The Role of Human Activities in Climate Change and How This Is Driven by a Capitalist Society
The enhanced of greenhouse gases is the main reason why the Earth’s climate is constantly changing because releasing an abundant amount of gases through human activities, deforestation.
Some of the heat is radiated back to the atmosphere. The absorption of this radiant heat energy warms the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is the process by which absorption and discharge of infrared radiation by gases in the atmosphere warm the earth’s atmosphere and surface. The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3), Clouds also affect the radiation balance, but they are composed of liquid water or ice and so are considered separately from water vapor and other gases. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, in 2001, the human activity had played an important role in global warming. The main reason of warming due to human activities is due to the burning of fossils fuels and rapid industrialization. Since the Industrial era the amount of greenhouse gases has increased in the atmosphere, leading to increased radioactive radiations produced from carbon dioxide, methane. The concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have increased rapidly. Fossil fuel burning has produced a noticeable increase in carbon dioxide from human activity over the past years. And the other major reason for increase in global warming is due to land-use change, particularly deforestation. However, because of the increasing demand of raw materials for houses and other uses for example – wood and paper pulp, industries tend to cut down more trees. Therefore, the enormous change in the rate of temperature is due to the industrial revolution.
9). To understand this better, it is good that we define global warming and its causes. According to Milbourn (2009), global warming is the projected and observable increase in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. The Earth’s average temperature rose by 0.6 degrees Celsius in the 20th Century (United Nations (UN) Public Inquiries Unit, 2002). The greatest known cause of global warming is the increase of green house gases like carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, sulfur hexafluoride, hydro fluorocarbons, and methane (UN Public Inquiries Unit, 2002). Science research has proved that burning of fossil fuels lead to emission of carbon dioxide. How does global warming happen? As sunlight hits the Earth’s surface, a smaller amount of the light is absorbed to warm the Earth but the larger amount is radiated back to the atmosphere at a longer wavelength than the sun light (Milbourn, 2009). Study shows that, greenhouse gases absorb some of these longer wavelengths before they escape into the atmosphere. After this absorption, these greenhouse gases reflect the heat energy generated back to the Earth. This reflection of heat energy back to the Earth by the atmosphere is known as “greenhouse effect” or global “warming” (Norma, 1993, p. 44). With this knowledge, we can critically analyze activities that lead to emission of these gases into the atmosphere and determine whether they are human in nature or not. The human activities that leads to the emissions of these gases are such as; use of motor vehicles, which emit hazardous gases. Carbon dioxide, which is the principle contributor of global warming, is produced when coal and fossil fuels are burned to produce energy in different applications. According to Milbourn (2009), use of fossil fuels accounts for 80-85% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere currently. Deforestation that is, cutting down of trees also contributes to increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. When man cut trees down and burns them, the carbon that is contained in trees is released into the air as carbon dioxide. Other human activities include farming; the use of fertilizers and other chemicals in farming releases nitrous oxide, which is a hazardous gas that causes about 10% of air pollution (Cynthia & Daniel, 1995). Changes due to land use accounts for 15-20% of the current carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere (Milbourn, 2009).
If humans contribute to control global warming, this world would be cooler and the high temperatures we currently have would decrease. If everybody as one take stand and try to end most of the climate changes that are occurring, this world would be a safer place to live on.
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