Climate change is a phenomenon in which the earth witnesses large scale changes in the climate due to a combination of many factors. The result of climate change is attributable to global warming which is the increase in temperatures resulting from increased greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane gases. In essence, climate change is caused be either natural and /or human made factors. It is no doubt that climate change has adverse effects on large populations of people on earth that directly or indirectly depend on natural resources. Since time immemorial, the earth’s climate has been constantly changing. However, the recent changes in climate have increased debate as to the causes of the phenomenon. This essay focuses on the assertion that anthropogenic sources of climate change are to blame for the devastating effects of climate change.
The rate of global warming has increased due to human activities. The reason why earth is considered a habitable planet is because of the favorable temperatures (Desonie, pp 17). Mankind could not, for instance, survive on the moon even if there was air to breathe because of the extreme temperatures that characterize it. Opponents of climate change have argued that it is a natural phenomenon that has been ongoing for the longest time in history. In fact it is true that one of the causes of climate change is natural factors such as volcanic eruptions that release large quantities of carbon dioxide. While this is true, it is not true that humans are not increasing the rate at which the earth warms. In fact, it is only because of the human factors that climate change has become devastatingly high. Large volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are increasingly released into the atmosphere from industries.
Greenhouse gases are the leading causes of global warming and by extension climate change. It is true that greenhouse gases are necessary for life to occur and that without such gases as carbon dioxide, the balance of life would not exist. In fact, without greenhouse gases, the earth would be too cold to house human beings. People have always wondered why the same gases can then go on to cause devastating effects on earth. While in truth greenhouse gases are essential for life to exist on earth, they can only be useful if maintained in their natural levels. The presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is not a case to worry but their increased concentration is. According to Newman (pp 52) the continued release of carbon dioxide, methanol, sulphur dioxide and aerosols into the atmosphere has accelerated the process of global warming beyond the earth’s carrying capacity. As a result, these gases form a blanket over the earth’s atmosphere and lead to global warming.
Human activities have rapidly increased the levels of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and increased global warming. Although natural causes, as opponents of climate change would argue, also play a part in this increase, human causes are to blame for the continued increase. In fact, natural causes of greenhouse gases are adequately combated by nature through the many carbon sinks available. For example, high carbon dioxide releases from natural processes are compensated by the intake of the gas by plants and in the deep oceans. However, with deforestation and clearing of vegetation to pave way for constructions on the rise, the greenhouse gases released end up in the atmosphere where they increase the rate of global warming. Scientists who oppose the concept of human induced climate change have over time argued that these gases are ever released into the atmosphere and that they should not be a cause of alarm. However, the increased release of the gases and the clearing of carbon sink sites to pave way for development have accelerated the levels in the atmosphere.
Human induced climate change is to blame for the many devastating phenomena’s on earth. One of the main signs of climate change is in the melting of ice caps in the Polar Regions that is a threat to biodiversity on earth. The increasing temperatures have continually melted the ice caps leading to a rise in sea levels. This has in turn brought the submerging of arable lands and entire towns in sea water. Moreover, the climate change has also occasioned such instances as ocean acidification due to high evaporation rates on the oceans. In fact, since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the ocean waters have increased in acidity by 30% (Moran, pp 57). The amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed in the oceans from the atmosphere has also increased by approximately 2 billion tons annually. The amount of snow cover in areas that previously had snow is also decreasing at an alarming rate. If not addressed, climate change will have much devastating effects on future generations due to the current generation’s negligence.
It is quite clear that human activities are to blame for the increase in global temperatures that in turn manifest through climate change. Although natural causes contribute to release of greenhouse gases, it is the greenhouse gases from anthropogenic sources that are alarming. The beauty of the phenomena is that its impacts are not permanent and can be changed to revert to the normal climate of the earth. However, these will call for a change in human activities to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Ideally, humans have the power to combat climate change by acting in a more responsible manner.
Desonie, Dana. Climate: Causes and Effects of Climate Change. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.clarkson.edu/highschool/climate_ed/books_globa_warming.html
Moran, Alan J. Climate Change: The Facts. Melbourne, Vic: Institute of Public Affairs, 2010. Print.
Newman, Jonathan A. Climate Change Biology. Wallingford, Oxfordshire: CABI, 2011. Print.
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