Global Warming: Human Responsibility

National Geographic is not authoritative enough about the causes of global warming but ambivalently suggests that man bears the greatest responsibility for global warming. There are already notable manifestations that world climatic changes have impacted negatively on our environment (National Geographic 1). In the recent past, the average temperatures have skyrocketed making this century one of the warmest in the history of the universe.

These ever-increasing temperatures have made ice in certain regions melt. The melting of ice is more pronounced in the Arctic region. Cultures and livelihoods that are supported by the presence of the ice in the seas have started registering remarkable losses and even deaths of animals like the polar bears. There has been dramatic melting of mountain snows and glaciers. Moreover, the northern hemisphere has witnessed unpredictable climatic changes in the recent past characterized by the coming of thaws one week earlier during springs and its uncharacteristic freezing a week later than expected.

World climatic changes have led to coral reefs’ bleaching and eventual die-off due to changes in the temperatures of the water where the coral reefs are found. Extremes of these are anticipated as the sea temperatures are projected to keep on souring due to continued greenhouse gas emissions into the environment. Catastrophes that have been seen recently like the heatwaves, wildfires, tropical storms are thought to be occasioned by the world climatic changes (National Geographic 1).

Studies conducted by scientists in several countries suggest that humans are responsible wholly or partly for the woes the world is struggling to come to terms with relating to global warming. Anthropogenic climate change-human-engineered global warming draws its origin from effects of industrialization, cutting down of trees and environmental pollution which create a build up of water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and other variety of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases serve to trap heat on the earth’s surface hence increase in global temperatures.

Human activities contribute to the upsurge of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Such levels of carbon dioxide are normally higher than the actual amounts that the plants, oceans and life forms can absorb hence an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The gases are able to remain in the atmosphere for a long period of time such that even if such greenhouse gas emissions were done away with the global warming crisis may not immediately come to a halt. The cycles that the earth makes in its orbit change its exposure to solar radiation hence the occurrence of cooling and warming. Global warming has got its inherent far-reaching ramifications characterized by depletion of food and water reserves.

It also claims the lives of a myriad number of wildlife. Melting of ice glaciers and snow found on top of the mountains contribute to rising in water levels in the seas. This has lead to flooding of South Sea Islands and swamping of generous acreage of Southeast Asia. This may be near-fatal as many people live along the coastal regions. Many species of organisms are bound to face extinction as their natural habitats disappear or become acidified due to global warming. Global warming also threatens to change the ocean conveyor belt hence the emergence of a mini ice age in different regions of the earth.

Effects of global warming have been demonstrated using slides on roadshows, books, documentary films, and even movies (Gore 1). Gore paints a vivid picture in the minds of the public about the devastating effects of global warming. The Foundation of the book is deeply embedded in studies on global warming by many scientists. The choice of usage of pictures in the book to make the illustrations is fundamental in sensitization of the general populace on the effects of global warming as a personal account of the effects of global warming would make people become sensitive to any issue that touches on abuse of the environment.

Gore serves to fully convince the skeptics of the effects of global warming. His presentation is simple and can clearly be understood. He elaborates the dire consequences that the human race and other life forms are bound to face in case the causes of global warming are not adequately checked.

Climate science endeavors to develop a deeper understanding of an emerging environmental concern of the magnitude of global warming (Weart 1). Weart describes the intellectual journey, false starts, flawed hypotheses, inventions and uncertainties that have always shrouded global warming research. He delves into global warming research and exposes the political and societal viewpoints of scientists and the public perception of global warming research. Researchers initially focused on other studies only for their generated data to be later used in evaluating whether human activities had influenced climate change.

Oceanographic and polar research that implicated human beings in global warming was initiated by the US Navy at the peak of the cold war. Global warming is associated with a myth postulated that there are trace gases that are transparent to sunlight but opaque to infrared radiation. The insulating property prevents the earth from converting into an ice ball. John Tyndall reckons that just like a dam contributes to the deepening of a river so does the atmosphere act as a barrier to the terrestrial rays thereby increasing the temperatures on the earth’s surface. As the industrial revolution picked momentum, it was realized that the release of heat-trapping gases from fossil fuels contributed to greenhouse gas effects. Carbon dioxide was the first gas to be implicated in global warming.

Warm periods in the third decade of the 20th century prompted a feeling that human beings perhaps contributed to global warming. This was short-lived as the temperatures again normalized in the next few decades. This temporary cooling was later attributed to the release of the sun reflecting plumes of sulfates by human beings at the height of World War II (Weart 1). The epitome of geophysical research showed that humans were the major contributor to environmental changes. As research on global warming made headways (Weart 2), animosity between the environmentalists and the industries that made use of fossil fuels and oils intensified.

However, climate science on global warming can never come up with a perfect forecast as the atmosphere remains a source of mystery (Weart 2) because climate science will always be manipulated by environmentalists, politicians and antiregulatory personalities for selfish gains. The idea that all environmental concerns are supposed to be solved by science should be divorced from people’s thoughts.

When issues pertaining to global warming were raised, the Bush Administration was in denial of the phenomenon. Environmentalists urged the leadership of America to tour the world and take account of the effects of global warming on the livelihoods of life forms (Lynas 1). There has been the disappearance of glaciers in Peruvian Andes; an upsurge of floodwaters in the English countryside; a number of Pacific Islanders have been evacuated from their homes; dust storms have been witnessed on the Mongolian plains. Many may say these events are not related but they may trace their origin from environmental degradation (Lynas 1) that is now affecting the livelihoods of millions of people.

Global warming affects the Mongolian herders; Alaskan Eskimos and American hurricane chasers. A lot is still at stake if urgent measures are not put in place to mitigate the effects of global warming. Sooner the global warming issue will be manifested in high tides in the seas. Other than the aforementioned problems, global warming may be manifested in soaring temperatures leading to crippling droughts and emerging sand dunes like the one witnessed in northern China. The melting of ice threatens to interfere with people’s livelihoods. Catastrophic floods have been witnessed in the United States and Russia. All these are because of global environmental changes.

Global warming is explained by two theories: one majoring on the premise and the other on the promise. The premise perspective concentrates on the rise of water and air temperature whereas the promise looks at how life on the globe will be affected by human senseless activities. Some think that global warming is a historical affair. Given reasonable attention here also are the financial and social aspects. Some feel that human activities do not have so much bearing on global warming but they may as well contribute to the emergence of the fourth Hurricane.

Causes of global warming are pegged to the premise and the promise. The souring atmospheric temperatures that lead to the melting of glaciers can be attributed to human activities like the use of coal in industries and the burning of other carbon fuels that lead to an upsurge of atmospheric carbon, a major contributor to global warming. Other gases like nitrous oxide also contribute to global warming.

Works Cited

Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. New York: Rodale Books, 2006. Print.

Lynas, Mark. High Tide: The Truth About Our Climate Crisis. New York: Picador, 2004. Print.

National Geographic News. Global Warming Fast Facts. 2010. Web.

Weart, Spencer. The Discovery of Global Warming. New York: First Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.

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