Global warming: causes and mitigation
It is important to appreciate the fact that climate change can be defined as a change in the global climate patterns with particular focus from mid to late 20th century and beyond. This trend is attributed to an increased carbon dioxide emissions resulting from an increase in the use of fossil fuels. Climate change has been seen as a global threat to the existence of animal life on the surface of the earth. Currently, there has been a significant increase in the number of campaigns that have been launched not only to sensitize on climate change but also to find amicable solutions that can be used to do away with this dangerous trend of carbon dioxide emissions.
Climate change can be categorized into two sections: natural climate change and anthropogenic climate change. Natural climate change is that which is not influenced by man’s activities on the surface of the earth but depends on various environmental factors such as revolution of the earth around the sun as well as rotation. On the other hand, anthropogenic climate change is that which is caused by some human activities on the surface of the earth (Schneider, Rosencranz & Niles, 2012). The most common similarity between natural and anthropogenic climate change is that both lead to rapid global warming. On the other hand, the difference that exists between the two is based on the fact it is quite difficult to control natural climate change while anthropogenic climate change can be monitored. Examples of natural climate change include that brought about by the Earth’s atmosphere such as the El Nino which depends on winds and ocean currents and 100,000 years of cycles of ice ages brought about by tilting of the Earth’s axis as well as the shape of its orbit. Examples of anthropogenic climate changes are irregular patterns of drought and rainfall and extreme temperatures witnessed in some regions.
There has been a lot of controversy as to whether global warming is taking place (Woodard, 2007). On the other hand, various efforts have been put forth to support claims that global warming is happening and is something that cannot be ignored. Some of the most common evidence that has been put forth to support claims of global warming are sea surface temperature, glaciers, northern hemisphere snow cover and the sea level. When it comes to the sea surface temperature, the last decade is considered one of the warmest in history. Glaciers are the other piece of evidence to support global warming. 2009 is seen as a very crucial year where a lot of ice was lost in the form of glaciers. As much as this trend is irregular, it is a clear indication that global warming is something that cannot be ignored whatsoever. The snow cover in the northern hemisphere has also witnessed a sharp decline in the recent decades which gives a clear indication of global warming.
The last piece of evidence that supports this claim is the seal level. Tide gauge records can be traced back to 1870. A comparison with the current state of affairs indicates that the sea level has risen at a very steady rate. All these pieces of evidence are a clear indication that global warming real and currently happening (Ollhoff, 2010). Some mitigation strategies have been put forth to help curb global warming. The first strategy, in this case, is carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration involves an intake and storage of carbon. Trees have become the core factor towards the success of this process since they absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon during growth. As much as this is a highly effective strategy because it is a natural process, it has received a big blow from the massive deforestation processes allowed on the earth’s surface. To get back on track with carbon sequestration, it is important that some policies about forests be reviewed regardless of the consequences that are likely to be realized from such legislative reports (Schneider, Rosencranz & Niles, 2012).
When it comes to cost, carbon sequestration is likely to draw a lot of expenditure since stakeholders have to be aggressive enough to plant more trees in bare and unused land and also ensure that trees that are cut down are replaced immediately as a means of maintaining the cycle. This process may require a lot of resources considering the current state of affairs where trees are being brought down to pave the way for other activities. The second mitigation strategy is carbon taxing. This is a tax imposed based on the manner in which carbon is emitted, the quantity of emissions as well as the frequency of emissions. Many private entities have argued that carbon tax has never been the best mitigation strategy because it has some loopholes that cannot just be ignored.
One may argue that emissions from a factory that can easily afford to pay taxes would only mean more emissions (Benoit, 2011). On the other hand, there have been arguments to counter this claim with the majority of the idea that when more tax is imposed, companies that are involved in emissions will look for alternative sources of energy or work on minimizing their emissions. This is a very costly operation since it involves different stakeholders and implementing it will mean catering for some variables such as legal fees. Some of the policy changes that I would suggest would revolve around the primary causes where stringent measures would be put for those in violation of the minimum standards put in place.
- Benoit, P. (2011). Climate change. New York: Children’s Press.
- Ollhoff, J. (2010). Climate change. Edina, Minn.: ABDO Pub. Co.
- Schneider, S., Rosencranz, A., & Niles, J. (2012). Climate change policy. Washington, DC: Island Press.
- Woodard, C. (2007). Curbing climate change. [Washington, D.C.]: CQ Press.
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