Transport Industry’s Input to Global Warming


The increasing emission of carbon from various sources has been cited as the main cause of average increased in the global temperatures. The little change in the temperature is perceived to have greater effect on the earth’s climate. According to the available scientific data, the earth’s temperature has increased by about 0.2 degrees Celsius. In fact, the effects of increased temperature on biodiversity are far and wide. The major controversy is on the cause of the changes in global temperature. A number of causes have been cited ranging from industrial to direct human activities. Transportation industry, as argued by most proponents of global warming, is one of the major contributors (Hickman & Banister, 2014).

In fact, scientific evidence shows that transportation industry is significant contributor to the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases, which is the major cause of global warming and climate change (Ryley & Chapman, 2012). However, this paper refute the scientific evidence by arguing that global warming has been a gradual process resulting from multiple causes, which transport industry alone could not be the cause. Besides, this paper argues that transport industry is rather a minor contributor to the gradual increase in the earth’s temperature. Further, the paper explains various factors that also contribute to the change in global temperature besides transport industry.

Climate Change May Result from Natural Causes

The climate history indicates that the earth has a predisposition of changing its temperatures over a particular duration. The durations have different climatic characteristics, which in effect may lead to the decrease or increase in the global temperatures (Hickman & Banister, 2014). The changes in the climate history indicate that the cause of such transformations cannot be man-made rather, are due to natural phenomena. For example, discrepancies in the sun’s energy being absorbed into the earth’s atmosphere have the potential of changing the climate. Essentially, the intensity of the sunlight being absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that it can naturally cause an increase in the global temperatures (Greene & Santini, 2007).

However, in the past three millenniums, human actions have made a mark in the earth’s climate. In other words, natural causes cannot only account for the increase in the global temperatures but also human actions (Ryley & Chapman, 2012). While it can be argued that the actions of man in the last two centuries may be the cause of the climate change, scientists cannot refute the fact that the earth may be undergoing its warming durations, which normally take long periods of time.

The Human Problems

The modern civilization which is characterized by industrialization and urbanization has put a lot of pressure on the natural resources. As a result, much of the earth’s resources has been depleted especially, the resources that enhance the atmospheric carbon and oxygen cycle, which is critical in maintaining a balance between the two gases. Natural resources such as forests have been depleted beyond replenishment yet they remain critical in not only maintaining carbon-oxygen balance but also the water cycle. However, in the current situation, there has been too much carbon in the atmosphere. In fact, global warming is a known problematic condition of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Ryley & Chapman, 2012). As indicated, the causes of this increase have remained controversial though man’s activities such as deforestations, burning of fossil fuel, agriculture and modernization have been largely cited as the major causes. All these human activities combined contribute almost equally to the increased Greenhouse Gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.

Transport Compared with Industrial Emissions

Transport industry is within the category of the larger human activities that burn fossil fuel resulting into the release of the GHG. However, compared with other industries transport industry is the least in terms of its contribution of GHGs in the atmosphere (Daley, 2012). The comparative studies indicate that the amount of GHGs produced by one power plant that uses coal is seventy times more compared with GHG produced by one hundred vehicles in a year. Besides, studies indicate that nitrogen used as fertilizers in agricultural industry trap 300 times more heat per volume compared to carbon dioxide.

Permafrost is a natural cause of global warming. Permafrost is frozen soil, which constitutes about 25% of the landmass in the Northern hemisphere. The frozen soil has trapped carbon dioxide and methane under the earth surface for decades. The amount of carbon released by the permafrost is a hundred times more compared with the amount of carbon produced by transport industry (Ryan & Turton, 2008). Therefore, to argue that the transport industry is the main cause of increased carbon in the atmosphere is not plausible. Moreover, the actions that have been taken to reduce the carbon emissions in the recent past have started to produce results.


While it is undeniable facts that transport industry produce carbon that contributes to the increased GHG in the atmosphere, to argue that it is the main cause of the increase in the GHG is not supported by any data. As indicated, the available data show that transport industry fall below other industries in terms of GHG production and factors that explain the rise of global temperatures.


Daley, B. (2012). Air transport and the environment. London, UK: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd

Greene, D. L. & Santini, D. J. (2007). Transportation and global climate change. Michigan: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Hickman, R. & Banister, D. (2014). Transport, climate change and the city. London, UK: Routledge

Ryan, L. & Turton, H. (2008). Sustainable automobile transport: shaping climate change policy. London, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Ryley, T. & Chapman, L. (2012). Transport and climate change. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing

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