Climate Change: An Issue of Common Danger

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GlobeMd. Abdul  Jalil: The earth, abode of human beings and all living beings is warming rapidly. The rising surface temperatures on Earth is termed as Climate change, also called global warming.

One of the biggest issues facing us right now is global warming. Its effects on animals and on agriculture are indeed frightening, and the effects on the human population are even scarier. The facts about global warming are often debated in politics and the media, but, unfortunately, even if we disagree about the causes, global warming effects are real, global, and measurable. The causes are mainly from us, and the effects on us irrespective to poor or reach, student or teachers, men or women, believes or nonbelievers, black or white, Asian or European, African or American will be severe.

An overwhelming scientific consensus maintains that climate change is due primarily to the human use of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. The gases trap heat within the atmosphere, which can have a range of effects on ecosystems, including rising sea levels, severe weather events, and droughts that render landscapes more susceptible to wildfires. In the following verse of the holy Quran blames human beings for all the disorders appeared in the land and seas.  It is stated in the holy Quran-  

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ﴿٤١﴾

30/Ar-Rum-41: Zaahaaral faseadu feel barri val baahri bimea kasabat aydin neasi, li yuzeekaahum baa’daallazee aamiloo laaallahum yarcioon(yarcioona).

‘’ Corruption and disorder have appeared on land and the sea because of what the hands of people have( done and ) earned( of evil deeds). Thus He causes them to taste the consequence of some of what they have done, so that they may (take heed, repent and reform, and so) return( to the right way). – Ar-Rum-41 

There is broad-based agreement within the scientific community that climate change is real. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concur that climate change is indeed occurring and is almost certainly due to human activity.

The primary cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, which emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—primarily carbon dioxide. Other human activities, such as agriculture and deforestation, also contribute to the proliferation of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Even small increases in Earth’s temperature caused by climate change can have severe effects. The earth’s average temperature has gone up 1.4° F over the past century and is expected to rise as much as 11.5° F over the next. That might not seem like a lot, but the average temperature during the last Ice Age was about 4º F lower than it is today.

Rising sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps (again, caused by climate change) contribute to greater storm damage; warming ocean temperatures are associated with stronger and more frequent storms; additional rainfall, particularly during severe weather events, leads to flooding and other damage; an increase in the incidence and severity of wildfires threatens habitats, homes, and lives; and heat waves contribute to human deaths and other consequences.

Causes of Global Warming

Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing it to warm. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect and is natural and necessary to support life on Earth. However, the buildup of greenhouse gases can change Earth’s climate and result in dangerous effects to human health and welfare and to ecosystems. The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come. 

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants

CO2 emissionOur ever increasing addiction to electricity from coal burning power plants releases enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 40% of U.S. CO2 emissions come from electricity production, and burning coal accounts for 93% of emissions from the electric utility industry. Every day, more electric gadgets flood the market, and without widespread alternative energy sources, we are highly dependent on burning coal for our personal and commercial electrical supply.

In this regard, Rampal power project, a Bangladesh-India joint venture in Bagerhat district, under southern Khulna Division in Bangladesh, has been in the midst of controversies for its possible negative impacts on the already fragile ecosystem of the Sundarbans. Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League (AL) government believes that the 1320 MW capacity power plant is essential to meet the country’s ever-growing demand for electricity.

Bangladesh’s environment groups say the coal-fired Rampal power project could threaten the delicate ecosystem of the Sundarbans, which is just 14 kms away from the plant. Part of the Sundarbans is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a number of international bodies have expressed reservations over the Rampal thermal power plant. The entire electricity generation process will be based on coal imported from countries like Indonesia and Australia. The plant, comprising two units of 660 MW each, is estimated to burn 4.72 million tonnes of coal a year. Fearing adverse impact on the largest mangrove forest of the world, several environment organisations, local civic bodies and left parties have been consistently demanding cancellation of the project, saying it would cause environmental disasters.

The environmentalists have cautioned that the plant will release several toxic gases, including carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, sulpher dioxide and large amount of fly ash to the surrounding environment, polluting the ecologically sensitive Sundarbans. The environmentalists are also seriously concerned over the project since Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change. They have noted that the Sundarbans, which act as a natural guard against recurrent cyclones, should not be disturbed. The power plant will also affect the livelihood of thousands of people who rely on the Sundarbans and the nearby Passur river. 

Carbon dioxide emissions from burning gasoline for transportation and industrialization

Our modern car culture and appetite for globally sourced goods is responsible for about 33% of emissions in the U.S. With our population growing at an alarming rate, the demand for more cars and consumer goods means that we are increasing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and manufacturing. Our consumption is outpacing our discoveries of ways to mitigate the effects, with no end in sight to our massive consumer culture. For industrialization use of fossil fuels is also big cause of global warming. Though the developed countries are mainly responsible for global warming, the effect is dangerous for all the countries in the world. 

Methane emissions from animals, agriculture and from Arctic seabeds

Methane is another extremely potent greenhouse gas, ranking right behind CO2. When organic matter is broken down by bacteria under oxygen-starved conditions (anaerobic decomposition) as in rice paddies, methane is produced. The process also takes place in the intestines of herbivorous animals, and with the increase in the amount of concentrated livestock production, the levels of methane released into the atmosphere is increasing. Another source of methane is methane clathrate, a compound containing large amounts of methane trapped in the crystal structure of ice. As methane escapes from the Arctic seabed, the rate of global warming will increase significantly. 

Deforestation, especially tropical forests for wood, pulp, and farmland

The use of forests for fuel (both wood and for charcoal) is one cause of deforestation, but in the first world, our appetite for wood and paper products, our consumption of livestock grazed on former forest land, and the use of tropical forest lands for commodities like palm oil plantations contributes to the mass deforestation of our world. Forests remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and this deforestation releases large amounts of carbon, as well as reducing the amount of carbon capture on the planet. 

Increase in usage of chemical fertilizers on croplands

In the last half of the 20th century, the use of chemical fertilizers (as opposed to the historical use of animal manure) has risen dramatically. The high rate of application of nitrogen-rich fertilizers has effects on the heat storage of cropland (nitrogen oxides have 300 times more heat-trapping capacity per unit of volume than carbon dioxide) and the run-off of excess fertilizers creates ‘dead-zones’ in our oceans. In addition to these effects, high nitrate levels in groundwater due to over-fertilization are cause for concern for human health. 

Besides, the use of nuclear weapons, Test of nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and other like these are a great threat for our environment. These types of modern weapons are not only direct threat for human and living beings but also a big cause for the global warming as well as climate change.

Effects  of Global Warming

Our Earth is warming. Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather.

 Rise in sea levels worldwide

The global average air and ocean temperatures have been gradually increasing from 1880-2010 (Fig.1) This increase in temperature melted a massive amount of ice and snow globally which ultimately, caused the global average sea level to also rise (Fig.2). The Earth’s average surface temperature rose by 0.74 ~+mn~ 0.18°C over the period 1906–2005. Global average sea level rose at an average rate of about 3.1 mm per year from 1993 to 2003(Fig 2).

The potential total sea level rise over the period of the end of the 21st century relative to the end of the 20th century is estimated to be an increase in the sea level between 18 and 59 cm. The main consequence of the rising of sea levels is the impact on deltas and small island states that undergo coastal inundations. The reason for this is because deltas and small island states are vulnerable to sea level rise because of their size and height above sea level. The flooding of coasts that are highly populated will cause a major impact in the economic and social dilemmas of the future.

Furthermore, this report will discuss the future of Bangladesh since Bangladesh is the most vulnerable to sea-level rise. Bangladesh is very low-lying and sits on the northern part of the sea that is close to the Bay of Bengal. In addition to being one of the world’s poorest nations, this country has also experienced many catastrophic events in the past such as severe storm surges. Scientists predict an increase in sea levels worldwide due to the melting of two massive ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, especially on the East coast of the U.S. The effects of rising sea levels, which could displace millions of people. One nation, the Maldives, is already looking for a new home, thanks to rising sea levels

More killer storms

cycloneThe severity of storms such as hurricanes and cyclones is increasing, and research published in Nature found:

“Scientists have come up with the firmest evidence so far that global warming will significantly increase the intensity of the most extreme storms worldwide. The maximum wind speeds of the strongest tropical cyclones have increased significantly since 1981, according to research published in Nature this week. And the upward trend, thought to be driven by rising ocean temperatures, is unlikely to stop at any time soon.” 

Massive crop failures

According to recent research, there is a 90% chance that 3 billion people worldwide will have to choose between moving their families to milder climes and going hungry due to climate change within 100 years. One of the maincauses of this will be the spread of desertification, and its accompanying effects.

“Climate change is expected to have the most severe impact on water supplies. “Shortages in future are likely to threaten food production, reduce sanitation, hinder economic development and damage ecosystems. It causes more violent swings between floods and droughts.”” – Guardian: Global warming causes 300,000 deaths a year

Widespread extinction of species

According to research published in Nature, by 2050, rising temperatures could lead to the extinction of more than a million species. And because we can’t exist without a diverse population of species on Earth, this is scary news for humans.

This 6th mass extinction is really just a continuation of the holocene extinction which began at the end of the last ice age and has resulted in the extinction of nearly all of the Earth’s megafauna animals, largely as a result of human-expansion.

“Climate change now represents at least as great a threat to the number of species surviving on Earth as habitat-destruction and modification.” Chris Thomas, conservation biologist at the University of Leeds

Widespread species loss and lists of endangered species just keep growing. This is a concerning matter on many fronts.

 

Disappearance of coral reefs

report on coral reefs from WWF says that in a worst case scenario, coral populations will collapse by 2100 due to increased temperatures and ocean acidification. The ‘bleaching’ of corals from small but prolonged rises in sea temperature is a severe danger for ocean ecosystems, and many other species in the oceans rely on coral reefs for their survival.

“Despite the oceans’s immensity — 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface with an average depth of almost 4km (2½m) — there are indications that it is approaching its tipping point. For reefs, warming waters and acidification are closing in like a pair of jaws that threaten to make them the first global ecosystem to disappear.” – Times Online: 21st-century Noah’s Ark needed to save coral reefs from extinction

How to face global warming?

As human activities are responsible for climate change, it should be stopped the deeds responsible for global warming. Though it is not possible to stop immediately, we can reduce the risks we will face from climate change. By making choices that reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, we can reduce risks from climate change. Our decisions today will shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in.

In this regard, we need decisive local, national and international action to prevent & minimize the worst consequences of climate change It’s too late to prevent global warming, so we should make sure our communities, especially those that are the most vulnerable, prepare to adapt to the problems it will cause.

For reduce the risk of global warming:  To increase fuel efficiency by taxing carbon emissions to encourage the industrial sector to curb their emissions. To put construction codes in place that requires new buildings to be highly energy efficient. To invest in energy-saving public transportation. To increase funding for scientific research into clean, renewable sources of energy(such as solar, wind, and safe forms of nuclear energy). To reduce greenhouse gases through policies that put strict limits on the amount of carbon emissions a country can release into the atmosphere. To provide aid to developing countries in the form of know-how and resources that helps them industrialize with clean energy.

Source: Different websites 

Published on Students Review

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