Humanity and the world have changed drastically since the early civilizations, ranging from the early humans through the Great Pharos to the British Empire. But what has changed so dramatically that it can and will affect us in a negative way now and in the future? No, it is not the advancement in artificial intelligence nor the study and manipulation of DNA. We, humanity, have caused something more serious than any of those, at least at the moment. Global Warming is according to representatives of the National Academy of Sciences “… is the most pressing international issue of the next century” (LBL: 1-2).
What is the actual problem of Global Warming? What do we have to do with it? The fact is that nearly everybody is partially responsible for this critical phenomenon. Cheap, plentiful energy has improved our lives, but at a price to the planet (LBL: 1-2). Scientist believe that man made atmospheric changes may result in a global mean temperature rise from 1. 5 to 5. 5 degrees Celsius by the middle of this century (LBL: 1-2). The fact is that, fossil fuels are used to make energy. Therefore a major problem is the continually growing population, which makes even more energy necessary.
Another important fact that is necessary to mention is that according to the LBL Research Review, Carbon dioxide levels are higher than ever. The levels are about 30% higher than during the industrial age (LBL: 1-2). Furthermore the largest emitter of CO2 is the United States of America (Issues: 6). This is naturally a surprising fact since the United States of America is now one of the most advanced nations in the world and clearly possesses the most efficient economy. But because the United States is such a huge country it relies primarily on transportation and industry by the burning of fossil fuels.
Looking at the long-term effects of Global Warming, it definitely will affect us humans. The IPCC reports states that the sea level could rise up to 15 centimeters in the next 100 years, which would force people to relocate to other areas (Issues: 8). This would limit the amount of land that people can live on, bringing the world more together and therefore increase any chances of conflicts or health issues. Another way of how it can affect us humans is that through Global Warming, the resulting hotter temperatures would have a catastrophic effect on the weather, increasing the chances of extreme tornadoes and hurricanes (Issues: 8).
Consequently, we would suffer a lot more significant damage than in earlier years, and we would question if it is worth to repair or rebuild it, if storms like these become a regularity. Not only our lives will become extremely difficult, but nature will also suffer through the damage we cause now. The climate shift could disrupt agriculture, defeat present water supply and flood control and plant and animal species that would be unable to adapt (LBL: 1). Other areas could suffer from longer drier seasons and more frequent droughts, affecting therefore forests and animals in the region (Issues: 8).
Again Global Warming is responsible for these terrible things that could happen in the future. Another important effect of Global Warming is that the hotter temperatures caused by Global Warming, will most certainly affect the ice in the north and south, causing them to melt and result finally in a rise of sea level, increasing therefore the potential of floods (Issues: 8). As one can see, Global Warming will not only affect us humans, but also nature in such a dramatic way that one would question our presence in the near future. The causes of Global Warming are well known.
Fossil fuels, which are used to make energy, release Carbon dioxide, also known as CO2, which is a greenhouse gas. As sunlight warms the planet, the Earth reflects its own heat energy. The trapped gases block much of that reflected energy from leaving the atmosphere. The trapped energy that heats up the surrounding atmosphere, enveloping the Earth in a cozy blanket of warm air that holds temperatures and climate relatively constant (Issues: 2). Therefore as the amount of greenhouse gases increases, the energy and heat kept in the earth increases too.
Through trees getting less out of various reasons, including lack of political action in some countries, and the CO2 increasing, the optimal atmospheric CO2 levels cannot be maintained (LBL: 1). Another problem contributing to Global Warming that humanity has to confront is the rapidly growing global population. As population grows, the energy demand grows logically at the same time. Yet to meet the growing energy demands, we need more power plants, which unfortunately boosts the fossil fuel consumption (LBL: 1). What can we, as members of humanity, do to prevent such catastrophic happenings that are predicted for the future, you may ask.
One option would be to make energy more efficient and reduce emissions (LBL: 1-2). This may sound simple, but making energy more efficient and reducing emissions are two very difficult to solve tasks. Since there are over a 190 countries with different policies and governments, the task does not become much easier. To successfully make energy more efficient and to reduce emissions, the support and full cooperation of all countries is logically necessary. Another option would be to limit the amount of greenhouse gases each nation emits. Under this plan, each country would receive emissions that could be bought and sold (Global: 1).
Although a good possibility, it would be very difficult to enforce, again because of the diversity of opinions between the nations of the globe. Another necessary step towards a successful prevention of Global Warming will need a change in the policy of the United States. The United States is unfortunately in great need of energy and is because of its superiority in nearly all fields of science and economy, the biggest polluter on the globe. Therefore, trying to decrease energy consumption considerably might have a treacherous effect on the way of life in the United States.
This is the reason why the United States is not really that much involved in preventing Global Warming. Yet, the United States has and is indeed working on reducing its emissions. In 1997, 38 nations, including the United States agreed to cut down their greenhouse emissions by 5. 2% by 2008-12 (The:1) / (Issues:4). According to “Global Warming”, a web page that focuses on Global Warming, policy analysts recommend that governments consider a tax on emission of greenhouse gases. This approach is questionable, since taxes are extremely unpopular under all citizens of any country and would definitely be hard to enforce.
Another option given by the web page is that governments could create regulations that specify the type of technologies used and the amount of fossil fuels burned (Global: 1). All of the possible solutions to the problem of Global Warming are indeed good ideas, but to put it into practice is a completely different task, which could stretch over many, many years, since as mentioned before, all countries would be urged to cooperate. As one can see, Global Warming is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. If we, humanity, do not act now, we will suffer considerably in the future.
This generation may not suffer, it can be our decedents, but this doesn’t mean that anybody in this world, on this globe, is off the hook. Every human on this Earth, is partially responsible for what is happening to our mother Earth. Some might be more involved than others. Yet if everybody tries to either limit the use of his car, or stop smoking, or in general give up a few simple things it definitely will make a difference. Now you tell yourself that this is not a realistic plan, or why should I give up something I like to do, for example driving, if others keep doing it.
I say, even one person who cares about the environment, the air, the forests, the seas, the rivers, the atmosphere, the soil, his fellow men and everything that is affected by Global Warming can make a difference and surely will motivate others to either join him in his aim or follow in his footsteps. Those who know what Global Warming is about, know its dangerous effects and know that is a major problem that humanity will have to face someday. These people hope that this day, when Global Warming becomes the most important issue, does not come too late.