Global warming is the gradual increase in the regular temperature happening in the earth’s troposphere. It is happening, as the levels of greenhouse gases are increasing. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) trap the heat whenever sunlight hits the earth. Both land and oceans in our planet are warmer over the past two centuries, and temperatures are still increasing. This continuous rise in the temperature of the planet is really alarming.
Recent observations regarding global warming have confirmed that the greenhouse effect is really increasing due to anthropogenic activities. The earth has encountered a major rise in surface temperature since the previous 100 years. There has been a rise in the mean temperature of the Earth by 0.8º C i.e. 1.44° F in contrast to the edge of the 19th century. Scientists suppose a rise of between 1.5° and 5.3°C (2.7° to 9.54°F) in average temperature by 2100. If we don’t take any action, it will have detrimental effects on the people and the environment.
Causes of Global Warming:
1. Greenhouse Gases (GHGs): These gases comprise of water vapors, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxides and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Water vapor is naturally occurring, others, such as CFCs, are synthetic. CO2 is released into the atmosphere from both natural and anthropogenic causes and it has been increasing at a frightening rate.
2. Depletion of Ozone Layer: This occurs mostly because of the existence of CFCs. When UV light is there, the molecules of these gases break down into chlorine atoms which leads to ozone destruction
3. Burning of Fossil Fuels: As we burn coal, oil and natural gas for electricity, heat, energy, and transportation; CO2 concentrates and surpluses our atmosphere. Transportation in the form of cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes emits the largest percentage of CO2.
4. Over-exploitation of Natural Resources: It is elevating global warming as the over-consumption of natural resources leads to over-exploitation
5. Deforestation: As trees and all green plants inhale CO2 and exhale oxygen. Also, the already deposited carbon in the trees is discharged when they are cut down or burnt.
6. Livestock: The most important GHGs that are harmful to livestock are nitrous oxide and methane. Nitrous oxide originates from the usage of fertilizers. And both methane and nitrous oxide are produced by reserves of manure. Also, ruminant animals release great amounts of methane through their digestive tract, and the process is called enteric fermentation. Methane has 265 times more adverse effects than carbon dioxide, while nitrous oxide is 28 times more toxic than the latter.
7. Extensive Farming: Crop protection products and fertilizers are responsible for GHG emissions.
8. Excessive use of Single use Plastic: At current levels, greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic life cycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C.
Effects of Global Warming:
a. Severe Meteorological Conditions: Consequences of Global warming are very upsetting and causes natural calamities like Killer heatwaves, Heavy rains and flooding, Cyclones, Drought, Wildfires, Dust storms.
b. Rising Sea Level: Yes, rising sea-level is one of the great impacts of global warming, due to melting glaciers and ice sheets.
c. Disintegrating Polar Ice and Vanishing Glaciers: Glaciers are melting due to the warming climate. The snowpacks and polar ice are disintegrating because of global warming.
d. Damage to Coral Reefs and Ocean Acidification: Higher amounts of CO2 are causing extreme acidity in the oceans. As pH levels in the ocean decline, shellfish have trouble reproducing, and a lot of the oceans’ food cycle has become disturbed. Also, due to the high concentration of CO2 and ocean acidification, corals are endangered because it is harder for them to make their calcium carbonate skeletons.
e. Shifting Species Ranges and Yearly Cycles: 80% and above of species are shifting to higher altitudes and varying their yearly practices because of global warming; this could lead to destructive ecological alterations.
f. Diseases: Few diseases are the impacts of Global warming directly or indirectly.
- Heat-associated sickness
- Injuries and mortality from extreme weather
- Asthma and cardiovascular illnesses from air pollution
- Respiratory difficulties from more allergens
- Ailments from bad water quality
What are the solutions:
While the effects of global warming can seem bleak and disastrous, there is still hope. By taking immediate action to control global warming, we may never see the worst consequences. Likewise, as the world adopts cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions. Below are some practical ways we can use to battle global warming, including:
- Stop or reduce the usage of fossil fuels like carbon-intensive coal
- Practice renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal, wind, and bio-energy
- Make your home and workplace energy efficient
- Change to less-carbon fuels and decrease travel miles
- Use sustainable mass transportation systems
- Stop deforestation and start afforestation
- Buy carbon offsets
- Adopt a plant-based diet
- Make food practices more sustainable
- Reduce food waste
- Invest in energy-efficient buildings and improved cement-making processes
- Purchase biodegradable and compostable products
- Reuse, reduce and recycle waste products
- Immediately end the production and use of single-use, disposable plastic, use bamboo toothbrush, stainless steel water bottle, reusable straws, recycled cotton produce bags for shopping, groceries etc
- Stop development of new oil, gas and petrochemical infrastructure.
- Foster the transition to zero-waste communities.
- Implement a system where polluters pay for the impact of their products – known as extended producer responsibility.
- Ensure sustainable development