Global Warming: Cause and Mitigation - Essay Example

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Global Warming: Cause and Mitigation Author’s Details: Institutional Affiliation: Global Warming: Cause and Mitigation Introduction Perhaps one of the most controversial debates in the 21st century, the question as to whether humans should fully shoulder or share the responsibility of a warming world with the natural forcing sounds simple, yet inherently difficult…
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Download file to see previous pages Contrary to the popular misconception, there is no doubt even among the skeptics that the climate is changing today, and that changes are not unique to present times but has been so for several thousands of years before (Lupo, 2008). Accordingly, the prevailing wisdom, particularly within the popular media that human activity is solely to blame for global warming is false. A recent study by Wang et al. (2010) examining the current status of global warming, its impacts and anthropogenic effect, all of which are enmeshed in the current controversy in varied degrees, explicitly points out that the current state of affairs are but the result of combined effects of anthropogenic forcing and natural variability, with the degree of both largely undetermined. Comparative Analysis of Anthropogenic Versus Natural Climate Change Although a direct nexus to climate change is difficult to quantify in isolation, the observed instrumental temperature records, the rising sea levels, to the disappearing glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere relative to the increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere indicates beyond any reasonable doubt that that the present environmental state of affairs is massively man-made (IPCC, 2007). Indeed, from a sketchy “greenhouse- effect” early warnings of heat-trapping emissions due to global, heavy reliance on fossil fuels over the last two decades, to the recent conviction of an increasing impact on the Earth's climatic system, coupled with deforestation that has been observably massive but with a comparatively lesser effect, the absolute certainty of man’s contribution to global warming has become even clearer. The observed dramatic increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the advent of modern civilization, buoyed in part by industrial revolution, have been higher than at any other time in history (IPCC, 2001). The principal greenhouse gases at the center of this crisis, which include but not limited to carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and the halocarbons (such as fluorine, chlorine and bromine)], all absorb the outgoing infrared radiation into the atmosphere, ultimately warming the planet. The use of fossil fuels in transportation, agriculture related activities such as the use of fertilizers, man’s increasing need of landfills, use of biomass aerosols, all have contributed to more heat-trapping gasses mentioned above into the atmosphere. Despite decades of accumulated scientific evidence presented above linking humans to the current state of the global climate, the same scientific research indicates that a great deal of natural variability of the climatic system has always been part of the Earth’s history, stretching as far as 4.6 billion years of its existence, long before humans entered picture. The natural orbital variations of the Sun, for instance, initiates global warming through a number of processes that include direct increases in its intensity as a result of the orbital variation cycles as well as through the activation of the release of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane that amplify the orbital warming (Hilderman, 2011). Apart from the cyclic changes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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