Global warming is the alarming increase in temperature rates of the earth’s surface. The increase in temperature results from absorption of light and heat from the sun by the various greenhouse gases. The topic of global warming has been and still is an imperative issue in many countries especially those that have intensified their industrial sector.
However, some people may not believe in the existence of global warming despite the fact that climate changes have been increasing every day of our lives. However, we cannot be really sure if these human activities are responsible for global warming as natural cycles can as well be associated with the changes in climate. But the fact remains that these climate changes have drastic effects on living things and should therefore be prevented (if at all it is possible to do so).
While most environmentalists believe that global warming is caused by human activities, their critics argue that the sun is continually getting hotter, and thus they are of the opinion that human global warming is not a result of human actions. Despite this controversy, reliable research has shown that the production of greenhouse gases by the activities of humans is the leading cause of global warming. These are gases like carbon dioxide and methane.
Their effect on the atmosphere is that once they accumulate in the atmosphere, they form a blanket of greenhouse gases that cushion heat from escaping to the atmosphere. This leads to continual heating of the earth’s atmosphere. Global warming has caused a lot of destruction in various ecosystems. The worse part of it is the fact that a consensus is yet to be reached on what actually causes it.
This fact has led a number of individual scientists and research organizations to conduct research in a bid to establish what the causes of global warming are. Although a number of findings have came out of such research activities, most of these research activities lead to the conclusion that global warming is a result of human activities. This paper discusses the causes of warming, its effects on living things and how we can do as the society to prevent this deadly occurrence (White 1).
Causes of global warming
Despite the controversy surrounding the causes of global warming, there has been substantial academic research showing that human activities are responsible for the continued warming of the earth’s surface. Some critics of this fact have been arguing that the sun is continually getting warmer, but their arguments are based on speculations. The most important cause of global warming is the effect of greenhouse gases. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, carbons and the various oxides of nitrogen.
These gases are said to be released into the atmosphere due to human activities. One of the major activities by man that result to the release of greenhouse gases is the very common use of fossil fuel. Over the year, man has been using fossil fuels to generate energy. The processes involved in the burning of charcoal, extraction of oil and natural gases result to the release of the greenhouse gases.
Especially now that the world’s consumption of energy is increasing drastically, large quantities of these natural deposits are being extracted to meet the ever rising demand. This situation is made worse due to the fact that these resources are not renewable and is therefore completely exhausted from their sources.
The increased release of these gases results from the incomplete combustion of the natural gases. Since fossil fuels are made up of dead plants and/or animals, their combustion leads to production of pollutant chemicals such as gases and water vapor that form part of the greenhouse gases (Stephen 1).
However, water vapor exists naturally to help in maintaining a moderate earth’s temperature for the survival of both fauna and flora. But when it combines with the other man made gases, climate changes occur and consequently, catastrophes result. For instance, petroleum which is one of the most powerful pollutants is the most used natural resource in producing energy, production of electricity and for transportation worldwide.
Chlorofluorocarbon, which is a greenhouse gas, is equally generated from other man activities such as refrigeration and manufacturing applications especially those involving cooling. Other gases such as methane result from farming activities where use of fertilization and other septic processes are common. Landfills especially those resulting from garbage throw away also cause emission of methane. Deforestation has been another major contributor of global warming.
Trees store large volumes of carbon dioxide. When forests are destroyed, the gas is released into the atmosphere from where it is able to take up light and heat from the sun resulting to global warming. Automobiles emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, the most causative greenhouse gas of global warming.
These emissions are directly related to the amounts of fuels used as well as the amount of carbon dioxide released from the use of a particular fuel. Other small activities by man have as well contributed to emission of greenhouse gases. Such activities involve the use and consumption of energy such as use of electricity in playing video games, using hair driers and air conditioners (Riegle 1).
Effects of global warming
The world, as a whole, is under the threat of the effects of global warming and climate changes that are associated with it. The most important effect of global warming falls on agricultural crop production due to lack of enough rains and water supply for crops. Besides agricultural production, safe water for human consumption may not be available in the near future. Numerous scientists also believe that El Nino events may increase as well as their severity following the increasing changes in climate due to global warming.
These impacts would all result to food insecurity and consequent droughts especially in countries which rely on agriculture as the core of their economy. Besides, risks of floods and other physical damages could also result. Similarly, the intensity and duration of Hurricanes are expected to increase if the current climatic conditions are not improved (Stephen 1).
Economic destruction is equally likely to result with a drastic decrease in GDP which would also lead to insufficiency of food supplies to many rural areas. Much of the world’s population is therefore at the risk of instability which would result from the extreme weather conditions. Many developing countries where most of the employment is evidenced in the agriculture industry are likely to suffer most as poverty will be knocking on their doors.
Vulnerability also falls on the urban areas and in countries which depend on natural resources involving extensive use of land. At the rate that global warming is increasing, droughts will be more harsh and longer in the near future as well as more devastating occurrence of floods. Agricultural crop production is likely to reduce by at least 30% mainly due to heat stress on the crops and the dry soils due to the increased heat.
Desertification and salinization would eventually result causing negative effects on food supply and as a result, the health of the people would be affected as well. Due to these effects on agriculture, there will be an increasing demand for alternative, irrigation water which would cause increase in prices for the commodity as its supply decreases. Domestic supply of water would therefore be affected (Christa 1).
Another effect of global warming and climate changes occurs in the coastal areas where the sea level has been continuously rising over the past years and this has affected the low lying areas especially near the sea shores. When the sea water level rises, many low land areas are covered causing plants to die which are important food sources for animals. Such animals would lack adequate food although unlike their plant counterparts, they can withstand starvation for some time.
Similarly, man loses food sources (both animal and plant sources) forcing him to move or die. Besides, populations in coastal areas depend on tourism and fish for economic growth. Destruction of the nurseries such as estuaries and mangroves has deprived the fish a nursery from which they can feed and grow. Global warming has also resulted to death of algae which form the most important producers in the sea for fish and other animals.
Salt water is also likely to enter the fresh waters due to loss of mangroves and estuary systems and the supplies of ground water would as well be affected. Other effects of global warming on human health besides inadequate water supplies and starvation are the causation of some diseases such as the deadly malaria and water borne related diseases such as cholera.
El Nino events have been associated with cholera and salmonella infections due to unclean flowing water. Accumulation of pollutants of the air results to formation of smog which causes the development of asthma.
Global warming may as well contribute to forest fires which have destructive impacts on economic growth as well as breathing problems for some vulnerable people in the population (Christa 1).
How to prevent global warming
As discussed earlier, human activities are the main causative factors of global warming. Preventing measures of the same, therefore, depends on man as well. For global warming to be prevented, man has to stop carrying on the activities which cause it. For instance, people can chose to practice carpooling which involving driving along with someone else to reduce the number of automobiles which would directly affect the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Another measure towards preventing global warming is recycling of materials to minimize the amount of trash that forms landfills. Farmers should as well be careful to ensure use of fertilizers that do not contain methane o if they do, to ensure that they are used properly for complete consumption of the fertilizers. Another effective way is the preservation of forests by avoiding careless cutting down of trees to ensure that carbon dioxide is stored and kept away from the atmosphere as much as possible.
Burning of fossil fuels should be avoided and controlled as well as ensuring that they are completely burned. Many governments are putting efforts by making laws that limit the amount of air pollution in the atmosphere. Some of the most important laws include the manufacture of automobiles that produce fewer gases (Global Warming 1).
Global warming has been, over the past years, a major concern in the globe. Global warming occurs when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere attract light and heat from the sun. Surprisingly, the release of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere results from activities of man. The major activities are the common burning of fossil fuels, which is in most cases, done incompletely and the exhaustion of natural gases. Other causes are deforestation and continuous use of automobiles by man.
Therefore, the way towards preventing global warming, which negatively affects man and other living organisms including plants and animals, lies on the activities of man. Global warming has many adverse effects to all living things especially the depletion of agricultural crops and natural vegetation for wild animals. These effects generally result to a slow economic growth of a nation/society affected. Prevention of these activities is the most important measure to be taken to prevent this deadly occurrence.
Governments should as well put up laws that control and regulate the amount of air pollution in the atmosphere. Although some natural factors may as well contribute to global warming, they cannot be adequate enough on their own to cause global warming. Therefore, man should put all efforts possible to make the world a better place to live in.
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“Global Warming”. 2011. Web.
Riegle, Kris. “Global warming”. 2007. Web.
Stephen, Nodvin. “Global warming”. 2010. Web.
White, Debora. “What Is Global Warming?” 2011. Web.