The climate of the earth has changed drastically over the years. Approximately seven cycles of glacial retreat and advance have been experienced in the past 650 thousand years. The end of the ice age was marked about 7,000 years ago, and it also marked the onset of human civilization and the start of a modern climate era.
Most of the climatic changes are attributed to variations in the quantity of solar energy that earth receives. It is approximated that 95% of the warming changes are attributed to human activities since the onset of the mid-20th century, and the rates seem to be increasing over millennia (NASA 1). Technological applications such as Earth-orbiting satellites have been used on a vast scale by scientists in studying and collecting information on climatic changes on a global scale. The data collected over the years have linked the climatic changes to human activities (Rahman, Mizanur, et al 16). The adverse effects of global warming have prompted the worldwide leaders and scientists to come up with ways of curbing global warming. Some of these methods range from moving away from utilizing fossil fuel and switching to using alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind and nuclear to modification of our human behaviors to limit our carbon footprint.
Evidence to show that Humans are the cause of Global Warming
It was in the mid-nineteenth century where the ability of greenhouses gases to trap heat was demonstrated. Therefore, the blanketing attribute of greenhouse gases such as Carbon IV oxide causes the earth to warm up to undesirable levels. Evidence of global warming can be seen on changes in ice cores of the tropical mountain glaciers, Greenland and Antarctica. Evidence can also be seen in coral reefs, tree rings, layers of sedimentary rocks and ocean sediments. The evidence linked to climate changes show that rate of ice age recovery is ten times slower than the current warming being experienced. Scientists depict that the earth’s surface temperatures have increased by approximately 2.0⁰F since the nineteenth century (NASA 1) The rise in temperature has been because of human-made greenhouse gases that have been emitted into the atmosphere. Since 2001, sixteen of the warmest seventeen years have been on record. Out of the past 35 warmest years that have been on record, 2016 is the warmest year with two-thirds of the months being the warmest. The oceans have also warmed up significantly by 0.3⁰F since the year 1969.
Variations in the acidity of the oceans have also been evidence of the effects of human activities on climatic changes. With the onset of the industrial revolution, the acidity of the oceans has risen by about 30%. This is as a result of increased emissions of Carbon IV oxide which later on diffuse into the oceanic waters increasing the water’s acidity (NASA 7) The upper layers of oceans have been seen to be absorbing approximately two billion tons of Carbon IV oxide each year.
The receding ice sheets have also been linked to excessive heat that the earth is experiencing. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have significantly receded. According to data collected by NASA, between 2006 and 2002, Greenland has lost approximately 200 cubic kilometers of ice each year. On the other hand, Antarctica has lost 36 cubic miles of ice between 2005 and 2003. In the Andes, Alaska, Himalayas, and Africa, glaciers have been seen retreating. For example, the snow cap of Mount Kilimanjaro is disappearing, and this is basing on the images seen from space. Sea level rise has become a threat to the habitation of people in areas such the Maldives (NASA 10). Scientists have found that in the 20th century, the sea level rose by eight inches. The rate of sea level rise has been seen to double that of the 20th century within the last two decades of the current century.
One of the greatest threats facing the world today is climate change. According to research done by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), there is a ninety percent chance that the temperatures will increase by 3.5 to 7.4 ⁰C within less than 100 years. The variations in temperatures serve as steers of disasters ranging from harsh weather patterns, water shortages, floods, famine and conflicts as secondary effects. The International Energy Agency warned that the world might be reaching its extreme points concerning climatic changes and that there was the need for global warming mitigations. This was in 2011, November. Climate change mitigations require the input of every nation, hence the participation of every country in climate change summits that have been held. To curb global warming, the world agreed that the Kyoto Protocol was to be extended all the way from 2017 to 2020 (NASA 7). The agreement was made at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP17.In the Convection, each country was to be allocated a greenhouse gas emission target irrespective of the economic activities they engage in. The decisions made aim at reducing greenhouse gases emissions worldwide hence reduce global warming that attributes to the climatic changes.
Global Warming Mitigations
As a way of generating energy for industries, humans burn oil, coal and natural gas. To limit greenhouse gases emission, it is, therefore, necessary for people to find alternative sources of energy. The use of wind, solar and nuclear energy will reduce greenhouse gases’ emission because the sources mentioned are clean sources of energy. There is also need to reduce cutting down of vegetation and do more of planting trees. The vegetation aid in taking up Carbon IV Oxide for photosynthesis purposes hence decreasing its atmospheric accumulation levels (Rahman, Mizanur, et al 18).
It is through the expansion of the use of renewable sources of energy that our system of energy will be transformed into one that is less dependent on fossil fuel, and that is cleaner. Standards and rules have been developed by the EPA to help in the regulation of atmospheric carbon emissions from several power plants. The Clean Power Plan will aid in prompting countries to shift from the use of fossil fuel as energy sources to the use of cleaner energy sources such as solar energy. It is through the changing of our daily behavior that we will be able to curb carbon emissions (Rahman, Mizanur, et al 21). Many homes and schools pose solar panels and wind turbines that they use in tapping energy for everyday use. This is to show that the technologies for clean sources of energy are very much affordable and available. The continuous embrace of clean sources of energy will be a significant step in curbing global warming. Efforts can also be placed in limiting the use of vehicles by walking more or biking over relatively short distances.
Educating the society on the significance of making decisions that are informed about climatic changes will aid in limiting global warming. Our education systems can be integrated with Climate Science to assist people to understand the importance of incorporating biological and physical interconnections in our decision making. People should be made aware of the dangers that global warming (Rahman, Mizanur, et al 24). They should understand what causes global warming and some of the ways of preventing global warming. It is through enlightening the people on climatic changes that will prompt them to practice environmentally friendly activities. This way, we will decarbonize our energy layout system hence transforming the global economy.
In a nutshell, basing on the evidence that has been discussed, human activities play a critical role in bringing about global warming. Since the onset of the industrial revolution, humans have participated in various economic activities that have primarily contributed to the emission of greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases such as Carbon IV Oxide have a blanketing effect; they trap heat and lead to the rise in temperatures to critical levels. It is through the burning of fossil fuel such as coal that man gets energy for industrial purposes (NASA 2). The rise of temperatures to critical has been evidenced by the increase in ocean acidification, rise in sea level, receding ice cores, the disappearance of snow on the peak of very tall mountains and exhibitions of harsh weather patterns such as heavy rainfalls.
The widespread of global emissions requires the input of multilateral cooperation in curbing global warming. It is approximated that out of 26 countries, and fifteen are responsible for about 75% of emissions globally. It is therefore crucial for the global emission-curbing process to be coordinated globally. In consideration of the fact that the climatic changes will be felt worldwide, it further calls for worldwide effort. It is in this respect that countries have been given carbon emission limit target; according to the Kyoto Protocol (Rahman, Mizanur, et al 21). It is to regard to this policy that countries opt for alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar energy and also limit deforestation to curb the global warming process.
"Climate Change Evidence: How Do We Know?" Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet, 28 Nov. 2017, climate.nasa.gov/evidence/.
Rahman, Mizanur, et al. "Towards Sustainability of Tropical Forests: Implications for Enhanced Carbon Stock and Climate Change Mitigation." Journal of Forest and Environmental Science 33.4 (2017): 1-000.