Human beings have tremendous potential for constructive activities and at the same time destructive activities. From the early times to the present, optimal inventions have been ‘ constructed. ‘ Furthermore, people often seek to ‘ play God ‘ by manipulating the natural processes, but nature has its own way of resurrecting and reforming, leading to different environmental problems. Due to the demands of the ever growing population and the greed of man, the deterioration of environment has become a major issue of concern. Thus, the alterations in the natural environment by men are becoming the cause of their own destruction in the form of phenomenon like global warming. Global warming is the buzzword echoing around the world. Global warming is a topic which finds its place in the news headlines, on TV, every alternate day. Global Warming is an overall augmentation in the surface temperature of the planet consequently leading to climatic changes. These changes are owing to heat ensnared by various green house gases encompassing carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs and ozone. This has lead to various repercussions such as increased flooding, hot summers, rise in diseases, etc, etc. However, the other perspective is, it might not be as serious an issue as believed to be. There has not been sufficient evidence to prove the direct link of global warming with natural calamities. So, this paper will discuss both the pros and cons of this global warming argument.
The “Greenhouse Effect” is a naturally occurring phenomenon on a daily basis. However, the trouble only begins, when there are heightened emissions from man created industries and other automobile forms, generating amounts of carbon dioxide which are far higher than the permissible levels. The list of greenhouse gases includes water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone and nitrous oxide. Among the above mentioned greenhouse gases, Carbon dioxide (Co2) has the most potency, when it comes to global warming. Although, on a molecule-for-molecule basis, methane is a more intense greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but as it is present only in small quantities, its effect is minimal when compared to CO2. (Schobert 559). In order to run machines and for the production of electricity, fossil fuels are being utilized. They contribute to more than 20% of the carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere, a contribution is far more then the contribution by vehicles. Deforestation is also on rise to create space for these set ups and to procure fuel by burning wood, again contributing to Global Warming. The trouble happens when the large scale combustion of fossil fuels happen everyday in the industries and in automobiles, and results in generating high amounts of the main GHG, carbon dioxide. The level of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has shown an uphill path, again due to human initiated industrialization. “Humans have been modifying the environment through processes associated with industrialization…One of the most important results of these activities has been increased emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)” (Berliner 32).
Cons of Global Warming
Sceptics consider global warming as a myth, a fantasy or a Western agenda, but they might have no answer for the various natural calamities all over the world particularly the floods in Australia or the frequent droughts in any other parts of the world. The effects of global warming are tremendous as well as very hazardous. One of the first things that we might note is the fluctuation of extreme weather. Very hot summers and extremely cold and chilly winters are its first indication. The effects and the resultant damages of global warming were what that concerns the people. It is taking its toll on the polar ice caps, in the form of a sudden meltdown, with the glaciers in the Arctic region disappearing at much a faster rate. “The Arctic is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and the sea ice cover shrank to a record low in 2007 before slightly increasing in 2008. A major international committee predicted that the cover would disappear by 2100 …If the ice cover disappears, it could have major consequences.” (Ljunggren). If this disappearing or if correctly said melting of the ice caps or glaciers in Arctic region and other icy regions continues it have a lot of repercussion for the humans as well as animal species. That is, if the polar caps continue to melt, there will be influx of more water into the sea, and this will lead to a sizeable raise in the sea level. The fact is, if the polar ice caps melt, the oceans of the world will be filled with more water leading to an estimated rise of 70 m. (Ljunggren). Because of this increase, many low-lying territories or countries have high chances of getting submerged, with Mauritius and Bangladesh having lost a sizeable portion of their land to the submerging sea. If the land continues to be submerged, there could be lot of damages like loss of human lives, and other living species, as well as loss of key buildings and important monuments or structures. On the other hand, this melting of glaciers is causing a different problem in South American countries. That is, irrigation for agriculture in these countries is based on the artificial lakes in the mountainous regions being filled by the glaciers. However, with global warming melting glaciers, all these glacial lakes have disappeared affecting agriculture deeply.
In the other extreme end, the conditions actualized by global warming have accentuated the hydrological cycle that is happening in the earth, thereby causing evaporations on a higher scale. This has resulted in droughts which are very extreme and also quite problematically long lasting. The droughts has plagued many countries with the key livelihood of agriculture being the worst affected. In times of persistent droughts, there is little reserve water to weather them, which leaves people, livestock and crops at risk. This has shown a decline in the food production, in some parts of the world, already. Another problem caused by global warming is the heat wave, like the one similar to the wave which hit Europe and killed around 52,000 people in 2003. Also, the intense heat conditions caused by global warming are leading to wildfires, with the frequently occurring wildfires damaging the natural wealth, which is useful for humans and which are the habitats for many species. “The number and size of large forest fires in the West have grown “suddenly and dramatically” in the past two decades in part because of global warming” (O’ Driscoll). The hot weather conditions are also acting as a catalyst for the growth of microbes, which is leading to various diseases. The warm temperature enhances the growth of bacteria which may lead to several diseases. The disease-causing or spreading mosquitoes are known to thrive in hot conditions and so global warming is expanding their range, thereby causing many diseases. So, all these repercussions or cons of global warming, is creating a lot of concerns among various sections of people.
Although, Global warming could be happening, but it does not necessarily need to be a cause for alarm. Although it is widely believed that human activities have triggered this phenomenon, it is also true that it only accounts to less than five percent of the causes for global warming. Mathematically, such a small percentage could not bring about changes in a planet as large as our earth and if the changes are happening, it is probably a natural cycle, meant to happen to retain stability. Although all the above discussed aspects clearly shows that Global warming is having extreme negative effect on the earth, when viewed from the opposite perspective it is clear that all the negativity appears to be highly inflated and ‘doctored’. Certain facts and events clearly prove that global warming is having no negative impact on the earth. According to the groups, which focus on the ‘hyped’ versions of the global warming, it is clear that sun only warms the earth and that process is happening for all these years, without any negative impacts. Opponents to the Global warming theory state that most climatic changes particularly extreme hotness are due to the fluctuating energy of the sun. This phenomenon is happening from early centuries, causing extreme hotness and affecting the earth. So, it is clear that global warming does not or is neither causing extreme hotness nor affecting the earth. Another most important statistic, which proves that global warming is not affecting the earth is that global average temperatures has stopped rising in 2001. From 2001, the temperatures have reached a ‘plateau’ and is not exceeding as expected. Scientists also speculate that earth has faced even hotter times during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), lasting from 10th century to about 14th century, than it is facing in the recent years. “Even the warmth of the ‘ record ‘ warm El Nino year in 1998 (see the temperature chart above) could have been exceeded several times during major events in El Nino during the MWP.” (Spencer).
The other factor which nullifies any supposed ill-effects of global warming caused by forest fires, is the cooling action carried out by smoke from those forest fires itself. According to experts, the smoke produces cooling breeze which causes a strong cooling force on the climate, which can then equal or nullify the warming power built by greenhouse gases created by those forest fires. So, based on this premises, certain scientists believe that global warming cannot be a threat and will not negatively impact the planet; instead it is essentially cooling off the planet.
Another important fact which shows that global warming is not a threat is the exaggerated role given to Carbon Dioxide as the major causer of global warming. That is, although earth is warming up and the CO2 levels are also increasing, there is no clear cut evidence to show that one factor causes the other. The basic fact is, CO2 is a benign, life giving or initiating molecule, which is being optimally used by the plants to survive. With plants and forests all over the world consuming CO2 for their survival, maximum CO2 emissions are being inhaled by the plants, thereby reducing CO2 content maximally. ” In 2009, there are only 38 or 39 CO2 molecules per 100,000 atmospheric molecules and it will take another five years for human CO2 emissions to increase the number in one molecule to 40 out of every 100,000 molecules..” (Spencer).
Apart from this fact, another event, which shows that global warming is not having any major negative impact on the earth, is the expanding of the Antarctica land mass. Antarctica is not melting any more in an extreme manner and instead is actually adding land mass. Having considered all the arguments, it would be possible to accept that global warming is a natural process for which man-made emissions cannot be held responsible. Global warming does not affect the planet and is the only way that stability can be attained.
It is up to us the people all over the world to take the initiative. Although, there are sizable pros of global warming, any threat cannot be taken easily. Even if global warming raises its ‘ugly head’, humans will be able to adapt to the changes, thus equipping themselves to face any negative impacts of global warming. There are several possible and workable solutions that could be taken up in order to solve this problem of global warming. There are many small and big things that each of us could do every single day, such as switching of the electric light when they are not in use, using energy-efficient lights and bulbs, which will save electricity bills as well. Going to work or using public transport is an ideal way to contribute to issues. Not only does this lower your carbon foot-print count, which is your impact on global warming, it also helps you get a fit body which can help in cutting the supposed “obesity crisis”. It’s just not about only few persons doing their tiny part. The whole world should work together to try and reduce climate change. In that direction, companies in coordination with government machineries as well as common people has to fulfil their parts in implementing and supporting sustainable development in all spheres.
- Berliner, Mark L. Uncertainty and Climate Change. Statistical Science. 18.4 (2003): 430- 435.
- Ljunggren, David. “Arctic summer ice could vanish by 2013: expert.” Reuters, 5 March 2009. Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE52468B20090305
- O’Driscoll, Peter. “Study links Extended Wildfire Seasons to Global Warming.” USA Today, n. d. Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-07-06-climate-fires_x.htm
- Schobert, Harold H. Energy and society. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2002
- Spencer, Roy. “Some Global Warming Q&A To Consider in Light of the EPA Ruling.” Dr Roy Spencer.com, 19 April 2009. Web. 18 May 2011.