A Brief History Of Global Warming

A little over two centuries ago, temperatures were beginning to climb at an increased rate. History has since labelled this gradual but continuous heating of our atmosphere and the water bodies of the world, ‘global warming’. To this day, what lies at the root of this phenomenon is still the subject of considerable debate. A close examination of the science and history around global warming can help us to understand what lies behind it and what effects it may have in the future.

Prior to the industrial revolution of the 19th century, the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide remained stable. Evidence strongly suggests that humans have had a part to play in the rise of atmosphere’s carbon dioxide levels, thus accounting for the start of climate change being widely linked to the industrial revolution. As energy demands increased, coal and fossil fuels were widely used, causing a rise in the release of methane, carbon dioxide and other toxic gases.

It was only in the second half of the 20th century that researchers began to link the increase in global temperatures to human activities. A scientific consensus was reached in 1995, when the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared that the “balance of evidence suggests a profound influence of human activities on global climate”. This was further confirmed in 2013 when 97.1% of climate researchers agreed that human activities are the main contributor to global warming.

Since the onset of global warming, temperatures across the world have risen by 1.1°C. This figure may not seem particularly noteworthy, however the effects have been substantial. Scientists have already attributed numerous extreme weather events to global warming, including droughts, floods and increased hurricane intensity. Negative environmental impacts include the melting of polar ice caps, sea level rise and an increase in air pollution. On the other hand, some experts have argued that global warming has its benefits, with longer growing seasons and an extended agricultural reach. Nevertheless, its overall negative effects remain indisputable.

Looking forward, the effects of global warming are expected to become increasingly detrimental to our environment. It is estimated that the average global temperature could rise by a further 5.4°C by the end of the century if the current rate of emissions continue. This would cause the Earth to enter an entire new climate period, endangering various flora and fauna, and making the planet’s environment uninhabitable to millions. In other words, the future of our planet is in our hands.

Tackling global warming requires a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, the world’s leaders need to curb the emissions of toxic gases. To this end, innovative solutions need to be found to replace fossil fuels, such as solar, wind and geothermal energy sources. Secondly, more restriction needs to be put on the destruction of habitats, particularly in countries experiencing rapid deforestation. Thirdly, global awareness surrounding this issue needs to be raised in order to ensure more people are motivated to take action.

In conclusion, global warming is a real phenomenon and its effects are already being witnessed across the world. We must act now, both in terms of launching immediate emissions cuts, as well as increase our understanding of the issues by doing more detailed research. It is only if the global energy mix undergoes a dramatic shift, that we can hope to put a stop to global warming.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

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