Global warming, a direct effect of climate change, is all about the gradual increase in the average temperature of the atmosphere, the Earth’s surface, and oceans. It is believed that this kind of change is likely to permanently alter the climate of the Earth. Although there is much debate on the reality of global warming, climate scientists agree with the fact that the planet is actually getting warmer. According to the scientists, the average temperature of the Earth seems to have risen by approximately 0.4 to 0.8 degrees centigrade over the past century. This is mainly a result of human activities.
The Greenhouse Effect
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The greenhouse effect is the actual rise in the earth’s temperature as a result of light and heat from the sun being captured in the atmosphere of the earth(Bishop 8-12). This is comparable to what occurs when warmth is absorbed in an automobile parked outside on a hot day. This is caused by the fact that the heat is able to get in, but has no way of getting out, which eventually leads to a rise in temperature. Similarly, in the atmosphere of the earth when heat and light from the sun get trapped, this results in an increase in the earth’s temperature (Bishop 8-12).
The greenhouse effect is very beneficial, since it makes the planet Earth habitable. This is due to the fact that without the greenhouse effect, the planet would be either too hot during the day as a result of sun heat or too cold at night (Bishop 8-12). Unfortunately, the greenhouse effect is usually negatively influenced by the presence of excessive gases, which leads to a warmer than usual atmosphere. The presence of too many greenhouse gases affects the ecological equation of the earth since it results in a change of climatic conditions (Bishop 8-12).
Greenhouse gases are basically those gases that gather and preserve the sun’s light and heat. In many ways, the existence of a considerable amount of greenhouse gases in the environment results in too much heat on the earth since these gases tend to trap much heat. One of the main greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide (Haldar 2-7). In most cases, carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere as a result of the smoldering of fossil fuels that is done to produce electricity.
The burning of gasoline accounts for approximately a third of all the CO2 that is discharged into the environment (Haldar 2-7). This comes from the internal combustion of the engines of vehicles, buses, and trucks as well as motorcycles. Apparently, the aviation industry also contributes to up to 5% of carbon dioxide emissions into the environment.
Another greenhouse gas is methane (Haldar 2-7). Methane comes from the breakdown of organic matter by bacteria. This occurs in oxygen-starved conditions. This is mainly common among herbivorous animals due to the production of methane in their intestines (Haldar 2-7). Nitrous oxide is another key greenhouse gas. It is actually a colorless gas, which is non-flammable and has a sweet scent. Nitrous oxide is known to come from nitric acid and catalytic converters as well as agricultural fertilizers.
What are the Causes of Climate Change?
One of the major causes of climate change is deforestation, which is a human activity. In certain sections of the planet, particularly in developing countries, people still use wood and charcoal for fuel. Consequently, many trees have to be used to meet the demand for these sources of fuel (Haldar 10-23). In addition, the developing world has a strong appetite for wood and paper products, thus resulting in massive deforestation.
The use of tropical forest lands for palm oil plantations has been on the rise in the recent past. Consequently, this has led to the destruction of forest covers to create land for the cultivation of palm oil plantations (Haldar 10-23). Eventually, deforestation results in the emission of colossal amounts of carbon dioxide into the environment as well as in the decrease of the amount of carbon that is captured by the forests.
The Burning of Fossil Fuels
A number of researches have been done regarding the real causes of global warming. According to climate scientists, one of the key sources of global warming is the discharge of greenhouse gases from power plants that burn fossil fuels (Maslin 25-29). This mainly results from the world’s addiction to electricity, which is generated from the burning of fossil fuels. By and large, power plants that are used are very instrumental in discharging immense quantities of greenhouse gases into the air (Haldar 10-23).
It is estimated that about 40% of carbon dioxide released in the US is due to the generation of electricity. Additionally, 93% of emissions come from the burning of coal, which is prevalent in the electricity utility industry. It is also worth noting that the high dependency on burning coal for domestic and commercial supply of electricity seriously hurts the environment (Maslin 25-29).
The Increase in the Use of Fertilizers
There has been an increase in the use of fertilizers, over the past few years mainly on large crop plantations, in areas that previously had forest covers (Haldar 10-23). This is prevalent in South America where the Amazon forest is being wiped out to pave the way for sugar, soya bean, and coffee plantations.
The increase in the use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers has an effect on the storage of croplands leading to the creation of the so-called dead-zones. This is because the excess fertilizers are washed into oceans (Haldar 10-23). In addition, high nitrate levels in the ground water come as a result of over-fertilization, which is a major cause of concern about the overall health of humanity.
The Transport Industry
The transport sector is also responsible for the emission of carbon dioxide as a result of the burning of gasoline from transportation (Maslin 25-29). Humanity is somewhat addicted to modern culture in which people have the appetite for globally sourced goods. With the rise in the population of the world, this has resulted in the rise in the demand for more cars as well as consumer goods, thus escalating the use of fossil fuels for industrialization and haulage (Maslin 25-29).
Effect of Climate Change
One of the major effectsof climate change is the destruction of the ecosystem. For instance, it is believed that climate change will lead to the extinction of rare species. In this regard, millions of species of plants and animals are in danger of extinction (Maslin 39-55). According to conservation biologists, global warming is likely to result in the devastation of the habitat, thus posing a big threat to a great number of surviving species on the earth.
Additionally, the increase in temperatures and the acidification of oceans are likely to result in the vanishing of coral reefs. Although there could be a small rise in the ocean temperatures, this poses a great danger to ocean ecosystems as well as many other species in oceans that rely on coral reefs for survival (Maslin 39-55).
Global climate change is largely a result of human activity. Due to the negative impact of global climate change, it is vital for the humanity to reduce or altogether prevent global warming. Over the past couple of years, the world has witnessed severe effects of global warming. These include calamities like biting drought, extreme cold temperatures, disappearance of water bodies, water crises as well as destructive hurricanes like the recent super storm Sandy. It is therefore imperative for the world leaders to implement policies that can lead to the reduction of global warming and prop up the utilization of clean energy, which limits the emission of greenhouse gases into the environment.
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