Global warming is a major cause of concern for today’s world. The effects of global warming are so dangerous that this issue has to be addressed immediately and the risks have to be minimized, even if they cannot be avoided totally. Global warming can be addressed as the increase in the temperature of the near surface atmosphere and the oceans. This will lead to large amounts of land vanishing into the ocean and the disappearance of many vegetation and wildlife. The effects of global warming can be minimized only through the continuous, committed and well planned efforts of the social community.
The steps taken now can rightly minimize the effects and show improvements over the next two decades. Reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases and Industrial waste minimization are just some of the issues that have to be addressed seriously. Environmentalism can cure our plant by fighting against the struggles of pollution, waste generation, wildlife extinctions and other environmental destructions. Global warming occurs mainly due to a concept called “Green House Effect”. There are certain gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane that are called “Greenhouse gases”.
These gases trap the energy from the sun, especially the infra-red rays and in turn warm up the earth’s surface. Without these gases, heat would have escaped back into space and the earth would have been colder by around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The warming of the earth’s surface and the oceans is directly proportionate to the concentration of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the last one hundred years, the concentration of these gases has increased tremendously due to large scale burning of fossil fuels and rapid industrialization.
This has accelerated global warming, which in the future will lead to the submergence of land masses into the sea, extinction of certain vegetation and wildlife, and the occurrence of natural tragedies. The Human population, trying to make their life more comfortable and sophisticated is the major reason for global warming. The rapid advancements made in science and technology has led to massive industrialization and large scale use of automobiles. The greenhouse gases generated through this have become responsible for this global warming.
Some of the important reasons are “Fossil fuels are burnt in large scale to run automobiles and in this process a lot of carbon dioxide is evolved. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 280 ppm to 360 ppm in the past sixty years” (Key Issue: Global Warming 5). This is one of the biggest reasons for global warming. “Our factories, power plants, and cars burn coal and gasoline, pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere” (Baird 2). Animal agriculture, for example breeding of cattle is a major source of methane which is around 21 times a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane is also generated in coal mines and landfills” (Update: Global Warming 6). Burning of fossil fuels in power stations, use of nitrogenous fertilizers, burning of animal and human wastes generates nitrous oxide which contributes to around 6% of Global Warming. Chlorofluorocarbons are generated by the excessive usage of refrigerators and air conditioners. These CFCs trap 10,000 times more heat than carbon dioxide. He CFC molecules survive for more than 110 years. These are very dangerous greenhouse gases. Global warming might ultimately lead to the destruction of the entire Earth.
If greenhouse effect goes unchecked, “the average temperature may rise as much as six degrees Fahrenheit over the next century” (Update: Global Warming 1). Some of the major effects are, first the rise in temperatures would be more in the Polar Regions than in the tropics. This will cause the icebergs in the Polar region to melt down and increase the sea levels. “If the ice sheets were destroyed, sea levels would rise about five meters, which would be catastrophic for coastal regions” (Herbert 314). The surface temperatures might increase to such an extent which will be intolerable to many vegetation and wildlife and even to humans.
This could lead to extinction. Storms and Hurricanes will become stronger and frequent as oceans heat up and a large amount of water gets evaporated. Continental heartlands will dry out quickly during the summers, due to excessive heating. The emission of greenhouse gases has to be greatly shortened to minimize the global warming and thereby control its effects. A defined system of energy management should be practiced by the industries and even households to reduce the energy consumption, thereby reducing the burning of fossil fuels.
An energy audit needs to be conducted and the area of energy wastage needs to be identified. The industries should make use of manufacturing processes which would consume less energy. Households should make use of energy saving home appliances to conserve energy. Alternate sources of energy should be utilized to a greater extent. Battery operated automobiles or gas operated automobiles can be used extensively in the place of conventional fuel operated automobiles. “Windmills can be set up to produce power instead of generating power through thermal power processes” (Begley 2).
Tidal power can also be generated wherever it is feasible. Recycling paper is an effective methodology. This will reduce deforestation to a greater extent. Captive forests need to be developed and utilized for the manufacturing of paper. Plastics used by us take several decades to decompose and some may even not. They are usually disposed through landfills. Landfills are one of the major sources of Carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Therefore, if fabric or paper is used instead of plastics, and we do our part in recycling, these emissions can be greatly controlled.
Regular maintenance of refrigerators and air conditioners is a must to avoid leakage of CFCs. Recycling of CFCs and disposal of obsolete refrigeration systems should be carried pit by trained skilled personnel. Nitrogenous fertilizers are the major source of nitrous oxide. Replacing these fertilizers with organic fertilizers will greatly reduce their emissions. Organic farming not only reduces emissions, but also provides nutritious and safe produces. Consumption of more vegetarian food will reduce the size of cattle business and thereby reduce methane emissions.
The measures we take to control global warming can have advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages are, R134a, a non-greenhouse refrigerant is currently used extensively in mobile air condition systems. The existing air condition systems using CFCs can be retrofitted to make use of R134a at much affordable costs. The use of biodegradable plastics is gaining importance and is used in most of the United States households. This avoids landfills and thereby limits greenhouse gas emissions. Battery and gasoline operated automobiles have come up in good numbers.
This will slowly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions. Organic farming is gaining importance in today’s scenario and this will avoid the usage of nitrogenous fertilizers greatly. Thermal power stations are effectively replaced by Wind farms or nuclear power stations, today. This will avoid coal burning and the release of methane. Some of the disadvantages to controlling global warming are, some of the non-depleting greenhouse gases like OZ-12 were found to be inflammable and therefore were banned from usage. There are some drawbacks associated with the total elimination of CFCs.
The equipment conversion costs are not affordable in some developing countries. Skilled personal are not available to a greater extent to carryout recycling and disposal of refrigerants. Excessive use of non-biodegradable plastics substances by developing countries cannot be reduced on an immediate basis. Sudden conversion to biodegradable substances will have a severe impact on the economy. The oil producing countries are not ready to limit the quantum of sale they make, making it difficult to restrict the burning of fossil fuels.
Alternate energy sources are very much available but the technology proves to be costlier and hence their utilization seems to be affected. Nuclear energy can be harnessed in place of fossil fuels, but the disposal of nuclear waste is the major area of concern. All these factors restrict the implementation of curtailing the emission of greenhouse gases to some extent. The concept of global warming is a serious area of concern in today’s world as the effects it produce are quiet serious to an extent that it might lead to the total extinction of the earth.
The causes, consequences and methods of restricting this effect have been identified clearly, thanks to the advancements in science and technology. Steps have to be implemented in order to avoid the earth leading towards extinction. The restrictions need to be identified, analyzed and remedies need to be found out and at any cost the steps have to be implemented. Apart from this, the dedicated, tireless, planned and continuous efforts of the human community alone can save the face of the earth from extinction because of Global warming.