Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The global warming debate is one that is impacted by political exigencies and the respective economic interests of nations. World leaders try and twist facts relating to global warming to suit their own agendas to try but the fact is that Global Warming is largely contributed to by human activities and this is a fact that 90% of the world’s scientists agree on.
Global warming has had serious negative impacts on the world’s freshwater systems,
Climate change has been a reality since the nascence of the earth, but man’s activities ever since the dawn of industrialization has sped up that process of climate change. This is due to an undeniable and very significant increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Human industry has resulted in large scale deforestation and the burning of fossil fuel (oil, coal and natural gas) and wood which has in turn led to increase in concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. Other gases such as ozone and nitrous oxide as well as CFCs and water vapor are also considered greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming by trapping more heat within the earth’s atmosphere. Scientists have examined ice cores to find that these methane and CO2 levels are higher than at any time of the past 800,000 years.
Our cars, factories, cattle rearing, agricultural activities (which firstly cause deforestation and then place a burden on the earth’s limited resources), production of electricity, waste generation and consequent creation of landfills, refrigeration and a host of other activities create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.
Global warming affects not only us humans, but also every other creature on the earth.
Temperature records have shown that there was a rise in global temperatures by about 0.6 degree Celsius in the past century. The temperatures of the seas have risen and have had a dual impact: the polar ice caps are melting and the average sea level is rising, posing various threats not only to marine life but also human coastal populations because of issues like coastal erosion.
The melting of glaciers has the worrying impact of reducing water availability for many human populations. As sea temperatures rise, they are less able to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and this is both a cause and an effect of the acidification of the oceans of the world. All of this also means negative consequences for ocean life including the bleaching of coral.
It isn’t just that temperatures have risen all over the world, climate itself has become more unpredictable: the amount, intensity and unpredictability of rain have increased. There is also evidence to suggest that storms and hurricanes have become more severe and destructive in the past 4 decades or so. Certain areas of the world also experience more frequent and severe droughts.
Scientists have also opined that global warming could indirectly lead to other problems such as malnutrition, the increase of disease and epidemics due to possible drought and other natural disasters. Heat waves and conversely cold waves have become more frequent and cause more deaths than earlier. Incidences of bush fires have increased as has the incidence of vector borne diseases such as dengue and malaria (because warmer climates are more conducive for vectors such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks etc).