For many decades, global warming has been regarded as a global calamity owing to the disastrous effects it causes to the environment. When there is an increase in temperature of the environment, it leads to an imbalance of atmospheric components, hence resulting in global warming. Scientists are in agreement that global warming is either man-made or caused by natural factors such as emission of toxic greenhouse gases into the environment. Once the toxic gases such as methane and nitrous oxide have suffocated the air, temperatures increase since the heat from the sun gets trapped in the atmosphere. Consequently, it leads to global warming and decreases the cool effects of the atmosphere. The issue of global warming continues to enlist a controversial debate on the major causes and resultant effects. This is because some people argue that global warming is purely natural, which cannot be controlled but left to take a natural course. However, others argue that global warming is largely man-made, and it can be effectively controlled if appropriate measures are implemented. Therefore, this argumentative essay intends to discuss the problem of global warming as a man-made calamity and how it can be managed.
Man-Made Causes of Global Warming
Recent research survey statistics indicate that the issue of global warming is mostly man-made because of the human activities, which affect the environment. Consequently, the human factors can be controlled. Although studies conducted by various scientists have shown that natural effects of global warming can last up to 40,000 years, Casper tends to suggest that the control is within human capability. Casper squarely blames human beings because of the “high levels of deforestation, where they cut down trees without making any replacements” (69). For instance, research shows that human beings destroy over 40 million acres of trees annually and use them for burning charcoal. As a result, over 50% of carbon gases are released into the environment, thus polluting the biosphere. Therefore, cutting of trees reduces the amounts of oxygen, thus leading to global warming.
The burning of fossils is highly responsible for global warming. Quite often, human beings engage in mining activities of oil and coal, a natural gas called methane is produced, which escapes into the air and causes pollution. In addition, methane contains powerful molecules, which affects the biosphere by trapping the heat of the sun, thus causing global warming. As Desonie explains, “fossils contain oil and coal, when they are burnt, they produce carbon dioxide and pollute the environment, thus leading to global warming” (128). However, research has shown that, instead of burning huge amounts of fossils, they should be buried underground to decompose and form fertilizer, which can then be used as manure. Furthermore, the human beings use a lot of energy to power, heat and cool their homes and industries, thus significantly contributing to global warming.
In my opinion, global warming problems are far from being over because of weak enforcement of environmental laws in various countries. First, there are numerous factories and industries in developing and developed countries, which emit colossal amounts of toxic gases into the air and do nothing to decrease the negative influences. Most of these industries are primarily concerned with economic growth and profitability, as opposed to safeguarding human life and the environment. Another challenge is poor disposal of garbage techniques. For instance, most of the waste from industries find their way into streams and rivers, thus making the water extremely toxic and unfit for human consumption. Besides, some companies burn large portion of the industrial chemicals into the air, thereby polluting the environment to highly hazardous levels.
Halder (45) singles out the increase in the earth’s population as the primary cause of global warming. According to the recent statistics released by the United Nations report on population in June 2013, China and Nigeria are the most populated countries in Asia and Africa respectively. Currently, the population of China stands at 1.4 trillion people and is estimated to hit the 2 trillion mark in 2050. Nigeria has a population of 170 million people and is expected to hit the 270 million mark in 2050 (Halder 60). Since the population exceeds the scarce resources, the two countries are experiencing the highest forms of global warming.
As a result of the increase in the number of people, it leads to an increase in human activities, such as consumption of food, and a high number of vehicles on the roads. As a result, many cars on the roads emit toxic gases into the air and pollute the environment. Therefore, countries with high population such as China and India experience a high degree of global warming because people exhale high levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus affecting the quantities of oxygen in the environment.
According to the World Health Organization’s report, China emits over 45 times gases into the air above the standard level. Houghton explains “in Jiangsu alone, there are over 11 million people, and nearly 90% of them rely on burning charcoal for home use” (290). This is as a result of a shortage of gas supplies that lead to emitting massive amounts of carbon monoxide in the air. On October 2013, China was listed as a country grappling with effects of land, water, and air pollution problems that need solutions. This is an excellent example that global warming results from man-made activities, which can otherwise be prevented through environmental degradation.
In the month of October, China was hit by “smog”, thus forcing many operations to be shut down including schools, businesses, and flights. This is because the airborne particles had surpassed the recommended level by the World Health Organization. This is an excellent example of global warming because the toxic particles in the air emanated from the industries, which emit high quantity of gases in the air. Most of the industries are congested in certain provinces, and lack regulation policies on pollution and environmental conservation. Further, the government issued a red alert in major provinces because the pollution had reached hazardous levels. The government also warned people to stay indoors as measures were put in place to address the problem of global warming. As a result, people going to work were forced to wear masks, while some highways were shut down. The Beijing smog led to various respiratory diseases, as people thronged hospitals in search for medication (Patience).
However, in an effort to manage pollution of its environments and reduce the effects of global warming, the Municipal Council of Beijing has put in place a four-year plan of 2013-2017. The plan is meant to reduce by half the number of registered cars on the roads by 2017. The new car quota will be reduced by 37.5% to pave the way for new energy vehicles, which will include plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles (Halder 48). I think this will significantly reduce the amounts of toxic gases in the air and address the issue of climate changes. The issue of population growth and global warming are similar in countries such as India, Nigeria, Russia, U.S and Japan among others.
Although, most countries around the world rely on agriculture for their economic development, the excessive use of chemical fertilizers in various modes of farming also results in global warming. Owing to the inventions in modern forms of farming, farmers have replaced animal manure with chemical fertilizers for high yield productions. This has led to the production of genetically modified foods (GMO’s) in large quantities, which have also been found to have harmful effects to people and the environment. Nonetheless, most of the fertilizers are rich in nitrogen, which affects the capacity of plants to trap heat and retain water (Maslin 115). Consequently, most of the nitrogen oxides are swept off to the oceans, and their acidity affects aquatic animals. This fact is supported by research, which demonstrates that nitrogen oxides have a higher heat trapping capacity, thus leading to global warming. Nitrates also become harmful to human health once they are swept off to the oceans and seas. As a result, natural waters become populated and de-oxygenated.
Natural Causes of Global Warming
In spite of the fundamental arguments raised in favor of global warming as a man-made activity, other scholars contend that global warming is a natural occurrence. According to Webb (216), global warming follows a cycle that happens as a result of climate change. For instance, volcanic eruptions and low solar activities may send toxic particles into the air, thus slowing down the levels of temperatures. Therefore, changes in the greenhouse effect, variations in the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth and changes in the reflectivity of the sun reaching the earth are all responsible for global warming (Webb 220). Furthermore, the author argues that natural cycles and events cannot efficiently measure the degree of global warming. Instead, the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air by human beings is the best way to quantify the levels of global warming.
Solutions to Global Warming
According to scientists, there is no single solution to global warming because of a variety of different causes. However, certain strategies can be employed to lower the amount of emission of carbon gases into the air at least by 80%. First, human beings should boost their energy efficiency by reducing the amount of heat used in heating homes, industries, and businesses. This calls for the use of energy efficiency technologies, which have the potential of saving on energy and money.
Another vital solution is phasing out fossil fuel electricity, which is responsible for over 80% of carbon in the atmosphere. Maslin (80) argues that the reduction in carbon intensive coal is vital in addressing the issue of climate changes. For instance, global warming can be tackled by shutting down of coal plants, and prohibiting the building of any new coal plants as a way of curbing carbon emission to the air. Furthermore, companies can use technology that helps in storing carbon emissions on the ground. Although, the technology is expensive, it is worth the investment.
Most importantly, people and industries can invest in low carbon and zero carbon technologies, which are critical in reducing global emissions. For instance, the recent research on battery technology and solar cells has shown that they are environmentally friendly. This is because the cell technology has the ability of harnessing algae and bacteria, which is found in other gases, thus significantly reducing carbon emissions.
Therefore, I believe that countries that experience high levels of global warming as a result of man-made activities should reconsider their policies on environmental protection. Countries like China, India and Nigeria, need to initiate stringent measures and implement penalties on industries without proper sewerage management systems. Furthermore, all industries need a vetting system and license to operate in conformity with the city bylaws. There should also be a regulation of the number of industries within a given province. This will ensure that some provinces are not overwhelmed by industries polluting the environment above the WHO standards.
Many countries in the world are grappling with the effects of global warming and addressing climate change. However, it is evident that natural causes of global warming account for only a fraction of the entire problems of climate change. Therefore, it is highly likely that human activities are largely responsible for global warming. Although the natural causes may be beyond human control, the good news is that human activities are controllable. Therefore, the effects of global warming and climatic changes can be drastically reduced.
- Casper, Julie. Changing Ecosystems: Effects of Global Warming. Boston: Pearson, 2010. Print.
- Desonie, Dana. Causes and Effects of Climate Change. Farmington Hills, Infobase Publishing, 2008. Print.
- Halder, Ishita. Global Warming: The Causes and Consequences. Cambridge, Mind melodies Press, 2008. Print.
- Houghton, Theodore. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.
- Maslin, Mark. Global Warming: Causes, Effects and the Future. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. Print.
- Patience, M. Beijing: When Growth Trumps Life in China. Web 11 Dec, 2013
- Webb, Sam. Global Warming has “paused” of Natural Causes and Will Continue to Rise. Web. Dec 3, 2013