Global Warming: Causes and Mitigation
The drastic climatic change is among the greatest concerns for environmental institutions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Inter-Governmental Panels on Climate Change (IPCC) among others. According to their report in 2011, the average rise in the earth’s temperature amounts to 0.740 C. They further reveal the fact that currently, the earth’s atmosphere contains a high concentration of carbon dioxide that amounts to 385 parts per million (ppm). In their opinion, that is the highest concentration of carbon dioxide that scientists have seen within the last 650,000 decades, and hence leading to global warming. This discussion will compare and contrast the natural and anthropogenic climatic changes as well as provide evidence to support the position that global warming is taking place. The discussion will further assess two current mitigation strategies for global warming and speculate on the policy changes that a person can propose to help stabilize the situation.
Scientists have divergent opinions on the major causes of global warming. Consequently, that has led to the rise of two schools of thoughts concerning the topic of climate change. One school of thought argues that global warming occurs due to the release of anthropogenic gases while the other group of scientists says that climate alteration is a result of natural forces. Therefore, anthropogenic climate change denotes the alteration of the normal atmospheric temperature, due to various human activities that result in the emission of harmful gases while natural climate change occurs as a consequence of natural factors. Examples of anthropogenic causes include greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that are mostly by-products of industrial activities and motor vehicle emissions. Some of the natural factors that cause natural climate change include volcanic eruptions and solar events among others. The two also differ because it is possible to implement prevention policies to stop anthropogenic causes while natural factors are unavoidable. However, both natural and anthropogenic climate changes are similar in that they are the primary cause of global warming because they have an effect on the composition of gases in the atmosphere.
The effects of global warming are tangible evidence of the fact that global warming is already taking place in the human environment. A visible consequence of global warming is the low temperatures that have led to the melting of ice in the Arctic, which is a major threat to the lives of polar bears. In fact, a report by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that the population of polar bears might decrease by two-thirds by the year 2050 if global warming persists. Another fact that shows the occurrence of climate change is the worldwide decrease in the amounts of snow and ice that the scientists report. Scientists have also found that there is a general rise in the sea levels globally.
Environmentalists propose carbon sequestration as a strategy to reduce the level of global warming. This technique entails the natural and intentional removal of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere or releasing the gases from their sources of emission into the earth or ocean. The effectiveness of this policy is questionable because scientists state that even that natural carbon dioxide uptake mechanism in inadequate to control the high level of carbon dioxide emissions. Thus, the cost implication is that it will require the injection of large amounts of capital to come up with technologically advanced systems to supplements the natural system. This strategy would result in policy implication such as the need for stringent legal provisions that might discourage industrial investors. The second strategy is carbon taxing that entails the imposition of tax the fuels that release carbon upon combustion. The effectiveness of this method is visible in States that levy the tax because it deters most industries from emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide. Most countries that implement this strategy state that carbon taxation is one of the most cost-effective methods of mitigating the effects of global warming. The carbon tax would also result in policy implications that cause the increase in unemployment due to the high cost of production and reduced investors.
The policy changes I would propose include the reduction of the release of potentially harmful gases to nearly zero through the implementation of strict legal frameworks that require industries to purify their gaseous by-products. I would also propose a collaborative approach where environmentalists can use a combination of approaches to solving the issue. The business sectors that would be held to more strict standards include the petroleum, mining and energy industries. The policy would also affect some of the most industrialized nations such as Japan, the United States and China among others.
The above discussion has revealed that global warming is a major worldwide concern. It is a phenomenon that is currently taking place because its effects are visible in various parts of the world such the Arctic. Scientists categorize the cause of climate changes into anthropogenic and natural factors. While anthropogenic aspects are a result of human activities, the natural causes occur due to uncontrollable events of nature such as volcanic eruptions. Two of the strategies that environmentalists have proposed to mitigate the effects of global warming include carbon sequestration and taxation. The paper has shown that carbon sequestration seems ineffective and costly while carbon taxation is the most cost-effective and is likely to produce positive results.