Are humans responsible for climatic changes including greenhouse effect and global warming?
Climatic changes influence human activities, regardless of the affluence and technology of contemporary industrial communities. In turn, human activities have a long-lasting and devastating effect on climate. There is also ample amount of evidence that climatic changes result predominantly from human actions, especially burning fossil fuels and other activities that liberate heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This report sets out to explore how humans influence climate along with issues and efforts to reduce it. Issues will be explored both from global and national perspectives, drawing on perspectives from within my own home country, Pakistan.
There are many issues to choose from when looking at the human impact on climate in general. I have chosen to focus on the impact of human activities on greenhouse effect and global warming, as after my initial research, I feel that these are the most noteworthy and popular among youth, also I have a personal interest in this field.
Climate researchers have verified that gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and etc can effortlessly entrap heat in the Earth’s environment in a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect.
ISSUE 1 CAUSES
Industrialization, energy production, transportation and deforestation, all these are the major causes of greenhouse gases. Trees can easily soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When trees are removed, carbon dioxide concentration increases in the surroundings, thus, enhancing the greenhouse effect itself. Various studies show that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the eighteenth century, the total percentage of these gases in the atmosphere have increased greatly and the standard universal temperature has also risen largely over that time period.
ISSUE 1 CONSEQUENCES
Despite all the hard work to reduce greenhouse gases they still have a huge role in climatic changes hence consequences of greenhouse gases are inevitable. The gradual rise in the temperature as a result of greenhouse effect leads to the melting of the glaciers, ensuing in the ascend of the sea levels and other climatic amendments as well. With augmented amounts of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere, ozone layers start to diminish gradually. If ozone layers get depleted, humans will no longer be able to shun the harmful ultraviolet radiations of the sun. High rise in temperature will consequence in additional heat waves and natural disasters. Another major effect of greenhouse gases is global warming, our next topic of discussion.
ISSUE 1 GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization started the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 which is the main source of scientific data on climate change. A research account by NASA said that in the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel, 1300 experts collectively under United Nations concluded that there is a 95 percent possibility that human-produced greenhouses gases have warmed the earth over the past 50 years.
Moreover, Kyoto Protocol of 1997 sole aim is to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gasses by 5% of the one in 1990 in a time from 2005 to 2012 by developed countries only. It is the biggest association to reduce greenhouse gases’ emissions. The outcome evidently shows that between 1990 and 2012 the genuine Kyoto Protocol parties condensed their carbon dioxide emissions by 12.5%, which is far greater the 2012 goal of 5%. The Kyoto Protocol was, therefore, an important achievement to reduce greenhouse gases.
ISSUE 1 NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Pakistan, in general, produces a minute amount of greenhouse gas emissions but it remains strictly intact with the negative effects of the gases. Today Pakistan produces 1% of the total greenhouse gases. Pakistan is also a member of Kyoto protocol so it can join greater efforts to combat climate change. Pakistan recently has done immense efforts trying to switch from nonrenewable energy sources e.g. fossil fuels to renewable energy sources for example water, wind, nuclear and tidal power. I think that Pakistan is doing an attempt to decrease greenhouse effect by implementing several actions in which the target is to make an appropriate use of raw materials such as fossil fuels. The dilemma is that Pakistan is a developing country, with many political differences it doesn’t have enough funds to develop latest technologies, but Pakistan’s government must prevent allocating huge sums of currency for development projects e.g. metro bus and orange line. Instead, it should begin using the money for environment friendly projects. Also, lack of public awareness and interest of investors is also a hampering point in the efforts to reduce global warming in Pakistan.
In my society, great steps have been taken to reduce greenhouse effect. Throwing garbage and use of chlorofluorocarbons is banned. Energy saving bulbs is available only instead of ordinary fluorescent bulbs. Every individual takes part in an effort to reduce the greenhouse effect.
The key environmental concern that has arisen internationally is “Global Warming”, which refers to climate change that causes an increase in the standard temperature of the Earth over the years.
ISSUE 2 CAUSES
The primary cause of global warming is industrial revolution. Industries have been using fossil fuels for powering machines for over centuries. Next is the most common reason behind global warming is deforestation. Deforestation is a human influence because humans have been cutting down trees to manufacture paper, wood, build houses or more. If humans continue ruthless cutting of trees, carbon dioxide will highly concentrate in the atmosphere because trees can easily absorb carbon dioxide from the surroundings. Due to excessive use of chlorofluorocarbons global warming is produced. Domestic animals like sheep and cattle create methane, a greenhouse gas. When livestock is grazed at a colossal scale, as in Australia, the amount of methane produced is a big donor to global warming.
ISSUE 2 CONSEQUENCES
On the other hand, the effects that global warming will cause on earth are extremely grave. There are many things that will happen in the future if global warming continues. This includes economic consequences, warmer waters and more hurricanes, the spread of diseases and earthquakes along with droughts. Global Warming, also result in the melting of ice caps, which leads to the rise of sea levels. Water will be evaporated by heat, and the soil will dehydrate, and this will have big repercussions for humans. It is predicted that due to the rise of the sea level, many beaches or cities will be below the sea level. A number of these are Florida, Miami, Boston, Baltimore, New York, Washington in United States of America and New Orleans. Also, the food quality has been altered as natives are implementing synthetic customs of farming due to deficiency of raw material essential for it. Several other disastrous results come in terms of intense temperature, shortage of uncontaminated water, increased fumes and toxic waste, floods, droughts and etc.
ISSUE 2 GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES
The maximum concentration of global warming on the present atlas is in Europe and North America because that is where the majority of scientific investigation has been completed up to date. Projections of future climate change propose a global temperature increase of 1 to 6°C from 1990 to 2100, with warming in most of the United States expected to be even higher than before. Existing scientific research proves that climate change will have major effects on precipitation, evapotranspiration, and runoff and eventually on the water supply. China, United States, India and Russia are the countries that contribute most to global warming.
ISSUE 2 NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES
Pakistan is the twenty-sixth country to produce carbon dioxide emissions, but it is the seventh most vulnerable country to climate change. Pakistan, which is a resource-strained country, has been crippled by the process of global warming, as the frequent floods and droughts persist to damage the country’s wealth. The agricultural land lies unproductive, more than 10 million people have been displaced over the last two years, and financial losses have been anticipated at two billion. Pakistan’s carbon emissions have increased by 123% between 1994 and 2015. However, during a review done in 2013, Pakistan had minor carbon emissions than both China and India but higher emissions as compared to Bangladesh.
POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION
After the initial research and evidence found, possible courses of action to reduce human impact on global warming and greenhouse effect is discussed below. People living all around the world must follow the famous phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. A Government must make strict laws against the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). Awareness must be created among people from grass root level related to climatic changes including its causes and consequences. People must be light efficient and use energy saving bulbs. Everybody must minimize the use of vehicles contributing to pollution and switch to healthy transport e.g. cycles and also use public transport. Finally, humans should discontinue open burning such as burning dry leaves or garbage. It will liberate carbon dioxide and toxic gases if garbage is burned with plastic, as plastic never decompose. The government should reduce deforestation and start reforestation plans because the earth temperatures are increasing rapidly. Trees will help to improve the temperature on earth and act as a windbreaker and storm breaker. While reducing the temperature trees will also add to the scenic beauty of the area and attract rainfall.
PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE AND CONCLUSION
From my personal perspective, I can surely claim with confidence, based on the research and evidence that all the people around the world including myself are polluting and producing emissions of greenhouse gases. The most polluting action that a person can do is to drive a car, usually, the emissions from a single car do not pollute a lot, but when we are discussing countries, with cities where a number of people live, the gas emissions are extremely high. Scientists and predictors say that around 2050, there will be increased poverty, food shortage, and most importantly more natural disasters because of global warming and greenhouse effect. If the power consumption based on fossil fuels continues mounting, the carbon dioxide will concentrate even more and the world will become an unrecognizable place.
During the process of investigating the issues in depth and detail, my perspective evolved exceptionally and made me comprehend lots of aspects regarding the issues which never crossed my mind prior to research. Before writing this report the complexity of the situation was unknown to me, the report gave me the opportunity to acknowledge that destruction by greenhouse gases is inevitable and controlling global warming must be considered as a first duty. Solving this problem without the help of government, climate departments and awareness among people from grass root levels are near to impossible. My personal perspective on this issue has changed as now I understand the need to stop climate change. I will undeniably be more responsible while using chlorofluorocarbon sprays. Therefore, I take liability to use less electricity, public transport and less chlorofluorocarbon sprays. I, therefore, conclude that it is relatively urgent to revolutionize our way of living, starting from rules and regulations, and then schooling and lastly with our everyday routine. I don’t desire to suffer when I am aged. I just require altering my lifestyle for the healthier life of my future generations.