Global Warming in Brief Account
The word ”Globe” means round mass or sphere which comes from the Latin word “globus”. It is a spherical body used to represent earth. Global warming, an extremely intense problem that humans face in the 21st Century, is a danger that threatens not only the lives of humans but also the quality of life of nature and animals. Global warming has become a common topic not only among environmentalists and conservationists but also between teachers and students. Nowadays, the environment is being threatened like it has never been before. Human activities are changing the world around us. Each and every day, people keep polluting the planet, cutting the trees, burning fossil fuels and warming the air and sea. Extreme floods, droughts and wildfires are increasingly common everywhere around the world and affect all continents and the oceans.
What is Global Warming?
The term “global warming” refers to the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system, as well as its consequences. It is measured by the increase in the Earth’s average global temperature. Many scientists believe that human actions are causing global warming. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, factories, power plants, and later automobiles have consumed fossil fuels like oil and coal, emitting massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other chemicals into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases act like a blanket, trapping heat near the earth and making it warmer and warmer.
What is the Greenhouse Effect?
The greenhouse effect begins with the sun and the energy it radiates to the earth. Our local weather and global climate are increasingly agitated, heated, and “boiled”_ a naturally occurring phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect_ with each increase in carbon, methane, or other greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. Some areas of the Earth may become colder as the present average global temperature rises, while others may become warmer—hence the concept of average global temperature. Scientists now believe that the greenhouse effect is being exacerbated by the additional greenhouse gases that humans have released.
The Effects of Global Warming and its Consequences
According to NASA studies, Arctic sea ice is also shrinking. The amount of Arctic sea ice has decreased by around 10% in the last 20 years, and the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will continue to rise as long as developed nations consume energy and developing countries consume fossil fuels. Temperatures are expected to rise by two to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, according to scientists. Some climate models forecast subtle changes. According to some other forecasts, rising sea levels could flood coastal areas all across the world. Hurricanes may become more common as weather patterns change. Droughts could become more frequent in warm climates, putting animals that can’t adapt to the new conditions at risk of extinction. To lessen the effects of global warming, many organizations propose reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers may help by saving energy in their homes, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and turning off lights when not in use.
Extreme Weather Events in the Past 20 Years
1. Hurricane Zeta in 2020 (Oct - Nov)
Hurricane Zeta was a Category 3 hurricane that hit the Yucatán Peninsula and the Southeastern Louisiana in October 2020, killing at least 9 people and causing $4.4 billion in damage (2020 USD). It flooded highways and wrecked several structures in Louisiana before being downgraded to a tropical storm. More than 3,000 people were kept in shelters during and after the storm, and about two million people had been left without electricity by the storm. The winds caused the majority of Zeta’s damage, which peeled shingles from roofs and then damaged the roof panels. As a result, rain triggered further “top down” water damage, resulting in significantly greater repair expenses covered by homes and commercial insurance.
2. Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (Aug)
Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane that hit Texas and Louisiana in August 2017, inflicting catastrophic floods and killing over 100 people. It is tied with Hurricane Katrina from 2005 as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, causing $125 billion in damage (2017 USD), mostly due to catastrophic rainfall-induced flooding in the Houston metropolitan area and Southeast Texas. People were being forced to flee their homes, states of emergency had been declared, dams had been burst, and streets had become flooded. More than 30,000 individuals were made homeless, while tens of thousands of others who were able to stay in their houses were left without power. Unprecedented storms wreaked havoc on the economy, costing billions of dollars. Houston is the epicenter of a number of industries, the most important of which being energy. The region is home to about half of the US refining capacity and a fifth of the country’s oil production, contributing 2.9 percent to the US economy.
3. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (Aug)
Hurricane Katrina was a large and deadly Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that hit New Orleans and the surrounding areas in late August 2005, killing over 1,800 people and causing $125 billion in damage. It was the costliest tropical cyclone on record at the time, and it was tied with Hurricane Harvey from 2017. The storm was the twelfth tropical cyclone, fifth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, and the fourth-most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever to make landfall in the contiguous United States. The floods also devastated most of New Orleans’ transportation and communication infrastructure, leaving tens of thousands of people trapped without food, shelter, or other basic requirements.
Over 200 countries gathered in Glasgow, Scotland last November for the 26th Conference of the Parties, often known as COP 26, to discuss and take prompt action on climate change. Global greenhouse gas emissions are still far from the levels required to minimize global warming and maintain a livable environment. Support for the most disadvantaged countries affected by global warming is still woefully inadequate. However, COP26 did produce new “building blocks” for advancing the Paris Agreement’s implementation through initiatives that can move the world toward a more sustainable, low-carbon future.
Governments and Activists in Global Warming
Global climate changes and its drastic consequences have long been focused by the international governments for quite some decades already. Turning into the new year of 2022, speculations however have risen on whether the governments have actually been responsible in carrying out the respective promises, duties and other obligations to agreements and other environmental preservation initiatives. The rise of climate activists as well as the ease of access of platforms to voice opinions and points of views have accelerated the attention of the wide public on several topics and climate change has been a solid attention attraction.
When climate change or global warming is discussed, it is inevitable not to include the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement where nations around the world signed and pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to set up national policies to preserve and protect different assets to decrease carbon emissions and support natural endeavors. However results – wise, the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere have increased gradually over the years as well as different sources of scientists, studies or relevant departmental studies have pointed out possible scenarios of climate change from the rise of sea – level to droughts and natural habitat loss for different species.
From a more conservative side, the governments actually did have some motives and initiatives related to climate change and global warming. One of the significant remarks is the Montreal Protocol in 1987 which was a fine historical accord that became a platform for the global nations to discuss further about climate change through diplomatic ties and regional concerns. The protocol actually met its targets and objectives; one of which was to successfully disengage chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from the ozone layer; paving the way for the next phase of nations to agree the reduction of production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by the Kigali Agreement in 2016.
UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) would be another international agreement where the nations are to address climate change related issues yearly through a constructed platform known as the Conference of Parties (COP); the most recent one was commenced in November, 2021 – the COP26. Deriving from this, the countries around the world are supposedly aligned to assess their progress, updates and other relevant climate change and global warming research once every 5 years; with the first time to commence in 2023. One of the argued topics however is the lack of enforcing mechanisms that will allow or require the nations to work on but rather a plea to setting own targets and objectives.
Climate activists have started to gain spotlight in terms of recognition and audience for their works on raising awareness on global warming and other related issues – with some doing this as a full – time professional with relevant experience with coordinated NGOs to support or lead various kinds of small scale projects to big projects. However, one key argument that may persist is the argument of liability itself where the activists may not be as proficient as an expert or a policy maker who is more in touch with key aspects of changes and challenges that may seem invisible to the public naked eye.
The blurred identity of a climate activist is also in its sense, one of the arguments that are made by the experts and general public. Without a proper understanding or recognition of a relevant association or an entity, anyone could be a climate activist be it an expert or not to climate related issues. The expression of facts and weaknesses in government led climate change projects are easier than actually finding solutions and recommendations to address these problems effectively. As such, extreme measures may be made by activists in gathering protests which may be of nuisance and impacting the public by blocking the roads, causing disruptions on highways and occupying different populated areas in public for overly due time.
However, this is not to define the activists around the world as a whole as being ineffective and irrelevant but rather the exact opposite. It’s more of a filter between an activist who knows what it’s about with an activist who knows what she/he wants to be. The modern society’s dependence on social media and other online platforms have paved the way for the likes of Greta Thunberg to gain popularity and recognition for her straightforward and rather blunt form of activism in voicing out the importance of climate change and its drastic consequences. This is a clear example of how a channel could be used well and appropriately to voice the case of an issue although Greta might have curated protests as well.
Looking ahead, the argument and the discussion of the relevancy and the importance of climate change and global warming will always be one of the international agenda. The key stakeholders of these topics however, be it the general public, activists and the governments could continue to debate and disagree on variety of frontiers but one thing’s for sure, the climate change is real, the consequences are thoroughly researched and stated and while the public holds the responsibility to be aware and alert, the activists to channel an appropriate platform of voices, the governments hold the highest degree of obligation and legal responsibility to do so.