Understanding Global warming and its impacts to man.

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Global warming is the long-term warming of the planet’s overall temperature. Though this
warming trend has been going on for a long time, its pace has significantly increased in the last
hundred years due to the burning of fossil fuels. As the human population has increased, so the
volume of fossil fuels burned. Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas, and burning them
causes what is known as the “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s atmosphere.
The greenhouse effect is when the sun’s rays penetrate the atmosphere, but when that heat is
reflected off the surface cannot escape back into space. Gases produced by the burning of fossil
fuels prevent the heat from leaving the atmosphere. These greenhouse gasses are carbon
dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide. The excess heat in the
atmosphere has caused the average global temperature to rise overtime, otherwise known as
global warming.
Global warming has presented another issue called climate change. Sometimes these phrases
are used interchangeably, however, they are different. Climate change refers to changes in
weather patterns and growing seasons around the world. It also refers to sea level rise caused
by the expansion of warmer seas and melting ice sheets and glaciers. Global warming causes
climate change, which poses a serious threat to life on Earth in forms of widespread flooding
and extreme weather.
Greenhouse gases let the sun’s light shine onto Earth’s surface, but they trap the heat that
reflects back up into the atmosphere. In this way, they act like the insulating glass walls of a
greenhouse. The greenhouse effect keeps Earth’s climate comfortable. Without it, surface
temperatures would be cooler by about 33 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit).
Since the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s and early 1800s, people have been releasing
large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That amount has skyrocketed in the
past century. Greenhouse gas emissions increased 70 percent between 1970 and 2004.
Emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, rose by about 80 percent
during that time. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today far exceeds the
natural range seen over the last 650,000 years.
Most of the carbon dioxide that people put into the atmosphere comes from burning and
producing fossil fuels such as coal mining and gas processing, oil and many electric power plants
which also burn fossil fuels. People also release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through
cutting down forests leaving gas to occupy the atmosphere and also as plant materials and
trees decay, they release tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

As a result, millions of people are exposed to Allergies, asthma, and infectious disease
outbreaks will become more common due to increased growth of pollen-producing ragweed,
higher levels of air pollution, and the spread of conditions favorable to pathogens and
mosquitoes.
People also face water shortages which decrease the amount of water available for drinking,
electricity, and hygiene. Shortages also reduce water used for irrigation and this hits
Agricultural output leading it to slow down as food prices shoot high.
Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. Protecting existing forests and
planting new ones (agro-forestry) can help balance greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Changes in farming practices could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, farms
use large amounts of nitrogen-based fertilizers, which increase nitrogen oxide emissions from
the soil. Reducing the use of these fertilizers would reduce the amount of this greenhouse gas
in the atmosphere.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions like and turning to renewable energy is vitally important.
However, the global temperature has already changed and will most likely continue to change
for years to come.
Global warming is increasing day by day and it’s caused by Human actions. However, this can
only be mitigated through preventing activities like burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, gas,
deforestation and allow a fair and equitable transitioning from fossil fuel based production to
alternatives like renewable energy sources.
ELIZABETH NAMAGEMBE.
liznamagembe@gmail.com
ENVIROMENT GOVERNANCE INSTITUTE.