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Global warming is the equivocal increase of the average earth`s temperature due to natural and anthropogenic activities, which emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, natural activities such as volcanic eruptions results to natural climate change, while human activities such as burning of fossil fuels leads to anthropogenic climatic change. Nevertheless, both forms of climate change are still occurring in the modern world, and thus, all nations in the world need to adopt and put into practice the necessary mitigation strategies such as clean coal technology and fuel efficiency standards, in order to stabilize or even reverse this trend. Moreover, in order to accomplish this target, policy changes such as mandating all nations to be members of various environmental bodies, and providing financial aid to the developing countries should be made, in order to attain sustainable development.
Global warming (climate change)is the equivocal increase of the average earth`s temperature due to imminent release of greenhouse gases such as methane, chlorofluorocarbons, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and sulphur hexafluoride. These gases depletes the ozone layer, making more solar energy to reach the earth`s surface, after which it is trapped by these gases, making the earth`s temperature rise beyond the average level. Nevertheless, global warming has numerous adverse effects on both human beings and animals such as the occurrence of droughts and famine, flooding, emergence of new diseases and pests, destruction of habitats for wild animals, acidification of oceans among others. However, this condition occurs due to the influence of both natural and anthropogenic activities (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2011). This paper pays high attention to the similarities and differences between natural and anthropogenic climate changes, an evaluation of whether global warming is still taking place or not, an assessment of various mitigation strategies and recommendations for policy changes that can help in stabilizing global climate.
Natural climate change occurs due to natural factors such as volcanic eruptions, tilting of the earth and solar isolation variability. For example, scientists depict that the Sahara desert transformed from a fertile grassland to a desert due to change of the earth`s orbit. In contrast, anthropogenic climate change occurs due to anthropogenic activities such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels. In addition, anthropogenic climate change started to occur during the industrialization era (18th century) while natural climate change was still occurring before the industrialization period (Anup, 2013). Consecutively, anthropogenic climate change always results in the increase of the earth`s temperature whereas natural climate change can be characterized by either high temperatures or very low temperatures. Cold climates occur when less solar energy reaches the earth`s surface.
Both natural and anthropogenic climate changes results in the increase of solar energy, which in the long run elevates the earth`s temperature above the average level. In addition, both types of climate changes still occur in the contemporary world and are influenced by increased of greenhouse gases. For example, the El Chichon and Pinatubo volcanic eruptions that took place in 1982 and 1991 resulted in the emission of sulphur dioxide gas, which led to the increase of global temperatures for two to three years (Anup, 2013).
Numerous studies indicate that global warming is still taking place in the recent decades despite the adoption of various mitigation measures. For example, the statistics that were released on 2011 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that, the temperature anomalies (temperature increase above the average level) started increasing elevated higher since 1998 (0.60) to 2010 (0.62) (Anup, 2013). These temperature changes are contributed by the high use of fossil fuels in various sectors such as transportation and industrial sectors (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2011). However, rate of greenhouse gas emission are high in the industrialized nations compared to the developing countries.
IPCC depicts that the developed countries emit more than 80 percent of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In contrast, developing nations are the most affected by the high rates of greenhouse gas emissions, due to increased levels of poverty, and lack of necessary coping resources, compared to the developed countries. For example, in 2011, the global climate risk index showed that Pakistan, Haiti, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Philippines among other developing countries were at high risk of being affected by adverse weather such as floods and hurricanes. Apparently, in 2013, Philippines experienced the largest ever typhoon (Haiyan), which led to the death of more than 10,000 people, and affected more than 9 million Philippians (Anup, 2013).
Consecutively, deep sea oceans are currently warming to such an extent that water that is 700 meters deep is becoming warm (Mulvaney, 2013). For example, most scientists have established that water in the southern ocean around Antarctica gets warm at an approximate rate of 0.03 degrees Celsius per decade. Moreover, other abyssal oceans are currently warming at around one-tenth of this rate.
High Fuel Efficiency Standards
This strategy involves regulating fuel consumption by motor vehicles. Motor vehicle manufacturers are authorized to manufacture vehicles that are efficient in economizing fuel consumption. Moreover, taxes are imposed on the manufacturers who produce vehicles that are not efficient in fuel consumption. These standards are effective in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide gas, and other pollutants that contribute to global warming. However, this strategy would negatively affect motor vehicle industries, due to these taxes (Winkler, 2010). Moreover, the tax burden would be passed to the customers by increasing the selling price of motor vehicles.
This strategy is a collection of multiple technologies with the aim of cleaning coal and harnessing its by-products instead of emitting them into the atmosphere. Some of these technologies include coal washing in order to remove unwanted impurities sand installing wet scrubbers to absorb nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions. This strategy also helps in reducing the emission of pollutants that leads to global warming. It is suggested that this strategy is among those that make use of coal by-products as raw materials for other industries such as steel and electricity production. However, the technology is costly, and most developing countries may not afford to adopt it (Winkler, 2010).
There are numerous policy changes that can be made in order to stabilize global climate change. For example, most developing countries fail to mitigate with climatic changes due to lack of capabilities. Therefore, developing countries should provide these nations with financial aid. Moreover, since global warming is a global challenge, all nations should be members of various environmental protection bodies such as the Kyoto protocol. This would ensure all nations operate towards a common goal. In addition, all countries especially the developed nations should she monitored on their levels of carbon production. Consecutively, motor vehicle manufacturing industries should be authorized to manufacture fuel efficient vehicles. Additionally, nations should substitute conventional fuels with renewable sources of fuel such as biofuels, hydropower, geothermal among others (Dauncey, 2009).
It is, therefore, evident that there exist numerous differences and similarities between anthropogenic and natural climate changes. Moreover, global warming is still taking place in the modern world, and thus, all nations should adopt various mitigation strategies such as clean coal technology and fuel efficiency standards in order to stabilize this challenge, and ensure sustainable development.
Mulvaney K., (2013). Ten Signs Climate Change Is Already Happening. Retrieved from, http://news.discovery.com/earth/global-warming/10-signs-climate-change-is-already-happening-130422.htm
Winkler, H. (2010). Taking action on climate change: Long term mitigation scenarios for South Africa. Claremont, South Africa: UCT Press.
Anup, S., (2013). “Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction.” Global Issues. Retrieved from, <http://www.globalissues.org/article/233/climate-change-and-global-warming-introduction>.
Dauncey, G. (2009). The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming. New York: New Society Publishers.
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, (2011). United States Global Change Research Program, Cambridge University Press, USA.