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Global Warming and Cooling is something that planet Earth has undergone in its long history of 4.5 billion years. It is a phenomenon that has a natural cycle to it. The alarming reality today is the fact that humans have caused this natural process to accelerate rapidly. Our industrialization, our development, our recreation, our pleaser, our desire to material wealth and our unsustainable manners has led to what appears to be a deadly global environmental crisis. Global Warming is as real a fact that Obama is the first black American President. It is not a hoax and not a myth but it is a reality. We need to clearly understand this very bold fact.
What is Global Warming?
As name suggests Global Warming can be simply understood as the increase in global temperature. It happens when Green House gases such as Carbon dioxide, water vapor, Nitrous oxide, Methane etc… trap heat and light from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere, which causes the rise in temperature.
When we talk about Green House gases, again the reality is that these gases are essential for life on Earth. It is these gases that make our Earth not too warm or too cold maintaining a natural balance. However, increased emission of these gases especially the increase in Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels has altered the natural balance of the Green House effect that initially was helping Earth to survive, turning it to a deadly heat source threatening the very existence of life on the planet. Too much of anything won’t do any good; therefore when high concentrations of these gases are trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere it causes Global Warming.
Why humans to be blamed?
Human settlement, advancement, development and urbanization ‘are’ and ‘is’ considered as the major contributing factors that created this massive change in atmospheric chemistry.
Development came with urbanization which then again came associated with rapid industrialization. Perhaps unknowingly our greed had come first than Mother Nature itself. Human exploitation of different resources maxed. Discovery of coal and oil gave emergence to the rapid mechanical and industrialization era, an era of over exploitation, degradation and destruction to our very vulnerable Earth. We burnt excess amounts of fossil fuels as an energy source and built thousands of factories and machinery that made everyday consumer goods.
Demand for more of these manufactured goods amplified, human desire of material wealth and property increased hastily. We humans couldn’t live without the luxury of cars, refrigerators and other modern day items. It was during this period, the 18th and the 19th century that the rapid boost in Green House gases emission began. Large amounts of CO2 were released into the atmosphere. Ever since then countries especially the large and developed countries have played a major role in emitting harmful Green House gases in to the atmosphere as they became leading world industries.
What the science says?
Science has told us that 200 years ago our planet had 275 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 concentration, which was considered as a very safe range for CO2 levels to be. However recent studies show that today about 388 ppm of CO2 is present in our atmosphere, largely due to the increased and continuous industrialization activities and burning of fossil fuels as an energy source. It is also understood that this number is rising about 2 ppm annually.
This is a much worrying scientific discovery. Most scientists around the world agree that we have to cut that amount down to at least 350 ppm, which can be the only safe margin for us to retreat if we are to win this war against Climate Change.
Records show that 22.30% of the annual CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere are from China, while the USA is recorded to have an annual emission of 19.91% followed by the European Union that emits 14.04%, then comes India producing 5.50%, Russia producing 5.24%, Japan 4.28% and Germany having 2.69%. The rest of the world has less than 2.00% contribution. It is understood that major carbon emitting countries are also those countries that have the means and resources to reduce their emissions and combat this global war against climate change. Increase in global temperature levels causes yet another deadly impact called Sea-Level rise.