- June 20, 2020
Global warming is among the major critical and controversial topicsin physical science, which has received lots of attention in thetwenty-first century. It refers to an increase in average globaltemperatures, which are due to human activities and natural events.According to the climate scientists, the planet is becoming hot everyday as the sun heat is trapping the earth’s surface. They believethat the high emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasesare the primary sources of global warming. Further, they predict thatif nothing is done, average global temperature will increase by threedegrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century. The maincontributors to global warming are natural and anthropogenicactivities.
Anthropogenic climate change refers to human-related causes of globalwarming. They include trash dumping, burning of fossils, airpollution, deforestation, and excessive use of chemical fertilizers,plastics, among others. On the other hand, natural climate changerefers to the changes that occur naturally, yet they are playing asignificant role in global warming. They include melting of glaciers,depletion of ozone layer, greenhouse effect, and volcanic eruptions.Unfortunately, it is complex to eliminate natural climate change,unlike anthropogenic change. According to Sternand Kaufmann (2014), natural climate change has beenhappening for many years, but they have nothing or little to do withhuman activities. However, if people can stop conducting activitiesthat emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, then, the rate ofglobal warming can reduce.
Further, the rates in which anthropogenic factors are causing globalwarming are high compared to natural factors. According to the reportof Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), anthropogenicactivities add up to ninety-five percent of the global warming. Theireffects have contributed to observed changes including extremesclimate changes, the rise of sea level, glacier retreat, declines inArctic ice extent, and Sahara greening. Every day, human beings areburning fossil fuels to generate electricity, and as a result, theyemit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Pittock(2013) states that carbon particles from anthropogenic activities arelighter than those emitted by natural factors combined. Scientists’research shows that there is an increase in the weight of lightercarbon molecules in the atmosphere due to deforestation and fossilfuels. This is evident in the emissions trends. Recent studies alsoshow that natural factors are rather in the cooling direction hence,eliminating human contribution (IntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change, 2015). For instance, solar andvolcanic activities cool the planet and lessen the amount ofradiation getting to the earth’s surface and atmosphere by blockingsun rays.
Both natural and anthropogenic climate changes have negativeconsequences on animals, plants, and human beings. Some of theminclude severe weather, high death rates, dirty atmosphere, and highwildlife extinction rates. As earth’s climate system change,disasters such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and storms emerge.The changing weather patterns make the dry areas to become drier, andvice versa. Ring,Lindner, Cross, and Schlesinger (2012) states globalwarming as a global health threat that affects all human beingsespecially children and people from minority groups and low-incomecommunities. As temperature increase, health related issues emerge.
Scholarlyarticles, researches, and studies provide enough evidence that indeedglobal warming is taking place. Furthermore, there are visible signsthat point out its effect especially on the current unseasonableweather patterns. For instance, National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration reported over ten disaster event that occurred inAmerica- including wildfires, droughts, floods, and severe storms in2014 (IntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change, 2015).In addition, it reports that hundreds of Americans die each year dueto direct or indirect effects of extreme heat-related illness.
Additionally,according to NASA report, there has been a rapid decline of theArctic sea ice thickness over the last several decades. Since 1979,it has decreased by approximately thirty percent (Sternet. al., 2014).Besides, precipitation patterns are as well changing. This trend isclearly visible in the Southwest of the United States, which seems toattain an arid climate. The annual precipitation totals in thePlains, Midwest, and Northwest have increased by twenty percent overthe last half a century. For the recent years, the Southeast UnitedStates has been experiencing more floods and droughts.
Also,American Geophysical Union states sea levels have risen by an averageof eight inches over the past one century (Sternet. al., 2014).In fact, the change is so rapidly than the scientists hadanticipated. This is happening in two ways the land-based ice sheetsand glaciers are melting while water bodies are expanding as itwarms. Besides, the coastal habitats are affected as salt-waterdeluges low-lying areas.
Among themitigation strategies for global warming are the use of carbon taxingand clean coal technology. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuelsespecially when burned, though it is the most important. For thisreason, the World Nuclear Association has suggested the use of cleancoal technologies minimize its further damages (IntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change, 2015).This strategy involves removing pollutants from the coal hence,burning it without producing carbon dioxide. However, this strategyshould as well consider energy modeling and technological costing.Carbon taxing is another effective mitigation plan. This is a form ofcarbon pricing whereby a government imposes taxes on the greenhousegas pollution. It is a powerful strategy because it encouragescompanies that burn coal to adopt greener practices, as well asinvest in cleaner technologies. It is a cost-effective means becauseit is quick and easy for the government to implement. However, costcalculations should consider inflation, energy prices, and discountrates.
Given anopportunity, I would propose greenhouse gas fee policy to helpstabilize global climate. This fee would be levied on all industriesand companies that are emitting carbon dioxide, as well asindividuals. Then, this money would then be used to protectvulnerable communities that are affected by climate changes,incentivize smart land-use practices, and fund research projects thataim to investigate more on global warming. Depending on the feecollected, this policy is likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissionlargely in the next fifty years. I would then recommend it to be heldstricter in countries that burn coal such as Middle East nations,China, and the United States.
Indeed,global warming is a catastrophe, and something should be done as soonas possible to curb its progress. Unfortunately, human beings knowits adverse effect, but they continue with activities that stimulateit. In order to minimize its effects, every individual should takethe initiative to break actions that increase carbon dioxide in theatmosphere. For instance, stop using coal, inhibit cutting plants,and lessen electricity use, among others.
IntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change. (2015). Climatechange 2014: mitigation of climate change (Vol.3). Cambridge University Press.
Pittock, A.B. (2013). Climatechange: the science, impacts, and solutions.Routledge.
Ring, M. J.,Lindner, D., Cross, E. F., & Schlesinger, M. E. (2012). Causes ofthe global warming observed since the 19th century. Atmosphericand Climate Sciences, 2(04),401.
Stern, D. I.,& Kaufmann, R. K. (2014). Anthropogenic and natural causes ofclimate change. Climaticchange, 122(1-2),257-269.