There are four principal gases that have been identified to be primarily responsible for the onset of global warming. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is accountable for approximately half of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Pearson and Palmer, 2000). This gas is a by-product of fossil fuel combustion, which involves burning of coal, natural gas and oil. It is also generated from deforestation activities, which have increased for expansion of industrialization areas.
Trees utilize carbon dioxide in their photosynthetic reactions, but it there are fewer trees in the environment, less CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, leaving the environment with excess amounts of CO2. Another gas that has been determined to be responsible for global warming is chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are the primary constituent of plastics and aerosols, as well as refrigerants in air conditioners. Chlorofluorocarbons make up approximately 25% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Thirdly, methane gas (CH4), which comprises approximately 12% of the greenhouse gases, is also accountable for global warming.
Methane gas is released during the decay of organic matter, as well as in the stomachs of cattle, sheep and termites, yet, most of the gas is currently generated by industrial companies. Lastly, nitrous oxide (N2O) is responsible for approximately 6% of the greenhouse gases. It is a by-product of industries, as well as nitrogen fertilizers, volcanic eruptions and livestock manure. Global warming not only affects the weather, but it will also affect natural habitats. Higher levels of CO2 may facilitate the growth of forests, facilitating them to flourish and bloom.
The warmer ocean waters will be helpful to fish and algae in the high seas. However, those organisms in higher elevations will find difficulty in surviving in warmer environments. Higher temperatures in oceans may kill corals, which are the nurseries for fishes and other aquatic organisms. For the human population, global warming may cause more incidents of infectious diseases such malaria, as well as systemic health problems such as heat stroke and respiratory diseases. Currently, the world is confused as society is ignorant of the detailed effects of global warming.
Society is aware the summers are now longer and more intense and winters are envious of summers wrath, unleashing a fury that rivals the intensity of the heat. This is actually what global warming does. It confuses the world and now currently has also succeeded in confounding scientists. From a scientific point of view, global warming can be understood as a global environmental phenomenon which is characterized by an increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans (Smith and Reynolds, 2005).
There is certainly no doubt that global warming has a very detrimental effect on the environment as it causes rising sea levels and alters the amount and pattern of precipitation that a areas all over the world get (Gregory et al. , 2002). These environmental changes are also the projected causes of other ecological changes such as increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events which in turn creates changes in agricultural yields, glacier retreat, reduced summer stream flows, species extinctions and increases in the ranges of disease vectors (Choi and Fisher, 2003).
Based on the current scientific projections, the temperature of the world is expected to increase by 1. 1 to 6. 4 °C (2. 0 to 11. 5 °F) between the years 1990 and 2100. While most of the studies and projection models that have been utilized for these estimates cover the period up to the year 2100, global temperature warming and sea level rise are expected to continue for more than a millennium even if no further greenhouse gases are released after this date (Haigh, 2003).
This is due to the melting of the polar ice caps which is estimated to continue due to the changes that have already occurred in the worlds temperature. One proposal to answer to the problem of global warming is a lot simpler in theory than it is in practice. Given the rate of economic growth of many of the developing countries and the shift of production to the lesser developed countries, the implementation of any global protocols is easier to imagine than to implement (Torn and Harte, 2006).
Greenhouse gases, which are cited as one of the main causes of global warming, are most commonly emitted from the highly industrialized countries and the less developed countries which rely heavily on industrial machinery for production. The problem in this scenario is that by cutting back on the emission of greenhouse gases, a majority of the worlds production of most major goods will be affected. The economic costs not to mention the technological impediments that preventing the shift to more environmentally friendly methods make the reduction of these greenhouse gases extremely difficult (Rudiman, 2005).
There have been steps that have been taken to reduce the levels of greenhouse gases. In order to address the situation of global warming, many countries have participated in the worlds primary international agreement on combating global warming which is the Kyoto Protocol. An amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol binds signatory countries to reduce their emissions of CO2 and five other greenhouse gases.
In the alternative, it allows these countries to engage in emissions trading if they are able to maintain or increase emissions of these gases (Wigley, 2007). The problem with this protocol, however, is that it exempts developing countries from meeting emission standards in Kyoto (Choi and Fisher, 2003). Some of the countries that have been exluded from this list are China and India, who are ranked as the second and third largest emitters of CO2, behind the United States. It is clear therefore that even despite these actions much more work is needed in order to address the problem.
The implementation of international protocols and requiring countries to meet certain environmental standards is certainly a big step towards addressing this issue. More intergovernmental cooperation is also another prospective answer to this problem. The more developed countries should also take the lead in encouraging the shift away from more traditional methods of production towards more environmentally friendly methods through the award of grants and exchange of technology (Torn and Harte, 2006).
The creation of a body that is designed to not only specifically develop policies regarding this issue but also be given the power to enforce these policies will allow for the more efficient reduction of these greenhouse gases (Torn and Harte, 2006). References Choi O and Fisher A (2003): The impacts of socioeconomic development and climate change on severe weather catastrophe losses: Mid-Atlantic region (MAR) and the U. S. Climate Change Vol. 58, pp. 149. Gregory JM, Stouffer RJ and Raper SCG (2002): An observationally based estimate of the climate sensitivity. J.
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