Climate change is the variation of the weather in global scale which include changes in temperature, precipitation, nebulosity and other phenomena. These variations last for an extended period of time (decades to millions of years) and they can be caused by external forces (variations on the solar activity, orbital variations, impact of meteorites), internal forces (volcanic eruptions, plate tectonics, El Nino), or by results of the human activity (global warming).
There are many questions about global warming, from its causes to its effects, and many people even question whether or not it even exists. Global warming is described as the increase of the average temperature of the Earth caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities, such as deforestation, use of fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion and cement production. According to the global warming theory, the intensification of industrial activities during the twentieth century (based on the fossil fuel combustion such as petrol and coal) increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The increase of the global temperature and the new composition of the atmosphere lead to several alterations which affect the elevation of the sea level, heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall, ocean acidification and species extinctions, to name a few.
Greenhouse effect and the emission of CO2
Greenhouse gases keep the Earth warm through a process called the greenhouse effect. If it were not for the greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere, the Earth would be a very cold place. Greenhouse gases are any of the atmospheric gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation produced by solar warming. They include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and water vapor. Greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, but the elevated levels are directly blamed to human activities, specially the production in excess of carbon dioxide when any material containing carbon is burned, such as oil, coal, natural gas, or wood.
However it is controversial whether the human activities are to blame for the global warming due to the emission of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide represents a very small percentage of the gases in the atmosphere (only 0.032%) and it is immediately absorbed by the vegetation, in all kind of environments, without any possibility of accumulation anywhere. The population that consumes CO2 (plants) is much bigger than the population that is emitting this gas (men and machines). Besides, the energy used in the process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere is endless: the solar energy. Mainly, the determining factors of the climate change are basically the energy of the sun or insulation and the speed of the rotation and translation of the Earth.
Is Global Warming Real?
Although the whole world is aware of the global warming issue and is afraid of what its impacts could do in the coming future, there are those who still believe global warming is a fiction and does not exist. The global warming debate in many parts of the earth is ranging more than before. One of the worlds best known climate change sceptic John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel, has claimed that the theory of man-made climate change is no longer scientifically credible and rising global temperatures points to a natural phenomenon within a developing eco-system. According to Coleman, global warming has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid, and efforts to prove the theory that carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas and pollutant causing significant warming or weather effects have failed.
The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic, he says, our planet is not in peril. It is all a scam, the result of bad science. (John Coleman, 2014) On the other hand, former Vice President Al Gore, who had an award-winning documentary film in 2006 called An Inconvenient Truth which discusses the present and future effects of global warming, continues his fight against global warming and says that we simply cannot continue to use the atmosphere as an open sewer for dirty and dangerous global warming pollution that endangers our health and makes storms, floods, mudslides and droughts much more dangerous and threatening. (Al Gore, 2014). He supports the adoption of renewable energy such as solar and wind power and enforces bold new standards for fuel economy.
Whether global warming is a consequence of human activities or other phenomena (or both), it is real and climate change is happening. We should all do our part to help alter the future path of human-induced warming by adopting a more responsible lifestyle to reduce the amount of CO2 emission by reducing waste, recycling, switching to green power (wind and solar), planting trees, carpooling and so on. Also, less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.
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Global Warming. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming (Online; accessed 14-November-2014).
Global Warming. NOAA National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/global-warming.php (Online; accessed 14-November-2014).
Coleman, J. (2014) Global Warming Greatest Scam in History! Global Warming And The Climate. Retrieved from http://www.global-warming-and-the-climate.com/ arguments-against-global-warming.htm
Gore, A. (June 18, 2014) The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate. Rolling Stone. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ the-turning-point-new-hope-for-the- climate-20140618
Statement by Former Vice President Gore on Australias climate policy. July 17, 2014. Retrieved from blog.algore.com (Online; accessed 19-November-2014).