Problems Of Global Climate ChangeProblems Of Global Climate Change

The industrial revolution and increased use of fossil fuels like coal and oil that emit greenhouses gases, have increased in the earth's mean surface temperature, During the twentieth century, an increase of around 0.60 C has been observed. In the past few decades, human activities have increased atmospheric concentrations of green house gases to their highest level in 420,000 years . A growing body of scientific research predicts rising temperatures and large scale alterations weather patterns that will continue through the 21st century, even if we manage to cultural green house gas emissions.

What are the causes of global climate change?

The causes of climate changes are mainly attributed to release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) methane (CH4) and nitrogen oxide (N2O). Carbon dioxide is the most important contributor in green house gases resulting in global warming. Not all the carbon dioxide generated on land due to burning of fuels remain in the atmosphere as some of it gets absorbed on land, for example by photosynthesis in growing plants and in oceans. Cuttings of trees or deforestation would therefore reduce the absorption of carbon dioxide on land increase the amount released to the atmosphere As a result the concentration of CO2 has increase from a 285 part. Per million in 2000 which means an increase of 30% in 150 years.

Similarly other gases like methane (CH4) and nitrogen oxide (N2 O) are estimated to have increased by 145% and 14% during some period.

What are the consequences of global climate changes?

It would result in raising not only the average global temperature and rise in sea levels but would also produce extremes of temperature, sea levels, rainfall, floods and other weather related phenomenon which would lead to natural disasters like loss of islands, coastal areas. Erratic rains would result.There would also be an increased cooling loads for air-conditioning . Melting of ice on mountain glaciers is another major consequence of global warming, resulting in floods.

How much should we limit?

Scientists warn that to avoid the worst effects of global warming, we must ensure that global average temperatures do not raise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To have a good chance of remaining below this threshold, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent must stabilize at 450 parts per million.

Will these changes happen in my life time?

Yes, there is no doubt that climate change will be a significant issue, and possible the central challenge to humankind, during our life time.

How can we limit global climate change?

We need to bring down energy consumption by conserving energy, promoting recycling of materials, energy-efficient practices and technologies. Also fuel switching from coal to natural gas helps in reducing green house gases.

One of the most important things we can do is to have forward thinking policies that favour renewable energy sources, such as solar and biomass (fuel from plant matter and organic wastes) over fossil fuels such as coal used in thermal plants.Energy is very important in today's world. For example, we use different energy sources to generate the electricity we need for our homes, schools, businesses and factories. Electricity "Powers" our TVs, computers, air-conditioners, cell phones and washing machines -just to mention a few .We also use energy to run cars, planes, trains buses and motorcycles. We can focus on starting to use solar energy products. From calculators to watches there are many small solar products in the market. We can even buy solar lights online

These cost-effective solution will not only reduce heat trapping emissions that cause global warming, will also cut other types of pollution that threaten health.
by Dr Iqbal Khaja
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