Population Growth and Climate change - Essay Example

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POPULATION GROWTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE Geography Essay 12 April 2013 Introduction The last century has seen an increase in the earth’s average temperature by about 1.4 oF (Climate change, n.d.). It is estimated that the next century will witness a further temperature increase by between 2 and 11 oF…
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Population Growth and Climate change
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Download file to see previous pages All these happenings are consequences of human activities, which immensely increase the levels of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution, human activities such as burning of fossil fuels such as coal, deforestation, agricultural and industrial processes have risen (United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Policy, 1998). However, most of the greenhouse gases emanate from the burning of fossil fuels for energy. The greenhouse effect occurs when greenhouse gases behave like a blanket over the surface of the earth and trap energy. The entrapped energy causes the earth to heat up hence the reported temperature increases. Some activities that cause the emission of greenhouse gases are under the control of man and yet many more are beyond man’s jurisdiction. Numerous scientific researches reveal that human influence plays a crucial role in this quagmire (The heat is online, n.d.). Therefore, it goes without saying that the magnitude of greenhouse gases emitted is proportional to the number of people inhabiting the earth. Little can be done to reduce the population of people on earth. However, a clear understanding of the effects of the population on climate change is essential in developing a feasible blueprint for the mitigation of the undesired effects of greenhouse gases emission. This paper reviews two articles that look at the relationship between population growth and changes in climate. The Relationship between N2O and CH4 Emissions from Agriculture and Population Growth The population increase and changes in the patterns of expenditure are increasing the universal requirements for agricultural products. Only developed countries are able to meet the increased demand with the escalation of agricultural extension techniques. These techniques increase the quantities of emitted greenhouse gases (GHG) such as methane and nitrous oxide. The 1997 Kyoto protocol intends to set boundaries that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases especially in the developed countries (Annex 1). However, the developing countries (non-Annex 1) do not have targeted reduction levels. A report submitted in 2000 reveals that non-Annex 1 countries emit significantly higher amounts of GHG than Annex 1 countries. The rising population estimates that the GHG emissions in non-Annex 1 countries will increase tremendously because such countries heavily rely on agricultural production. Numerous studies focus on CO2 emission in relation to agricultural land use and yet N2O and CH4 absorbs 310 and 21 times more heat per unit weight than CO2 (Beek et al., 2010). This implies that agricultural growth is likely to be accompanied by high emissions of N2O and CH4. This paper uses ten non-Annex 1 countries and captures their key agricultural systems. Data revealing the production trends is obtained from FAOSTAT. Data from primary production (production of cereal) and secondary production (animal production) is expressed in terms of tonnes per year and livestock unit (LU) values. The EDGAR32 database and the national emission inventories of direct and indirect greenhouse gases provides data on N2O and CH4 emission. Statistical analysis reveals the relationship between demographic trends and emission of GHG, which is extrapolated to 2050. Agricultural production, as well as GHG emissions, increases in most countries. The study concludes that there ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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