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Glaciers are liquefying, sea levels are surging, cloud forests are scorching, and wildlife is dwindling. Most of the past century’s warming has been caused by humans releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our contemporary lives after the Industrial Revolution.
Widely known as greenhouse gases causing the greenhouse effect, their levels are higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years.
Global warming alters the earth’s climate or long-term weather patterns.
Global warming and climate change are often synonyms, and scientists use “climate change” when portraying the complicated shifts affecting our earth’s climate and weather systems.
Climate change means soaring temperatures, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, surging seas, etc.
These transitions ensue as human beings add heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the environment, changing the rhythms of climate and rising global temperatures.
1. How is global warming Linked to extreme weather?
Scientists agree that the earth’s rising temperatures, hazardous industrial processes, and carbon dioxide emissions are the causes of climate change and are fuelling longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes.
In 2015, for instance, scientists concluded that the long drought in California—the state’s most disastrous water shortage in the past few thousand years—had been amplified by 15 to 20 percent by Global Warming.
They also said the likelihood of similar droughts happening in the future had approximately doubled over the past hundred years.
In 2016, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine proclaimed that we can now attribute extreme weather events, like heat waves, volcanic eruptions, droughts, and heavy precipitation, directly to climate change, which causes global warming.
1.1 Data-Based Study
The earth’s ocean temperatures are getting warmer due to the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide co2, which implies that tropical storms can pick up more energy. It can turn a category three storm into a more destructive category four storm.
The scientific community has found North Atlantic hurricanes have risen since the 1980s due to carbon dioxide co two emissions and other greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide, which cause the greenhouse effect. With elevated intensity come more significant damage and death.
The United States saw an exceptional 22 weather and climate disaster that resulted in at least a billion dollars worth of destruction in 2020.
Altogether, that year’s tropical disturbances (including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria) resulted in approximately $300 billion in damage and led to more than 3,300 casualties.
2. What are the other impacts of global warming?
Each year, scientists learn more about the outcomes of changes in the climate system due to the warming observed. We also gain new evidence of its hazardous effect on human health and the planet.
As the droughts and floods related to climate change become more intense, populations suffer, and death tolls rise. Researchers suspect that climate change could lead to the deaths of many people worldwide every year and compel millions of people into deprivation by 2030.
Rising global average temperatures due to future emissions are already making the communities suffer. If we are unable to handle our emissions, here’s just a smattering of what we can look forward to:
- Melting glaciers, premature snowmelt, and extreme droughts will result in more dramatic water shortages and increase the danger of wildfires even more than in the past century.
- Rising sea levels will lead to more coastal flooding, particularly in Florida.
- Woodlands, farms, and towns will face new pests, heavy downpours, and flooding. This can harm agriculture and fisheries.
- Natural habitats like coral reefs and alpine meadows are being lost, leading to many plant and animal species extinction.
- Asthma and contagious sickness outbreaks will become more widespread due to more growth of pollen-producing ragweed, elevated levels of air pollution, and the rise in conditions favorable for the development of pathogens and mosquitoes.
There’s no doubt human activity is what causes global warming, and that’s why we have to formulate a solution. The first step is comprehending how our actions have created this situation and what causes global warming.
3. Different Causes of Global Warming
3.1. Travel & Transportation
Fossil fuels, such as gasoline power the majority of automobiles. As they burn this fuel to leverage their engines, these vehicles expel carbon and other gases into the atmosphere, affecting both air and water quality.
Greenhouse Gases and the earth’s atmosphere trap heat, which causes global temperatures to rise. This rise in average global temperatures will cause the worldwide catastrophe warned of in climate research.
3.2. Factory Farming
The industrialization of agriculture takes the likely adverse effects of livestock production and intensifies them.
While organic farming can positively impact atmospheric carbon dioxide through the growth of crops, large-scale, industrialized agriculture contradicts the positive effect of organic food.
These large-scale animal-producing farms, known as CAFO, have increased sharply in the past several decades. Besides, the use of antibiotics in animal production is rising, which is the cause of antibiotic resistance in humans.
The evolution of economies from mainly farming-based to mostly industrial is possible to have been the earliest cause of the observed warming. Climate experts suggest global warming was kicked off partly by the Industrial Revolution.
While these changes took place rapidly in Europe and the USA in the past half-century, other global economies are beginning to emerge today, further elevating the global temperature, industrialization, and pollution.
3.4. Livestock Production
In addition to cutting trees to make space for large areas sufficient for the feeding of animals, they produce a tremendous amount of waste, which produces methane, which causes communities to suffer.
Consumption of meat is expected to continue growing and harm the natural drivers, even doubling by 2050, according to various climate models, becoming one of the major causes of what causes global warming.
3.5. Burning fossil fuels
One of the leading causes of pollution in the earth’s atmosphere is carbon pollution, burning fossil fuels like coal. Burning fossil fuels like oil and coal to generate electricity or drive our cars releases CO2 and nitrous oxide pollution into the environment.
Millions of acres of forest are cleared yearly, whether to harvest wood for making paper, clear land for ranching or make way for residential and commercial areas.
Forests store vast amounts of carbon, nearly removing it from the air and deterring it from being absorbed into the atmosphere.
This is particularly true of rainforests, which are even more endangered. Moreover, the natural air-scrubbing function of trees and deforestation reduces biodiversity, which can cause severe consequences throughout entire ecosystems, leaving all the species at risk.
Our desire to have the latest device and the need to deliver it immediately causes global warming.
The commodities we use contribute to 60 percent of carbon dioxide emissions and more than 80 percent of the total water and land use.
3.8. Greenhouse Gases
Although certain forms of aerosols have been prohibited in many nations, others are still in wide use.
These products are loaded with greenhouse gases, including CO2 with different carbon isotopes and chlorofluorocarbons, which erode the ozone layer and disturb the national oceanic and air quality due to more heat.
Production of aerosols has heightened throughout the globe, with the maximum of them being produced in Europe, thereby becoming one of the primary reasons for what causes global warming.
3.9. Carbon dioxide
Out of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is the most notable greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide occurs through various natural sources, including volcanic eruptions, the combustion and decay of organic matter, and respiration by aerobic organisms.
Contrarily, human activities increase the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and certain gases, mainly by burning fossil fuels—oil, coal, and natural gas- for transportation, heating, the production of cement, and the burning of forests.
Various Artists’ emissions account for the yearly release of about 7 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
Millions of jobs around the world depend on fishing. Three billion people depend on fish and other seafood as their primary source of protein.
However, just as with most industries, human influences have created too much of a good thing, and overfishing is putting the water bodies at risk.
The causes of global warming are the expansion of the human population and overfishing, which are draining natural marine stocks and affecting the health and biodiversity of water bodies.
3.11. Inability to Change
Many people think, if we can’t solve this problem, what’s the point of trying if they can’t even try to find out the causes of global warming? After all, human activities have caused or worsened the climate system.
Even if we deal with every other problem, the consequence of human activity, which has led to global warming, will remain for centuries.
Humans are capable of change, as shown by the reduction in carbon dioxide and fuel combustion emissions seen in many nations since the early 2000s, including the United States of America, and by evolving public attitudes towards environmental justice.
4. Global Warming Fast Facts
Global warming implies the increase of the earth’s surface temperature due to greenhouse gases and other natural causes that collect in the atmosphere, trapping the sun’s heat and causing an increase in the global temperature.
Greenhouse gases keep heat near the earth’s surface, making it habitable for people and other creatures. One of the significant causes of global warming is the over-emittance of these harmful gases and fossil fuels, which result from various human activities.
1. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than in the last 800,000 years, disturbing the natural cycles leading to drastic climate change.
2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has both the sovereignty and obligation to curtail pollution from electric power plants under the Clean Air Act.
3. Since 1870, global sea levels have increased by about 8 inches due to the greenhouse effect.
4. Global climate change has already had noticeable effects on global temperature. Some of the significant consequences are that sleet on streams and lakes is breaking up, glaciers have dwindled, plant and animal ranges have changed, and trees are blossoming sooner.
5. Heatwaves induced by global warming present a greater risk of heat-related illness and death, most frequently among people who have diabetes who are old.
6. Global warming due to burning fossil fuels has put coral reefs in danger because this has led to the ocean warming up. Scientists fear that if this continues, coral reefs might not adapt quickly to the changing conditions, and further bleaching incidents and diseases will increase.
5. Prioritizing Conservation: A Blueprint for Immediate Impact and Long-Term Sustainability
Nicholas Adams, Chief Technology Officer at EcoMotionCentral.com, offers suggestions based on working for sustainable energy and carbon footprint reduction:
“In tackling species decline and extinction, I believe it’s crucial to prioritize based on immediacy and reversibility.
Factors like habitat loss and direct human activities such as overfishing or poaching have immediate impacts and should be addressed urgently.
Climate change, while pervasive, often affects species over a longer term, but its effects can be irreversible once tipping points are reached.
Firstly, protecting and restoring habitats can provide quick wins for conservation. Establishing protected areas and corridors to connect fragmented habitats can [have a significant] impact.
Secondly, enforcing stricter regulations against poaching and unsustainable hunting is key.
Thirdly, climate change mitigation is essential but requires global cooperation and long-term commitment. It’s about balancing rapid response with sustained efforts.
From my experience, focusing on habitat conservation and anti-poaching laws tends to yield tangible results in the short term.
However, without addressing the juggernaut of climate change, these efforts could be likened to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. It’s a delicate dance between acting now and planning for the future.”
6. How To Curb The Greenhouse Effect
Atmospheric Administration helps comprehend and foresee changes in climate, weather, and oceans due to the greenhouse effect, which disturbs the natural cycles, primarily caused by human activity.
Climate action signifies stepped-up endeavors to decrease the greenhouse effect and strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to the climate-induced impacts, including climate-related hazards in all nations; incorporating climate change measures into national policies, policies, and planning; and promoting education.
6.1 Boosting energy efficiency:
The energy used to power, heat, and cool our houses, industries, and businesses leads to the greenhouse effect, one of the significant causes of climate change.
Energy efficiency technologies like solar energy allow us to use less energy to get the same output, service, and convenience. This approach has enormous potential to save both power and money and can be deployed quickly.
6.2 Greening transportation:
The transportation sector’s emissions have risen sooner than any other energy-using sector over the past ten years.
There are many solutions at hand, including improving efficiency in all means of transport, switching to low-carbon fuels, and curtailing vehicle miles traveled and more worthwhile mass transportation systems.
We must know what causes global warming and avoid that transportation means or fuel.
6.3 Revving up renewables:
Renewable energy sources like solar energy, wind, and geothermal are available around the globe. Numerous research studies have shown that renewable energy has the technical capability to meet most of our energy requirements.
Renewable technologies can help generate jobs as well and are cost-effective.
6.4 Phasing out fossil fuel electricity:
Reducing our use of fossil fuels, particularly carbon-intensive coal, is crucial to deal with climate change.
There are several ways to begin this wherein key action steps include not building coal-burning power plants, inciting a phased shutdown of coal plants starting with the oldest, and storing carbon emissions from power plants.
The technology exists to store carbon emissions underground and has not been deployed on a large scale or verified to be safe and durable.
6.5 Managing forests and agriculture
Tropical deforestation and emissions from agriculture are almost 30 percent of the planet’s heat-trapping emissions. We can combat global warming by decreasing deforestation emissions and making our food production practices more endurable.
6.6 Exploring nuclear
A high share of nuclear power in the energy mix could enable us to decrease global warming. Still, atomic technology poses severe threats to our safety and, as the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan exemplifies our fitness and the climate as well.
The question remains: can the protection, expansion, garbage disposal, and expense barriers of nuclear power be conquered?
6.7 Developing zero-carbon technologies
Research into and improvement of the next generation of low-carbon technologies will be vital to deep mid-century reductions in global emissions.
Recent studies on battery technology, new materials for solar cells using the sun’s energy for electricity generation, energy from unique sources like bacteria and algae, and other creative areas could provide significant breakthroughs.
6.8 Ensuring sustainable development:
The world’s nations vary in their contributions to the climate change crisis and their obligations and capabilities to confront it.
A triumphant global impact on climate change must include financial subsidies from wealthier countries to poorer nations to enable them to make the transition to low-carbon development pathways.
Understanding what causes global warming and then deploying strategies to control it is imperative.
Severe consequences of global warming are being felt everywhere. Terrible heatwaves have resulted in thousands of deaths around the planet in recent years.
In a disturbing sign of events to come, Antarctica has lost approximately four trillion metric tons of ice since the 1990s. The ice loss rate could increase if we keep burning fossil fuels.
Some specialists say this can raise sea levels by several meters in the next 50 to 150 years. This can cause devastation to coastal communities killing tens of thousands of people worldwide.
Climate scientists have deduced that we should restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040.
If we are to prevent a future in which daily life around the globe is marked by its most dangerous effects: severe droughts, wildfires, storms, tropical hurricanes, and other catastrophes that we refer to wholly as climate change.
All people feel these consequences in some way. Still, they are experienced most acutely by the needy, and the financially marginalized, for whom climate change is frequently a key driver of scarcity, banishment, starvation, and social unrest.
Guest Author: Saket Kumar