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Despite the opposition from people who deny the existence of climate change, its effects are becoming apparent. More frequent and intense hurricanes, increase in the overall temperature of Earth, and subsequent changes in climate in various parts of the world have a number of negative consequences for humanity. Aside from directly visible effects such as weather changes, climate change is responsible for a number of more subtle but significant effects, such as the negative effects on agriculture, poverty, and children from developing countries. This paper will examine the issue of global warming, two possible solutions to it, its effect on the UAE and what I as an individual can do to affect it.
Since the early 1990s, the annual mean temperature of the Earth has been growing. Times of great conflict such as World War II brought significant spikes in temperature, but since the 1970s the temperature only increased, with an annual average of 0.99 C being recorded in 2016 (Figure 1). Climate change is caused by a variety of factors. One such factor is the greenhouse effect that causes the atmosphere of the planet to become warmer due to absorption and subsequent release of infrared light by gases. Human-created pollutants are also a factor, especially the creation of CO2 emissions and aerosols into the atmosphere.
In recent years the effects of hurricanes, forest fires, and other natural disasters have become more intense, and a variety of research is focused on the cause of this change. Climate change is seen as one of the primary causes due to the way that warmer temperatures affect hurricanes and other wind-related disasters (Holland & Bruyère, 2014; Launder & Emanuel, 2015). The effects of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey on the United States and surrounding areas have caught a lot of attention from the media due to the size of the affected area. Hurricane Harvey caused 100 fatalities and became the costliest tropical cyclone on record with almost $200 billion in damages. Hurricane Irma caused 134 fatalities and caused more than $60 billion in damages. It is important to note that these are only two of the hurricanes of the season where more than 16 storms were predicted. The season itself has already become the costliest on record and caused almost 500 deaths across the world (“NHC Data Archive,” 2017). While countries like the United States are likely to deal with the consequences, developing countries and island nations may never recover from such an event. A study on children that live in developed countries affected by climate change has found that they are at risk of malnutrition, poverty, and water poisoning (Hanna & Oliva, 2016). These issues can lead to the poor development and eventual collapse of the economy.
One of the possible ways to mitigate the issue is a change to transport regulations. Currently, transport-created CO2 emissions represent 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions in the world. However, the worldwide reliance on fossil fuels causes the majority of politicians to be hesitant of implementing strict restrictions on their use. Therefore, the change can come from an increase in electric transport popularity and efficiency. In recent years the idea of an electric car became more welcome by populations around the world, and some nations have begun to focus transport manufacturing and infrastructure on the electric type of vehicle. While more significant steps still need to be taken, it is still a viable way of mediating the issue of climate change (Creutzig et al., 2015).
Another possible solution lies in changing the manufacturing standards with a focus on a lower level of carbon emissions. A variety of materials exist that when used, produce fewer carbon emissions than the current methods. The new standards can also be focused on the increase in efficiency and sustainability in the work practices. The current effective but highly toxic methods of manufacturing have enabled many corporations to seek profit with no regard for the environment. New regulations would force such companies to seek cleaner sources of production (Potvin & Jodoin, 2015).
Effect on the UAE
Climate change affects the UAE in a variety of ways. The rising sea levels are likely to have a significant effect on the country’s infrastructure in the coming decades. It is estimated that over 5000 km2 might be lost to the rising sea levels by 2100. The dust storms have become much more frequent and intense over the last ten years. This change has made hydration problematic in the areas where dust storms are prominent. They may also cause dangerous compounds that were created by pollution to be spread over the area (Pain & Abdelfattah, 2015).
What I Can Do
As an individual, I can spread the information about possible solutions to the issue. While personally, I can be more responsible about the level of pollution that I create by using an electric car or lobbying for cleaner energy, I can increase my impact by organizing awareness campaigns that would spread the word about the issue.
Climate change is a serious issue that threatens humanity as a whole. Natural disasters, loss of agriculture and subsequent malnutrition show the consequences of careless pollution. However, this issue can be mitigated with cleaner production and transport.
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