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Is Climate Change a Natural Phenomenon or Manmade?

1427 words (6 pages) Essay in Environmental Studies

18/05/20 Environmental Studies Reference this

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Is climate change a natural phenomenon or manmade?

In recent years human activities have caused the ecological system to reach a tipping point and still, there are deniers of climate change (Lenton, Held, Kriegler, Hall, Lucht, Rahmstorf & Schellnhuber 2008). The term tipping point refers to a point of irreparable environmental damage. The threshold includes pollution of the air, carbon dioxide (CO2) saturation, global warming, solar radiation, among others (Lenton et al., 2008). The climate change deniers claim that the changes facing humankind are the result of a natural phenomenon the planet is going trough or a side effect of a sun cycle phase. However, some renowned scientists conduct in-depth research to prove them wrong and expose that climate change is a reality, and it could not have occurred without human interference.

Climate change opponents claim that weather variation is natural and human activities have nothing to do with. They base this idea on a weather study that proved that the changes on weather depend on the interaction between the natural elements, such as air, soil and water, and the exchange of atmospheric gases. The argument pointed out that the evolution of these elements through the earth’s life cycle naturally increased the temperature that several countries are suffering. Even though the theory has a point, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has proven that in the past five decades the weather has struggle an unprecedented increase of the warming rates (Asian Development Bank [ADB], 2013). These scientists explain how human population, industrial pollution, deforestation, and fossil burning affect the natural balance of gases exchange at the atmosphere, creating a heat-trapping called global warming (ADB, 2013). James Hansen (2012) emphasizes that the increase of population leads to the need for more energy, the generation of this amount of power generates more pollution than ever before. (Hansen, 2012). The pollution generated by the manmade energy is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima bombs every day for an entire year (Hansen, 2012). Another example of how human destroy the natural balance of the ecosystem is the continuous deforestation and fossil fuels, which has increased precipitately in the past 50 years (Bradford, 2018). Furthermore, companies and individuals have only thought about their benefits and comfort without caring about how much critical damage the environment is suffering.

Skeptical groups established a theory about the saturation of CO2 that explain how this gas in the atmosphere has no impact on global warming or cooling. The research claims that by the increase of this type of gas, the process of photosynthesis and water absorption of the plants will be more efficient. Nevertheless, this investigation did not take into account the critical damages that the CO2 saturation can cause to the planet ecosystem balance. CO2 indeed takes an important role in the vegetation environment, but an excess of this gas can create an unbalance on the terrestrial and maritime ecosystem (Stocker, 2013). CO2 is generally absorbed by a combination of oceans and forests. In consequence of human activities, the ocean has become more acidic, this turn it unable to store the CO2  for longer periods, so what is happing is that the gas is spreading at an increasing rate each year into the air (Stocker, 2013). Trees naturally attract the carbon of the atmosphere and use it for their growth, but the ecosystem suffers an unbalance with the CO2 coming from the ocean so the trees became deficient in their role. While the higher temperatures, poor rainfall and the sudden fires in the forests lead to the release of all CO2 stored resulting in the elevation of global warming. (Pearce, 2007). In this century, CO2 is released into the atmosphere faster than 66 million years before (Zeebe, 2016). Every human being has to understand that gases such as CO2 have a positive effect for the planet, however, the moment when the amount of CO2 exceeds the quantity needed for the balance of the ecosystem, the situation of the world became dangerous.

The high or low temperature of our planet is based in a major part by the energy the planet receives from the sun. Groups that refuse climate change are convinced that the excessive warm and cold that the human, animals, and vegetation of the earth are experiencing are caused by a sun cycle effect. Although the sun directly affects the climate on earth, since the solar activity has a direct impact in the wind, rain and ocean currents, the controversy relies on whether the sun changes enough to produce such variations in the low atmosphere (Eddy, 1977). Besides, a research conducted by the NASA (2018) found that today the energy going from the planet to the atmosphere is less than the energy coming in (National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], 2018), so drastic changes in the 20th century can not be explained by a solar cycle. Heatwaves are causing damage all over the world, by 2013 Australia had five times more heatwaves than it was expected (Lewis, 2013), in Quebec numbers show that more than 80 individuals die because of the high weather and the overwhelm ambulance services in 2018 (Laframboise, 2018). According to the IPCC, it is likely that heatwaves are becoming more and more frequent in large parts of Europe, Asia, and Australia and that human activity has made them twice as probable (Pachauri, 2014). These heatwaves create unbalance in the polar vortex, which will bring more hot to the artic generating a decay of ice, and more cold to North America and some parts of Europe, which will cause a widespread disruption all over the continent from Britain to the Balkans (Connellan, 2018). Global warming increase the extreme weather of the environment because the huge amount of energy added to the system, and people say that they do not know what to do to stop it, sadly the solution is in all these people hands, but the misinformation about climate change and the unwillingness to change habits do not let them realize it.

Although the tipping point is reached, the environment is damaged, and maybe there is no come back from this situation, people have to find the way to make it better, and stop to take advantage of the planet by destroying all the environment with their ecological footprint. Because, this planet is beautiful and have a lot to give and that is why is crucial that everyone understands the responsibility to deal caringly the environment, to preserve the only home humanity knows.

References

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB). (2013). Bio-Brief#2: Climate. Retrieved August 30,2019 from keneamazon: http://www.keneamazon.net/Documents/Publications/Virtual-Library/Impacto/9.pdf
  • Bradford, A. (2018). Live Science. Retrieved August 30,2019 from https://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html
  • Connellan, S. (2018). Europeans capture footage of extreme weather as ‘Beast from the East‘ meet Storm Emma. Retrieved Augost 30,2019 from Marshable: https://mashable.com/2018/03/02/beast-from-the-east-storm-emma-europe/#Iy5Lcub7SkqW
  • Eddy, J. A. (1977). Climate and the changing sun (Vol. 1). Kluwer Academic Publishers. Retrieved August 30,2019 from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01884410
  • Hansen, J. (2012). Why I must speak out about climate change. Retrieved August 30,2019 from TedTalk: https://www.ted.com/talks/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change
  • Lenton, T. M., Held, H., Kriegler, E., Hall, J. W., Lucht, W., Rahmstorf, S., & Schellnhuber, H. J. (2008). Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system. Retrieved August 30,2019 from: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/105/6/1786.full.pdf?wptouch_preview_theme=enabled
  • Laframboise, K. (2018). Deadly heat wave blamed for up to 70 deaths in Quebec. Global News Canada. Retrieved August 30,2019 from de https://globalnews.ca/news/4321912/quebec-heat-wave-70-deaths-2018/
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2018). Earth Observatory. Retrieved August 30,2019 from National Aeronautics and Space Administration: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page7.php
  • Pachauri, R. K. (2014). Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Retrieved August 30,2019 from https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/05/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full_wcover.pdf
  • Pearce, F. (2007). The Last Generation: How Nature Will Take her Revenge for Climate Change. London: Eden Project Books.
  • Zeebe R. (2016). Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years. Retrieved from Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/ngeo2681
  • Lewis, D. K. (2013). Anthropogenic contributions to Australia’s record summer temperatures of 2013. Geophysical Research Letters.
  • Stocker, T. F. (2013). Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved August 30,2019 from https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2017/09/WG1AR5_Chapter02_FINAL.pdf
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