Globalwarming is one of the most persistent problems affecting theenvironment in the 21stcentury. It can be described as an increase in the averageatmospheric temperatures (Bradford). Global warming can be caused byhuman actions in the event of the release of greenhouse gases intothe atmosphere. This is what scholars refer to as anthropogenicclimate change. Examples of environmentally dangerous greenhousegases are carbon (II) oxide, nitrous oxide and methane gas (Gray,84). Heat from the atmosphere is supposed to escape the earth’satmosphere, but is instead trapped by these gases eventually causinga substantial increase in atmospheric temperatures. According to areport by the Environmental Protection Agency, there has been a 0.8increase in the earth’s atmospheric temperature in the pastcentury with more than half of this change happening in the lasttwenty five years (Brooke). This denotes an escalation in humanactivities that cause an increase in the production of theseenvironmentally degrading gases. This essay will discuss about theperils associated with global warming. Moreover, this paper willdiscuss how global warming can be managed and eventually curbed.
FACTSABOUT GLOBAL WARMING
Itis important to note that greenhouse gases are a normal by-product ofhuman activities only over-emission of these gases is harmful.Naturally, the atmosphere make up is majorly nitrogen, oxygen, andargon, which take up to 99.9% of the atmospheric gases (Gray, 92).Greenhouse gases are only found in trace amounts that amount to onetenth of the atmosphere. Life on earth is possible only because theatmosphere creates a blanket-like protection from the elevatedtemperature of the sun’s rays. Studies show that without theatmosphere, temperatures would be thirty three degrees less than itcurrently is which would make the earth uninhabitable (Johansen).Man- made activities like burning of fossil fuels for instance, addup to the content of these gases in the atmosphere. To explain globalwarming, these gases act as a blanket over the earth’s atmosphere.Therefore, the thicker the blanket gets, the harder it is for thegases to get through the atmosphere (Spencer)
Second,if the composition of gases remains constant, and atmosphericallydegrading gases not overproduced any longer, it will take severaldecades to get rid of the current gases in the atmosphere. This goesto show that even though it takes a long time for the gases toaccumulate, it takes a longer time for them to be eliminates from theatmosphere (Tabin). Therefore, there is need for immediate action todiscontinue activities that accelerate the progression of globalwarming.
Also,global warming is occasioning extreme weather changes. For instance,the arctic zones, which always experiences very low temperatures, arereceiving summers that have no ice due to rapid melting. Severalplaces have also received heat waves and forest fires (Smith).Naturally, plants take in carbon dioxide during the day and emitoxygen required by animals. In this fashion, the universe isself-sustaining in terms of atmospheric balance (Jacobson). However,with the increase in carbon dioxide emission throughindustrialization, pollution, and deforestation, the levels of carbondioxide have increased significantly causing global warming(Gramling).
DANGERSOF GLOBAL WARMING
Icefrom the north and south poles is melting due to the increase inatmospheric temperatures. This increases the level of water thatflows into the rivers and the lakes, leading to a rise in the waterlevels in water bodies. According to the Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change report in 2007, sea levels will raise seven to twentythree inches by the end of the 21stcentury because of global warming (Branagan).
Studiesshow that increase in temperatures will cause very intensehurricanes. Hurricanes are caused by a variance in the temperaturebetween the warm ocean and the cold higher atmosphere. Due to globalwarming, the temperature difference has intensified occasioningunusually strong hurricanes. The year 2012 recorded the highesttemperature differences ever recorded since the year 1895[ CITATION Bra14 l 2057 ].
Dueto the increase in atmospheric temperatures, many ecosystems havechanged. Many species in the environment have disappeared due to theloss of natural habitats, as a direct result of an increase inatmospheric temperatures (Tabin). Many animals and plants that dependon each other for survival will continue to be out of synchrony. Forinstance, due to the increase in atmospheric temperatures, manyplants have become extinct while some animals have migrated to thenorth and south poles so as to survive. Due to the evidence that theice is melting, these animals may die and possibly become extinct(Spencer).
Globalwarming also has an effect on the plant kingdom. Coral reefs arecreated by corals that exist in warm tropical waters. When they die,they leave a skeleton that combines with other coral skeletons andharden to become reefs. Due to global warming, there has been rapidcoral bleaching which damages the coral reefs (Smith, 886). Studiesshow that by 2050, coral reefs will be rare in the tropical beachesbecause of warm and acidic water. This will upset the natural habitatof sea animals and the ecosystem of the sea life [ CITATION Sha08 l 2057 ].Also as the temperatures go up, extreme weatherwill become more frequent. This in turn means that floods, droughts,and winters will become more forceful. The dry episodes between rainyperiods will become more powerful, hence causing more evaporation inthe water bodies potentially creating a drought cycle (Johansen).
Themost hazardous effect of global warming is the depletion of the ozonelayer. The ozone layer is a film of air that traps the harmful UVrays of the sun (Gray, 99). The ozone layer is composed of oxygenmolecules that trap these dangerous rays from the sun. Depletion ofthis layer can cause drastic and disastrous effects on the plant andanimal life especially human beings. Prolonged exposure to UV rayscan cause skin cancer, for instance [ CITATION Sha08 l 2057 ].
SOLUTIONSTO GLOBAL WARMING
Oneof the solutions to global warming is to stop deforestation. Thereshould be strict laws and severe penalties for those found illegallylumbering trees. Deforestation contributes to thirty percent of othercauses of the earth’s warming (Gray, 100). Emissions fromagricultural practices should also be reduced by use of sustainableagricultural and food production practices. This will play asignificant part in the long term goal of curbing global warming(Jacobson, 25).
Industrializationis almost the sole reason for the increased level of carbon emissioninto the atmosphere. In this regard, every industry should be heldaccountable for the potential carbon emissions they release into theatmosphere. Elected leaders and the United Nations should be keen onthe industrial degrading activities. Also, industries should chooseenvironmentally friendly ways to run their manufacturing (Bradford).
Nuclearenergy can be used instead of fossil fuel since it emitssignificantly less toxic fumes than the carbon-based energy sources.Also, electricity and other greener options of producing energy canbe employed instead of fossil fuel. Many scientists and scholars arecanvassing for the usage of renewable sources of energy like wind forinstance. This is because there is evidence showing that renewablesources of energy can surpass the energy needs of the worldreplacing the employment of environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels.
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