Global warming is a huge threat to climate of the Earth, and its impact on biodiversity endangers existence of many species. It caused numerous other adverse effects and if no measures are taken, the situation will worsen in the coming years. More than 20,000 individuals in Europe died in the recent past because of unusually high temperatures, which are attributed to this climate change (Houghton 4). In the past two decades, natural disasters such as drought contributed to global warming, killed millions of humans across the world in addition to affecting more than a billion people and inflicted damages to various aspects of the global economy (Watson et al. 2). Global warming is the cumulative rise of the average lower atmospheric temperatures of the Earth and oceans, which is unlikely to be restrained (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Although many researchers have argued that climate crisis is just a myth, this essay asserts that it is real. Moreover, this climate change is induced by human activities through the emission of greenhouse gasses and requires implementation of effective mitigation strategies to curb its progress.
Causes of Global Warming
The primary cause of global warming is the accumulation of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Most of CO2 that induces climate change comes from human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and destruction of vegetation, which is the carbon store that helps purify the air through absorption of excess carbon dioxide (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). As a result of increased human population and subsequent advancement of their activities namely fossil fuels combustion at home, in industries as well as the use of vehicles has led to the growth in the amounts of CO2 (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Additionally, this greenhouse gas has accumulated over several years. Since the industrial revolution that began in 1750, CO2 levels have been on the rise due to combustion of fossil fuels, and nowadays the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by more than 40 percent (Houghton 4). Although, emission of CO2 is the responsibility of every country in the world, the United States and China have played the biggest role because of their booming economies that rely on industrial activities.
The Role of the United States and China in Causing Global Warming
The United States and China are among the countries that emit the largest amounts of CO2 and can be regarded as the biggest contributors to global warming. With the huge population and booming industrial activities, their economies thrives but the side effect includes the emission of this environmentally unfriendly gas. Although the United States represents only 5% of human population in the entire world, it accounts for the emission of more than 25% of CO2 around the globe (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Therefore, it is responsible for more than a quarter of all emissions while other countries contribute to less than three quarters. The transport sector in the US equally causes much harm to the environment because it prompts about 25% of all the emissions of CO2 (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). The main source of air pollution is the use of private vehicles by most of the American car owners including the fuel guzzling ones.
Moreover, families are another threat to the surroundings due to the high ratio of greenhouse gasses they produce while performing their routine activities such as cooking, moving from one place to the other etc. A typical family in the United States emits about 50 tons of CO2 every year, which originate in the electric grid (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Furthermore, this amount of gas primarily comes from the combustion of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal, which are exploited in generation of electricity. About 50% of these emissions are connected with fuel guzzling vehicles that produce about 15 tons of the same gas and food transportation that accounts for an average quantity of 5 tons per year. (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). The use of electric appliances for cleaning, heating, and entertaining family members at home results in similar amount of CO2 emission as of the fuel guzzling vehicles. Hence, the country produces billion of tons of this greenhouse gas. For example, assuming the US has 100 million families in the mean with each one emitting at least 50 tons of CO2, the average proportion of carbon dioxide will be 5 billion tons every year. Its release over the decade is enough to cause climate change.
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China is also a hub of greenhouse gas emission because of its prevalent industrial activities and vast population. More than 70% utilities are possible due to combustion of coal, which results in the emission of massive amounts of CO2 given that it has more than one billion people and many industries that consume a lot of energy (Zhang et al. 1114). Burning of fossil fuels in Chinese power plants is responsible for about 30-50% of the overall CO2 emission while 15% to 25% and 25% to 35% come from the transport sector and industrial facilities respectively (Rohde and Muller 8). Thus, massive accumulation gasses creates severe adverse impacts on climate and biodiversity. The average concentration of greenhouse gasses in is more than 100 µg m−3 in Beijing, which is twice as much as in Tokyo and four times more than in New York (Zhang et al. 1114). Therefore, China is a huge threat to the environment because of its increased emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Global warming will not be stopped because little efforts are taken to curb the greater greenhouse gas emission. The Chinese nation will surpass the United States in the emission of CO2 in the coming years since it is planning to add one coal plant every week for the next six years (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Furthermore, the states that are supposed to play an active role in reduction of the emissions are retreated from the move. The United States refused to take effective actions even after the international community claimed that it had legal responsibilities but instead, its Congress rejected the renowned Kyoto Protocol ratified by 160 nations (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). With such a powerful country withdrawing from legal steps against emissions and China facilitating its emissions through the growth in the number of coal plants, the emissions will continue to increase that in turn will worsen the condition of global warming and its effects.
Effects of Global Warming
Global warming is also of the main causes of catastrophic climatic events on the planet. Some of the effects include desertification, droughts, ocean acidification due to acid rains, and heavy rainfalls that result in floods among many others (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Therefore, these consequences are detrimental to humans because besides causing deaths directly they increase food insecurity. Other impacts of climate change encompass melting of ice from major glaciers and icebergs that leads to the rise of sea levels, which poses threat to existence of coastal lands and their biodiversity. For instance, many icebergs and glaciers have melted while the remaining ones have lost about 10% of their masses since the last seven years (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). The Northern Montana’s Glacier National Park is likely to lose all its major glaciers since it used to have 150 glaciers, but at the moment, there are less than 40 (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Thus, with the increased atmospheric temperatures, these ice masses will be depleted due to destructive thaw.
Strategies to Prevent Further Global Warming and its Effects
Brokaw suggests many strategies that the human race should implement to mitigate global warming. Replacement of conventional light bulbs with high-efficiency fluorescent ones, turning off the lights and unplugging electronic appliances once they are not utilized may help reduce CO2 emissions. If Americans can substitute one conventional bulb with a fluorescent one, the impact of CO2 emissions will be equivalent to decrease of the same amount emitted by one million cars that consume fossil fuels (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). Additionally, people should minimize consumption of energy in warming their houses during winter and buy high efficacy appliances. The purchase of locally grown foods can lower not only the cost of transporting provision from other countries, but also the CO2 emissions associated with such transportations. Moreover, the use of public transport and replacement of gas-guzzlers with hybrid electric cars will save more than eight tons of CO2 every year (Discovery Channel – Global Warming, What You Need To Know, with Tom Brokaw). New York City is adopting these strategies to become a big green apple since fossil fuel-burning buses and taxis are currently substituted by the hybrid electric power to cut carbon emissions.
Global warming is the reality caused by accumulation of greenhouse gasses, mainly CO2 that is produced by human activities. However, there are numerous strategies, which people can use to reduce these emissions and the subsequent warming of the Earth. Although many states contribute to the emission of these gasses, China and the United States are the major players. Nevertheless, climate change is likely to continue because these countries seem not to control their emissions since China aims at encouraging its coal power industry while the United States failed to curb it through legislation. The effects of the climate crisis on the Earth include melting ice, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events. The use of high-efficiency appliances, replacement of gas-guzzlers with hybrid electric cars, and conserving energy at home are some of the strategies, which humans can adopt to prevent further warming