Global Warming – Essay 1.
Global Warming is the phenomenon in which all areas of the Earth’s surface are heating up or warming up. As this Warming-up phenomenon occurs across the Earth’s Globe, it is called ‘the Global Warming’.
Over the history of the Planet Earth, over millions of years, the Earth’s average surface temperature has experienced heating-up and cooling-down changes several times. The phenomenon of the current Global Warming is a cause of such an alarm, and is being heavily debated by the Scientific Community across the globe; because of the exceptionally rapid rate at which this heating-up process is happening in the past few decades.
In the last few decades, Global Warming has become one of the most complex and highly debated topics of our modern world today. It is important to understand the following key aspects of Global Warming:
- The wider concept of Climate Change: This heating-up process is not restricted to the Earth’s landmass, but the average surface temperate of the lands masses and water bodies like Oceans and Seas are experiencing the same effects. The surface layers of the Earth’s atmosphere are experiencing the effects too. Hence sometimes this effect is also called ‘The Climate Change’. The Ocean bodies getting heated up are adding another level of complexity to the problem because of the effect on the Arctic Ice, the Glaciers, the Ice Sheets, etc. They are melting more rapidly causing an alarming rise in the Sea levels across the Earth. The greenhouse effect due to the gases in the atmosphere like Carbon-di-oxide [CO2], Methane [CH4], Nitrous Oxide [NO2] and Water vapour are considered a major factor in the Global Warming phenomenon. This is majorly attributed to the post-Industrial Revolution changes in the lifestyles of human beings.
- The Last few decades: The exceptionally rapid heating-up process is more pronounced in the last few decades. There are many variables of the Earth’s Climate that are affected by and measured to keep a track of the Global Warming. One for example is that the last 50 years have seen fastest rate of average surface temperature change in recorded history. The more worrying part is the decade-by-decade acceleration of the temperature change; it is almost like an exponential rise. This Climate Change is having permanent damaging consequences on all aspects of the Earth Ecosystem – the Land, the Oceans, the Atmosphere, the Climate, the Human life, the Wildlife, etc.
- The Global Debate: But like all other scientific topics this topic is also a subject of a lot of Global Debate. There are strong believers that are debating and lobbying strongly to effect global policy changes to control the Causes of the Climate Change. And on the other side, there are the non-believers who think that this entire topic of Climate Change and Global Warming is merely a hoax. Their argument is that the Earth Ecosystem is infinitely bigger and more complex than the understanding of the human mind; and just like across millions of years of Earth’s history it is capable of maintaining its own harmony.
- The Evidence-based Science: In such debatable cases, Evidence-based Science is considered a rational approach to the problem. And Evidence-based Science works on statistically significant data. A lot of collective data and evidence from across the globe proves a high probability for the existence of the Global Warming phenomenon. Various internationally recognized and unbiased bodies have collected data and Climate information via various globally located data platforms like Ships, Weather Stations, Weather Radars, Weather Balloons, etc. over the last century. In addition, historic climate change data has been collected from sources like Tree Rings, Ice Cores, etc. In addition, the various Earth-orbiting satellites from various Sources like the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service [NESDIS] employ the latest and the most advanced climate monitoring technology to monitor the Global Warming phenomenon and its effects.
- The Self-correcting Natural Cycle: Research Organisations have collective evidence that the Earth’s average surface temperature has risen in the last 100 years by approximately 1 Degree Celsius and a major part of that in the last two to three decades; and it is expected that in the next 100 years it will rise by approximately another 1.5 to 5 Degree Celsius. This high range of temperature rise can have disastrous consequences on all of humanity and on all of life as we know it today. But it seems, that Global Warming is Nature’s Way of indicating to the human race that everything in Nature comes to a full circle, everything has a self-correcting and cyclical nature. So the Global Warming was started by certain excessive tendencies of human beings; and now the Global Warming will make it mandatory for human beings to find solutions to curb and control these causes to protect itself.
Causes of Global Warming – Essay 2
Since the origin of the Planet Earth, the Earth’s surface and atmosphere have undergone heating-up and cooling-down changes. But the Climate System works in an exceptionally fine-tuned Harmonious Balance and regains its delicate Equilibrium with the Earth’s Ecosystem. But the Climate Change trend in the past century and the current century is so out of proportion that it has threatened and disturbed this Harmonious Balance and the Equilibrium state.
The reasons for this extreme trend are believed to be ‘External Factors’, that are external to the Earth’s Climate System. So these are not a part of the Natural, Internal heating-up and cooling-down trends of the Climate System. Some of the major potential External Factors have been analysed to be the following:
- Changes in the Chemical Composition of the Earth’s Atmosphere
- Changes in the Volcanic Activity
- Changes in the Earth’s Orbit around the Sun
All of these potential ‘External Factors’ have been closely studied over the past decades collectively by various International Bodies. And they have come to some mutually agreed Conclusions about the relative roles of these External Factors, as explained below.
1. Changes in the Chemical Composition of the Earth’s Atmosphere
By general Consensus, this is considered the Single most important and biggest causative factor for Global Warming.
The story of Global Warming starts with the very fact that the Earth gets heated up. And the source of this heat is of course the Sun’s Energy. Normally, of all the Sun’s Energy entering the Earth’s atmosphere, 30 percent is reflected back by the clouds. The remaining 70 percent is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, land, oceans and the atmosphere. This absorbed Energy heats up the Earth’s surface. The atmosphere contains some gases like Carbon-di-oxide [CO2], Methane [CH4], Nitrous Oxide [NO2] and Water vapour called the Greenhouse Gases [GHGs]. These GHGs absorb and radiate the heat energy towards the Earth’s surface and are the reason for the normal heating-up of the Earth’s surface and the lower layers of the atmosphere. Without the GHGs, the Earth’s surface would be approximately 33 Degree Celsius colder [minus 18 Degree Celsius instead of the current 15 Degree Celsius]. So this heating-up called the Greenhouse Effect is vital for creation and maintenance of Life on the Planet Earth.
But in the last century, post-Industrial Revolution, the percentage of these GHGs in the atmosphere has gone up disproportionately, causing an ‘Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’; which the real reason for Global Warming. It has now been proven with 95 percent certainty that this ‘Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’ is a result not of any natural trend, but solely because of altered Human Activities since the Industrial Revolution. There are some very specific activities that are mainly responsible for this.
- Carbon-di-oxide [CO2]: Human being burn fossil fuels like Coal, Oil, etc. to run their vehicles, to operate industrial machinery, for heating purposes, etc. This is the biggest source of Carbon-di-oxide [CO2]. In addition, human beings have done massive deforestation [cutting down forests], which also releases excessive amounts of Carbon-di-oxide [CO2] in the atmosphere.
- Methane [CH4]: Methane is also produced because of human activities of burning fossil fuels, and also because of some uncontrolled agricultural practices.
- Nitrous Oxide [NO2]: Nitrous Oxide production is related to certain Nitrogen-based fertilizers used in farming, and also to Fossil Fuel combustion.
This ‘Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’ because of excessive Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere is considered the single biggest cause of Global Warming.
Attribution to Human Activity: There can be various chemical pathways that can lead to excess production of GHGs in the last century. These can be related to natural process or to human activity. It has been statistically proven by various International Bodies that the Greenhouse effect can be attributed to the Human Activity in the post-Industrial period.
2. Changes in Volcanic Activity
Volcanic activity and eruptions inject huge amounts of Volcanic gases, Aerosol droplets and Ash into the atmosphere. It was a topic for research and analysis as to what is the role of the Volcanic gases and Aerosols in the Global Warming phenomenon. Over years of scientific research, it has been proven that the role of Volcanic Activity in Global Warming is of minimal significance. Volcanic gases include elements like Sulphur-di-Oxide [SO2], which causes atmospheric cooling, and also Carbon-di-Oxide [CO2] which causes atmospheric heating. But it has been proven that only a fraction of a percent of these gases and Climate Change are contributed by Volcanic activity as compared to the Greenhouse effect due to human activity.
3. Changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun
Minor changes in the Axis of rotation of the Earth and the Path of the Orbit of Rotation of Earth around the Sun, have also been a cause of Climate change in the Earth’s history; mostly cooling changes in the Climate. But this too is NOT a significant contributory reason for the current Global Warming phenomenon.
Global Warming and the wider phenomenon of Climate Change has grown to epic proportions in the last decade. It has also been adequately proven that the Human Activity leading to Greenhouse Gases and enhanced Greenhouse Effect is the major cause for Global Warming. Other factors like Volcanic Activity, Solar Energy Intensity, Earth’s Rotation Axis, etc. are non-significant for Global Warming.
Effects of Global Warming – Essay 3
Historically, there have been several times when the Earth’s surface and atmosphere have undergone heating-up and cooling-down changes. The Earth’s Ecosystem and Climate System works in an exceptionally fine-tuned harmonious balance. So these changes are evened out and balanced by self-correcting mechanism so that its equilibrium with the Earth’s Ecosystem is maintained. The main reason for the current ‘Global Warming’ or the ‘Climate Change’ phenomenon is not just the heating-up trend, but that the trend is so out of proportion that it has threatened and disturbed this harmonious balance and the equilibrium state. Hence, apparently the equilibrium and self-correcting mechanism of the Earth’s Ecosystem have spiralled out of control. And this is the main reason for the severe panic reactions in the lobbyists of Global Warming.
This Global warming and Equilibrium imbalance has multiple disastrous consequences, some of which are the following:
- The Big Melt at the Poles: The melting of Glaciers, Sea Ice, Ice Sheets at the poles is hastened because of Global Warming. Some research claims that the melting process has speeded up 10 to 15 times as compared to the speed in the nineteenth century. The Ocean Ice is melting so fast that some scientists predict Ice-free summers in few decades.
- Hot and Dry climates: Desertification: Due to increasing temperatures across the globe, many areas of the Earth are getting converted into Hot and Dry areas. The mean annual temperatures, rainfall cycles and even rainfall seasonal patterns are undergoing permanent irreversible changes. The already dry and semi-arid areas are getting converted to arid Deserts. This process is called Desertification.
- Extreme Weather and Extreme Storms: Storms, Hurricanes, Typhoons, Snowstorms and Cyclones have increased in frequency, duration and intensity across the globe. The main reason is that warmer Oceans evaporate more water vapour, which grows into more powerful storms and cyclones. The Intensity and consequently the Damaging Power of Storms and Cyclones has increased by 30 to 100 % in different regions.
- Damage to Marine Life: The Oceans are absorbing the excess Greenhouse Gases, particularly Carbon-di-Oxide [CO2], resulting in warmer and more acidic Ocean waters. This is leading to permanent damages to the Marine Ecosystem. Coral reefs are experiencing more frequent and severe bleaching, as a result the dependant marine life and ecosystems are getting threatened. The CO2 is shown to damage the Nervous System of several Marine Species, in some even leading to permanent extinction.
- Damage to insect and animal ecosystems: Many animal and insect species are facing the threat of damage or even extinction. The rapid and forced climate changes are disrupting the natural balance of the insects and animals with their natural environment, their natural body rhythms and synchronicity with seasonal cycles. These changes are too rapid for the species to evolve and adapt. And they are also running out of options to migrate to more conducive environments are this is a global phenomenon.
- Accelerated rise in Sea levels: Sea levels are rising at unprecedented rates, for the first time in history, since the birth of human civilization. This is because of a combination of two factors: physical Expansion of Water due to excessive heating and the rapid melting of Land Ice. This of course means higher frequency and damages due to storms, unnatural high tides, Tsunamis, etc.
- Low-lying Coastal areas and islands: The low-lying Coastal areas and Islands are experiencing higher instances of Coastal Erosion, Flooding and other damage due to rising sea-levels. A lot of this results in large scale damage to human life and property. This can lead to higher rates of social problems like homelessness and poverty.
- Changes in The Carbon Cycle: The natural Carbon Cycle is experiencing rapid changes. Excessive CO2 released from fossil fuel emissions is absorbed by Oceans, Atmosphere and Land. Normally trees act as natural Land Carbon Absorption mechanisms; but these too will soon become less effective due to oversaturation of their natural capacity. This will lead to further increase in Greenhouse effect and worsening of Global Warming.
- Climate Impact on Human life: Climate change is already affecting the Quality of Human life in several regions that are experiencing the worst impact.
- Financial damage to economies: It is estimated that countries will be affected greatly by the effects of Global warming. The economies will experience severe financial damages to put in place control and coping mechanisms to deal with the causes of Global Warming, in industries and general population.
- Long-term effects: The Greenhouse Gases remain in the atmosphere for many years and centuries. So it is estimated that many of these damaging consequences will have more severe long-term impacts due to their collective damaging effects, that are currently beyond the powers of deduction. For example, disease pathogens could mutate into newer species in the changed climate conditions, leading to more complex and fatal diseases.
The effects of Global Warming are damaging multiples are of life. The damage to Marine Life, increasing Storms and Cyclones, Desertification, Effects on Human Life, Social Life, Psychological health, Animal and Insect Species, etc. are just a few of the disastrous consequences facing the human race today and in the future.
Solutions of Global Warming – Essay 4
Control Measures of better called ‘Solutions for Global Warming’ is a widely debated, controversial and a topic of global concern. Broadly speaking, these Solutions can be categorised as follows:
Psychological Attitude Change
One vital dimension of dealing with Global Warming is the change needed in our Psychological Attitude towards accepting the reality of Global Warming as a present and future danger. And a Collective Attitude Change to focus on Dealing with Global Warming as a Global Problem that needs a Collective Global Solution. Many International bodies are working on this for last few decades, but it needs more social awareness to increase Public Participation.
Technology and Industrial Change
The Other vital dimension to deal with Global Warming of course is the Technology and Industry related changes. The causes of Global Warming have initiated with Human Activity related to Industrialization and Controlling it at its roots, where it begins is necessary. Technology is an advanced, powerful tool in today’s world that can be employed to create Innovative Solutions and Control Measures for Global Warming.
Another way of classifying the Solutions to Global Warming is:
The Mitigation Approach
This Approach deals with the ‘Curative Ways’ of dealing with the Causes of Global Warming. This means identifying and confirming the exact causes of Global Warming; and either eliminating them completely or controlling them, so that they cease to create further damaging consequences on the Environment.
The Adaptation Approach
This Approach deals with the ‘Acceptance and Adjustment Ways’ of dealing with the Effects of Global Warming. This means accepting that already a lot of real damage has happened to the Environment and how much ever Mitigation is implemented, there are some permanent changes in the Environment of the Future that we cannot avoid. So to create Innovative Solutions to deal with the Changed Environment and Climate conditions of tomorrow.
There are several Practical Control Measures or Solutions that are being researched and proposed by Leaders and Scientists from across the World. This is still an area under a lot of Research and Evaluation, but following are some of the commonly accepted Control Measures and Solutions:
- Prioritising Environment and Financial Commitment: The most important Measure is elevating the level of Political and Public Participation by ‘Prioritising the Environment’ as a Local, Social, National and Global Policy. This involves a confident and permanent Financial Commitment at all levels to move Society away from the Causes of Global Warming.
- Long-term Vision: The Greenhouse Gases and the Greenhouse Effect is a long-term factor, that takes years and decades to manage and control. So it is important to develop and focus on a Long-term Vision as against temporary short-term solutions. This Vision also needs to be standardized and implemented at all levels of Political and Public Participating.
- Working Locally and Globally, Working Together: The problem of Global Warming is a collective problem dealing with all of Humanity and with the entire Earth Ecosystem. This is not a problem that can have an isolated solution in some corner of the world, by a few elite leaders or nations. Because uncontrolled Greenhouse Effect arising from any one corner of the World will spread and affect the entire rest of the Earth Ecosystem. So the Control Measures and Solutions have to be Global. But at the same time, each and every one of us, every human being has a role to play too. It is only when our daily life changes towards implementing the Solutions that there will be a radical change in controlling Global Warming. So the Control Measures or Solutions need to be Local and Global, working together.
- Moving industries away from fossil fuels: Industries and Industrial Products like Cars using Fossil Fuels, are detected as the main cause for the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the enhanced Greenhouse Effect. So investing Finances, Technology and Innovation to drive Industries and the Industrial Products away from the Utilization of Fossil Fuels, and away from Greenhouse Gases Production, is the key Control Measure or Solution for Global Warming.
- Cars and Vehicles with Cleaner Energy: Cars and Other Vehicles that use Fossil Fuels have been one the biggest sources of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions. So investing in a Future where the entire Automobile Industry shifts to the production of Cars that use Cleaner, Greener Energy Sources instead of Fossil Fuels, is the biggest step towards controlling Global Warming. But this also means creating the Political Willpower, the Market, and Business Infrastructure changes conducive for the Industries to make this shift.
- Public Movement towards Cleaner Energy: Industries operate on Profit Generation. And Profit is determined by Market Demand and Market Dynamics. So if Industries need to be sufficiently motivated towards shifting to a Cleaner, Greener Energy mode, then the Public Demand and Market Demand too needs to shift towards using Cars, Vehicles and other Products using Fossil fuel-free Energy Sources.
- Forests and Agriculture: Deforestation of Tropical Forests is another huge contributory factor for increased Carbon-di-Oxide Emission and the Greenhouse Effect. Stopping Deforestation and Shifting to a Global Reforestation Movement will help countering the enhanced Greenhouse Effect and in controlling Global Warming. Similarly, Agricultural Practices that lead to uncontrolled use of Nitrogen-based Fertilizers, leading to high Nitrous Oxide, and other effects on Greenhouse Gases needs to be changed and controlled.
- Using Cleaner Energy for powering your life and homes: Another aspect of creating a Fossil Fuel-free environment is shifting our daily lives, shifting the public opinion to reshaping their daily lives around using Fossil Fuel-free Energy Sources. The Electricity that we use daily in our homes and daily life is powered by Fossil Fuels. It is important for people to rethink their lives and homes around using Cleaner and Greener sources of Energy. This change has to happen at multiple levels: Individual Public Level, National Government Policy, Industrial Manufacturing Change, etc. Government policy needs to shift to Fossil fuel-free sources like Solar Energy, Wind Power, etc. And individuals and industries too need to reengineer their lives around this policy change.
- Using Energy Efficient Appliances: Industries need to produce Appliances that use Cleaner, Greener Sources of Energy; and till that happens it is important to produce and use Appliances that are Energy Efficient, that is they are able to do the same work with as minimal Environmental Damage as possible. We all need to study and choose the Appliances that we buy and use.
To effectively deal with Global Warming, the world needs an optimal mix of an Attitude Change and Technology Change; an optimal mix of Mitigation Approach and Adaptation Approach. Control Measures across the Globe need to be driven by a radical shift to Cleaner and Greener Sources of Energy in all areas of life.