What if I told you thatby 2100, the sea level would increase by 1 to 4 feet? That doesn’t seem much,does it? But the fact is that it is that seemingly small quantity is enough tothreaten islands and coastal areas like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Sydney,Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro. Global warming is one of the biggest problemsaffecting our planet since the last 2 decades.
There are people who thinkglobal warming isn’t caused by humans, but I feel they are just avoiding thetruth. If we don’t try to stop it and instead continue taking advantage ofEarth and its resources, by mid-century the Arctic Ocean would become ice free.Can you imagine that? Most scientists agreethat the main cause of the trend in global warming is the greenhouse effect.Sunlight passes through the atmosphere and warms the Earth’s surface. This heatis radiated back into space. However, there are particular harmful gases in theatmosphere which absorb the heat, and then re-emit it in all directions,warming up the Earth’s surface. There are many such gases in the air, such ascarbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and these all are slowly leading toour doom. These gases re-emit heat to the planet, which leads to globalwarming.
Now where do these gases come from? They normally come from burningfossil fuels for day-to-day activities, such as for electricity, heat andtransportation. Most of these gases come from USA itself. The result is of 0.3degrees Celsius, which may seem small; but the ripple effects of these smallthings are extraordinary. Fossil fuel consumptionrepresents for more than 50% of the human contribution to the greenhouseeffect, mainly via the emission of carbon dioxide. China is the largestproducer of carbon dioxide in the world.
By producing over 1.6 billion milliontons of carbon dioxide a year, it is responsible for 28% of the world’s totalemissions, and produce triple the amount of carbon dioxide than the entirecontinent of Europe! Three-fourth of this country’s emission comes from justburning coal. This is all due to China’s industrialization, electrification andincrease in population.
This trend is quite likely to continue as China isextremely dependent on energy for development, and have very few alternativesto coal. The worst part is, there are many such countries all around the world,who knowingly or unknowingly are contributing for global warming. Deforestation in Amazonbasin too is leading to this planet’s end. The forest land is cleared for manyreasons, and one of the most famous ones being logging. However, thetransformation of forest into pasture was inevitable.
It was influenced bynational policies and is supported by major international agencies. Thisencouraged migration and land clearing. The World Bank, along with otherinternational institutions, helped the government of Brazil improved and builtmajor highways from north to south and east to west.
It was actually built inhope of the exploitation of the Amazon. It helped make timber accessible andpromote agricultural enterprises. The reason logging in the Amazon, or anywhereelse in the world is so threatening to the world is because when the trees arecut; the carbon the trees have stored are released into the atmosphere. In thelong run, there are fewer trees to convert the carbon dioxide in the air intooxygen.
The excess of these greenhouse gases in the air lead to global warming.Amazon isn’t the only such forest. 32 million acres of land were cut down eachyear between the years of 2000 to 2009. According to World Carefree Network, deforestationaccounts for more global carbon emissions than cars and other vehicles. I can understand why peoplethink global warming is naturally occurring and not due to humans.
In the pastEarth has experienced climate change, even when humans hardly used fossilfuels. In Earth’s history before the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s climatechanged due to natural causes not related to human activity. Most often, globalclimate has changed because of variations in sunlight Volcanic eruptions havegenerated particles that reflect sunlight, and thus heating the planet.Volcanic activity has also, in the deep past, increased greenhouse gases overmillions of years, contributing to episodes of global warming. Even the sealevels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age. Some peopleeven say that carbon dioxide is a minor greenhouse gas. They say that watervapor is a greenhouse gas, which is due to climate concerns which we humanscannot control. Butthe thing is that, their influence is minute compared to humans.
The amount offossil fuels burnt every year releases 21.3 billion tons of carbon dioxideevery year. People even say that water vapor is a bigger andmore harmful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. But the fact is that theamount of water vapor formed depends on the surrounding temperature. Greenhousegases like carbon dioxide re-emit heat to the Earth’s surface. Water fromoceans, seas, etc. will evaporate and turn into water vapor when it is heated.So, to reduce the amount of water vapor, we need to stop it from its source,and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the world.
You may not know it,but global warming can affect you directly and indirectly. This generation’sscientists say that global warming is the biggest global health threat in the21st century. It can affect us all, and as the temperatureincreases, so does death. There are people all around the world who don’t haveACs. As the deputy director of NRDC’s Clean Power Plan initiative Aliya Haqsaid, “One or two days aren’t a big deal.
But four days straight wheretemperatures don’t go down, even at night, leads to severe healthconsequences.” In the US itself, there are hundreds of deaths every year dueto health related issues. Imagine the number of deaths in other countriesfacing extreme temperatures. Extreme heat kills more Americans every year thanhurricanes, tornadoes, floods and lightning combined!I hope every single one of you has been made aware how we humans areleading ourselves to our own doom.
Raise awareness, and Save This Planet!