Global warming is described as the continuous rise in the mean temperature of the earth’s climate or global land and ocean due to the emission of harmful gases by all countries in the world. It is an indication of the high rates of pollution and the overload of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which act as heat-trapping molecules. Global warming and climate change are some of the biggest crises of modern times since they lead to problems related to land, air, water resources, plant life, animal life, and human societies (Dincer, Midilli, Hepbasli & Karakoc, 2009). Global warming occurs as a result of an increase of global warming gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the earth. These gases create a “thickening blanket” in the atmosphere and have the tendency of trapping the heat from the sun, making the planet warm up.
In comparison to past history of the earth’s climate, the average temperature of the earth has been increasing rapidly over the past 50 years. The United States Global Change Research Program state that the temperature of the United States could be increased to between 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit at the end of the century. Global warming and climate change have an impact on the earth’s water resources, energy supply, agriculture, ecosystems, and transportation.
Global warming and climate change also have impacts on the health of human beings as well as animal life and plant life (Maslin, 2007). The risk of occurrence of illnesses and death to human beings, animals, and plants happens to increase as global warming and climate change occur. The occurrence of various diseases that are carried through the air, food, soil, and water are more prone to occur as global warming and climate change take place. The impact of global warming on the health of human beings, animal life, and plant life also impacts the cost of living and consequently affects the economy of countries that are affected.
In addition to these effects, warm climatic conditions have the tendency of increasing the energy of the climate system. This has an impact of causing heavier or low rainfall in some parts of the world impacting agricultural production as well as food security. High temperatures also impact glaciers by making glaciers melt, reducing snowfall, and causing the sea levels to rise due to changes in the patterns of precipitation, flooding, and erosion.
The rise in the average temperature of the earth also has the tendency of increasing the rate at which ice caps or glaciers melt. The melting of ice caps or glaciers can lead to a rise in the level of seawater. In the past century, the global sea level has increased by 4 to 8 inches as a result of global warming. The rise in sea level has an impact on life in the world (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2014). This, also, has an impact on water resources and the availability of pure water for drinking. This also has an impact on the availability of water for use in agriculture, food, human activities, animals, and plant.
The increase in the temperature of the earth also affects the existence of natural ecosystems, impacting the existence of different species, plants, and animals that cannot adapt to the changes in climate. Global warming and climate change have an impact on rainfall patterns affecting the lives of animals and plants which cannot adapt to these changes. A climate change report in the US presented by Cline (2007), states that about 20 to 30% of animal and plant species are at risk of extinction if the average of the earth’s temperature increases by more than 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to the report by Cline (2007), approximately two thousand birds and animal species per decade were discovered to be moving towards the poles for survival. It is estimated that global warming poses the risk of extinction of more than one million species by 2050. Ocean water is also expected to continue becoming more acidic due to the high emission of carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere. This has the capacity of impacting animals and plant life in marine ecosystems (Cline, 2007).
Solutions Currently Implemented
There are several strategies being implemented to curb global warming. Currently, countries are being tried to take steps in setting limits on pollution, investing in renewable or clean energy and green jobs, driving smarter vehicles, building better transportation networks, and focusing on greenhouses and buildings. In a bid to reduce pollution and global warming, the most significant step to be undertaken is to set practicable feasible limits on the major sources of these harmful gases, such as power plants and vehicles (Maslin, 2007). In the US, for instance, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the Clear Air Act, and the nation’s bedrock air pollution law have the authority and responsibility to fix limits for carbon dioxide pollution from all major sources of this harmful gas. The United States is the largest source of the pollution of carbon dioxide in the world. These agencies have had the responsibility to fix limits for that carbon emissions from power plants and other sources and thus carbon dioxide is expected to reduce by about 26% by the year 2020. The country is expected to adopt the use of clean or renewable energy in the coming years so as to reduce emissions (National Geographic Society, 2014).
Another strategy, currently being undertaken in the United States, is utilizing the Clean Air Act by endorsing emission standards for vehicles and fuel economy. These types of standards help to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions since vehicles are the second largest source of carbon pollution. With the Clear Air Act, the target of the United States is to reduce vehicles’ carbon emissions by half by the year 2026. Moreover, vehicle manufacturers have been able to manufacture fuel economy and fewer emission vehicles using modern technology.
Countries are also focused on investing in green jobs and clean energy to reduce pollution from power plants that utilize coal or fossil fuel to generate energy. The U.S. for instance has invested about $90 billion in renewable and clean energy. This is expected to result in a decrease in the number of gasses that lead to pollution by approximately 560 million tons every year. This initiative is also expected to create several jobs and save about $50 billion used in dealing with climate change impacts (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2014).
Building and appliances are the third highest source of carbon emission that leads to global warming. In the U.S., building and appliances account for almost 40% of energy uses. Countries in the world have taken the initiative to encourage their citizens to use energy more efficiently so as to reduce carbon emissions. This has been done by improvising energy-efficient appliances such as installing energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems and implementing energy-saving standards that contribute to reducing carbon emissions. The use of energy-efficient appliances in homes helps to save energy expenses and reduce global warming emissions (Archer, 2009).
The development of better transportation networks and the design of walkable communities near transport is also another strategy that helps in reducing global warming emissions. Countries are also expanding on public transport systems that reduce people’s dependency on cars and bicycles, such as rail. This helps in saving people time and money spent on fuel and gas, which contribute reduce pollution.
All the nations in the world should develop and implement strategies that aid in the utilization of clean and renewable energy sources such as solar energy, hydroelectric power, wave or wind energy, biogas energy as well as geothermal heat. This would help to generate clean and renewable energy and thus protecting the environment and reducing carbon emissions. The use of renewable energy reduces pollution caused by global warming gasses produced by the combustion of fuel and coal to generate energy (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2014). Companies should also invest in manufacturing plants that utilize energy efficient so as to reduce pollution and global and protect the health of people and the environment as well.
Investing in an industry based on clean and renewable energy will also help in generating jobs in a country. From the social point of view of the nation, investing in renewable energy aids in protecting the environment and maintaining a healthy nation due to reduced emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere (Dincer, Midilli, Hepbasli & Karakoc, 2009). Investment in clean and renewable energy would help to secure energy for future use by reducing overdependence on fuel for energy.
Archer, D. (2009). Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. USA: John Wiley & Sons.
Cline, W.R. (2007). Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country. USA: Peterson Institute.
Dincer, I., Midilli, A., Hepbasli, A. & Karakoc, T.H. (2009). Global Warming: Engineering Solutions. NY: Springer.
Maslin, M. (2007). Global Warming: Causes, Effects, and the Future. China: MBI Publishing Company.
National Geographic Society. (2014). Global Warming. Retrieved from: http://environment.nationalgeographic.co.in/environment/global-warming/
Natural Resources Defense Council. (2014). Global Warming Solutions. Retrieved from: http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/solutions/
Natural Resources Defense Council. (2014). Global Warming. Retrieved from: http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/