The anthropogenic climate change which is what used to be known as "global warming" refers to the rise in average global temperatures. It is believed that anthropogenic climate change is caused by among other natural events and human actions. There are those human activities that have been known to contribute in a large extent to the increase in global temperatures and increase in the production of greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). When the planet is warmed, there is a change in the climate which affects the weather to a large extent. This is the reason why anthropogenic climate change (what is used to be known as "global warming") is a problem that needs immediate and/or long term attention.
McCarthy (2001) established that one of the main issues surrounding anthropogenic climate change is the problem of the greenhouse effect. The earth's weather and climate is driven by energy from the sun. This energy is then radiated back in to space by the earth. Some of this energy that is being radiated back by the sun is trapped by water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases. This heat is retained by the atmospheric pressure like glass panels. These atmospheric gases are greenhouse gases. As these gases in the atmosphere trap energy, the temperature in the earth rises in what has come to be known as the greenhouse effect (McCarthy, 2001).
The greenhouse effect is a natural process that helps to sustain life on the earth. If these greenhouse gases did not retain some of the heat, temperatures on earth would be unbearably cold. If the greenhouse effect increases, however, too much heat will be retained and the earth will become too hot for humans to inhabit it. The most significant of all the other greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide. Certain human activities have also contributed to the imbalance in the natural cycle that is the greenhouse effect.
Some human activities that affect the natural greenhouse effect cycle include the mining of coal and the extraction of oil from the crust of the earth. These fossil fuels are then burnt by humans and used in the transport industry for heating, in cooking, for the production of electric power and in the manufacturing industry. Humans end up moving the carbon dioxide much faster into the atmosphere at a rate that is higher than carbon dioxide is removed through a process known as sedimentation. This causes an increase in concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The other human activity that causes anthropogenic climate change is cutting down of trees. When humans clear forests, carbon dioxide is transferred from living biomass to the atmosphere. This is because when the wood is dry, it is in 50% made of carbon dioxide. These activities by humans have resulted in an increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than it has always been. It is necessary for the anthropogenic climate change to be dealt with urgently and also in the long run.
Although global warming is already happening, there has been an increase in the last couple of years, mainly due to the industrialization process by humans. John Cook, a science blogger, summarizes the whole global warming pandemic as having seven main indicators. The first indicator is the fact that less energy is being radiated by the earth into space. The second indicator that anthropogenic climate changes are taking place is the shrinking of the atmosphere. The rising of the tropopause is also a decent indication that the global warming is occurring. When the stratosphere cools, there is less oxygen in the air, there are more fossil fuels in the atmosphere, and more heat returns to the earth. Anthropogenic climate change is truly taking place.
Effects of Anthropogenic Climate Change
According to Cook (1986), humans have done quite little to remedy the anthropogenic climate change with climate scientists admitting that it is not easy for humans to keep the average global temperature at the temperature they are at currently. It is projected that some regions will get extremely low temperatures, while others will experience temperatures that are extremely high. Scientists have argued that unless something is done immediately, extreme weather patterns will be experienced. More hurricanes and droughts are expected to occur as a result of the global warming.
Scientists also project that longer spells of heat or extreme levels of rainfall are likely to occur if nothing else is done. Whether one experiences long spell of heat or heavy rainfall will depend on the part of the world where one comes from. A place like northern Europe has been projected as likely to experience the cold weather and where the anthropogenic climate change should continue. This will be as a result of the melting of the arctic sending fresher waters down south. The Gulf Stream that transmits warmth from the Gulf of Mexico would keep Britain warmer than it normally is (McCarthy, 2001).
According to scientific assessments by World Meteorological Organization, global temperatures are expected to continue rising, and extreme events are also expected to increase. The intensity of extreme events that occur across the globe rises each year. These projections are serious considering that they are coming from the United Nations Organization. One of the effects expected as a result of anthropogenic climate change is the occurrence of super storms. More hurricanes are expected to take place as a result of changes in climatic conditions. In the US alone, many lives have been lost and property damaged as a result of successive hurricanes (McCarthy, 2001).
According to the inter Press service, an average temperature in oceans of the world is almost 27 degrees Celsius and is sometimes even warmer in summer. Such high temperatures are likely to result in more water evaporating into the atmosphere which could lead to hurricanes or the formation of cyclones. The moment a hurricane has been born only requires warm water in order to gain strength and intensity. These greenhouse gases are continuing to trap more energy from the sun which eventually needs to be dissipated which may result in stronger storms and winds.
According to James McCarthy, a professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University, most of the events that have occurred in the recent past that have led to loss of lives has been as a result of changes in climatic conditions. Global warming has continued to rise while species' habitats have continued to decrease. As a result, the ability of various ecosystems to adapt has largely diminished. Animals have been increasingly extinct mainly as a result of the industrial revolution. Plant species have also been affected as a result of continued anthropogenic climate change.
Analysts have argued that the majority of deaths across the globe can be attributed to environmental issues. Population continues to rise; pollution has increased with the emergence of diseases that are environmentally related. There has been a layer in the ozone as a result of anthropogenic climate changes. The extinction of species will lead to serious environmental crises. Changes in the global climatic condition may result in the collapse of both biological and the ecological systems (Giaever, 2012).
When the ozone is destroyed, the UV radiation increases. This UV radiation combined with high temperatures in the ocean reduces the ability of the atmosphere to trap carbon dioxide accentuating the global warming process. The warming continues to a certain level after which enormous amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere leading to further destruction of the ozone. This vicious cycle leads to further global warming. According to Science, the scientific journal, the outbreak of diseases of pandemics has increased as a result of climate changes. These diseases have affected both inhabitants of the land and ocean.
The other effect of anthropogenic climate change is the rise in the sea level. Water is known to rise when heated, and global warming is expected to cause a further rise in the sea level. When the polar caps melt, sea levels are further expected to rise. According to the World Watch Institute reports, the ice cover of the planet earth has continued to melt at an alarming rate. Oceans have in the past been able to absorb the excess carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, as more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, oceans become acidified.
There are scientists who argue that the anthropogenic climate change (what used to be known as "global warming") is a problem that does not need immediate and/or long-term attention. This group of scientist argues that the problem of global warming is one that is complicated and cannot, therefore, be solved with an immediate action plan. They claim that global warming is a plot by a group of environmentalists seeking for publicity (de Freitas & Perry, 2012).
Authors of the book 'No Need to Worry about Global Warming' argue that there is not enough scientific evidence that would compel the world to urgently deal with the issue of anthropogenic climate change. Among those organizations that are sceptical about the global warming is the American Physical Society whose statement says "The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now."
The number of scientists who doubt the whole existence of the global warming has continued to increase. These scientists claim that even though there are many other scientists that doubt the existence of global warming, they are afraid to speak up because of fear of being victimized. A decent example of a scientist who believes that global warming does not exist is Dr. Chris de Freitas who in 2003 published a reviewed article. In the article, Dr. Chris argued that global warming is not an unusual occurrence (de Freitas & Perry, 2012).
These groups of scientists claim that the global warming is used by government agencies as a way to get funding for research. The alarmism legitimizes the tax raise by governments and allows their bureaucracy to grow. Big organizations also use global warming campaigns as a way of seeking more donations. They convince the donor community that funds will be used in saving the planet. They argue that those contending for public office need to be told that there is no need to decarbonize the world because there is no danger associated with the global warming.
They argue that public officials should instead focus on helping genuine scientists do more research and raise more awareness on other environmental issues. The more people know about the environment, they add, the easier it will be for them to deal with its everchanging state. They conclude that investments directed at mitigating the global warming are effected both by the government and private organizations need to be reviewed critically.
Response to Counter-Thesis
This cannot be further from the truth. This group of scientists who argue against finding immediate and long lasting solutions to problems of anthropogenic climate change fail to recognize that the planet operates like a living organism. A closer look at the crisis that people face today as a result of global warming should act as a warning that unless the action is taken, the crisis could get worse. The planet is getting warmer in certain sections and cooler in others. The anthropogenic climate change (what used to be known as "global warming") is a problem that needs an immediate and/or long term attention because effective measures are capable of reducing environmental effects that anthropogenic climate change may have on lives of humans (Giaever, 2012).
Issues of global warming are serious issues that relate to the sustainable supply of water for generations to come. Any amount that governments or private donors spend on ensuring that the environment is protected is well justified. If anything, more still needs to be done to protect the nature from further degradation.
Analysts warn that unless an immediate action is taken, the situation is likely to get worse. People cannot, however, wait for local authorities or the government to take action (Fannin, 2011). The choice to save the nature begins with everyone making a decision of saving the environment. People could start by simply planting trees which absorb carbon dioxide from the air and produce fresh oxygen in the environment. Trees are necessary to the environment. According to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, global warming is a serious issue that must be dealt with now (Giaever, 2012).