One of the best issues of global problem that have doggedly threatened the flora and fauna is global warming. Generally, global warming may be portrayed as the large and incremental upward shove in heat on the earth’s surface and the decrease atmosphere caused by means of an increase in greenhouse gases (Soon et al., 2001). The purpose of this paper is to overview the natural and anthropogenic causes of the epidemic, its penalties and the effectiveness of proposed mitigation strategies.
Climate change can be distinguished beneath the two timelines of, before and after Industrialization. In the pre-industrialization period, climate exchange was largely due to herbal causes, especially changes in photo voltaic irradiance and volcanic activity. Volcanic eruptions emit water vapor and carbon dioxide among other volcanic gases into the atmosphere albeit in relatively lesser quantities. These absorb heat radiated from the earth resulting in its warming.
Historically, the period famously known as the ‘Little Ice Age’ witnessed cooler than usual temperatures which was largely due to low solar radiation. An increase in the number of sunspots raises the intensity of the sun’s radiation while a decrease in the number of sunspots consequently decreases the amount of radiation on earth. This cycle of changes in the number of sunspots influence the global climate.
The contribution of the human race in this menace is notably high albeit regrettable. The past few decades have witnessed a frantic race between countries for the title of “most industrialized country.” Increased industrial activities have resulted in an increase in greenhouse gases, especially methane and carbon dioxide. Emission of greenhouse gases and land cover and land use changes comprise the anthropogenic influences which are the largest causes of climate change.
Recent times have seen an increase in land cover and land use changes. The most notable of which is the conversion of agricultural land to urban land. This causes most urban centers have their own micro-climates. This micro-climate may differ from the climate when the urbanized area was under agricultural use. Widespread deforestation causes climate change which makes areas arid or semi-arid.
Extraction and burning of fossil fuels contribute to the largest discharge of greenhouse gases into the air. These emissions mostly come from the transport and industrial sectors and all others which require energy. Power plants that use coal and natural gas contribute to these emissions. Motor vehicles, trains, and airplanes use petroleum-based products also contributing to the emissions. Commercial and residential sectors use fossil fuels for energy and heat.
The effects of global warming have been witnessed all over the world in varying scales. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Assessment Report (2007), alludes the increase in the global average temperature as a consequence of global warming. The rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns are also due to global warming. IPCC further pegs the documented migration of animals to Polar Regions on global warming.
Current strategies for mitigation of global warming as suggested by various research efforts include carbon sequestration and Carbon taxing. Carbon sequestration delineates the procedures through which carbon emissions are taken off the atmosphere and stored in marine, terrestrial and geological environments. While nature has a way of balancing between carbon emission and uptake, the current human-induced emissions far outweigh nature’s efforts. Efforts in carbon sequestration include restoration of wetlands and forests. On the downside, artificial carbon sequestration is expensive and if done in water will lead to water acidification which will render it unfit for human consumption.
Carbon taxing is the imposing of a tax on production and use of carbon-based products. A high carbon tax will make it less affordable. This will theoretically make users and producers shift to clean sources of energy. A global tax on carbon, implemented in all countries, will cause a decrease in carbon emissions. Otherwise, producers will shift their businesses to countries with little to no tax on carbon-based products. Nevertheless, the cost implications of administering the tax may be a lot more than some countries with small economies can manage to pay.
Legislation that significantly reduces their levels of carbon emissions is crucial to mitigate the effects of climate change. Focusing and investment in renewable and environmentally friendly sources of energy is necessary. Strict legislation should be done against use of carbon-based products. This should focus more on countries and sectors that rank highest as the producers and consumers of such products. Further, an environment conservation initiative should be implemented globally. The initiative should unequivocally discourage deforestation while at the same time encouraging afforestation and re-afforestation.
In conclusion, all stakeholders must put in an effort to prevent further anthropogenic carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Further research should also be done to come up with ways of removing greenhouse gases to shore up the preventive measures. This will help in protecting the environment and avoid the drastic effects of climate change which will affect the quality of life of future generations.
Crowley, T. J. (2000). Causes of Climate Change Over the Past 1000 Years Science. 289(5477), 270-277. Retrieved on November 26, 2015 from https://doi.org/10.1126/science.289.5477.270
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Retrieved on November 26, 2015 from https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_full_report.pdf
Soon, W., Baliunas, S. L., Robinson, A. B., & Robinson, Z. W. (2001). Global Warming: A Guide to the Science. (ISBN: 0-88975-187-0)