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Green house effect is described as the rise in greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), carbon dioxide, nitrous compounds, vapor and methane which leads to trapping of infrared radiations in the planetary atmosphere leading to a phenomenon known as global warming.
The process of greenhouse effect happens naturally in turn heating the surface of the earth and that of the atmosphere, hence altering the earth’s energy balance. Nevertheless, if the greenhouse effect was absent, the planet could not be habitable since temperatures would be too low to support life.
The Components of Greenhouse Effect
When solar energy gets to the earth through the atmosphere, a fraction is replicated by clouds to the atmosphere. Another fraction is absorbed by particles, clouds, the ozone and other atmospheric gases.
Moreover, another fraction of the solar energy is reflected back to the atmosphere by the earth surface and only fifty one percent of radiation from the sun reaches the earth surface. The solar energy that reaches the earth surface is utilized in various ways which includes melting the glacier, evaporation, photosynthesis and as a source of heat.
The solar energy heats the surface of the earth such that it radiates long wave energy or infrared to the atmosphere although the greenhouse gases absorb the larger fraction of the radiation.
The long wave radiation absorbed by the space rises the temperature of the earth and the atmosphere and the heated greenhouse gases radiate long wave radiations allover and majority of it is redirected to the surface and its absorbed, radiates and the cycle continues. The greenhouse gases such as emission of carbon dioxide has been rising due to human activities such as industrialization, combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation (Houghton, 2004)
The Nature of Risks Posed by the Greenhouse Effect
As a result of greenhouse effect, global warming due to the blanketing of infrared radiations occurs which may result to several risks. Warmth is crucial especially for those inhabiting cold regions. However, climatic change results from the rise in global temperatures. The changes could be incorporated in the lifestyle of human if they occurred in a gradual way (Houghton, 2004).
The most hit areas are forestry, health, fishing and farming. Other effects of global warming encompass food and water, settlement, health, socioeconomic growth and environmental effects. Global warming leads to rising oceans which may flood the lowlands hence, affecting the organisms living on the islands and this interferes with the food chain and may even cause their extinction.
Rising ocean temperatures could be attributed to violent hurricane which occurs frequently. The ocean’s water may rise in temperature and this may affect the algae leading to their death. Some regions will experience droughts and inadequate water which may lead to expansion of deserts. Other regions such as the Polar Regions experiences melting of glacier which rise ocean levels. All these risk factors end up causing huge economic losses in the world (Smith, 2008).
Clean Air Act in Response to the Greenhouse Effect
The Clean Air Act aim at safeguarding the health of the American citizens as well as protect the environment. The Act was passed in 1990 by Congress under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It appears as Title forty two chapter eighty five in the United States Code. It reflects the government’s efforts in dealing with the problem of global warming. The Clean Air Act was passed to deal with the problem of air pollution.
People’s health is crucial and should be safeguarded and the Act makes provisions for the industries to consider citizen’s health as they manufacture products. It states that firms should be keen at the air pollutants emitted and their effects to the people and the atmosphere. Some products such as foam cups and sprays produce volatile organic compounds, CFCs and carbon dioxide when used which may become hazardous.
The products stated in the Clean Air Act should bear instructions to users on their environmental effect. Additionally, the Clean Air Act affects automobiles to try decrease pollution effects due to the harmful pollutants they release. Air pollution affects individual’s health and may cause chronic as well as acute ailments which may range from respiratory diseases to cancer (Belden, 2001).
The nature of trace gases and their ability to allow solar energy to pass through while blocking the radiated energy emanating from the surface of the earth is very significant since it is only through the process that life in the planet habitable.
However if not addressed appropriately, greenhouse effect may cause hazardous effects to the environment and more so to the organisms. Environmental statutes such as the Clean Air Act enable the government to address the issue of air pollution and enforce appropriate laws regarding the environment.
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Such statutes should be adopted by every country globally to meet the hazardous effects arising from release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Climatic change and its consequences can be evaluated and solved through mitigation which deals with eliminating or minimizing the causes or through adaptation which targets at eliminating the effects of global warming.
Belden, R. (2001). Clean Air Act. Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association.
Houghton, J. (2004). Global Warming; The Complete Briefing. 3Ed. Cambridge, United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.
Smith, Z. (2008). The Environmental Policy Paradox. 5th Ed. New Jersey, USA: Prentice Hall Publishers.