Global? climate change? is identified as one of the greatest threats to the planet. Governments and scientists alike have agreed that the problem is real and serious. There is a worldwide consensus among climate scientists that global average temperature has raised about 1F (0.4C ??“0.8C) in the past 140 years.
The 1990s were the hottest decade of the entire millennium and the last 5 years were among the seven hottest on record. Spring arrives approximately 15 days earlier than it did 30 years ago.
Climatologists have found evidence to prove that there are a few factors responsible for natural climate change such as ocean currents, volcanic eruptions, etc. The greenhouse effect as we see in the slide is a natural occurrence without which it is certain that we would all be lost because the earth would become an ice planet. However, too many greenhouse gases in the earth??™s atmosphere could increase the greenhouse effect. Right now, there is about 40% more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there was at the dawn of the industrial revolution. This is expected to double or triple in the next 30 years.
It may interest you to know that livestock contribute significantly to the methane emissions of nations such as Australia and New Zealand.
You may see the pie chart, which shows land-use patterns that contribute approximately 9% of emissions.
Yet another contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is war. War devastates large areas of the globe, while releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The ongoing Iraq War is a potential threat since destruction of oil fields has released millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other, even more potent, greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
If you are already depressed by hearing what I said now just wait until I complete examining the effects of global warming.
All things important to our existence on earth ??“ ecological systems, water resources, food sources, coastal systems, health and human settlements ??“ are sensitive to changes in the climate.
Change in climate endangers the migration plans of migratory birds and also will threaten the existence of some of the animal species.
Climate changes will also bring in rise in sea levels since water expands when heated. In June 1999, rising seawater submerged two uninhabited islands in the south pacific. Take a look at the slide, showing the area of the city of Alexandria that will be flooded by a 1-meter rise in sea level.
Global warming destroys the balance of water supply and it is estimated that 3 billion people will be in the water scarcity category.
The local climatic environment can have a profound influence on human health. Fluctuation in the weather can enhance the spread of infectious diseases.
There will also be major changes in mountain vegetation and agriculture in the tropics will be vulnerable to rising temperature.
The IPCC projects the temperature in the Middle East to increase by 1 ??“ 2C by 2030 to 2050. A recent study published in the monthly bulletin of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince??™s office said that the level of the already warm water is expected to rise by at least one meter by 2100 and this will have an immediate devastating impact on the UAE.
Well, after that long list of horrors that await us, I??™m sure you will want to know exactly what we can do to prevent global warming or at least mitigate its effect. At the macro level, governments have started processes like the Kyoto protocol. Other steps we can take right now are:
– Improving energy efficiency through out the economy ??“ in our cars, our factories, our offices and our homes.
– Geothermal energy, which is environment friendly, can be developed further.
– Areas that regularly experience strong gusts can invest in the wind energy.
– Photovoltaic cells (which include solar cells) are another potential but as of today are expensive source of energy. This is used in the parking meters in Dubai.
– But by far, the most promising energy seems to be fuel cells.
These macro solutions require nothing short of a new industrial revolution.
I believe that to get this revolution moving what we need are more practical measures ??“ things you and I can follow at home and at school to help prevent global warming.