Global warming refers to the rise in earth’s atmospheric temperature. This change has greatly been attributed to human activities in the past centuries and in the present. Emergence of industries and various agricultural techniques have led to increase in environmental temperature. This is due to emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere. Global warming has varied effects to both living and nonliving organisms. One of the most affected areas is marine life. As a result countries have come together in searching for methods to combat further emission of these gases.
Living and nonliving organisms that are affected by global warming
As temperature increase, the upper layer of water becomes lighter and detaches from the lower layer that is rich in nutrients. This leads to reduction of the nutrients thus affecting the marine life that depend entirely on these nutrients for food. There are two physical effects global warming on marine life. These are; change in ordinary habitat and food supply and change in ocean acidification. Phytoplankton and algae thrive at the ocean’s surface and process their food through photosynthesis. They are known to do well in cool climates. As global warming rises the water temperature, the plants decreases. It has also altered the growth cycle of these plants leading to alteration of the food chain for marine life. Animals that depend on these plants for food are now faced with food deficiency. Global warming has also led to most organisms migrating to areas where there is favorable climate for their survival. Species that tolerate heat such as shrimps have been seen to migrate northwards while clams and flounders which do not thrive in hot areas moves from north. This has lead to the mixture of varied organisms within the marine life, consequently, altering the predatory behavior. Some organisms have also died due to incapability of surviving in their new environment.
As level of carbon dioxide increase within the oceans, ocean acidity increases. This prevents aquatic plants from absorbing the greenhouse gases. Acidity has affected corals and shellfish and is now facing extinction. Increase in ocean temperature has also led to coral bleaching. Subsequently, there have been declines in the amount of food for marine life leading to death and migration of most of the marine organisms (Lindell, 2008, Par.7-9).
Global warming has led to air pollution. This has been accompanied by an increase in disease prevalence leading to human suffering and death. There has been an increase in the atmospheric temperature. People especially the old have not been able to cope with this temperature leading to most of them being hospitalized while others yield to the temperature. Global warming has led to change in global climate. Some places have been struck by heavy storms and rainfall leading to floods. This has resulted in people losing their life and a lot of property being destroyed. Alteration of climate in most regions has resulted in reduction of food production in these regions. Consequently, many people have suffered from starvation and malnutrition leading to death and hospitalization.
Action plans aimed at mitigating global warming
Due to adverse effects of global warming, most states have come up with action plans aimed at mitigating and controlling effects of global warming. However, most of the world leaders have been reluctant in supporting the implementation of these plans. Other challenges faced include controlling the rate of greenhouse gas emission and encouraging developing countries embrace technologies that are environmental friendly. Some of these plans include United Nation Framework Conventional on climate Change, The Kyoto Protocol, Bali Action Plan, The G8 Climate Dialogue, The Major Economies meetings and The Asia-Pacific Partnership. United Nations Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC), long term objective was to minimize the level of greenhouse gas emission to a level that would not be detrimental to environment. Bearing in mind that the largest amount of emission originated from developed countries, the convention emphasizes on need for equality on issues to do with development and ensuring that countries adopt technologies that are environmental friendly. Each of the participating countries is encouraged on need to be considerate of other countries’ needs that are greatly affected by global warming. The convention came up with a framework to be used in addressing various issues. To achieve its goals, the convention set some objectives that included acknowledging that global warming posed a great threat to the world (Shah, 2004, Par. 4-9). It aimed at achieving a level of greenhouse gas emission that would have no adverse effect on global environment. The convention also agreed on conducting thorough researches to identify the changing trends of climate. The following table gives an outline of the steps that were resolved.
|Event||Date and place||Achievements|
|Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).||1990||Countries greatly agreed that human activities were the major contributors of global warming.|
|United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change||Held in 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.|| |
|IPCC second meeting||1955|| |
|Conference of Parties (COP)||1995, Berlin, Germany|| |
|Agreed cit on green house gas emission||2008-2012||In this period the nations seek to achieve the target limit of green house gas emission.|
Steps towards Action on Climate Change, Source
Realizing that strict measures needed to be taken, member countries formulated the Kyoto protocol in 1997. This set the target level of greenhouse gas emission at 5.2%. This limit was aimed to be achieved by the year 2012. In 2005, the protocol became implemented. Most of the developed countries are today coming up with strategies that would help them meet the set limit in the first phase of its implementation. Some of the developing countries have allowed developed countries fund projects aimed at reducing the effects of global warming in their countries by selling emission reduction credits to them. Another action plan that was adopted by these countries is the Bali Action Plan. A conference was held at Bali, Indonesia (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2009, Par. 2-4). The conference instituted official consultations on new worldwide global warming consensus and set a strict deadline for its compliance to December 2009. In this action plan, developing nations showed their interest in addressing their emission issues without having to involve the developed nations. They agreed that International cooperation to support urgent implementation of adaptation actions, including through susceptibility assessments, prioritization of actions, financial requirements assessments, educating stakeholders coming up with response strategies. Integration of Adaptation actions into sectoral and national planning, specific projects and Programs and reduce vulnerability of all Parties, taking into account the urgent and immediate needs of developing Countries.
Other initiatives to reduce global warming include the G8 Climate Dialogue. This was held in 2008 in Hokkaido Japan. Its major discussions focused on some of the declarations set during the Bali conference. Some of the resolutions arrived at in this meeting included establishment of fund to help developing countries come up with technologies that are environmentally friendly. The G8 nations agreed on dedicating most of their yearly meeting discussions to climate changes. Their main target is reducing the amount of greenhouse gases by 50% by 2050.
President George W. Bush started series of Major Economic Meetings that discussed on climate changes and energy security in 2007. Main objective of these meeting was to help developed nations come up with an agreement on actions to take in attempting to reduce their rates of emitting greenhouse gases. Every member state agreed to abide by the rules established within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developing countries are also taking initiatives to reduce level of greenhouse gas emission. For instance, policies that have been put in place in countries such as China and Brazil, if well implemented will reduce the level of greenhouse gas emission by 6%. Some of these policies include reducing emission emanating from deforestation and degradation. In most of the developing countries, deforestation acts as the major source of greenhouse gas. Some of the developing countries have taken steps in reducing the rate of cutting down trees within their countries. They are also looking for alternative sources of energy for their industries. For instance China has come up with a law that is aimed at ensuring that 15% of its energy comes from renewable sources (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2009, Par. 5-7).
Positive and negative human impacts
Various human activities have impacted positively in controlling global warming. Man has continually recycled some of the waste products such as polythene bags. Most of these products are manufactured with materials that contain carbon and on decaying they emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. They have also adopted some sources of energy that do not emit greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Use of solar and wind energy in place of fossil fuel has drastically reduced level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Trees consume most of the carbon dioxide within the atmosphere during their manufacture of food. Afforestation and reforestation has helped in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere.
However, there are various human activities that negatively on global warming. Whenever humans uses fossil fuel, carbon dioxide gas is emitted to the atmosphere. Currently man is using fossil fuel as his main source of energy; the gas is greatly being emitted to the air. Increased use of fossil fuel has lead to the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide also occurs whenever human being burn stuffs such as coal, car combustion and airplane ignition. As human being converts most of the areas initially covered with forests and grass into farmlands and towns, a lot of carbon dioxide is being released into the environment. All living things have carbon as one of their constituents. As the fallen trees and grass die and decompose they release carbon dioxide gas back to the environment. If these activities are not stopped with immediate effect, it would be hard to contain the situation in future (A cooler climate.com Par. 2&3). Some of the farming techniques have allowed farmers to use various machines as well as chemical fertilizers in improving their farming. One of the fertilizers that are widely used is the nitrogen fertilizer. The fertilizer increases the amount of nitrogen on the earth surface leading to an increase in crop yield. However, it is leading to emission of Nitrogen oxide into the environment that is capable of ensnaring heat three hundred times more than carbon dioxide. According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, modern farming is leading to an increase in global warming more than the transportation industry does (A cooler climate.com Par. 4-6).
With most developed and developing countries endeavoring to ensure that they have mitigated effects of global warming, they are faced with various problems. Some of these problems are lack of support from the world leaders. For instance, the United States have failed to honor some of the action plans set during their meetings on global warming. To curb this, it requires all the stakeholders to put concerted efforts towards the set rules. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all set rules are obeyed. The society needs to understand the threats posed by global warming hence strive to ensure that they always abide by the set rules and regulations.
A cooler climate.com. (2009). Causes of Global Warming: What are the Major Ones? Web.
Lindell, N. (2008). A Discordant Sea: Global Warming and its Effect on Marine Populations. Web.
Shah, A. (2004). UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Web.
The Pew Charitable Trusts. (2009). International Policy Initiatives to Address Global Warming. Web.