trapping of carbon dioxide hence leading to causal of global warming. Practices such fossil fuel and biomass burning, deforestation and continued industrial activities have been identified as the primary causes accumulation of carbon dioxide in the air and thus the primary causes of global warming.
Stakeholders on each side of the issue and their positions
Since it has been identified that global warming is catastrophic, identification of stakeholders has taken a critical dimension for comprehension of the situation. Contributors of slight changes in the availabilities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been named as stakeholders. Governments and policy makers play a critical role in climate change.
Their policies are thought to be influential since they are responsible for implementation of the policies. Industrial giants and others are stakeholders as far as energy needs are concerned.
They are responsible for production and accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Lately, it has been identified that almost each individual plays a critical role in changing the climate and thus inclusion of each individual to the stakeholders’ list is under consideration.
Our future climate will entirely rely on legislative measures enacted by nations. Scientists have successfully put the much needed research into the changing climate pattern. This information is vital only if it is adopted by governments both from the rich and poor countries.
The politics of environmental conservation should be a thing of the past. It is disgusting to learn that no single country is ready to swallow its pride and pursue a ‘reduced emission policy’ o f green house gases. Even if scientific extrapolations are not impeccable, we have lived through the most trying climatic times coupled with turbulent weather.
Ethical reasoning: Alternatives that might be pursued to address the issue
A conflict resolution is a very sensitive are of human interaction. As such it greatly affects decision making process and thus the general lifestyles of human beings. Due to this effect, careful examination of involved parties is significant in peaceful and happy solution arrival.
Since global warming is an issue which creates a conflicting situation, close examination of the implication of decisions arrived in the process is very important in making consensus decisions in companies and governments. This is where philosophical concepts come in and they relate as discussed below.
Virtue ethics demand examination of human values and character. In the process of decision making and implementation process as global warming is concerned, all involved stakeholder must examine their virtues and character as regards good and bad concerning their actions.
Dedication to good character is preferred in this theory although there is a clear lack of definition of a good set of virtues. Thus the involved stakeholders in global warming should examine their virtues and character in the process of implementation of decisions.
Secondly utilitarian theory seeks to determine the amount of good produced after a specific action. This theory considers makes comparison of involved costs and benefits in resulting to a specific action although there are clear limitations as regards measurement of human costs as concerns global warming all parties should examine their actions and the associated benefits resulting from costs.
This theory seems to align to business as usual as different parties give justification of their good and actions as valid. This theory is hugely employed in the world today whereby different stakeholders are justifying their actions based on the benefits they acquire from them.
Thirdly, human rights theory seeks to determine whether particular parties have been granted their rights in approaching a certain situation. This theory proposes the rights of people to exist in their environment with access to food and shelter without barrier and thus experience life.
This theory protects all individual in the same level and thus makes no exceptions. As regards decision making in global warming, this theory would lead to insistence on decisions and actions that would be of low harm to humans for example in the automotive industry.
Lastly, the theory of social justice seeks recognition of all involved people and cultures with examination of their rights, equal treatment and equal exposure to opportunities. This theory defines the society as equal with all elements impacting it in the same way. This theory brings the most commendable alternative in crisis solutions and should thus be adopted in solution arrivals
It is evident that global warming effects are devastating. With a collaborative approach, negative future impacts could be prevented through a harmonized approach.
Consideration of ethical reasoning is imperative in consensus arrival. It is also important that all involved stakeholder take into account effective implementation through consideration of each party as equal in role play and implementation process by adoption of social justice theory.