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The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming

Global warming has become a very controversial issue now that more attention is being put at environmental concerns. Global warming may be considered as one of the top environmental concerns in the current setting. Many scientists and researchers believe that global warming is already manifesting but some scientists claim that global warming is not true. Despite of claims that global warming is not true, data indicates that the world’s temperature is indeed rising and this rise in temperature has created a lot of other environmental concerns.

Global warming can be averted and it should start with eliminating the causes of global warming which are the greenhouse gases. The Earth’s temperature has risen by about 0. 6 degrees Celsius in the 20th Century. To equate, this increase is slightly more than one degree Fahrenheit (West, What is the Greenhouse Effect? ). Global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect. Life on Earth is dependent on energy from the sun but it is estimated that 30 percent of the sun’s heat is reflected back outside the atmosphere by the ozone layer. The greenhouse effect works just like a real greenhouse works.

Greenhouse gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone and methane prevents heat from escaping the Earth’s atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is a natural process and the planet would be too cold to sustain any form of life if the greenhouse effect is nonexistent. It is the excessive amounts of greenhouse gases that cause an abnormal increase in temperature (West, What is the Greenhouse Effect? ). Human acts have resulted in an increased production of these greenhouse gases and more greenhouse gases cause the harmful increase in temperature.

Burning of fossil fuels has caused a great amount of greenhouse gases to be released in the atmosphere. The population is increasing and so does the demand for energy. Energy is mainly produced by burning coal and other fossil fuels and this result in increased greenhouse gas emissions (West, What is the Greenhouse Effect? ). Overpopulation alone produced significant amounts of greenhouse gases since humans exhale carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas. Aside from an increased demand for energy, more population also means an increased demand for vehicles that emit greenhouse gases.

The demand for food also leads to global warming. Farming and land use has been linked to the emission of methane and nitrous oxide (West, What is the Greenhouse Effect? ). Deforestation is another factor that contributes to the greenhouse effect. As more and more trees are being cut down for the lumber, fewer trees are converting carbon dioxide back to oxygen. The number of trees now can no longer maintain the balance between of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere (West, What is the Greenhouse Effect? ). Many people are now becoming aware of this environmental threat.

Even the media and politicians have started paying attention to the issue and are drafting ways to possible prevent and reverse climate change. One step taken at preventing the global warming is the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is a treaty which aims to combat global warming. Countries who have signed the protocol have pledged to reduce the emissions of six greenhouse gases, namely, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur, hexafluoride, HFCs, and PFCs. The goal of the treaty is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.

2 percent from the greenhouse gas emission levels in 1990. The protocol however excludes developing countries like China and India (West, Should the US ratify the Kyoto Protocol). Countries who have ratified the protocol need to make use of several strategies in order to bring emissions rates to the target reduction levels. These strategies may include placing restrictions on polluters, managing transportation and making use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biodiesel (West, Should the US ratify the Kyoto Protocol).

However, the United States under the George Bush presidency refuses to ratify the protocol even as he promised to bring down greenhouse gas emissions when he was still running for president. Bush cited reasons that reducing greenhouse gas emissions to such levels would be harmful to the US government and that the developing countries should also ratify the protocol (West, Should the US ratify the Kyoto Protocol). The Kyoto Protocol is just one step aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent and reverse global warming. Other countries can help fight climate change in their own ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Resorting to more viable and environment-friendly fuel sources and fighting deforestation are two efforts that would greatly help the fight against global warming. The United States should also make an effort to help alleviate the environmental crisis since it is one of the top emitters of these greenhouse gases.

References

West, Larry. What is the Greenhouse Effect?. About. com. Accessed July 5, 2008, from http://environment. about. com/od/globalwarming/a/greenhouse. htm West, Larry. Should the US ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Accessed July 5, 2008, from http://environment. about. com/od/kyotoprotocol/i/kyotoprotocol. htm

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