Global warming is the rise of temperature of the oceans and the Earth’s surface. As it is generally believed, it is called by the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere worldwide. It, in turn, produces the Greenhouse Effect, which results in the increase of the atmosphere temperature, warmer winters, melting of polar ice, flooding of lowlands and many other destructive effects. It is vital to have a detailed understanding of the global warming mechanism and know its causes in order to develop and implement effective programs to prevent the rise of global temperature.
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The destruction caused by the recent hurricane Sandy may be called the direct effect of global warming. Hurricanes have never reached so far northward with such a tremendous impact, as it happened in the USA several weeks ago. One of the deadly effects of global warming is the expansion of devastating disasters to the areas that used to be disaster-safe before. Another negative effect is colder winters in Europe that results in deaths of hundreds of people and failures of infrastructure, leading to standstills in the economic life. Winters in Europe have been growing colder because of massive and unprecedented ice melting in the Arctic Ocean.
The main cause of global warming is the Greenhouse Effect. Its mechanism is quite simple. When solar radiation enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it passes through the air and releases its energy to air molecules. Then it reaches the surface and it absorbs the solar heat. Soil surface and ice have different absorption capacities. While ice mainly reflects the radiation back, areas like cities and fields retain the energy. The reflected radiation goes back into space, but, in case of atmospheric pollution with gases and small particles, it bounces off back to the Earth's surface, providing additional heat. This way, there is an effect that can be compared to a situation with the car, which is left in the open afternoon sun with rolled up windows (The Greenhouse Effect).
How do carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases and small particles get into the atmosphere? Their increase in the atmosphere is mainly caused by the results of human activity. Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coil and oil (and its products) produces this gas, which functions as a blanket around our planet. Ineffective ways of waste management and agricultural activity also contribute to release of other “blanket” gases, such as nitrous oxide and methane, and small particles into the atmosphere (Global Warming Causes).
Many ideas that are offered for solving the global problem are reduced to several common ideas: limiting and reducing global pollution, reducing emissions caused by cars and productions, investing in "green” technologies and renewable energy sources and managing forests and agriculture (Solutions to Global Warming, Global Warming solutions).
While some of the above mentioned solutions are more long-term and need a lot of investments, some may be implemented in the short-term or mid-term perspectives. While limiting and reducing global pollution will require massive work that will include international discussions, signing international pollution limitation agreements like the Kyoto Protocol and enforcing them legally and politically, investing in “green" technologies and renewable energy sources will be an expensive but more fruitful and fast objective.
Even though investing in technologies is a costly method, it may be paid for relatively fast. For example, a big portion of pollution is caused by car engine emissions. The more gasoline cars consume, the more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Developing a low-consumption engine will lead to a decrease in emissions. Motorists will be interested in purchasing cars with such engines since it will reduce their gasoline expenses. This way, people will have a personal economic interest in “investing” in more progressive technologies. The same with the renewable energy sources like solar plants and wind generators that will provide people with cheap and “clean” energy.
Some solutions will have to be enforced by national governments and it will be necessary to spend large funds on their implementation. Other projects will be paid for by people who will use products developed as the result of a solution implementation and, by doing that, the end user will pay for investments.