“The Earth has a natural system of balancing the absorption and release of heat, that it absorbs from the sunlight, but for the—last some years, the balance seems to be under severe threat. There have been enormous increases in gases like carbon di-oxide, methane, nitrous oxide etc.”
As the temperature rises, there will be a rise in sea level, due to melting of glaciers and the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. While sea level is expected to rise almost every year, a considerable variation is seen now a day. In some regions, the rise in sea level may be almost nil, but others might experience a rise of as much as twice the global average. The predictions are that the rise in sea level in some parts of North Pacific and to the West of Greenland may be comparatively more and it can spoil the ecological balance of the respective region.
Global Warming has become perhaps the most complicated issue being faced by the world leaders. On the one hand, warnings from the scientific community are becoming louder, as an increasing body of science points to rising dangers from the ongoing buildup of human-related greenhouse gases — produced mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and forests, on the other, the technological, economic and political issues that have to be resolved before a concerted worldwide effort to reduce emissions, are not getting simpler, particularly in the face of a global economic slowdown.
Global talks on climate change opened in Cancun, Mexico in late 2010, with the toughest issues unresolved, and the conference produced modest agreements. But, while the measures adopted in Cancun under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are likely to have scant near-term impact on the warming of the planet, the international process for dealing with the issue got a significant vote of confidence. The next round of talks took place in December, 2011, in Durban, South Africa.
The package, known as the Cancun Agreements, gave more than 190 Countries participating in the conference time until December 2011, to decide whether to extend the frayed Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement that requires most wealthy nations to trim their emissions while providing assistance to developing countries to pursue a cleaner energy future. At the heart of the international debate is a momentous tussle between rich and poor countries over who steps up first and who pays most for changed energy menus.
In the United States, in January 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency began imposing regulations related to greenhouse gas emissions. The immediate effect on utilities, refiners and major manufacturers was minor, with the new rules applying only to those planning to build large new facilities or make major modifications to existing plants. Over the next decade, however, the agency plans to regulate virtually all sources of greenhouse gases, imposing efficiency and emissions requirements on nearly every industry and every region.
Barack Obama vowed as a candidate that he would put the United States on a path to addressing climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants. He offered congress wide latitude to pass climate change legislation, but held in reserve the threat of EPA regulation if it failed to act. The deeply polarized Senate’s refusal to enact climate change legislation essentially called his bluff.
The Cancun conference ended in December 2010, with only modest achievements. The conference approved a package of agreements that set up a new fund to help poor countries adapt to climate changes, created new mechanisms for transfer of clean energy technology, provided compensation for the preservation of tropical forests and strengthened the emissions reductions pledges that came out of the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen in 2009. The conference approved the agreement over the objections of Bolivia, which condemned the pact as too weak. But, those protests did not block its acceptance. Delegates from Island States and the least-developed countries warmly welcomed the pact because it would start the flow of billions of dollars to assist them in adopting cleaner energy systems and adapting to inevitable changes in the climate, like sea rise and drought.
Adverse Effects of Global Warming
- Antarctica- home of penguins is getting hotter slowly and gradually. The annual melt season has increased up to three weeks in last twenty years.
- Mount Kili Manjaro has lost 75% of its ice cap, since 1912. The ice on this Africa’s highest peak could vanish totally within next 10 years, if no remedial measures are taken.
- Venezuelan mountain peaks had six glaciers in 1972. Today only two are
- India’s worst heat shock killed more than 2500 people in May, 1998.
- Polar Bears in Hudson Bay are having fewer cubs, possibly as a result of earlier spring ice break up.
- Coral reefs suffer from the loss of algae that colour and nourish them. The process called bleaching is caused by a warmer ocean.
- Florida farmland up to 300 meters inland from Biscayne Bay is being infiltrated by salt water rendering the land too toxic for crops. Salt water is also nibbling at the edge of farms on Maryland’s eastern shore.
According to World Meteorological Organization, deaths from heat waves in big cities are expected to double worldwide over the next two decades, if no measures are taken to check the global warming. In the largest cities of USA, an average of 1500 deaths takes place every year. Number of such death is expected to rise to 3000-4000 by 2020.
A study conducted by Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX) reveals that the effect of aerosols in the atmosphere will magnify the warming over several developing countries. The study indicates that precipitation might change over tropical regions due to aerosols. Aerosols have both a warming and a cooling effect in the climate. On an average estimation, aerosols are expected to have cooling effect, as they indirectly help in the formation of cloud droplets, making clouds brighter and more reflective.
The impact of Global Warming is far greater than just increasing temperatures. Warming modifies rainfall patterns, amplifies coastal erosion, lengthens the growing season in some regions, melts ice caps and glaciers, and alters the ranges of some infectious diseases. Some of these changes are already occurring.
In a nutshell the Global Warming has become a grave threat to the ecological balance of the Earth. The civilization is moving slowly towards a dooms day. All the nations, particularly the most industrialized and, developed countries have to be active to take immediate action in the matter, otherwise, the human race shall have to face an unimaginable peril, and that day is not too far.