Global Warming is a Global Disaster
“We have a single mission: to protect and hand on the planet to the next generation.” Said the former President of France, Francois Hollande. He spoke during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. The catastrophic effects of global warming have captured the attention of world leaders. In 2015, 196 countries gathered in Paris for the UNFCCC. The primary goal for the convention was to agree on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in turn curb the global temperature increase.
Global warming is often described as the gradual increase in the normal earth’s atmosphere, caused by high levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. This increase has been attributed to the deteriorating state of the earth’s climate. Over the past 50 years emissions from carbon dioxide, burning of fossils, greenhouse gases and human activities have increased. Polar ice caps have melted resulting to increased sea levels and severe storms. Nitrous oxide is produced by biomass burning, fertilizers, and soil cultivation.
- 1 Our writers can help you with any type of essay. For any subject
- 2 Emissions by country
- 3 Food
- 4 Plants and animals
- 5 Health
- 6 Coral reef
- 7 Wildfires
- 8 Hurricanes
- 9 Lightning
- 10 Our Individual responsibility on climate change
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How it works
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFOs) have been known to cause the destruction of the ozone layer. Methane is more active compared to carbon dioxide, it is produced through the agricultural activities such as rice cultivation and decomposition of waste to form manure. Normally, solar radiation and sunlight bounce from the earth and escape into space. These gases interrupt this normal occurrence and trap the heat from the radiation and sun rays causing the planet to get hotter.
The primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S are:
Agriculture: Gas emissions from cows, rice production contributes to 9 percent of the emissions.
Commercial and Residential: Burning of fossils fuels for heat and use of certain products contribute to the 11 percent of greenhouse emissions.
Industry: Gas emissions from chemical reactions that are used in the production of raw materials and burning of fossils fuels contribute to the 22 percentage of the total greenhouse emissions in 2016.
Electricity production: Approximately 68 percent of electricity comes from burning coal and fossil fuels. This is the second largest share of gas emissions.
Transportation: This sector is the largest contributor of the greenhouse emissions with 28.5 %. Approximately 90% of the fuel used in the transportation industry is petroleum based and includes gasoline and diesel.
The top carbon dioxide emitters in 2014 were China, the United States, the European Union, India, the Russian Federation and Japan. The data includes emissions from cement manufacturing, fossil fuel combustion and gas flaring.
Emissions by country
Let’s discuss the devastating effects of global warming.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global temperature has increased by approximately 0.8 Celsius or 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over100 years. “Qualitative evidence of increase in temperatures has been derived from studies conducted on the retreat of mountain glaciers in Asia, Africa, North America and Indonesia.” Points out Josef Werne, a professor of Geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh. p.3
The productivity of livestock and crops is greatly affected, farm yields including milk are on the decline. Food shortage is inevitable when crop Irrigation is affected. Changes in rainfall patterns has resulted in delays in planting and harvesting. Increased rainfall has led to floods, this has decreased the available land for farming and destroyed crops.
Plants and animals
A report from the Academy of Sciences indicate that different animal and plant species are moving to higher altitude areas. The migration is from the equator to the poles. Alpine plants, foxes, and some butterflies have moved to cooler areas. These species are at the risk of extinction because the rate of increase in high temperatures is higher than the rate of migration. There has been a decline of the Adelie penguins found in the Antarctica. Disease causing pathogens found in tropical areas have increased, species that were once protected from these pathogens are now at risk. Carbon dioxide has been seen to increase plants growth and less nutritious. Food shortage causes famines all over the world and riots that lead to civil unrest and political instability.
Higher latitude areas are now more habitable by mosquitos. This has resulted in a rise in mosquito borne diseases such as Malaria and Zika. Zika outbreak was reported in 2016, it causes birth defects to fetuses. There is no treatment or cure. Air pollution and Pollen producing ragweed have caused an increase in allergies and asthma. Warm oceans are a good breeding ground for harmful bacteria that contaminates seafood and leads to Cholera outbreaks.
Coral reefs will turn acidic as the oceans turn acidic. Carbon dioxide forms carbonic acid when it dissolves in water, the oceans soak up more of it. Studies conducted recently, show that the oceans have absorbed approximately a third of all fossil fuel carbon released into the atmosphere. This is expected to increase in the next century. The most affected sea creatures are those that make their shells and skeletons from calcium carbonate. Acidification reduces the carbonate ions making it impossible for the organisms to build their shells and skeletons. The structures dissolve when the water drops beyond the saturation point. Calcium carbonate is categorized in two different forms, calcite and aragonite. Aragonite are more soluble and include corals and are the hardest hit.
Oceans are warming rapidly and become more acidic. Researchers noted that there a slower growth of coral due to declining carbonate levels. Short periods of abnormally high temperatures as little as 1° C higher than long term causes corals to expel the algae that supplies their food, resulting in bleaching that sometimes leads to death. In some experiments the shells of pteropods started dissolving after two days in water with pH predicted for 2050. This is a worrying trend because the pteropods are very important in the ecosystems in the Southern Ocean and Arctic and sub- Arctic waters where animals such as whales, salmon and cod. When the levels of carbon dioxide increased the numbers of plankton declined. The loss of the species in the ocean could mean the future generations will no longer see these amazing organisms. Oceans are naturally alkaline; the average pH is about 8.2 though it varies up to 0.3 units depending on location and season.
When carbon dioxide dissolves in the seawater it forms a weak acid and thus lowering the ph. The rate at which the greenhouse gases are ejected in the ocean exceeds the rate at which the natural processes can utilize the acidity. The average pH of the oceans has fallen by about 0.1 units as compared to the pre- industrial levels.The Great Barrier Reef in Australia were affected by bleaching in 2016 and 2017. The coral ejected their Algae because warm waters and pollution that caused unbalanced Ph in the reef. Coral reefs have the most diverse eco systems in the world. They provide habitats for the marine organisms and protect the coastline from effect of tropical storms and cyclones. The destruction of the coral reef by global warming will compromise the research conducted scientists. The coral animals and plants are good sources of medicines developed to treat bacterial infections, heart disease, arthritis, cancer and viruses.
As the air warms, moisture and precipitation levels change. Dry areas become drier causing drought and wildfires. Western United States has seen an increase in wildfires. Researchers say that these moist and forested areas are more susceptible to wildfires. Lives are lost in the wildfires and destruction of property. The air pollution from the fires exposes residents to lung diseases. The State and Federal government spends millions of dollars trying to suppress the fires.
Hurricane formations are expected to change and become less recurrent but those formed will be more intense. Studies has shown global warming increases the temperature different between cold atmosphere and the warm humid ocean, the temperature difference energizes the hurricane.
We all hate lightning and dread them when it is raining, unfortunately studies have shown there is an increase in the number of lightning in the United States. For every 1.8-degree F of warming in the air there was a 12 percent increase in lightning action.
What is China doing to control carbon emission?
China is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters, in 2014 the country pledged to regulate greenhouse gases and invest in non-fossil fuel by 2030. It is the largest investor in clean energy but also burns half of total world’s coal. China installed more solar capacity in 2013 than the U.S did in the past 6 decades. In 2015 they invested more than $ 100 billion in clean energy more than the U.S.
The country has limited the use of coal and is shutting down coal mines. The quality of air has greatly increased in cities such as Wuhan and Beijing. The government is also investing wind and solar energy to replace coal. China issued requirements to building owners to make them energy efficient. They are also building high speed rails. This limits transportation emissions. China has also turned its focus on building nuclear plants. Nuclear energy is the lowest carbon forms of electricity.
Our Individual responsibility on climate change
Conserving energy should be a personal responsibilty of every citizen. When shopping for home appliances look for government’s Energy Star label. These appliances have met the federal requirements for energy efficiency. This is the cheapest way to reduce emissions. Unplug all devices that are not at use, regulate the monitors and computers to power down to the lowest power when idle.
Carbon pollution can be controlled by water conservation. Pumping, treating and heating water uses a lot of energy. EPA study shows that approximately 100 million kilowatt – hours of electricity will be saved if one out of 100 American homes had water efficient fittings. LED bulbs conserve more energy compared to the conventional bulbs.
It is the responsibility of every individual country to formulate policies that are aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. The world is a beautiful place, we are all responsible of taking care of the plants and animals that do not have a voice. We depend on the environment to provide the food we eat, the clean water we drink, and the air we breathe but don’t want to take care of the world and have allowed carbon emissions to destroy our livelihood.
With the increase in technology we must innovate ways of reducing these emissions and conserve the environment. The affected forests by wildfires must be rehabilitated, trees produce the oxygen we need to breathe and in turn take in carbon dioxide. They filter all the harmful pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide.
Shade provided by trees slows down water evaporation and shield us from Ultra violet rays. Trees reduce this exposure by 50 percent. Trees provide a habitat, food and protection for wildlife and provide wood for fuel and craft. Soil erosion is greatly reduced by planting of trees. Studies have shown that patients recover quickly if their hospital room offers a view of trees.
What are we doing to control greenhouse emissions in the country?
Urban reforestation is a tool that is being used to fight climate change. Some experts argue that urban forests only account for two to three percent of the United States carbon appropriation. However, during these critical times every tree and every ounce of carbon could make a huge difference in the fight against climate change. Urban forests help in regulating temperatures, provide shade to the community, block wind and limit pollution. The reforestation programs provide an opportunity for the public to invest in urban eco systems that can survive the drastic changes of the environment.
Effects of climate change are inevitable and irreversible, to adapt to these changes we must plant new trees that have the best chances of survival in the changing environment
Power plants are the biggest source of carbon pollution, to reduce climate pollution the U.S must to limit plant pollution.
Expand the carbon markets in the world. “Carbon markets create flexible economic incentives for reducing the greenhouse gas pollution. They are powerful tools for fighting climate change. To cut down on pollution, States, cities and provinces are investing in the carbon markets,” explains Erica Morehouse a senior Attorney with Environmental Defense Fund’s Global Climate program. p.2
States must update the laws governing the electric companies, this will clear the path for clean energy. Electricity companies should innovate ways to generate power by using solar and wind. Ending fossil fuel subsidies. For every $1 spent to help with renewable energy, $6 spent on fossil fuel subsidies. The subsidies are intended to protect consumers and companies form fluctuating fuel prices, but they make the dirty companies profitable. To shift the world to a clean energy economy, phasing out subsidies will be crucial.
Unlock the profit of the rainforest. Cutting trees is very profitable but we must stop deforestation at all costs. Indonesia, Mexico and Amazon have a program known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). This program provides crucial economic incentives for forest conservation.
Stop the methane leaks from the oil and gas industry. The industries should monitor their gas leaks. National and state policies should be formulated to deal with methane leaks and hold them accountable.
Cutting down on the use of traditional cookstoves that produce soot while cooking and heating homes. When inhaled soot leads to numerous illnesses. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is cleating awareness on the importance of using clean cookstoves.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are used for industrial processes mainly for air conditioning and refrigeration. Companies started using the HCFs because they do not harm the ozone layer, but the gases aren’t so good for the climate. They trap heat a thousand times more than carbon dioxide. In 2016, the United Nations agreed to phase out the use of HFCs. They are the largest growing greenhouses gas. Scientists have said this move could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by the end of the century.
Fertilizers help crops grow but if used in excess amounts, they convert nitrous oxide 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Advances in science allow farmers to use precise fertilizers, saving them money and reduce waste.
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