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Global warming can be defined as the increasing average temperature in the atmosphere. Generally, the increase in global temperatures leads to the rising of sea level, hence changing the pattern of precipitation (Houghton, et al 53). Global warming can also be caused by green house gasses in the atmosphere, which lead to rising temperatures. The earth’s atmosphere mainly comprises of about 78% of nitrogen and 21% of oxygen, with water vapor and some green gases also available (Farrar 8).
During the day, the green house gasses trap heat, and then radiate some of it to the earth, which soaks it up. However, the proportion of these green house gasses has increased with time, resulting to global warming. Burning of fossil fuels, petroleum, and natural gases contributes to global warming, which is harmful to the planet; however, it is a slow process, which results to massive repercussions.
Causes of global warming
Carbon dioxide emission is a by-product of energy production, which is the largest among green house gasses that contribute to global warming. This gas emerges from combustion of fossil fuels, which include automobiles, industrial production such as metal production, coal, oil and gas from factories (World Bank 147). Due to the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on the climate, most countries, through the famous Kyoto protocol, agreed to reduce on carbon emissions by 20% by the year 2010.
Some of the main causes of carbon emissions are electricity generation, industrial processes and construction, fumes from vehicles, airplane fumes and domestic heating. Burning of fossil fuels such as gas, coal, and petroleum leads to the release of carbon dioxide. Deforestation can also contribute to the emission of carbon dioxide, since the carbon that is sequestered in trees is released to the atmosphere when trees are cut down.
In addition, transportation contributes to the highest level of carbon emissions, as this industry comprises of vehicles, trains, boats and planes among others, all of which produce carbon dioxide fumes. Moreover, human beings contribute to the production of carbon dioxide through the use of electricity in lighting, air conditioning and heating services; indeed, frequent generation of electricity contributes to high levels of carbon emissions.
When carbon dioxide emissions are released to the air, they remain in the atmosphere for over 100 years, and with time causing the temperature on the earth to increase, which results to global warming. Surprisingly, green house gasses are essential to the survival of the planet, as their absence would result to a very cold atmosphere; however, their rapid increase contributes to global warming.
Effects of global warming
According to Leddy (139), global warming would result to the rapid melting of polar ice caps and mountain glaciers; hence, the level of coastal waters would rise, resulting to a change in pattern of droughts and rainfalls. This new patterns would result to extreme droughts and rainfalls, which would disrupt production of food in certain areas. Indeed, these increased temperatures change the habitats and disrupt the ecosystems, hence endangering animals (Farrar 11).
Global warming not only harms the environment, but it also contributes to insurance costs, which occur as a result of severe storms, floods and diseases, hence making health and natural disaster insurance more expensive. According to Stanford University (Para. 7), each increase of one degree Celsius of carbon dioxide is capable of causing up to 1000 deaths and respiratory complications such as asthma in human beings. These gasses in the atmosphere normally cause a greenhouse effect, which interferes with the earth’s temperature.
According to Kaczynski, et al, (2), global warming affects temperatures of a specific region, hence causing serious repercussions; for instance, the 2009 South-Eastern Australia heat wave was considered a result of global warming, where high temperatures were evident throughout the day and night, a situation that had never been experienced before.
This change in temperatures interfered with animal productivity, thus increasing mortality. Australia is one of the countries that were associated with high carbon emissions as a result of coal burning. The carbon emission in Australia was twice the growth rate for the entire world, hence the leading in carbon emissions among the developed nations.
Methane is also a green house gas that is harmful to the environment, since it traps heat in the atmosphere; mining of coal and oil produces methane. Methane is based in the ground, and since mining of coal requires digging, the process contributes to the escape of methane into the atmosphere.
Pollution is caused by fossil fuels, which are made of organic matter such as coal, thus when they are burnt, they produce carbon dioxide. Population is also a cause of global warming as more people require more food and means of transportation, resulting to burning of fossil fuels, for instance, use of gas burning cars.
In addition, most people own more that one car, hence contributing to the combustion of gasses in the atmosphere. A large population requires more food, and with some animals being a source of food, the manure emanating from such animals contributes to the release of methane gas into the atmosphere.
Human beings breathe out carbon dioxide, and continued cutting of trees, which convert carbon dioxide in to oxygen, to create more land for houses due to the growing population leads to global warming. However, these trees are not being replaced, while human beings are over-utilizing natural resources, and not giving anything in return.
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According to Maslin (7), Global warming results to change in temperatures, which acts as a threat to the living species; for instance, the winter of 2001 in England was the wettest season in history, while the heat wave of 2003 resulted to the deaths of more that 35,000 people in Europe.
The IPCC report also indicates that there is a chance of the global temperatures to rise by 5.8 degrees Celsius, which is harmful to the environment and human beings. The continuous rising of carbon dioxide levels is a threat to the planet. Therefore, effective mechanisms have to be put in place in order to reduce global warming before it is too late for our planet.
To curb global warming, a number of initiatives must be put in place; the use of clean energy has proven to be advantageous, cheaper, and reliable than the rest. Though expensive initially, it is both safer for mankind and the environment. Unlike the combustion of fossil fuels that lead to huge emissions in the air which cause respiratory complications and increase the rate of mortality due to inhaling of such gasses, the clean energy is not harmful human beings at all. It is also not pollutant, thus creating a clean environment for all.
Burning of fossil fuels results to emission of green house gases that affect the atmosphere’s temperatures, leading to global warming; hence causing drought or heavy rains that could lead to floods. Renewable resources are advantageous, since they enhance diversity in energy supply and they also reduce the huge gas emissions. They also allow access of energy supplies to rural areas as well as creating new opportunities for employment. They utilize and conserve fossil fuels for future use and secure unlimited sources of energy.
The clean renewable energy includes solar power, water power and wind power. Renewable resources have attractive features that include enhancement of diversity in energy supply and reduction of huge gas emissions.
They also allow access of energy supplies to rural areas, create new opportunities for employment, and they utilize and conserve fossil fuels for future use, as well as securing unlimited sources of energy. Since burning of fossil fuels contributes towards global warming, it would be wise if countries switched to the use of natural energy that is cheap and less pollutant (Dell & Rand: 27).
Kyoto protocol is aimed at fighting global warming globally, therefore, member countries should enhance on reducing carbon emissions, by resulting to clean energy, which is safer for both the environment and living species.
Limits should be set on global warming, such that, those involved in large emissions of carbon dioxide should be fined; this move will encourage a clean energy world. By fining the polluters, the money raised can aid in investing in clean energy, therefore boosting clean energy industries, which will create jobs for majority of people.
These industries will maximize on solar panels, and wind turbines in an effort to boost clean energy. Manufacturing of fuel–efficient cars, which will save on gas, would be a viable investment towards eliminating global warming. Building homes that maximize on energy saving by installing energy efficient systems, for instance, lighting, cooling, and heating systems; this strategy will assist home owners in saving on energy costs and cutting down on global warming too.
Investing on public transit can reduce transport pollution, since most people will avoid driving and prefer walking to shorter distances. Indeed, less driving means less cars on the roads, thus low pollution. Nevertheless, global warming is a situation that affects everyone, therefore, the task of reducing it should not only be left to the government; instead, individuals should also work towards reducing pollution by engaging in activities that are environment friendly.
Global warming effects lead to a high expense on government; therefore, in order to reduce disasters, it is important for a country to put effective measures in place in order to prevent losses. Global warming effects are serious, and not only affect the environment, but the human beings and animals as well. Clean energy sources such as water, solar and wind are natural resources that are easily affordable, reliable and environmental friendly.
Nevertheless, strict laws should be imposed to deal with the massive pollutants; this strategy will discourage pollution and force industries to maximize on clean energy activities. Global warming should therefore be a concern of every individual, as its repercussions affects everyone; hence, enhancing environmentally friendly activities should be a major concern for human beings.
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Farrar, Amy. Global Warming, Essential Viewpoints. Minnesota: ABDO Publisher, 2007. Print.
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Kuczynski, Tadeusz Et al. “Impact of global climate change on the health, welfare and productivity of intensively housed livestock”. International Journal of Agricultural & Biological Engineering, 4.2 (2011): 1-22. Print.
Leddy, Jim. The Simple Truth. NY: Xulon Press publisher, 2008. Print.
Maslin, Mark. Global Warming: Causes, Effects, and the Future, World life library. MN: MBI Publishing Company, 2007. Print.
Stanford University. “Carbon Dioxide Emissions Linked to Human Mortality.” ScienceDaily, 3 Jan. 2008. 3 November 2011. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080103135757.htm
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