The most vulnerable part of the earth’s ecological system is the atmosphere. The atmosphere has been contaminated by the dense greenhouse gases emitted daily from burning fossil fuels. The green housed gases have been identified as the major reason behind global changes in temperature. Yet the gases continue being released into the air at an unprecedented rate despite the adverse side effects. As it stands, 80% of the world’s energy demands are supplied by fossil fuels, coal, oil, or gas. According to the American metrological society, global warming, human has been caused by human activities. In a statement released by AMS council in 2003, they submitted that ‘there is no clear evidence that the mean annual temperature at the earth’s surface averaged over the entire globe.
What is global warming?
Many scholars and researchers have come up with many definitions of global warming but underlying the numerous definitions one thing is true, global warming is a change of atmospheric temperatures or rather climate change. The UNFCCC defines global warming as the increase in average temperatures of the air on the earth’s surface as well as in the oceans. Global warming is caused by greenhouses gases concentration, volcanic eruptions, solar variations among others. The emission of these gases causes a thickened blanket to layer the earth’s ozone thereby trapping the heat reflected back from the earth’s surface. The effect felt is the high temperature and catastrophic events like hurricanes lake effect snow and desertification. Global warming is a serious issue and scientists warm that if mitigative actions are not taken to curb the problem of global warming then we could be looking at a temperatures increase of about 3 to 9 degrees at the close of the century.
Global warming is increasing over the last years the global temperatures have constantly been on the rise. Every five years the temperature increase compounds the effects on the earth’s surface. Global warming has been the cause of extreme catastrophic weather. A case in point is the deadly Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which scientists believe was powered by global warming. According to the science magazine issue on Mature release in 2005, Hurricane Katrina was indirectly caused by the high sea temperatures caused by the global warming effect. The increased temperature cause Atlantic ocean fluctuations which increased the intensity of the hurricane and its destructiveness. However, they disclaim this statement by adding that while increased temperature has a hand in increasing the strength of a hurricane, there are other elements that blend into the complicated issue of storms and hurricanes. Nonetheless, the effects of Hurricane Katrina were no less than total devastation to human lives. The business sector lost millions of dollars in washed away investments, damaged homes, and offices, cars among others. Thousands of lives were lost. The scientist has documented that with the wage of ocean temperatures, the devastating potential of storms and hurricanes have increased over him last 35 years. Katrina was responsible for damages of up to $ 81.2 billion, one of the costliest catastrophes in world history. the recorded death toll in 1836, with most deaths in Louisiana. The number of missing persons was approximately 705.
Glaciers and Arctic ice caps are also melting fast as an effect of global warming. This is because the mountain’s glaciers as extremely sensitive to change in temperatures and most mounts in Greenland, Africa, Austria, and others over 80% gone. The devastating effects are real as evidenced in the declining waters of glacier-fed rivers and floods in some places caused by melted ice that splash into the sea. According to An inconvenient truth, if Greenland melted or broke up and slipped into the sea, the splash would cover up most of Calcutta and Bangladesh with water and approximately 60 million people would be displaced! (Alcore, Morie). The recreation resorts in the Alpine mountains have also felt the effects of melting glaciers. 60% of the ski areas have melted away and in other areas, the ice is delicate to support any leisure activities. Millions of dollars are lost in such cases.
Automobiles are the second largest contributor of CO2 after industries. The US being the greatest contributor to global warming gases needs to restructure its industries and invest in technologies that emit less CO2 say cleaner fuels, generating power from non-polluting sources, reduce electricity consumption among others. According to EPA, each person in the US releases 6.6 tons of greenhouse gases every year.
Global warming is also caused by natural phenomena such as volcanoes and solar variations. These elements are obviously out of our control. However, their occurrence is also rare thus contributes little to global warming.
Global warming has been a hot issue owing to its devastating effects. The change in temperature has been a process that takes place slowly, unnoticed to the human eye, nonetheless, the effect is felt by all. Global warming is no longer a scientific issue rather a moral issue and it boils down to what we can do to prevent it. We can cut the emission of greenhouse gases as proposed in the Koyolo protocol, make more use of renewable energy from the sun, wind, and geothermal power (*). Additionally, enforce laws that force industries to stick to a limit of carbon emissions released into the air. At the individual level perhaps proper use of electric appliances could cut power consumption and conserve it for future use. Recycling organic and inorganic materials could also ensure that less greenhouse gas is let out into the air.