Global Warming is one of the major critical environmental challenges facing the world today. As industrial development is largely based on the use of fossil fuels, which in turn, may boost the concentration of greenhouse gases. Due to which developing countries are under tremendous pressure to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that are the fundamental cause of greenhouse effect to avoid the perils of any environmental catastrophe.
What is Global Warming?
It is the process of heating up of the earth's atmosphere when the level of CO2 is increasing significantly in the atmosphere.
What causes Global Warming?
The emissions of green house gases are responsible for increasing the earth's average temperature. Our planet is wrapped in a layer of heat-trapping gases. When these harmful gases released into the atmosphere, it acts like a blanket, trapping heat in the atmosphere and altering climatic conditions globally.
The principal green house gas that enters the earth's atmosphere due to number of human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of chemical reactions is Carbon-Dioxide (CO2) – the main driver for the green house effect.
Other contributors of greenhouse effect are:
- Methane – emitted during the production and transportation of coal, natural gas and oil. It also results from livestock, and other agricultural practices and by the death and decay of microorganisms.
- Nitrous oxide – released during agricultural and industrial activities, and during burning of fossil fuels and solid waste.
- Fluorinated oxides – hydro fluorocarbon, per fluorocarbon, and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are artificial and powerful gases released from the emission of variety of man-made activities.
Since Industrial Revolution, humans have been burning fuels on a large scale to run automobiles, to generate electricity, to heat homes etc and are releasing CO2 into the air almost without care and cause untold damage to our environment.
Climate change is the largest and serious threat to humanity and nature in the 21st century. We must act now to reduce the threat of global warming to secure a healthy and pollution free life for future generation.
Not only human activities, natural processes also contribute to rising global temperature and cause a drastic change in climate.
The primary natural resources that release CO2 into the air (sources) and remove CO2 from the atmosphere (sink) are: –
- Animals and plants respiration, by which oxygen and carbon-dioxide are converted into the CO2 and energy, and process of photosynthesis by which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in plants biomass.
- Ocean atmospheric change in which oceans absorb and release CO2 at the sea surface.
- Volcanic eruptions, which releases carbon from the rocks deep in the earth's crust.
A variety of human activities that release CO2 into the atmosphere and remove CO2 from the atmosphere are: –
- Combustion of fossil fuels is considered as the major emitter of CO2.
- A number of specialized industries production processes such as metal production, mineral production and use of petroleum-based products can lead to emission of CO2.
- Carbon Sequestration – is the process by which growing trees and plants absorb or remove CO2 from the atmosphere and turn into a biomass.
- Deforestation, conversely, can lead to significant levels of emission of CO2.
- CO2 can be captured from the power plants are released into the atmosphere and then injected deep underground.
The layer of green house gases gets thicker due to an ever-increasing rate of CO2 into the atmosphere. This, in turn, makes the earth warmer and that the conditions under which humanity has thrived are rapidly changing.
The world has warmed 0.74 in the past hundred years and it will get warmer in the time to come due to constant increase in concentration of green house gases. Global average temperature is forecast to rise 4oc towards the end of 21st century.
Effects Of Global Warming:
The effects of global warming are quite scary and every species on this Planet are under the severe threat of global warming.
Due to the destructive phenomenon of global warming, we see that natural calamities are on the rise. Glaciers are melting faster, sea levels are rising, scarcity of food and water, conversion of forests into deserts, eruption of number of diseases, changes in weather and climate patterns, and there will be more intense and frequent cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons.
Coral reefs are also seen under the threat of global warming. Corals are very sensitive to changes in temperature: a temperature increase of one degree Celsius can trigger them to make bleach and they often die, after severe bleaching.
CO2 pollution is another stress faced by the coral reefs. Absorption of CO2 by the oceans makes the water more acidic; With the result there is a greater tendency for a seashells to dissolve in acidic water.
Coral reefs provide an estimated $ 375 billions dollars in economic benefits each year globally. But, now about 16% of the world's coral reefs were seriously damaged.
Environmental Defense Marine Ecologist Rud Fujita provide assurances by saying that coral reefs may be able to withstand with indirect threats like climate change, if we can reduce some of other direct stresses on coral reefs. For eg threat induced by CO2 pollution.
Many fisheries are also in trouble. Today, 46 important fisheries are depleted in US Ecosystems are being destroyed, and fishermen are losing their jobs.
Rising seas will also have a down falling effect on fish habitat. As sea level rises, it will convert fresh water into brackish water, and brackish marsh into salt marsh resulting into destruction of nursery grounds for a wide variety of marine life.
There is a need to forge a constructive solution in order to maintain the number of fishes, and to enjoy seafood in future.
As global temperature rises, glaciers and sea ice are melting causing a shift in evaporation and precipitation patterns. Due to this, some parts of the oceans are becoming fresher, while others are becoming saltier at the visible pace and could slowly disrupt the way the ocean delivers the nutrients to sea life, leading the sea birds to face mass starvation.
Many species of plants and animals have disappeared as a result of global warming. As climate change wreaks its havoc across the globe, the ecosystem could disappear altogether, or they may undergo serious and irreversible changes.
Changing weather patterns threatens our lives, livelihood and lifestyle. It impacts heavily on the livelihood of farmers who have experienced reduced water levels and crop yields, dried up farms, destroyed vegetation and unpredictable rains have brought destruction and diseases.
Ways To Curb The Emission Of Greenhouse Gases:
Our planet is moving towards an immensely warmer future. Our one single step or effort can really make a big difference to save our environment from the inevitable impacts of global warming and make it a sustainable earth.
- Keep your city green and clean by planting more and more trees. It provides cool shade and reducing air conditioning cost by up to 30%.
- Using high efficiency compact fluorescent light saves both energy and money, and lasts up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs.
- Use energy saving, water saving, and power saving products.
- Buy organic products. It can benefit your health and environment.
- Say "NO" to plastic bags and use your own bag. It also reduces waste.
- Choose biodegradable cleaning products. They have less negative impacts on the soil and water system.
- Reduce the consumption of paper by reusing and recycling it.
- Use laptop instead of desktop. It consumes 5 times less electricity.
- Traveling can also create a huge impact on our environment. Try to avoid it whenever possible. You will reduce the carbon emission by riding a bicycle walking, and taking public transportation.
- Repair the things instead of replacing them also reduces consumption.
- Turn off all the electronic gadgets when they are not in use.
- Reducing destructive fishing practices, keeping habitat healthy, and curbing pollution to lessen the threat to marine ecosystem.
- Need to plan for and devise strategies to cope and ward off the global warming impacts.
- To reduce forest emission in order to avert any catastrophic climate change.
- To grow awareness among the public that indiscriminate clearing of forest causes 20% of global warming.
- To support the efforts of the nation to cut down the concentration of greenhouse gases to document the impacts of global warming on human health.
- Switching to energy-saving products instead of energy-consuming products.
- To generate awareness and mobilize community to initiate environmental improvement action.
Nature has given us lot of resources and always helped in flourishing mankind. But, what we as a human being gives back in return. There is a need to move towards cleaner and greener sources of fuel in order to make our planet healthy and beautiful.
"SAVE NATURE AND NATURE WILL SAVE YOU"