This researchpaper has been drafted as an evaluation and analysis of expert viewson global warming. Conflicting views have been expressed concerningthe reality of global warming. Therefore, it has been crucial toexamine the facts and study the evidence so as to gain an objectiveview. Students and other open-minded individuals will appreciate theinterpretation of expert views reflected in the research paper. It ishoped that whoever considers the information will be enlightenedenough to form an opinion. The research paper presents the facts inan orderly manner so as to eliminate confusion. Ultimately, thereader has the freedom to draw informed views and conclusions.
Two drafts wererequired during the preparation of the research paper. Multipledrafts were used to ensure that all information has been dulycaptured and properly referenced. Intensive research was needed toidentify appropriate source material. Reading all resources anddocumenting all the relevant data consumed almost 10 hours. In thepaper, 11 resources were used to compile all the necessaryinformation. The MLA style has been used to document all sourcesemployed in the research.
Global warmingrefers to the general increase in temperatures on the earth’ssurface and water bodies. Notwithstanding the skeptical objectionsraised by critics, reliable facts show that the earth’stemperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees over the past century.Furthermore, current trends indicate that temperatures could rise by5.8 degrees in 2100 (Black and Weisel 100). Examining the fundamentalcauses of global warming helps to focus on the key issues. We musttake action now against the profound effects of global warming.
Global warmingarises primarily due to the release of greenhouse gases into theatmosphere. In particular, carbon dioxide has been one of the mostdestructive gases. The gas acts as a blanket by trapping heat andwarming the earth’s surface. Moreover, carbon dioxide hardlyescapes the earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, its heat-trapping effectremains unabated over an extended period. The cumulative effect ofmore emissions into the atmosphere only serve to compound the furnaceeffect (Creamer 39). The combustion of fossil fuels such natural gasand coal releases plenty of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
High populationgrowth has far outstripped the ability of the earth to replenishitself. The widespread use of fossil fuels can be attributed to themassive consumer culture. The high demand for motor vehicles and fuelcan be cited as an additional factor. Industrial engines also usefossil fuels to power turbines. An enormous percentage of fossilfuels are used in the production of electricity (Smith 56).Therefore, the massive production and demand for electronic gadgetshave inadvertently led to the consumption of fossil fuels.
Greenhouse gasessuch as methane have severe effects on global warming. Bacteria inrice paddies release methane into the atmosphere upon the anaerobicbreakdown of organic matter. Herbivorous rumination also releasesmethane into the atmosphere. The effect is compounded due to anincrease in livestock production. Methane clathrate is contained inice structure. Hence, methane gas escapes into the atmosphere fromthe Arctic regions (Rahman 54). Waste decomposition and manuremanagement practices also release methane gas. Organic and commercialfertilizers are responsible for remitting nitrous oxides into theenvironment. These oxides have a higher capacity for trapping heat incomparison to carbon dioxide. Other sources of nitrous oxides includeburning of biomass, production of nitric acid, and combustion ofcertain fossil fuels (Smith 129). Many industrial processes alsoyield chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that act as destructive greenhousegases. The release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere ispredominantly due to human activities at the industrial level.
The onset ofglobal warming requires the enactment of strict measures to halt thedestructive effects. It is paramount to reduce the rate of emissionof greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. International bodies havesigned treaties with sovereign governments so as to set desiredlevels of greenhouse gas emissions. Each industry has formulated waysof reducing their carbon footprint. The most potent causes of globalwarming stem from the burning of fossil fuels. Coal, natural gas, andoil yield massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.Using renewable sources of energy is a prime way of eliminating theuse of fossil fuels. The Wind, water, and geothermal sources ofenergy safeguard the environment from the harmful effects ofgreenhouse gases (Llavador 160). The use of thermal power stationsshould be limited to limit carbon emissions. Clean sources of energyalso cater for the high population growth without depletingenvironmental resources.
The public shouldalso be educated and encouraged to drive less often so as to limitthe consumption of fossil fuels. The widespread use of hybrid carsshould also be encouraged so as to reduce the carbon footprint. Insome instances, drivers are encouraged to carpool so as to save onfuel consumption. Consumers need to adopt recycling methods designedto save resources. Packaged materials contribute to wastage ofresources. It is vital to review the processes used in putting upinfrastructure. Many buildings are constructed using cement. However,cement is widely acknowledged as a significant source of greenhousegas emissions. Alternative fuels can be utilized in the manufactureof cement apart from coal (Mèlieres and Marèchal 78). Putting upenergy-efficient buildings promises to reduce the current levels ofgreenhouse gas emissions.
Deforestation isalso a potent cause of global warming. Trees in forests are cut downfor various reasons. In some cases, they are used as fuel regardingwood and charcoal. Other wood and paper products also contribute tothe cutting down of trees. Forests are sometimes cleared to make roomfor human settlements and livestock grazing. Commercial companiesclear forests for the sake of growing crops. For example, palm oilplantations have been set up in areas that previously bore forests.Forests play a critical role in the ecosystem by taking up hugeportions of carbon dioxide. Therefore, cutting down trees “frees upcarbon dioxide for circulation into the atmosphere” (Arya and Patel265). The longer the global economy relies on fossil fuels, the moregreenhouse gases will remain in the atmosphere.
The devastationdue to deforestation can be reversed through planting trees andpreserving existing forest cover. Trees harness atmospheric carbondioxide. Consequently, the heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide isless in areas with plenty of forest cover. Greenhouse gases have beenproven to destroy significant portions of the ozone layer (Nordhaus66). While the ozone layer is self-replenishing, the rate at which itdoes so is less than the rate of destruction caused by greenhousegases. The ozone layer acts as a safety net over the earth byallowing certain wavelengths of light to pass through whilerestricting harmful rays. The destruction of sections of the ozonelayer causes harmful radiation to cascade down to the earth’ssurface (Rahman 210). Heat waves have caused severe forms of skincancer to persons exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.
Visible effectsof global warming can be observed in the earth’s ecosystems.Perhaps the most observable effect has been the rise in sea levelsowing to the melting of polar ice caps. Massive ice sheets inAntarctica and Greenland have melted and poured the resultant waterin nearby oceans and seas. If the current rates of recession weremaintained, the “Glacier National Park would disappear by 2070”(Hand 56). Land adjacent to seas and oceans has been threatened bythe rising sea levels. The Maldives is a prime example of land indanger of being submerged by the increased sea level. Lakes have alsoexperienced a reduction in ice cover. Such natural systems wouldnever recede unless human encroachment played a part.
Global warminghas also increased the severity of cyclones and hurricanes. Theincrease in storms has been caused by changes in snow and rainfallpatterns (Arya and Patel 300). Droughts have been made more severewhile storms have intensified. Fluctuations in weather patterns havealso led to widespread crop failures. Global warming has resulted indamaged ecosystems. Consequently, “300,000 deaths annually areattributed to the severe effects of global warming” (Haugen andMusser 95).
Furthermore,global warming can be cited for the extinction of millions of speciesfrom the earth’s ecosystems. In particular, megafauna animals havebecome extinct due to the expansion of human settlements. Increasedtemperatures have had other detrimental effects in water bodies.Coral reefs have experienced gradual decay due to acidification ofwater bodies. Consequently, ocean species dependent on coral reefsfor food and shelter have also suffered. Other human activities suchas pollution and overfishing have also contributed to the destructionof reefs (Arya and Patel 320). Such facts highlight the extent ofhuman encroachment on the natural environment.
Global warminghas altered plant and animal behavior. For example, many polar bearshave drowned due to the heightened water levels in their habitats.Experts estimate that as many as “500 polar bears have succumbed todrowning”. Such trends threaten to render polar bears extinct by2080 (Mèlieres and Marèchal 31). Heat waves in North America haveaffected many people due to depletion of the ozone layer (Mèlieresand Marèchal 34). Humans have failed to insulate themselves from theeffects of global warming.
The impact ofglobal warming has been so great that humans have essentially createda new planet altogether. The new earth still bears characteristics ofthe old planet such as rotation and revolution around the axis andorbit respectively. However, fundamental differences exist inecosystems and other forms of life. These changes have occurredsubtly and unexpectedly. In fact, warnings have been issued fordecades about the dangerous turn of events on the earth. For the mostpart, even intelligent persons failed to heed the glaring signs dueto negligence and shortsightedness (McKibben 56). For example, peoplealways assumed the loss of species on the earth as a sign ofweakness. However, reliable facts show that human activities haveplayed a pivotal role in the loss of species.
Belief in thetheory of evolution and natural selection can be blamed for thewidespread skepticism. The endangerment and extinction of manyspecies have been portrayed as a sign of improvement. As such, lessresistant organisms would eventually be effaced from the earth`ssurface and become replaced by stronger organisms (Nuccitelli 52).Besides, belief in the theory of evolution attributes everything torandom chance. Even visible signs such as soaring temperatures werelabeled as chance happenings. Therefore, it became difficult toconvince most people that global warming was taking place (McKibben123). Furthermore, it was impossible to involve any skeptics infact-finding missions so as to ascertain the merits of such claims.
Global warming isprimarily a human-made problem caused by decades of neglect andignorance (McKibben 19). Human activities are to blame for thelarge-scale changes experienced earth-wide. Various scientificeffects have taken shape on the earth. As discussed, polar ice capshave undergone unprecedented melting. For example, the large icesheets in Greenland and Antarctica have raised the sea level (Hand57). Besides, desserts and arid lands have experienced more dryingseasons. Seas and oceans have suffered acidification that hasdestroyed plenty of life forms underwater. Plains have suffered fromincreased flash floods while forest fires have intensified in scale.As discussed by McKibben, all these components combine to form a newplanet previously inconceivable (McKibben 110). Sadly, thishighlights the far-reaching effects that human activities have had onthe Earth.
The imbalancednature of the earth poses serious risks for every life form on earthpresently and in the future. More than a million species have alreadyexperienced utter extinction from the surface of the earth (Haugenand Musser 93). Therefore, it is important to consider how we cancoexist in this world without running it irreparably. This step callsfor balance and maturity in issues about waste disposal, foodmanagement, and resource use (McKibben 200). Undoubtedly, humans havethe capacity to effect these changes so as to combat global warming.
Each person needsto show commitment towards the fight against global warming bylimiting their ecological footprint. The immense threat faced by theplanet makes it a matter of urgency to develop ways of peacefulcoexistence. Living on the new planet will require a coordination ofsocietal values and sound economic policies. Nations must unite andadopt common goals of growth and development. Nordhaus recommendsthat people should concentrate solely on acquiring basic needs suchas adequate food, clothing, and modest shelter (Nordhaus 129). Theclamor for luxuries and other wants creates plenty of strife andimbalance in the ecosystem. Such a situation arises due to the mightyand powerful taking advantage of the weak and maligned persons in thecommunity.
Granted, it wouldbe utterly impossible to commandeer such changes due to thepredominantly capitalist nature of the world. Therefore, personaldetermination and discipline should be the driving force for change.For example, climate change can be attributed to the 2008 foodcrisis. A whopping 40 million people were left without adequate foodresources. The drought in Western Australia along with the prematureswitch to biofuels contributed to the statistic (McKibben 31). Bothcauses of the food crisis can be attributed to human activities.
It would becritical for persons to endeavor to shun practices such asdeforestation and poor waste disposal so as to protect theenvironment. For example, littering has been a significant source ofpollution and by extension global warming owing to the presence ofmethane into the atmosphere. Subsequently, methane acts as agreenhouse gas by raising the temperatures on the earth’s surface.Besides, oil fields are depleting at an alarming rate. Estimates showthat such deposits would be ultimately depleted by as early as 2030(McKibben 35).
Living gracefullywould also accord a sense of dignity and responsibility to life formson earth (McKibben 212). As such, each person would endeavor topreserve endangered and threatened species in their natural habitats.Adopting such an attitude would entail avoiding encroachment intoterritories segregated for flora and fauna. Human encroachment hasalready led to wide-scale depletion of species.
As discussed, wemust take action now to stem the tide of global warming. Severalfactors can be attributed to underlying causes of global warming. Thegeneral release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is asignificant element in the proliferation of global warming. Suchgreenhouse gases include methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, andchlorofluorocarbons. The burning of fossil fuels to provide energyreleases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. On the other hand,methane is released from rice paddies and waste management practices.Nitrous oxides can be attributed to the use of organic and commercialfertilizers (Black and Weisel 50). Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) arereleased from industrial plants. Greenhouse gases have a dual effecton global warming. First, they act as blankets thereby trapping heatonto the earth`s surface. Besides, they actively deplete the ozonelayer thereby undermining the ability of the ozone layer to sieveharmful radiation from the earth`s surface. Deforestation is also amajor trigger of global warming due to the human need forsettlements, plantations, and pastures (Haugen and Musser 28).
The rise in sealevel has been a prominent effect of global warming due to themelting of polar ice caps. Cyclones and hurricanes have increased inseverity. Coral reefs and other ecosystems have also disappeared.Food production has come under severe threat while the levels ofsanitation have plummeted (Arya and Patel 356). Nevertheless, usingrenewable sources of energy promises to stem the destructive tide ofglobal warming. In this regard, it is proper also to scale back onthe use of thermal power stations. Individual consumers can alsolearn to use less packaged materials and to use appropriate waterdisposal methods. Motorists should also drive for shorter distancesso as to combat excessive combustion of fuel (Creamer and Gao 45). Inthe long run, acquiring hybrid cars and using alternative means oftransport such as bicycles would help control global warming.
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