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Global warming is the equivocal increase of the average earth`s temperature due to excessive release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor, and sulphur hexafluoride. This condition occurs when greenhouse gases deplete the ozone layer, making more ultra violet rays to reach the earth`s surface. In addition, these gases form a “blanket” in the atmosphere that prevents the warm air conditions from escaping (Anup, 2013). Nevertheless, global warming has numerous adverse effects on both human beings and animals such as the emergence of new diseases and pests, occurrence of droughts and famine, flooding, destruction of habitats for wild animals and sea creatures among others. However, this condition occurs due to the influence of both natural and anthropogenic activities. 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.
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).
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. 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. 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).
Numerous studies indicate that global warming is still taking place in the recent decades. The primary evidence that shows that global warming is still taking place is the tremendous increase of carbon dioxide concentration. For example, various depict that before the industrialization, the amounts of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere ranged between 180 and 300 ppm (Parts Per Million) (Mulvaney, 2013). However, after industrialization, which occurred during the mid 18th century, this figure started to change by steadily increasing. For example, when continuous monitoring of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide began in Hawaii, the monitoring agency, Mauna Loa, observed that this concentration had increased to 310 ppm. Moreover, recent studies have revealed that this concentration is currently close to 400 ppm. However, taking into consideration that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, it is therefore a clear indication that the increasing concentration of this gas results to increased levels of global warming (Mulvaney, 2013). However, rate of greenhouse gas emission are high in the industrialized nations compared to the developing countries.
Consecutively, extreme weather events such as the occurrence of hurricanes, droughts and famine, extreme snowfalls during winter, floods among others are frequently being encountered in various parts of the world. For example, 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.
Carbon tax is the amount of fee that is levied to countries or organizations that emits greenhouse gases beyond a specified level. This form of global warming mitigation was adopted and incorporated into the international law during the Rio Summit that was held in 1992. However, this mitigation resembles that of the polluter pays principle, which sensitizes organizations to pay the cost of their pollution activities, to the neighboring societies. Moreover, carbon taxing has proved to be effective since it encourages most countries and organizations to look for alternative sources of energy, which do not result to the emission of high levels of greenhouse gases. For example, most developed countries such as the United States of America and Europe have started to adopt and implement the use of renewable energy, such as the use of biofuels, hydropower, and wind power among others. However, the adoption of this technology is expensive to the extent that most developing countries cannot afford to implement them.
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.
Policy Recommendations That Should be adopted in Order to Stabilize Global Climate
There are numerous policy changes that can be made in order to stabilize global climate change. For example, 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. Moreover, most developing countries fail to mitigate with climatic changes due to lack of capabilities. Therefore, developing countries should provide these nations with financial aid. 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.
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.
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
Pettinger, T., (2013). Carbon Tax – Pros and Cons. Retrieved from, http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/2207/economics/carbon-tax-pros-and-cons/
Winkler, H. (2010). Taking action on climate change: Long term mitigation scenarios for South Africa. Claremont, South Africa: UCT Press.