Since the middle of the twentieth century, the earth and surface waters have been getting increasingly warmer. As a result of this human-induced phenomenon, glaciers are melting, the sea levels are rising and the natural disasters become more unpredictable. Some climatologists still doubt whether a several degree temperature change is a significant deviation from the natural warming – cooling trend. Indeed, the climate change so far isn’t rapid. However, the scientists predict that in the future the human-induced damage to ecosystems can dramatically increase and it may cause severe problems for the planet and its inhabitants. The fact that the warming increased during the previous century makes scientists believe that global warming is a consequence of activities in which humans are involved, in particular burning fossil fuels and massive deforestation; to prevent the far-reaching consequences of global warming, the world’s governments should develop strategies to effectively respond to the global warming threats.
One of the central questions of scientific global warming debate is whether global warming is occurring. Indeed, natural, not human-induced warming trend can take place due to the changing relationships between the Earth’s rotation, axis, position and volcanic eruptions. However, these gradual changes allow most species survive through the mechanisms of adaptation or even evolution. On the other hand, the unnatural rates of temperature changes taking place within a couple of previous decades were caused by human activities which impose a serious threat to the planet’s ecosystems and the critical habitats of its species. Most specialists agree that the major cause behind the latest climate change is activities, involving humans, such as deforestation, pollution and massive burning of fossil fuels (Casper, 2010, p. 15) The resulting accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases in the layers of atmosphere directly influences the way solar radiation heats the Earth’s surface, the so-called greenhouse effect. Thus, the historical observations of the climate change and the current trends clearly indicate the significance of the problem of global warming with its severe consequences.
Even though global warming is one of the most controversial issues faced by humanity, there’s no doubt that its permanent negative effects can change all ecosystems and life on the planet. Whereas a few degree temperature changes may seem insignificant, most scientists agree that this process involves serious and far-reaching consequences. The historical evidence indicates an increase of 0.3 – 0.5⁰ C within the previous century. Even though this increase is almost unnoticeable for the quality of life, it may have drastic effects on the planet. The examples of already observed consequences include thawing of permafrost, earlier breakup of ice on rivers, earlier flowering of trees and earlier laying of eggs by birds. All those shifts cause changes in physical and biological systems, which in their turn affect more and more dimensions. The consolidated data collected by 2,500 climate experts has shown that the observed physical and biological responses are the greatest in the places where the temperatures were the highest. Therefore, there’s a direct relationship between the temperature deviation and the changes taking place in the systems. Importantly, a climate model projections predict a further temperature increase of up to 6⁰ C till the end of the 21st century (Haldar, 2011, p. 59), unless effective measure are taken to prevent the global climate change with its consequences.
Whereas there’s a variety of possible remedies currently offered by experts, the question concerning the timing and urgency of their implementation remains open. Even though the effects of global warming differ in different regions so far, all places will be affected in the end. Thus, the United States and other developed countries are the main contributors of greenhouse gases. However, developing countries suffer the most from the global warming effects. One of the main problems with most policy proposals aimed at reducing the greenhouse effects is their costs. The economical side of the issue makes most decision makers confront a basic question of how quickly the global warming process proceeds (Dornbusch & Poterba, 2002, p. 32). The answer to this question is important for planning further preventative measures. At the moment, there’s no single answer whether the emission-reduction programs should be implemented by individual governments or by united global governments. Another important question is whether all emission producing activities should be banned or only major contributors of greenhouse gases. The main hurdle for the implementation of the anti-global warming initiatives is the different views on the timing and extent of the global warming effects. Therefore, further research and scientific predictions of the following global warming consequences are necessary for more careful planning and putting in practice green technologies and launching educational programs aimed at increasing the awareness of the existing problem on different levels.
Generally, regardless the different opinions and research data concerning the extent of the current and future global warming impact on different areas and ecosystems, most climate experts agree that the unnatural climate change is occurring and timely measures are necessary to prevent its far-reaching consequences on local and global levels. Even though most eco-friendly initiatives are costly, the governments should accept their global responsibilities, exploring and implementing the strategies or reducing the global threats.
Casper, K. (2010). Changing ecosystems: Effects of global warming. Facts on File Inc.: New York: NY.
Dornbusch, R.& Poterba, J. (2002). Global warming: Economic policy responses. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Boston, MA.
Haldar, I. (2011). Global warming: The causes and consequences. Readworthy Publications: New Delhi.