Global warming is a serious environmental issue that has become the topic of all environment related talks very recently and it has become an international disaster. It is the increase in the average temperature on the earth. With the increase in the temperature, natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones and many more similar natural calamities have become frequent.
So what causes this increase in temperature? It causes due to greenhouse effect. There are many gases present in the atmosphere of earth. They trap the heat coming from the sun and that heat stays in the atmosphere making the temperature on the earth suitable to live for all the living beings. Without greenhouse effect the atmosphere of the earth would have been very cold for living beings. When the amount of gases required for creating greenhouse effect increases, more heat gets trapped the normal, which leads to the increase in temperature of the earth. This phenomenon is knows as Global warming.
Global warming is very serious environmental issue as it is the cause of many other environmental issues. It is a potential threat to the very existence of all the living beings. There are many scientific evidences that prove that notable climatic changes started occurring since 1950’s. But since 1980, there has been considerable increase in the average temperature. It is because of increased use of fossil fuels and continuous deforestation. This leads to increase in amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which plays the most important role in the heat trapping of the earth. Fossil fuels are carbon based fuels which emit carbon when burnt. This carbon also contributes in heat trapping and the rate of emission of carbon is alarming.
The increased presence of carbon and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps the earth warmer which in turn raises the temperature of oceans too. The evaporation from the oceans increases. More the water vapour in the atmosphere, more the absorption of sunrays. This leads to a cycle which is uncontrollable. Methane is another greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere. Methane can absorb infrared radiation nearly 25 times more than carbon dioxide. Its concentration is low in atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide. One of the source of release of methane in the atmosphere is paddy cultivation. Digestive process of livestock particularly cattle, also releases methane. Non biological factors like leakage in industrial and domestic gas lines are also responsible for methane release. Nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons are also harmful greenhouse gases. Chlorofluorocarbons are proved as destructive to ozone layer. Besides, the Sulphur group gases are the most harmful, contributing 30 percent in the global warming. This global warming is directly proportional to population growth. Approximately 80 percent of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase is due to man’s use of fossil fuels.
Increase in global temperature leads to melting of glaciers, changes in rainfall pattern, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather. The rate of melting of glaciers has sharply increased in recent times. Due to melting of glaciers, increase in sea level by 0.4 mm has been observed. Scientists have warned that in next 20-25 years most of the glaciers will disappear and there will be severe problems related to it. Rise in sea level is major reason to worry as it will submerge many cities located near coastline and what should we say about islands? There will be no existence of such islands. Wetlands are also lost. Due to rise in atmospheric temperature the expanse of dessert would increase. The draught situation would be more common and agriculture will be collapsed. Flora and fauna of the earth is in danger. Global warming has far reaching socio-economic impact.
The growing concerns over global temperatures have led to the nations, states and individuals to draw out a plan of action to avert the situation. As a result, the world’s primary international agreement on combating global warming was reached in Kyoto in 1997 which came to be known as Kyoto Protocol. However, 23 years have passed, the situation does not appear to be changed. It seems that the member countries are not very serious about its devastating effects.
The technologies and approaches mentioned below are all needed to bring down the emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 80 per cent by mid-century:
- Boosting energy efficiency: Energy efficiency technologies allow us to use less energy to get the same or higher level of production, service and comfort. This approach has vast potential to save energy and money and can be deployed quickly.
- Greening transportation: A variety of solutions are available including improving efficiency in all modes of transport, switching to low-carbon fuels and reducing vehicles miles traveled through smart growth and more efficient mass transportation system.
- Revving up renewables: Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, tidal are available around the world. They have the potential to meet our energy needs. They can be deployed quickly, are increasingly cost-effective and create jobs while reducing pollution.
- Phasing out fossil fuel electricity: Dramatically reducing our use of fossil fuels is essential to tackle climate change. Not building new coal burning power plant, initiating phased shutdown of coal plants starting with the oldest and dirtiest and capturing and storing carbon emission from power plants this are the key steps that can be followed.
- Managing forests and agriculture: By reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and by making our food production practices more sustainable, we can fight global warming.
- Exploring nuclear energy: Since nuclear power results in few global warming emissions, an increased share of nuclear energy can be advantageous.
- Developing and deploying low carbon and zero carbon technologies: Research into and development of the next generation of low carbon technologies will be critical to deep mid-century reduction in global emissions. Research on battery technology, new materials for solar cells, harnessing energy from novel sources like bacteria and algae and other innovative areas could provide important breakthroughs.
- Ensuring sustainable development: The countries of the world, from the most to the least developed, vary dramatically in their contributions to the problem of climate change and in their responsibilities and capacities to confront it. A successful global compact on climate change must include financial assistance from richer countries to poorer countries to help make the transition to low-carbon development pathways and to help adapt to the impacts of climate change.
To conclude we can say: Global warming is mainly due to ignorance of the people and ‘don’t care’ attitude of few. It is wiser to educate the children to be efficient consumers and be responsible users of energy and resources, remembering that global warming is slowly destroying the earth and its natural habitat.
People should be reminded that they share the earth and its resources with the other species that keep the ecosystem balanced. If the balance is disturbed, the life of every living being is threatened. There is need to educate people about global warming and its huge consequences. There is a huge responsibility on developed countries in this journey as they are the ones who contribute the most in global warming gases emission. It is their duty to take whatever actions are required to help fight this situation. Since we share the earth and its resources, every single species is going to face the consequences and so no country has any right to back out from helping the world just because it is not benefitting their own. What can be more important than earth itself? As we thoughtfully practice ways of preventing the causes of global warming, one day the earth will be restored.
Think about it!