Global warming or climate change has today become a major threat to the mankind. The Earth’s temperature is on the rise and there are various reasons for it such as greenhouse gases emanating from carbon dioxide ($CO_2$) emissions, burning of fossil fuels or deforestation.
Impact of Greenhouse Gases
The rise in the levels of carbon dioxide ($CO_2$) leads to substantial increase in temperature. It is because $CO_2$ remains concentrated in the atmosphere for even hundreds of years. Due to activities like fossil fuel combustion for electricity generation, transportation, and heating, human beings have contributed to increase in the $CO_2$ concentration in the atmosphere.
Global Warming: A Gradual Phenomenon
Recent years have been unusually warm, causing worldwide concern. But the fact is that the increase in carbon dioxide actually began in 1800, due to the deforestation of a large chunk of North-eastern American, besides forested parts of the world. The things became worse with emissions in the wake of the industrial revolution, leading to increase in carbon dioxide level by 1900.
Cause of Concern
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global temperature is likely to rise by about 1-3.5 Celsius by the year 2100. It has also suggested that the climate might warm by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years.
Impact of Global Warming
The sea levels are constantly rising as fresh water marshlands, low-lying cities, and islands have been inundated with seawater.
There have been changes in rainfall patterns, leading to droughts and fires in some areas, and flooding in other areas.
Ice caps are constantly melting posing a threat to polar bears as their feeding season stands reduced.
Glaciers are gradually melting.
Animal populations are gradually vanishing as there has been a widespread loss of their habitat.
As per Kyoto protocol, developed countries are required to cut back their emissions. There is a need to reduce coal-fired electricity, increase energy efficiency through wind and solar power, and also high efficiency natural gas generation