Introduction : The Causes and Harmful Effects of Global Warming
The planet we inhabit, our Earth has faced numerous environmental hazards during its lifetime of nearly 4.5 billion years. But the most lethal threat that it has faced in the last 200,000 years since humans set foot on this planet has been global warming.
In the last 100 years since 1880, our world has witnessed massive amounts of climate change the starkest of which has been the rise of global temperature by 1.4F or o.8ºC, much of which has been attributed to rising levels of pollution and greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.
What is Global Warming ?
To answer this question we must first seek the answer to another pertinent question-what is climate change? Our climate is the general change of seasons and weather conditions that have been observed in an area for a significant period of time. And in recent years due to the increased amounts of Carbon Dioxide, Methane and other such greenhouse gases, we have noticed drastic climate change effects.
Along with that, the pollution from the indiscriminate use of fossil fuels and a general apathy towards the environment has caused our layer of ozone gas to be depleted. The combined effects of both of these have resulted in increased temperatures across the globe and melting of polar ice caps and rising sea levels across the world. This is what is known as global warming.
What are the Main Causes of Global Warming
Even though technology has progressed rapidly in the past century since the industrial revolution struck the first world countries, it has come at a great cost to the environments. While there are quite a few causes of global warming there are a few main contributors like greenhouse gases, fossil fuels and increasing amount of air pollution and the number of vehicles on roads worldwide.
(1) The Greenhouse Effect
The greenhouse gases that we talked about earlier, when they accumulate in the earth’s atmosphere causes a layer of reflective gaseous clouds to form which doesn’t let the sun rays escape and instead reflects the radiation back towards the earth surface increasing the overall temperature of the planet.
(2) Air Pollution Causing Ozone Depletion
The presence of Chlorofluorocarbons or CFC as they are commonly known has caused irreparable damage to the ozone layer of the Earth. As a result, we now have more harmful radiation, as well as sunlight, enter the earth’s atmosphere and that coupled with the greenhouse effect is one of the main reasons behind global warming.
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(3) Usage of Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels that are used in a large portion of vehicles of today are one of the main causes of global warming. Not only that, fossil fuels are also one of the primary sources of energy across the world and the increasing emission rates are one of the primary causes behind abnormally high CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Effects of Global Warming
One of the main effects of this widespread climate change is the increasing sea levels across the world. In the past couple of decades, the polar ice caps have been melting at an alarming level and thus increasing the sea level. This is especially a threat to low lying cities and in places like Venice where the city is built on the waterfront, there is an acute danger of the entire city being submerged.
Along with that, drastic climate change affects weather cycles across the globe and is one of the primary reasons behind the latest spate of environmental disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, Tsunamis and earthquakes.
The climate change effects that are prevalent in our age can be blamed squarely on humans and their insatiable greed. The time has well past for environmental friendliness, all we can hope to do right now is minimize the damages so that the future generations have a better place to live in.
Global Warming and its disastrous effects can be summarised by this one quote from senior US Senator Dianne Feinstein
Global warming is real. It is happening today. It is being charted by our satellites. It is being charted by our scientists. It is being charted by those of us in this body, and I think the real key is if we are ready to admit that fact and take the action to make the necessary conversion.