We live in a time where nothing has made more of an impact on our daily lives than industrial technology. Everyday our society continues to advance as we attempt to generate the latest and more effective goods and services. When imagining our future world, a high-tech society is the automatic thought that comes to our mind. Ultimately the Earth’s atmosphere has a strong possibility of being endangered due to these high-tech societies and its resources. Earth’s future is sadly looking forward into being overwhelmed with heat and pollution.
This unfortunate future reality ahead of us is because of global warming: a gradual increase in temperature in our atmosphere. However, we cannot blame global warming for our failing world. In fact one of our biggest concerns about the human life today is truly we. Humans are the top reason for global warming. Humans unwittingly hold a huge responsibility for the increase in the amount of emissions of any endangerment fuels that influence the Greenhouse Effect.
The Greenhouse Effect is a natural process of Earths atmosphere; it is the positive result in which makes this world livable. However, there is a solution to these negative factors, which could help the destructive choices made against our atmosphere. Firstly, to name some of these negative factors, which are causes are very simple like transportation, industrial effects, and even the lack of knowledge about the planet. A single individual that has a lack of knowledge about our planet cannot be blamed for the world pollution, nor can they fix it.
To see an improvement, as individuals we need to change our environmental habits in order to save our world. The bottom line is that we must reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses caused by human activities.
One historical figure that can be included of this research is Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927) — a Swedish scientist. During the 1800s, Svante was the first to claim that global warming was caused by fossil fuel combustion. Svante found an angle of his observations and he believed there is a relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature. His infamous scientific question: “Is the mean temperature of the ground in any way influenced by the presence of the heat-absorbing gases in the atmosphere?” (Enzler). This information helps explain not only that global warming has been an issue, but how his observations fits into today’s negative causes to the environment. Also, it is mentioned that in the 1980’s globe’s temperature curve started to increase highly, and then in 1988 the climate was warmer than any period since 1880. Svante’s question is still examined today as much as it was debated throughout the early part of the 20th century.
The greenhouse effect is such a significant piece to earth’s atmospheric climate. It is important to understand that this effect is natural positive process and without it the planet would be a far colder place. According to science, when sunlight hits the surface of the earth it is absorbed, and the short wave radiation is converted to infrared or long wave radiation. In other words, when visible light turns into heat, it is mainly due to the sun’s rays beaming on the Earth. Furthermore, Carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, etc. are some of the greenhouse gases—more so named as our atmosphere gases. These gases absorb heat, which is converted into kinetic and potential energy. The Earth’s atmosphere would be an average of about 30-35 Celsius cooler without the greenhouse effect, and life here on Earth— would not exist.
Although the greenhouse effect is essential for sustaining life on earth, the problem with this natural function is that human activities (anthropogenic) accelerates this natural process and creates more gasses that eventually get trapped in our atmosphere. Those gases are known to be our synthetic gases which are man-made. These gases are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) and per fluorocarbons (PFCs), as well as sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Whether both or one of these natural and man-made gases exists, —they are both reasons of global warming. Both forms of gases have increased over the last few centuries. This shows that even if we are to minus our synthetic gases, global warming will still be a caused from our natural gases. Now that there are added gases (synthetic), these gases just add on to the damage that is already in motion to our planet.
The greenhouse gases that humans do emit directly in significant quantities are: Carbon dioxide (CO2). Accounts for around three-quarters of the warming impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. The key source of CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, though deforestation is also a very significant contributor.
Methane (CH4). Accounts for around 14% of the impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. Key sources include agriculture (especially livestock and rice fields), fossil fuel extraction and the decay of organic waste in landfill sites. Methane doesn’t persist in the atmosphere as long as CO2, though its warming effect is much more potent for each gram of gas released.
Nitrous oxide (N2O). Accounts for around 8% of the warming impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. Key sources include agriculture (especially nitrogen-fertilised soils and livestock waste) and industrial processes. Nitrous oxide is even more potent per gram than methane. Fluorinated gases (‘F gases’). Account for around 1% of the warming impact of current human greenhouse-gas emissions. Key sources are industrial processes. F-gases are even more potent per gram than nitrous oxide.
Consequently, because of human activity and the significant amount of man-made gasses produces, global warming has become a crucial issue we are now facing. As the planet’s temperature continues to rise due to the trapping of heat, so does many environmental issues. One of the biggest problems with this is the melting of the polar ice caps/sea level risings and climatic changes. For example, with the melting of the polar ice caps and climatic changes scientists have shown:
”it can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination with salt and lost habitat for fish, birds, plants and especially artic life… Higher sea levels are coinciding with more dangerous hurricanes and typhoons that move more slowly and drop more rain, contributing to more powerful storm surges that can strip away everything in their path. One study found that between 1963 and 2012, almost half of all deaths from Atlantic hurricanes were caused by storm surges” (National Geographic).
In addition, another main concern of GHGs is the depletion of the ozone layer. This occurs when the CFCs gases from aerosols spray cans and refrigerants are release into our planet air. This is a huge problem as well because higher levels of UV rays are reaching us on earth. This not only affects the health of humanity but also the life of all plants and animal ecosystems. There are many ways these enhanced GHGs affects the life of all species and the environment on a global scale and it is important we implement ways to reduce it.
In order to effectively address the issue of the effects of Global warming and greenhouse effect, we must take it upon our self individually and as a whole to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we are placing into the earth’s atmosphere. In order to do so there are a number of ways such as expand the use of renewable energy, Increase vehicle fuel efficiency, implementing “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, buying energy-efficient products, and the biggest one is placing limitation/policies to encourage others to do the same. In 2016, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) constructs upon The Paris Agreement. The Paris agreement is a policy that unites all nations in a common goal to combat climate change and adapt to the effect it already has cause.
This policy main focus and intention is to encourage a goal of having the temperature 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to also put in action that the temperature is increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement is supposed to be implemented next year 2020 by 174 countries and European Union. Sadly, through the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to withdraw from the pact. In 2017, The United States, on the order of President Donald Trump, has officially withdrew from the Paris Climate agreement. According to Fox News, Trump states that ‘The Paris accord will undermine (the U.S.) economy,’ and ‘puts (the U.S.) at a permanent disadvantage”. The back lash has been huge emphasizing how Trump destructive effects of his greedy, selfish, and immoral decision to cease this policy will impact generations of Americans. With or without the United states the Paris agreement is still in effect for 2020 in hope of controlling the amounts of emissions of pollution and reducing enhanced greenhouse effect.
Global warming is a major challenge for our global society. After discussing the importance of the greenhouse effect and the impact human society has drastically contributed to the earth’s atmosphere of trapping heat, it is very clear that unwanted and extreme events are on the rise and changes must be made.