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Global warming is one of the most widely discussed and debated issues of recent decades. The reasons, consequences and solutions are the scope of work not for the single state or institution but for the whole global community. The causes of global warming can be divided into natural and those created by human activity. Moreover, the second group of causes has to be focused on firstly. Experts agree that the following steps should be taken in order to reduce negative consequences of global warming.
Speaking about the causes of global warming, it is worth saying that scientists mention about natural and anthropogenic ones. Nature is a flexible and adaptable mechanism that is characterized by having cycles. Researchers claim that the planet has a range of short-term and long-term cycles, which are able to affect the climate. Thus, a time lapse of about forty thousand years is considered to regulate the natural climate changes. In the same way, natural greenhouse gas emitted by land in arctic zones, contributes to the overall greenhouse effect. Among other non-anthropogenic factors several ones are mentioned such as the shift in the Earth orbit, solar activity change, and volcanic emissions and so on. All these versions are actively discussed and debated, so there is no consensus about the reasons of global warming.
However, most experts agree that while natural factors cannot be altered, global warming has much to do with human-caused consequences. There is a whole range of such factors including the use of fossil fuels like coal and oil. When fossil fuels are burnt, the ratio of Carbone dioxide in the atmosphere raises. In the same way, even the coal mining spots cause the emission of this gas, as the earth does it naturally when mines are constructed.
Another reason for climate change is overpopulation, which has been one of the most widely discussed issues and prognoses of futurologists for the next century. While population growth can trigger a whole number of issues, it contributes to global warming as well. Thus, because the natural process of breathing takes consuming oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, it would be quite simple to guess that the more people breathe, the less oxygen ratio is in the air. Besides, it is not a secret that growing population requires larger amounts of food, so larger territories are necessary for farming. As a result forests, which are the major producers of oxygen and consumers of carbon dioxide, are extinguished. Thus, the balance of gases in the atmosphere changes and causes instability of the climate as a result. It is known that more than half of greenhouse gases originating from human activities are kept in the atmosphere. Since the eighteenth century, when industrial revolution started, the ratio of certain gases in the airs has changed drastically. However, it is claimed that CO2 concentration has risen by thirty nine percent, and CH4 has risen by 149 per cent. Moreover, such concentration of the mentioned gases has been reached for the first time in recent six hundred million years, an astronomic number compared to the time of existence of human civilization. Such conclusion was reached by the scientists based on the samples of polar ice, which reflects the concentration of gases at a certain stages of civilization. This argument speaks in favor of those experts who believe that anthropogenic factors to be crucial in changing the status quo on planet Earth.
Statistically, about three thirds of all gas emissions in recent decades originate from coal mining, oil and gas industry. Half of all emissions are absorbed by water, earth or greenery, but nature is unable to cope with the rest of half of human activity products. The situation is less concerning with deforestation, although this issue is crucial too. Luckily for human raise, nature is still able to compensate the emission of gases released in the process of deforestation, so the pace of nature is higher at the moment than that of humans.
There exist a number of methods that allow receiving valid estimation of climate changes. Thus, since 1850 temperature data has been measured by means of specially designed thermometers. However, there are methods which help scientists gather information much before that time, dating back to the epoch when human presence of earth was doubtful. Such tools are named “paleoclimatic” and use data from nature such as oceans, tree rings, earth fossils and so on. Basically, one of the methods is the use of the so-called ice core, which is a cylindrical pillar of ice retried in Greenland or Antarctica. The piece of ice is drilled out in order to reveal the shifts in climates, as snowfalls usually freeze into these chunks of ice to reveal information about past climatic features. Thus, by the ratio of oxygen and hydrogen atoms scientists can draw conclusions about temperature on earth at a certain stage of its development. Air bulbs are usually found in the ice, which were entrapped there thousands and millions years ago (Anderson, 2011).
As has been discovered by scientists, the changes caused by global warming are not homogeneous. This means that the earth, as well as the air, is not heated equally in different locations. This is why global warming is a complex process that is not easy to trace and to predict the major shifts. Apart from gas emission, other factors come into play. For instance, the Northern Hemisphere is expected to undergo a more significant raise of temperature because it has a smaller territory covered by ocean. The ocean in this case works as a buffer to prevent drastic climate change. The Arctic seems to be the most vulnerable place for global warming because of substantial ice melting in the area. As the melting is unprecedented, scientists are concerned that this phenomenon will cause a significant raise of ocean level potentially having negative consequences for all continents.
It is natural that while having such a concern over the fate of the planet, particular steps should be taken in order to ensure activities in prevention of global warming. Thus, back in 1997, the so-called Kyoto Protocol was verified, which became valid since 2006. This treaty appeals to 150 states, and covers over 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The first stage of Kyoto protocol is to come to its logical end by the beginning of the 2013, so there is a necessity to make an agreement about the next stages. Thus, this new initiative started in 2007, then the plan was considered in 2009, and negotiations are in progress at the moment. According to the first stage of Kyoto protocol, the participants were obliged to reduce amounts of emissions to the atmosphere. Thus, European Union promised eight percent reduction, the United States was up to seven percent, while Japan had to cope with six percent decrease. To what extent these efforts were effective is a subject to analysis, yet experts believed that these measures were not enough. This is why the new protocol has to be a ground-breaking, if not revolutionary. Besides, there is a clash of interests with some countries like India and China refusing to take commitment, while their share of greenhouse emissions is quite significant. So far, thirty eight countries agreed to participate, which means strictly following the quotes of emissions.
Besides measures on the level of states and the international level, it is claimed that prevention of climate change is a matter of public consciousness change. This requires steps to be taken in the direction of energy efficiency in general and for each individual household. This may sound utopian but proponents suggest that only the boost of eco-awareness can change the situation. This means involving millions of volunteers who will fight their way through by appealing to governments and setting personal example. As fossil fuels are part of the issue, the talk about sustainable energy resources is never out of place. Measures are to be taken to use sun, water and wind energy more extensively not only for households but to change the overall production cycles. This sounds like a challenging tasks because it is not grooming of the old, it is a complete reconstruction of the economy that involves huge human and financial resources. Hence, the danger seems to be not so palpable so far for taking radical measures, so situation is that states are not ready for such economic burden in exchange for future investments. Another step that is offered by ecologists is related to the growing number of cars, which eventually cause an increase of greenhouse gas submission. They suggest that new standards for fuel efficiency and rates of emissions should be standardized at the stage of production, no matter how hard car manufacturers are concerned about potential money loss.
To conclude, global warming is more than a popular scientific term that is debated by scholars. Although there is no consensus about the scope of consequences that it has, experts agree that anthropogenic factors play a major role. The main human-caused factors are fuel fossils, including their mining and consuming, and deforestation. As a result, greenhouse gases concentration raises, which eventually causes global climate change.
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