Is global warming due to human actions?
Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of both the earth’s near surface air and the oceans. The temperature increase began in mid twentieth century and is predicted to continue into the future. For example, during the last hundred years ending in 2005, the earth’s surface air temperature has increased drastically (Thomas, C. D, 2004). Basically, global warming is the recent increase in the average air and ocean temperature of the Earth as well as its expected continuation. What is so controversial about it is the actual potential for danger and its causes. Though natural events like volcanoes and solar changes have caused small rises in temperatures over time, many believe that greenhouse gas emissions have a large part in this and that even if the emission levels stabilize, temperatures may continue rising for another thousand years or more. It is projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the average global surface temperature will probably rise another 1.1-6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during this century. Right now the average temperature of the Earth is about 13 °C, or 56 °F. Increasing temperatures can lead to rising sea levels, extreme weather events and changes in precipitation. Global warming can also affect agriculture and glacier retreat and can facilitate the spread of disease and the extinctions of species. Many countries have been working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global warming; some have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol for this purpose. However, others feel that this is either ineffectual or unnecessary. The increasing global temperature causes changes such as rising sea levels, which is consequently expected to increase the occurrence of extreme weather events (hurricane, floods, and famine). In addition, the amount and pattern of precipitation is affected by increasing global temperature. The effects of global warming have been in the past disastrous and may be very disastrous even in the future. Other climatic change effects include, low agricultural yields, trade routes, glacier retreat, species extinctions and disease vectors increase. The paper will discuss the causes of global warming, the effects and measures that have been taken to reduce it. Discussion
Causes of Global warming
The greenhouse gases emissions have greatly contributed to global warming and still continue to be a threat even in the modern world. Examples of greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide emissions may come from the power generating plants, vehicles, airplanes and industrial pollution. Carbon dioxide from power plants stems from electricity generation through the burning of fossil fuels. Coal as a raw material this accounts for a high percentage of the carbon dioxide emissions due to its use in the electricity utilizing industry. For example, in 2002, 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions were estimated to be from fossil fuel burning. As compared to the natural gas coal emits much more carbon per unit of energy. Fuel used by vehicles through internal combustion engines emits carbon dioxide by the burning of gasoline. Examples of cars and light trucks that have internal combustion engines include minivans, sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks and jeeps. Vehicles with poor gas mileage contribute most to global warming with the aviation industry contributing an estimated 3.5 per cent of all global warming gas emissions, according to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel. It is also estimated that carbon dioxide emissions may come from structural buildings though in much smaller amounts. Methane ranks second after carbon dioxide as a green house gas that contributes to global warming; it is considered to be more than 20 times effective in trapping heat compared to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere....
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