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Global Warming and Terrorism

The planet earth is in imminent peril. The evidence of the disastrous impact of global warming is simply overwhelming. Recent scientific data suggest that human induced climatic changes are responsible for the unpredictable and dangerous weather patterns and consequently the rising sea levels that will eventually swamp hundreds, if not thousands, of coastal cities.

The result is the displacement of millions of the world’s populace and an unhealthy human crisis. Based on extrapolations of temperature changes and climate change, researchers have also established that even though abrupt temperature changes has been mapped in the distance past, these changes were mainly attributable to natural activities but these changes nonetheless caused mass extinctions of millions of species.

The current scenario of increasing temperatures is mainly attributable to human activities, thus is human beings fail to take responsive actions aimed at the cessation of activities that aggravate the already skyrocketing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, global warming and its impacts can only foretell doom for the planet. All over the world and especially around the most susceptible climatic zones, the impacts of global warming are apparent to every eye. In Norway and Sweden, the tree lines are marching northwards and uphill due to receding snow lines.

In the Arctic region, the polar bears habitat is shrinking. Animal migration in the northern hemisphere is reminiscent of movement towards the north in escape of the rising temperatures. The prospect of extinction of millions of animal species is a disturbing story in itself. For animals which will be unable to move to more sustainable climatic conditions, the impacts of global warming may eventually catch with them and whole populations will be wiped from what had hitherto been their habitat.

Thus, in certain animal species such as the armadillos, their survival is directly dependent on their mobility which enables them to move at a faster rate than the movement of the climatic zone. Even though, such climatic changes had occurred in the past, species had been able to adapt to the changes because such changes were gradual (http://yaleglobal. yale. edu). The present scenario is more disturbing since the rate at which human activities is driving global warming and climate change is so high that it dwarfs the natural adaptive mechanisms of species to change.

Scientists have reported that in excess of 1000 species of animals, insects and plants migrate towards the South Pole and the North Pole at an average migration rate of just four miles per decade by the end of the 20th century. Such a migration rate is unhelpful considering that for the past 30 years, the lines that mark the regions have been advancing towards the poles at an average of 35 miles per decade. Assuming that the world’s population fails to take steps to curb the release of green house gases, the rate of isotherm movement towards the poles may double to up to 70 miles per decade.

The consequence of this is that in excess of 50% of the world’s species may become extinct. The first species to be pushed out of existence are likely to be those in the polar climates (http://yaleglobal. yale. edu). CO2, Temperature and Global Warming Global warming is consequences of increase in Global Mean Surface Temperatures and carbon dioxide levels certainly influence the global mean temperature on our planet (Lunine 289).

The global climate is a consequence of shifts in atmospheric processes. These atmospheric processes affect ocean circulations which are exhibited as a feedback on the climate. It therefore follows that if an increase in the concentration of green house gases causes an increase in the earth’s global surface temperature, then in agreement with atmospheric energy balance, the effects must be extrapolated to the surface sea/ocean temperatures and consequently the global climate.

Not all consequences of global warming are bad. There are researchers who have pointed out that in regions that are usually afflicted with extreme winters, global warming may not be a bad thing after all, however this analysis though true, does not provide the bigger picture of events because increased carbon dioxide concentrations will cause consistent warm weather patterns globally hence the net result is a violent weather for bigger geographical locations (McKinney, & Schoch 426).

To put things into perspective an analysis of CO2 changes and subsequent temperature changes is primary in understanding the relationship between increases in green house gases and resultant increases in temperature. To get a glimpse into the gradual increases in the atmospheric CO2 levels, it is prudent to present an illustrative tabulation. CO2 Measurements: April 2009 Figure adapted from; Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide-Mauna Loa, Hawaii. NOAA. http://www. esrl. noaa. gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ Temperature measurements and Carbon dioxide concentrations for the Past 400,000 years

Adapted from UNEP. http://maps. grida. no/go/graphic/temperature-and-co2-concentration-in-the-atmosphere-over-the-past-400-000-years Challenges and Possible Solutions to Global Warming Despite persistent advocacy, measures taken to reduce the increasing green house gases in the atmosphere are still minimal. This level of reluctance in assuming a world green economy is mainly due to the extremely high stakes involved in the complete transition from the predominantly fossil fuel economies to green energy economies.

To effectively counter global warming and eliminate it from the imminent threats to human existence, economies would have to enlist hundreds of billions of dollars to radically change the vital functionalities of economies. The issue of global warming touches on virtually everything. From the skies, the oceans, the winds, the volcanoes, the droughts, the floods, the land to the heavens as well (Wildavsky 341). It raises conflicts between personalities, between nations, between continents.

Global warming has also been under criticism from scientists who believe that the natural rise of green house gases in the atmosphere is the main cause of global warming rather than the oft mentioned human activities. These inconsistencies serve to create reluctance either at an individual level, institutional level or at a national level to adopt measures and strategies that would succeed in curbing the rise of carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere.

The challenges to action therefore lay in the ability of the world’s citizens to understand the implications of CO2 concentrations and with extension the hypothesized rapidity of its catastrophic accumulations in the atmosphere. For instance, the larger the concentration of carbon dioxide, the faster it accumulates and eventually the magnitude of the warming effects. The amounts as well as the speed of accumulation are dependent on several factors that are never made available to persons outside the climatological community.

One of these factors is the CO2 uptake which is definitive of the degree of CO2 absorption in natural sinks like land and oceans. A substantial amount of CO2 emissions originates from natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, excretion by termites, and upwelling from soda springs (Wildavsky 342). It is the man made sources of CO2 like fossil fuel combustions that are often incriminated in atmospheric CO2 rise. Coupled to all these is the residence time of green house gases before reabsoption by natural sinks. However, it is prudent to note that all these factors are interrelated.

The destruction of natural sinks of CO2 in land such as forests, swamps and riverine vegetations directly emanates from human desire to expand their agricultural activities or settlement purposes. Pollution of the seas and oceans directly influences the capacity of these natural sinks to stabilize atmospheric CO2. Coal and petroleum exploration and use in the transport and industrial sectors has been incriminated in the spiraling increases recorded lately. This implies that even in the presence of other causes of atmospheric CO2 increases, human activities cannot be exonerated from the biting impacts of global warming.

Species extinctions; severe droughts and floods; increasing global temperatures; famines, hunger and wars; conflicts over natural resources; poverty and underdevelopment; and general human suffering are consequences that can be averted if the world’s population takes urgent strategic measures not only to preserve and protect the integrity of natural sinks but directly reduce green house gas emissions through adopting energy efficient industrial and manufacturing processes, using fuel efficient green energy transport means and generally welcoming strategies that work towards a better, safer and sustainable world not only for the living generations but also for the generations to come. II. Terrorism Terrorism has grown to become a recognized threat to humanity.

While it would have been a more opportune period in the world to advance the ideals of humanity through justice, freedom and the restoration of human dignity, the world has been drawn to a new phenomenon of terrorism which threatens the very core of humanity. Often a very difficult term to describe, terrorism can be applied with diverse flexibility by different classes of people. In fact, its definition has almost been reduced to a matter of perspective hence “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” (Effarah 134). However, in the 21st century, defining terrorism with regard to different perspectives is almost dying. Terrorism has thus assumed the definition of being any form of a politically or religiously motivated assassination, mass murder and sabotage.

Bioterrorism which involves the use of microbial pathogens as weapons through which terrorists target civilian populations is even graver to humanity. While its primary intention is to produce mass casualties, the desirability of these weapons of mass destruction to terrorists is also due to its ability to create fear and uncertainty in a society. The events following the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers brought to the fore the ease through which anthrax mailings could be used to destroy whole societies. By using the legitimacy of the Postal Service system to distribute the biological weapons, the terrorists succeeded in evading the tight national security structure.

Thus while other forms of terrorism can be effectively combated via the conventional national security structure, the prevention and or combat of bioterrorist attacks can only be done through an efficient and highly functioning public health surveillance system and public education hence improving on the identification and containment of an attack(Kasper et al 160). Biological weapons can either be used in their natural forms or deliberately modified so as to maximize on their deleterious effects. Such deliberate modifications usually involve genetic alteration of the pathogenic microbes to develop antimicrobial resistance, alteration of microbe host range via surface protein receptor changes, stabilization and prolongation of infectivity through chemical treatment and the production of the weapons in the form of fine particle aerosols which are extremely easier to use in strategic attacks.

All these processes are specific to the weaponization attempts of microbes so as to grant them one or more of the following properties: increased potential for person to person transmission; potential to cause anxiety; possession of environmental stability characteristics; little or absence of diagnostic capability, vaccine or treatment; low infective doses but highly infectious aerosols and; the ability of the weapon to cause high morbidity and mortality (Kasper et al 160; Lane & Summer 147). Fighting bioterrorism presents certain challenges. First, any strategy aimed at fighting terrorism must take into account the structures, levels of professionalism, terrorist objectives, levels of violence and targeted populations before an effective countermeasure strategy can be put into place.

Dealing with the threats of terrorism requires greater emphasis on intelligence gathering, application of diplomatic, economic and military pressure on states that support terrorism; limitation of access to terrorist financial resources as well as their freedom of movement, serious cooperation between intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies and stricter legal penalties for apprehended terrorists. In addition to these measures, the general populace should be educated through responsible journalism and health emergency surveillance systems put in place (http://cpo. ajula. edu). While none of these measures can guarantee humanity a terrorism free world, effective counter terrorist measures can minimize the negative impacts of terrorism hence making it possible to guarantee considerable security to the world’s populace. Conclusion The fact that terrorism is one of the greatest dangers to western democracy ever since the Cold War era of superpower confrontation is indisputable. Terrorism remains a pervasive and a global threat.

The general citizenry just as their governments also perceive terrorism as the greatest threat to humanity in the 21st century. From public transport, air travel, public gatherings and to the towering skyscrapers of the worlds business, the threat of a terrorist attack looms. With the prospect of terrorists employing biological weapons of mass destruction on innocent citizens, the prospect of mass murders and genocides cannot be wished away. However, in statistical comparisons, the number of loss of lives from terrorist attacks ranks almost the same as that from bee stings, DIY accidents or even lightening strikes (Jackson 93). Deaths from gun violence and disease afflictions are simply incomparable to terrorist deaths.

They claim millions of lives annually and yet they do not receive the primary concern reserved for terrorism simply because terrorist attacks can cause senseless deaths of millions even in a single attack with a biological weapon. On the other hand, humans are even faced with a much bigger threat than terrorism. Global warming may result to catastrophic impacts on the global population equitably. As opposed to terrorism whose effects are limited to political conflicts among a relatively small number of nations, global warming predisposes whole populations to the haunting effects of large scale floods, droughts, hunger, famine, economic and political instability, wars and conflicts over resources and an increasingly inhabitable planet.

With global warming, the interactions between all physical, biological and chemical components of the planet may cause unprecedented climatic changes which are irreversible. Therefore, as national security measures are put in place to combat terrorism and or bioterrorism, whole populations should take responsibility in reducing the concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere. Works Cited Effarah, Jamil E. Think Palestine to Unlock Us-Israelis and Arabs Conflicts. AuthorHouse, 2007; 134-143 Hansen, Jim. The Planet in Peril-Part 1: Global warming, arctic ice melt and rising oceans will shrink nations and change world maps. YaleGlobal, 19 October 2006. http://yaleglobal. yale. edu/display. article? id=8305

Kasper, Eugene Braunwald, Anthony S. Fauci, Hauser, Dan Longo, J Larry Jameson, J. Jameson, Joseph Loscalzo. Bioterrorism. Harrison’s Manual of Medicine. 17th Edition. McGraw Hill Professional, 2009; 160-169 Lane, J Michael. , & Summer, Lila. Smallpox as a Weapon for Bioterrorism. In, Bioterrorism and infectious agents: a new dilemma for the 21st century. By Ignatius W. Fong, Ken Alibek. Springer, 2005; 147-149 Lunine, Jonathan Irving. Earth: evolution of a habitable world. Cambridge University Press, 1999; 289-304 McKinney, Michael L. , & Schoch, Robert M. Environmental science: systems and solutions. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2003; 426-428

Morag, Nadav. Fighting Terrorism in the 21st Century: An Increasing Challenge. Center for Israel Studies. http://cpo. ajula. edu/Content/ContentUnit. asp? CID=1559&u=5377&t=0 NOAA. Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide-Mauna Loa. Earth System Research Laboratory. Global Monitoring Division. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration(NOAA). http://www. esrl. noaa. gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ Richard, Jackson. Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics and Counter-terrorism. Manchester University Press, 2005; 92-95 Wildavsky, Aaron. But is it true? : a citizen’s guide to environmental health and safety issues. Harvard University Press, 1997; 340-352

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