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Environmental issue - Research Paper Example

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(Assignment) Environmental Issue Author: Brian Handwerk. Article: ‘Extreme Storms and Floods Concretely Linked to Climate Change?’ in National geographic News, 16 February 2011. Handwerk points out that the reason behind the extreme weather conditions including floods, droughts, and hurricanes the present day world is facing are linked to the rising levels of greenhouse gases…
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(Assignment) Environmental Issue Brian Handwerk. Article: ‘Extreme Storms and Floods Concretely Linked to Climate Change?’ in National geographic News, 16 February 2011. Handwerk points out that the reason behind the extreme weather conditions including floods, droughts, and hurricanes the present day world is facing are linked to the rising levels of greenhouse gases. According to the article, massive floods as recently experienced in Pakistan and Australia will not serve any useful purpose other than damaging cities and agricultural lands as the water from them cannot be stored. In addition, the prediction is that the wet parts of the world will get wetter while the dry will go drier. The writer reinstates the issue that if the greenhouse gas concentration goes on increasing at the present rate, the intensity of the damage will be two times higher in hundred year’s time (Handwerk). In fact, the greenhouse gases are responsible for absorbing heat from the sun rays, thus keeping the earth’s atmosphere warm enough for life. Without these greenhouse gases, earth would be frozen and barren like other planets. The main greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone. This process of keeping the earth warm by absorbing heat from the thermal radiation from sun is called the greenhouse effect. However, recent human activities for development have caused an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thus making earth warmer than normal. The main greenhouse gas that had an increase is carbon dioxide. Both the rich and the poor countries have their roles in this rise in greenhouse gases. There are a number of human activities that lead to an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide. The first one is deforestation. Both the developed and developing countries are cutting up their forests for various purposes ranging from cultivation, residences, roads, and also for various wood products. As trees are the carbon dioxide regulators of nature, a fall in their number leads to increased amount of the gas in the atmosphere. Yet another activity that leads to the increase is the burning of fossil fuels. To cater for the needs of the world population that increased manifold, more and more industries and motor vehicles are produced. They all run on fossil fuels leading to a considerable rise in carbon dioxide levels. Yet another considerable contribution is from the part of developing and underdeveloped countries where people burn wood for domestic purposes. Thus, it becomes evident that though rich countries are the major contributors, poor countries too play a role that is not insignificant. In fact, no one is spared from the ill effects of this change. Achenbach and Schultz point out that in the last hundred years, the global temperature has risen by 0.5 degree Celsius and the rise is much higher in coldest and remote places. The results of this rise are unimaginable. The first effect will be the melting of polar ice sheets and a consequent rise in the sea levels. As a result of the rise in sea levels, the low-lying coastal areas will get submerged in water. The Science Daily (Feb 2011) report states that by 2100, 9 percent of the coastal land within the 180 coastal cities of US will be submerged in water. In other words, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., and Virginia Beach could lose more than ten percent of their land by 2100. If someone is to believe that rise in water is the only issue, the warning comes that by 2100, the global temperature will rise by a further 8 degree Fahrenheit. The world countries, for a long time, have been trying to take effective steps to control global warming though a result in the short term is highly unlikely. The fight against this change should be coordinated both locally and internationally. Individuals can play their role by reducing the use of fossil fuels as far as possible by reducing the use of motor vehicles and factory-made items. For governments, it is necessary to impose strict rules of emission on industries, vehicles and even households. Furthermore, governments can spend money encouraging research and development of eco-friendly fuels as an alternative to fossil fuels. In fact, environmental issues do not remain confined to the country that creates environmental issues but all counties and people will bear the brunt of their malicious activities. So, it is necessary to have international coordination that can force each of the world nations to take adequate steps to cut down greenhouse gas emissions to save the earth. One such effort is the World Business Council for Sustainable Development that strives hard to develop ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce energy consumption, thus developing a sustainable planetary condition. In addition there was UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 which was solely aimed at environment and sustainable development. Furthermore, Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established to support governments in their effort to bring about sustainable development. However, despite all these efforts, natural disasters like storms, droughts, and floods have all become a part of our everyday lives and scientists and environmentalists are warning that more calamities are in the pipeline. So, loss of lives and property due to natural calamities is the picture to which the new generation has to get accustomed to. Works Cited Achenbach, Joel andSchultz, Heidi. ‘Signs from earth: The heat is on’. n.d. National Geographic. Web 24 Feb 2011 http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/signs-from-earth/ Handwerk, Brian. ‘Extreme Storms and Floods Concretely Linked to Climate Change?’ National geographic News, 16 February 2011. Web 24 Feb 2011 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/01/110116-climate-change-greenhouse-gas-floods-storms-water/ ‘Rising sea will affect major US Coastal cities by 2100, new research finds’. Science Daily, Feb 15, 2011. Web 24 Feb 2011 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110215081742.htm Read More
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