Discussion on Global Warming
An environmental hazard, global warming has been causing great anxiety to mankind because the blanket of --greenhouse gases is becoming thicker due to the assimilation of carbon dioxide and other noxious gases in the atmosphere. Due to a rise in the global temperature, the Earth's surface is becoming warmer. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain ushered in rapid industrialization that greatly increased man's assault on ecology. In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first observed the fact that the increasing amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by coal- fired industries was set to cause global warming. However, the first credible projections about how much greenhouse warming might occur came in the mid-sixties when scientists at Princeton University estimated that the average global temperature would increase by 2°C in the 21st century if the carbon dioxide level doubled.
In 1988, with the danger of global warming getting-threatening, a panel was set up by the UN General Assembly named the Inter- Governmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) to advise world leaders on global warming. In June 1977, the Panel reported, "The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate." Scientists are concerned that if there is an increase in these gases, particularly carbon dioxide, Earth's atmosphere can warm up to a dangerous degree as more heat is trapped on the Earth's surface.
In 1992, predictions about global warming led the United States and over 160 countries to sign the first binding agreement dealing directly with climate changes. The UN Framework Convention Signatory governments agreed to voluntarily reduce greenhouse emissions to the 1990 level by the year 2000.
In December 1997, government representatives signed a Global Climate-change Treaty in Kyoto, Japan, to reverse the rise in greenhouse emissions from human activities to eventually check the increase in temperature.
Reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would not only mean burning less fossil fuel, but also curbing deforestation, a process which adds to excess carbon dioxide by destroying trees that absorb the gas. Carbon dioxide is also released when wood is burned. According to some, however, such steps threaten to undermine economic growth and even destroy entire industries, if undertaken too quickly. Moreover, planting rice emits methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases. Raising cattle is also one of the causes of global warming.
The USA and China are two major countries contributing to global warming, The United States is 85 percent dependent on fossil fuel that is used for manufacturing. And China will equal the world's emissions in the next 20 years. India is among one of the top five countries contributing to the greenhouse effect and the government is already adopting stricter policies to curb carbon dioxide emissions with the help of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). However, the effort is only in bits and pieces as more than 90 percent of the population is not aware of global warming, Although afforestation projects by the government are an effort in the right direction, there is a lot left to be desired.
Some scientists have I proposed cheaper strategies to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, such as iron seeding in the key ocean regions. They believe that microscopic plants in the ocean called phytoplankton currently absorb over 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by burning of fossil fuels. With steps like this, some scientists opine that the Earth's ozone layer will be on its way to recovery and the atmospheric concentration of ozone depending substances, chlorine in particular, could return to close to normal levels in the near future.
There is evidence of an average global warming of half-degree Celsius over the last century with maximum intensity in the tropics, a sea-level rise of one to 25 centimeters and droughts and floods attributed to a persistent warm phase of the EI Nino Southern Oscillation. Forecasts includes two-degree Celsius mean global temperature escalation in this century, a half-metre average sea- level rise, pole-ward migration of crop species, slow forest regeneration and adverse impact on human health.