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Running head: THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING

The Human Hand in Global Warming An Assignment Submitted by Name of Student Name of Establishment Class XXXX, Section XXXX, Date

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING Abstract The global warming phenomenon was studied in the context of the given research task. The findings of the study suggest that human-produced emission of greenhouse gases is the main factor that contributes to global warming. Most scientific data are eloquent: about half of all greenhouse gases produced as a result of economic activity of humanity remain in the

atmosphere. The given large-scale phenomenon is characterized by a number of adverse effects ranging from the impact on the atmosphere to the economic and environmental problems. Thus, resolving this problem requires joint efforts from the international community. Key words: global warming, greenhouse effect, environmental protection, anthropogenic factor.

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING

Much has been said about the role of anthropogenic factor in global warming, which is currently one of the hottest issues not only for conservationists, but also politicians, manufacturers, social activists, and people, who care about their health and the future of subsequent generations. It is not a secret that there is a scientific consensus that the current global warming is very likely due to human activities. Thus, it would be expedient to analyse the role of human factor that dramatically contribute to global warming. Anthropogenic Factor and Global Warming According to most scientific data, the changes in the climate systems can be explained by internal natural processes and the so-called external stimuli (anthropogenic and nonanthropogenic ones). In this case, the geological and paleontological data testify to the presence of long-term climate cycles, which take the form of periodic glaciations (Ammann, et al., 2007). According to direct observations of climate (temperature measurement over the last 200 years), the average temperature of the Earth has increased, but the reasons for this increase remain the subject of numerous debates (Ammann, et al., 2007). One of the most widely discussed issues is the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. The notorious greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824. It is stated that the given phenomenon occurs due to the fact that absorption and emission of infrared radiation by atmospheric gases cause the heating of Earths surface and the atmosphere. Unfortunately, excessive human activities significantly intensified the natural greenhouse effect, thus, causing global warming (Alley, et al., 2009). It is an undisputable fact that about half of all greenhouse gases, produced as a result of economic activity of humanity, remain in the atmosphere. About three-quarters of the anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide over the past 20 years can be explained by mining

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING

activity and burning of oil, natural gas and coal (Liverman, 2008). At the same time, about half of the anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are being absorbed by terrestrial vegetation and the ocean. Most of the remaining CO2 emissions are caused by changes in the landscape, especially deforestation, but the rate of binding of carbon dioxide by ground vegetation significantly exceeds the rate of its anthropogenic release, which is also due to deforestation (Alley, et al., 2009). It can be argued that greenhouse effect is not a process that occurred spontaneously. It has existed ever since our planet acquired the atmosphere, and without it the average temperature of the surface layers of our atmosphere would have been approximately thirty degrees lower than that actually observed (Liverman, 2008). However, during the twentieth century, the amount of some greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased greatly. Thus, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased more than one-third, while that of methane - by 2.5 times (UNFCCC, 2011). The new substances with greenhouse absorption spectrum has been created, which also could not contribute to environment conservation. Among such gases, it is expedient to mention the so-called chlorinated and fluorinated hydrocarbons, including the notorious CFCs. The conclusion suggests itself: it is impossible and even dangerous to ignore the connection between human activity and global warming. Moreover, the cause of the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions does not require deep analysis. Human civilization, starting from the fires of primitive hunters and ending with modern stoves and automobiles, rests on the rapid oxidation of carbon compounds, the end product of which is carbon dioxide. The growth of atmospheric methane, oxides of nitrogen, and, of course, chlorinated organics is also associated with human activity (rice fields, cattle farms, and pipelines leaks) (World Bank, 2010).

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING

Even in the second half of the seventeenth century, it was much colder in all European countries. The period from 1645 to 1715 was considered the peak of the so-called Little Ice Age, one of several major cooling periods in historical times (Alley, et al., 2009). At that time, the river Thames was covered with almost thirty-meter layer of ice (Alley, et al., 2009). Gradually, the development of scientific and technical progress has led to an increase in annual temperature. Furthermore, in the last quarter of the twentieth century, it was possible to observe a sharp climate warming, which in boreal regions resulted in a decrease of frosty winters. The world mean surface air temperature has increased by 0, 7 C over the last 25 years (Liverman, 2008). In the equatorial zone it has not changed much, but at latitudes near the poles, the warming is more pronounced. At the North Pole, the temperature of subglacial water has increased by nearly 2 degrees Celsius, which resulted in ice melting from below (Liverman, 2008). The recent studies reinforce the theory that the cause of global warming is human activity. The study involving the scientists from Scotland, Canada and Australia showed that the probability of natural, not man-made causes of climate change on the planet is less than 5% (UNFCCC, 2011). According to the same study, since 1980, the average temperature on earth has increased by 0.5 degrees Celsius, while the Earth continues being heated up by about 0.16 degrees per decade (Liverman, 2008). Consequently, the scientific prognoses concerning the consequences of global warming and its impact on the environment are far from being comforting. The Consequences of Global Warming It is a well-known fact that the increase in atmospheric temperature leads to an increase in reproduction of different pathogenic viruses, such as West Nile virus and malaria (UNFCCC, 2011). That will eventually lead to the severe economic effects and national ecological disasters.

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING Undoubtedly, the consequence of global warming will directly cause mortality risks, mainly

among the elderly people and people suffering from various heart diseases, as well as those with low immunity (Alley, et al., 2009). Mortality due to heat stress and heat waves is very likely to increase. Asthmatics and other people, who experience trouble in breathing, are also a vulnerable category. Moreover, the high temperature is linked with concentration of ozone in the lower atmosphere that is a harmful pollutant causing various respiratory problems (Alley, et al., 2009). Ozone also damages lung tissues, which results in numerous health problems. Global warming has many other consequences not associated with human health. Thus, drought affects many agricultural regions, which leads to a shortage of food and water, and subsequently to starvation. Agriculture can suffer because of the role of carbon dioxide in the process of photosynthesis, which results in the death of many crops (World Bank, 2010). Furthermore, global warming will affect the ecosystems. Because of the noticeable changes in temperature, the anomalies in bird migrations already arouse apprehension. The change in migratory patterns is fraught with mass starvation and dying from exposure (Visser, Both, & Lambrechts, 2004). Moreover, the sharpest population declines are usually linked to mistimed bird reproduction, which is also a response to abnormal warming. The temperature changes produce negative impact on forest growth, which results in reduction in species diversity (Visser, Both, & Lambrechts, 2004). Reduction in snow cover, in its turn, may lead to drought and forest fires. Thus, global warming poses a tremendous threat to all mankind, and it is to human race to break this vicious circle and to reduce the negative effects of the given phenomenon. Overcoming the problem of Global Warming

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING Many environmental groups advocate for taking actions aimed at climate change prevention. They agree that it is necessary to significantly limit the global production of fossil fuels, combustion and emissions of CO2 into atmosphere. Still, currently, the Kyoto Protocol remains the main international agreement on combating global warming. The delegates from more than one hundred and sixty countries have adopted the Convention that obliges all developed countries to reduce emissions of CO2 (Liverman, 2008). The Kyoto Protocol provides for a system of quotas for greenhouse gas emissions, nonetheless, in spite of obvious benefits of this resolution, most developed countries are not enthusiastic about this idea, since

greenhouse gas emissions limitations is a direct way to reducing production volumes (Liverman, 2008). Consequently, it is highly recommended that all countries reach consensus on this pressing issue and reduce dangerous emissions notwithstanding different political interests and contradictions. However, the most effective way that can reverse the process of global warming is to restore the stability of the atmospheric processes. The United Nations Foundation and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, issued the report that calls on all authorities responsible for policy development to improve the design and efficiency of commercial and residential buildings through the introduction of new building codes, standards for equipment and appliances, as well as search incentives and funding for investing in energy efficiency (World Bank, 2010). In addition, the report calls on the international community to assist countries in need in the financing and use of energy efficiency and new energy technologies both through the UN and related multilateral organizations. In April 2007, the UN Security Council held an open debate on the issues of energy security and climate change, thus highlighting the urgent need for concerted international action to solve the problem of climate change (Liverman, 2008).

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING As the name suggests, global warming is a large-scale phenomenon, which is

characterized by a number of dreadful effects, ranging from the impact on the atmosphere to the economic and environmental problems, which, in turn, threatens the health and lives of many people. Consequently, resolving this problem requires joint efforts from the international community, which can significantly slow and then reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by maintaining and applying efficient policies and existing and future technologies.

THE HUMAN HAND IN GLOBAL WARMING

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