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These days every one agrees upon the fact that there is something strange and worrying happening to the atmosphere. Climate change and global warming are issues which are concerned with every individual living around the globe. Almost each and every individual is affected by the change in climatic conditions and alarming increase in earth’s temperature..
Climate change refers to a change in earth’s weather which includes the change in global temperature, wind patterns, and rainfall. The green house effect is considered a major reason for climate change. The green house effect is a phenomenon which describes the earth as a green house made up of glass which allows light of the sun to enter but then traps it, preventing it from escaping. A green house is a structure made up of glass used for commercial purposes such as producing off season vegetables, plants and flowers. The glass walls traps the radiation in it and does not allow them to escape. This makes the green house warmer which provides optimum temperature for plants even during winters. The same process occurs in the earth’s atmospheric layer. The green house gases acts like the roof of a green house. During day time the earths surface absorbs sunlight and gets warmer, at night the earths surface reradiates the heat back into the atmosphere but some of the heat still remains in the earths system due to the absorption by green house gases.
The earth depicts such a behavior due to the presence of green house gases (GHG) in the earth’s atmospheric layer. GHGs include carbon dioxide, water vapors, methane, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen. How ever the contrary is the concept of global dimming which occurs due to change in the characteristics of clouds due to pollutant particles. As the clouds become more reflecting most of the heat from the sun is then reflected back which causes a cooling effect
The climate debate has become the hottest debate during the last years. The debate between the experts whether to regulate harmful emissions or not has given rise to regulatory uncertainty which intern has even worsen the situation.
The industries involved in mining activities, power plants, and automobile are putting a lot of stress on the environment. Every year they are adding up millions of tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and heavy metals in the environment. With proper control regulations on these plants climate change can be significantly decreased. Due to uneven regulations and no tribal emission limits the process of installation of pollution controls power plants are slowing down. In this regard few environmentalists in order to achieve their long term climate policy goals are actually ignoring short-term health and environmental benefits.
When it comes to pollution controls, they cost a lot to install and thus their feasibility can only be justified when they are applied only to coal fired power plants so that the costs could be recovered due to their larger operations.
The specifics of the climate change regulations are not known and therefore the utilities are unable to decide when these pollution controls should be installed. Unfortunately there are no add-on control technologies which could prove helpful in removing the green house gases from power plant emissions. But the emissions of SOx and NOx can be controlled by add-on pollution control technologies. The SOx and NOx are considered more injurious to health than the green house gases. However the global temperature increase is an attention worthy issue which is mainly caused by green house gases.
The issue of climate change and global warming has gained geopolitical importance in the recent years. It refers to an overall increase in average global temperature. Anthropogenic processes and natural events are simultaneously contributing towards global warming.
The green house effect which is caused by increasing concentration of Green house gases such as Carbon Dioxide, CFCs, water vapors, oxides of nitrogen and methane mainly is responsible for retaining heat in the atmosphere. Some of the radiations reaching the earth’s thermal infrared range are absorbed by the Green house gases and rest are reradiated or emitted back in the environment. In short Green house gases prevent the escape of heat from the earth’s environment; rather they are reflected back resulting in an increase in global temperature.
The key indicators representing climate change published by NASA (National aeronautics and space administration) are as under.
1. Rise in sea level
2. Increase in carbon dioxide concentration
3. Declining Arctic sea ice
4. Shrinking ice sheets
5. Global temperature rise
6. Warming oceans
7. Glacial retreat
8. Ocean acidification
Some Opposing view in climate change debate:
A number of scientists oppose the mainstream, scientific assessment of global warming. They are of the view that first the idea of global warming does not exist and if there is such thing then it is not caused by human activities rather it is happening as a part of natural processes.
“The two main “scientific” claims of the IPCC are the claim that “the globe is warming” and “Increases in carbon dioxide emissions are responsible”. Evidence for both of these claims is fatally flawed” (Gray, 2008)
Dr Gray further clarifies his point of view by addressing the graphs which shows that the mean annual temperature of the globe is increasing. He denies that the practice of measuring the average global temperature of any part of the world has ever been done so how could we make it a reference point.
“Experts of the United Nations in regular reports publish data said to show that the earth is approaching a catastrophic global warming, caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, observations of the sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is not “guilty” and as for what lies ahead in the upcoming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged, temperature drop”. (Abdussamatov, 2009)
Habibullo is of the believe that the global warming is due to a gradual increase in the activities of the sun and carbon dioxide should not be considered as an agent for causing global warming.
The global scenario of peace, development and prosperity is changing. Furthermore climate change can result in depletion of food and water supplies it can give rise to conflicts and even destabilize societies and government.
The recent climate change trend is more significant for us because it is anticipated mostly by human activities. The increased levels of green house gases are making the earth warmer. Carbon dioxide and other gases are known for their heat-trapping nature. Instead of escaping into space the infrared radiations from the sun are trapped by green house gases in the result they remain in earths system.
Burning of fossil fuels by humans causes carbon dioxide to release in the environment. Furthermore methane is produced from agriculture activities in rice fields. Live stock also contributes to it as fermentation of manure generated methane. CFCs are generated from refrigerators and aerosols.
The global warming and melting of land ice causes thermal expansion of sea water.
The glaciers around the globe are melting causing an increase in the global sea level. The increase in sea level will accelerate in the upcoming years because of increase in global warming.
“Two weeks ago, I visited Arctic I saw the remains of a glacier that just a few years ago was a majestic mass of ice. The Arctic could be virtually ice free-by 2030” (Ban KI-moon)
Global warming is not only affecting the environment, it has direct adverse effects on humans, animals and plants. From Natural habitats of wild life to mangrove forests which are breeding ground of fishes all are getting affected by it. The oxides of nitrogen and sulfur which are present in the atmospheric layers of gases react with rain water and produce acid rain. The acid rain is corrosive and it not only contaminates water bodies but it also destroys marble buildings and sculptures.
According to NASA Global climate change causes a shift in animal and plant ranges and also causes tress to flower sooner. All the predictions which were made by the scientists regarding climate change are proving true. The future effect of climate change includes more frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought in some regions, and an increase in number, duration and intensity of tropical storms.
Some of the future trends adapted from inter governmental panel on climate change (IPCC) are as under:
Contraction of snow cover areas, increased thaw in permafrost regions, decrease in sea ice content.
Increased frequency of hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation.
Increase in tropical cyclone intensity.
Precipitation increases in high altitudes.
Precipitation decreases in subtropical land regions.
Decreased water resources in many semi-arid areas.
Lack of regulations, regulatory uncertainty and lack of interest regarding environmental issues amongst the inhabitants specially belonging to under developing countries is making this issue even worsen. The economic crush which is prevailing throughout the world has negatively affected the priority of this important issue , where everyone is struggling for making their bread and butter and to full fill the basic necessities of life. In this type of situation people are not ready to use their assets, efforts on addressing this issue.
Experts on the other hand are aware of the importance of the issue. They are observing the ice melting on the glaciers with a rapid pace. The sea level around the globe is rising increasing the risks of some major floods. It is expected that sea levels will rise by over 40 cm by the 2080s .Infect though with a slow pace the earths landscape as a whole is changing. The dry part (land) is continuously shrinking disturbing the natural habitats of a number of wild life’s species. With the passage of time wildlife animals undergoes evolution in order to make them selves compatible with the outside environment. The evolution leads to the concept of the survival of the fittest. The one which lacks behind the race have to face extinction.
Human population is also affected by the climate change in the very same way .The year 1998 was the warmest year globally since data collection began in 1861.In the year 2003 some 30,000 people lost their life’s due to a sudden heat wave , making this phenomenon extremely attention worthy for the scientists. The average temperature of the UK may rise by 2-3.5 degree by 2080s.
If we see the situation in our own country the demand of electricity especially in summers has raisin a lot. As the summers are getting longer and more severe than previous years living without a fan or an air-conditioner is becoming a big deal.
This situation prevails through the world as the summers are getting longer and winters are shrinking. In this manner the rainfall frequency will also change it is expected that in up coming years winters will become wetter and summers drier. In south east summer rainfall may decline by 50 by the 2080s.
Some worst impacts of climate change includes declining winter storms shifted towards north, increase in precipitation intensity, soaring of temperature, wide spread mortality of vegetation, and increases in the frequency of large wild fires.
But wait; now the point is who actually is responsible for the outbreak of this new phenomenon. It is no doubt the anthropogenic activities of the humans which are destroying the environment.
Green house gases include carbon dioxide, water vapors, methane and CFCs. Sources of CFCs are aerosols, refrigerators, and air-conditioners. These human activities are releasing harmful gases in the atmosphere which thickens the atmospheric layer. This thickened layer prevents the escape of heat from earth’s environment resulting an increase in global temperature.
There are concerns that Carbon dioxide emission has raised to alarming levels but only few of the climate analysts fees that it is a bit early to draw final conclusions on this phenomenon. The carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is increasing with a rapid pace. It is considered as one of the most important green house gas.CO2 is released due to the combustion of fossil fuels, natural factors and volcanic eruption. It means the energy we consume is becoming an agent to destroy our environment. It can be administered by adopting renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels. The agro fuels are clean and green and because of photosynthesis they help reducing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
(The global monitoring division of NOAA/earth system research laboratory)
The above graph shows the rising trend in global CO2 concentration from years 2006 to 2010.
Some experts also believe that the earth’s ability to absorb the gases is reducing resulting in acceleration of green house effect.
Planet earth belongs to all living in it. It’s every ones responsibility to protect it from climate change. On the whole the anthropogenic activities are responsible for global warming. Several steps should be taken in this regard. Promoting public transport and adopting efficient and environment friendly transport could be the first step. This reduces the number of cars on the road which intern reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
Arboriculture specially when done on larger scale reduces the impact of global warming. In most of the countries this is done under government plan simultaneously people should also showing concern and are planting trees on their own.
Preferring energy efficient products could be a vital step. The energy savers bulbs are on the top of the list. As these products consumes less energy so the overall demand for energy could be reduced this could be help full in decreasing the dependence on fossil fuels.
Most of the experts find it too early to say that new trends are setting up. But all of them agree upon the fact that this phenomenon should be addressed on urgent basis.
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