Global warming together with climate change that comes with it has produced a heated debate as to whether or not human anthropogenic activity induced climatic shifts pose an actual threat to the Earth and humankind. Industrial activity effects in deforestation, acid rains, water pollution, and greenhouse effect are well-documented, so is their overall impact on ecology and health of species. Once global warming reaches a hazardous point, it is sure to have world ocean level go up while humankind will have to witness its most beautiful marine cities submerge. The reality of the global warming is that people cannot handle the situation any more than they are willing to since patching up ozone holes is accomplishable through abandoning comfort securing technologies and high-technological enterprises. As much as people would love to keep their climate from changing, there always are counterarguments; however human awareness should rise in order for us to establish an ecological status quo. To do so it is necessary that society should be reasoned into believing global warming is a pest of the 21-st century, which current and predicted impact is yet to be calculated. There is no better way to prove the point of global warming being a huge ecological issue than to present its impact on ecology, biodiversity, agriculture, and health.
The seriousness of carbon dioxide emissions and pollution being downplayed urges to see whether climate change is an issue to be reckoned with. In “Summary for Policymakers”, the IPCC experts report, “‘The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has increased from the pre-industrial levels of 280 to 379 ppm in 2005’” (qtd. in Haris, Biswas, Chhabra, Elanchezhian, & Bhatt 206). According to Union of Concerned Scientists, American Physical Society, Geophysical Union, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Geological Society of America, Chemical Society, US National academy of Sciences and a number of other authoritative organizations have acknowledged the problem of global warming and human part in this issue (“Union of Concerned Scientists” n.p.). American Meteorological Society members report, “Over the last 50 years, human activities are a major contributor to climate change” (qtd. in “Union of Concerned Scientists” n.p.). American Geophysical Union research concludes that “climate is now clearly out of balance,” with temperature rising. Changing are atmosphere, land and ocean temperatures, precipitations distribution, sea level, the extent of sea ice as well as mountain glaciers, the length of seasons by reason of human generated greenhouse gases and aerosols profusion (qtd. in “Union of Concerned Scientists” n.p.).
Thilaka (n.p.) admits, “The world is spinning in a vicious cycle of demand and supply that is both the cause and effect of global warming. If the situation continues health hazards will increase.” Countermeasures, such as air-conditioning and refrigeration are said to further re-aggravate the problem, damaging atmosphere beyond repair as well as hurting human health through electricity generating coal burning power plants that release carbon dioxide. Other greenhouse gases include ozone, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide, being produced by solid waste, wood, oil, coal and natural gas. Thilaka (n.p.) opines, “The release of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) from industrial processes cause more than normal heat to be trapped in the atmosphere and cause global warming.” Harvard Medical School doctors are inclined to believe that global warming may already be easily credited with causing malaria, Hanta virus, “break-bone” fever and similar illnesses in the West, with kidney stones problem increase being projected as well. Long-term prospects suggest the likelihood of humankind meeting its logical end sometime in the future due to health decline is higher than ever before. That being said, it is wise to decompose other actual threats as well as risk groups. Extreme temperature generated heat strokes, cardiovascular and respiratory issues tend to cause lethality among both the old and the young, especially those with an ailing heart. Thilaka (n.p.) asserts, “A heat wave in July 1995 killed more than 700 people in the Chicago area alone.” With a 145% rise in mortality, heat will be seen decimating New Yorkers, according to predictions. Agricultural instability may well add as many as 300 million individuals to the long list of undernourishment victims. Thilaka (n.p.) informs, “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists project that warmer climates will increase malaria-carrying mosquitos and put 65% of the world’s population at risk of malaria infection – an increase of 20% from the 1990s.” Air and water pollution aggravation are sure to present additional health problems as well. Algal blooms or a rapid growth of seaweeds will produce cholera infections. In the upper tiers of atmosphere, ozone is a natural defender against ultraviolet radiation, which, in fact, is thinning down, exposing skin to radiation with all that it implies, while ground ozone is considered polluting and thus capable of damaging lung tissue, enhancing asthma, and breathing issues. This is not to say that absolutely healthy people are immune to ozone that will still cause nausea, pulmonary congestion as well as chest pain (Thilaka n.p.). Such are horrific consequences of global warming on human health, with agriculture and biodiversity next in line.
Letter addressed to the US Congress drafted by 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences says “‘For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet The planet is warming due to increased concentrations heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere’” (“Union of Concerned Scientists” n.p.). It was also requested for national leaders to initiate and implement policies to introduce significant reductions. Judging by predictions, warming impact will be accelerating while the temperature will be excelling pre-industrial rates, else those before 1860. However, there is more to it than that, irreversible consequences or the point of no return reaching is promised, such as heat-related mortality, Sierra snowpack melting with further water supply shortage, agricultural failures as well as sea level enhancement, causing Californian coastline to get eroded (“Union of Concerned Scientists” n.p.).
Trending towards natural catastrophe, such a conjuncture does make countries initial or ratify multilateral agreements to keep climatic indices restrained. Burney, Kennel, and Victor (49) announce, “Diplomacyhasn’t had much practical impact on the rate of emissions.” Undoubtedly, if the problem had not existed, international efforts would have hardly culminated in the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which was extended to 2020 after last year’s expiry. Burney, Kennel, and Victor (49) assert, “Along the way there have been numerous communiqués, initiatives, and other grand-sounding programs aimed at mitigating the emissions that are now changing the global climate in increasingly visible ways.” Experts suggest that diplomatic strategies should be further developed. The best way to do this is by focusing attention on the problem of soot that will be instrumental in rebuilding trust in anti-global-warming campaign due to the quickness, with which it may be managed (Burney, Kennel, & Victor 49).
For those entertaining illusions with regard to the global warming problem gradual improvement or alleged problem exaggeration it is wise to consider statistical backing and problem-related facts. Whatever the efforts, diplomacy has failed this far, with carbon dioxide rate at its highest these days. Joint Research Center of the European Commission and Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (n.p.) conclude, “‘Emissions of all these gases in 2010 were 31 percent above 1990 levels and still rising’” (qtd. in Burney, Kennel, & Victor 50). Of the total projected level, about 50 to 80% of emissions generated by energy and agricultural systems need to be reduced in order that climate situation might be improved (qtd. in Burney, Kennel, & Victor 50). The original Kyoto Protocol signees were accountable for 60% of emissions worldwide; however, by the time it was endorsed, the number had fallen to 25% while the countries to have signed the current treaty will hold responsibility for 14% only (Burney, Kennel, & Victor 50).
Albeit countries celebrate a hard-gained victory over the global warming, it should be borne in mind that current gradual improvement is largely due to anything but efficient regulative climatic treaties, namely East European countries getting collapsed and being restructured, industrial manufacture being curtailed. The USA, in turn, has started extracting ecologically safe shale gas. Burney, Kennel, and Victor (50) report, “Few countries have intentionally made substantial cuts in emissions, and no major economy is even close to being on track for cuts between 50 and 80 percent.” That being said, it is not all-governmental abidance by global warming regulations that is indicative of pollutants reduction. According to Davis, Peters, & Caldeira (n.p.), governments tend to report the amount of emissions produced by goods other than those imported while the share of traded merchandise is that of 25% of all carbon dioxide pollutants, which means countries do nothing else but veil actual calculus, taking advantage of legislative loopholes (qtd. in Burney, Kennel, & Victor 50). All they do is literally shift emissions on countries were legislation is rather lax owing to convenient openings created by globalization.
Victor and Morse (n.p.) suggest that developing countries that are yet to cement their status among economic elite waste no time in applying emission producing fossil fuels (qtd. in Burney, Kennel, & Victor 50). Burney, Kennel, & Victor (50) suggest, “The International Energy Agency in Parisprojects that 60 percent of emissions growth between now and 2035 will come from one coal-intensive country alone: China.” Following that logic, the amount of pollutants produced is bound to rise exponentially. Then again, pundits say both developed and developing countries to wage something resembling a tug-of war or mutual charges for ill-promising indices (Burney, Kennel, & Victor 50). Hence, there should be no illusions as to climatic improvements and political awareness for as long as we have countries where economic prosperity is the number one priority.
Temperature rise may help industrial economies gain momentum; still, it does not change the fact that it takes its toll on agriculture. Considering the report of The Food and Agriculture Organization and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “an overall increase of 2 0C in temperature [in India] may lead to almost 8% loss in farm level net revenue and around 5% in GDP” (Haris, Biswas, Chhabra, Elanchezhian, & Bhatt 206). Research conducted on maize yield in Northern Indian state Bihar showed that the rise of temperature is in inverse proportion to maize crop, thus causing significant losses. Wheat grain decreased in quality if cultivated in the areas, with carbon dioxide concentration being high (Haris, Biswas, Chhabra, Elanchezhian, & Bhatt 212). Human beings as superior biological species are nowhere near being safe, with foodstuffs being reduced due to global warming and its toll on agricultural yield; however, certain animal species, being the source of human biological subsistence, are decades away from evaporating for good.
Apart from affecting agricultural crops global warming impacts species, which causes WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, to raise legitimate concerns as to species diversity as well as minimum viable population retention. Animals and plants that are used to living and growing in cooler climates are forced into moving uphill or polewards, should slight temperature deviations towards warmness present themselves. In “Climate Change” (n.p) it is suggested, “This process has been observed in many places – in the Alps, in mountainous Queensland in Australia, and in the misty forests of Costa Rica.” Official reports based on scientific observations have fish in the North Sea moving northwards to Shetland and Orkney Islands from where they used to be observed, else Cornwall. Fish may very well be used as biological indicators of what nature has become inasmuch as their absence signifies climatic shifts and the way it impact the environment (“Climate Change” n.p.).
If left unrestrained global warming may get certain rare species obliterated in the foreseeable future with all the ecological repercussions of climate balance disruption that come with it. Delicate ecosystems throughout the whole world are considered most vulnerable to temperature rising. According to “Climate Change” (n.p.), the right whale, inhabiting the North Atlantic Ocean is “one of the most endangered of all large whales, with a long history of human exploitation.” The whole matter about oceanic water temperature rising is that it will render feeding plankton nearly scarce, putting the remaining 350 individuals at risk of ultimate extinction. People may no longer see Canadian own polar bear tread the Earth either in view of the fact that warming will make it impossible for it to hunt its prey by floating ice platform. Every decade the Arctic Sea temperature drops by 9%, encroaching on local fauna habitat at a rapid pace. South American sea turtles have a natural habit of laying eggs on Brazilian shore that may be easily flooded by ocean, which level rises critically on a yearly basis. Undesirable are temperature changes as well since they determine offspring sex, with female babies being born in warm temperature while male ones, conversely, in colder temperatures. “Climate Change” (n.p.) informs, “This nest-warming trend is reducing the number of male offspring and seriously threatens turtle population”
Nor has global warming and human impact left the giant pandas, which 1,600 population is in jeopardy. “Climate Change” (n.p.) suggests, “Its forest habitat in the mountainous areas of south-western China is fragmented, and giant panda populations are small and isolated from each other.” More than that, their staple diet, bamboo, an essential part of Chinese ecosystem is likely to decrease in amount due to global warming fallouts. Nourishment issues coupled with poaching are predicted to put the history of this species to an end. Orangutans harbored by Indonesian rainforests are admittedly on the point of disappearing within no more than two decades, following the best-case scenario, thanks to deforestation caused by global warming and follow-on droughts, bushfires that allowedly happen on quite a regular basis in these heavily logged forests, to say nothing of woodland fragmentation (“Climate Change” n.p.).
“Climate Change” (n.p.) says, “In Africa, elephants face a range of threats including shrinking living space, which brings them more frequently into conflict with people.” Australian frog species are no longer safe, being largely dependent on rainfall that determines their reproduction, abundance and breeding cycles. Tadpoles and eggs perish as a consequence of breeding pools drying out. Speaking of adult species, they are prone to dying following water loss through their pervious skin produced by temperature increase. So are Indian tigers, which 3,200 population has been brought to the point where they can sink into oblivion by virtue of poaching on trading purpose, hunting, competition with local population for living space, loss of this space, and their natural prey. In “Climate Change” (n.p.) experts suggest, “Some of the largest remaining areas where tigers occur are the mangrove forest of India. The projected rise in sea levels could cause living spaces of the tiger to vanish altogether.” That said, the question of how many rare animals, guaranteeing ecological balance, will remain is much in the air.
It is understandable that global warming issue is huge, more importantly than that, it is likely to take decades to get resolved. Comprehensible is also the fact that international cooperation alone will not yield desirable results. Consequently, it is important that every country, including the USA should take prophylactic measures in order to increase awareness and the amount of emissions produced. According to the Washington Post contributor, assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Maxwell Boykoff (n.p.), there were words like “energy” and “clean energy” stressed by President Obama in his 2012 speech, while addressing the issue of global warming. Graciela Kincaid suggests, “‘The phrases ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ have become all but taboo on Capitol Hill’” (qtd. in Boykoff). The White House administration being deliberate in their comments touching a delicate question is a litmus paper of state policy that does not have its officials publicly advertise national industrial capacity and the amount of pollutants produced. It is no wonder, considering the fact that the second half of the 20-th century following the WW 2 saw nuclear weapon tested most notably in Nevada for at least 15 years, rendering the area nearly toxic.
Boykoff (n.p.) says that talking about energy in his “State of the Union” speech is all about substituting the meaning or replacing ecological implications with political ones, without admitting a crying need for urgent measures. Boykoff (n.p.) opines, “Calling climate change by another name creates limits of its own. The way we talk about the problem affects how we deal with it.” Among other well-disguised delicate controversies clean energy reference does evade stressing the need for us to cut our consumption. Moreover, new political rhetoric may slacken tensions, surrounding global warming; however, it will not change the fact that climate is changing with every passing day (Boykoff n.p.).
Overall, global warming is a tremendous danger that needs an urgent solution unless humanity wants to become fossil history. Fossil fuels application in industrial complex is taking its ultimate toll on climate, ushering in the era of drastic changes that have the potential of disrupting fragile ecological balance once and for all by obliterating biodiversity, unhinging agriculture that may precipitate humankind into famine and hardships. Were the problem less urgent the whole association of scientists would hardly raise the aforementioned concerns and there would hardly be so many treaties signed. However, as may be deduced from official reports provided, world governments hypocritically tone down or airbrush the actual crying need of immediate preventive measures, finding legal loopholes or pretexting ostensible situation improvement. Ironically, but it is exactly world political elite who are holding the future of humankind on the palm of their hand. It is up to them to choose whether or not to leave global warming issue unaddressed or to take quick measures for the good of the universe.
Boykoff, Maxwell T. “A Dangerous Shift in Obama’s ‘Climate Change’ Rhetoric.” Washington Post. Opinions. 27 January, 2012. n.p. Web. 05 Nov. 2012.
Burney, Jennifer A., Kennel, Charles F., & Victor, David G. “Getting Serious about the New Realities of Global Climate Change.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists .69(4). 2013. 49-57. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.
“Climate Change Is Threatening Wild Animal Species around the World.” Biodiversity. 01 November 2013. n.p. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.
Haris, Abdul Vahab Abdul, Biswas Sandeep, Chhabra, Vanda, Elanchezhian, Rajamanickam, Bhatt, Bhagwati Prasad. “Impact of Climate Change on Wheat and Winter Maize over a Sub-humid Climatic Environment.” Current Science. 104(2). 25 January 2013. 206-214. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.
Thilaka, Ravi. “Global Warming Will Likely Cause Serious Human Health Effects.” Global Warming. 01 November 2013. n.p. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.
Union of Concerned Scientists. “There Is Overwhelming Scientific Consensus that Global Warming Is Happening and Humans Are Causing It.” Global Warming. 01 November 2013. n.p. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.