Climate change is an issue which has recently gained global attention because of the real and immediate dangers it poses. Scientists agree that the recent increase in global temperature is largely due to human activities, through polluting the atmosphere with damaging gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. While this is a well- established fact, debate remains concerning the level to which humans are causing global warming and whether other factors are playing a part.
One argument put forward by those who believe humans are to blame is the high levels of carbon dioxide that are produced from human activities, such as burning fossil fuels. Recent studies conducted by climate change scientists have concluded that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased by a staggering 40%, in part due to burning fossil fuels. This is a significant rise when looking at historical records and it is thought to have had a direct impact on global warming by trapping the sun’s rays and causing an unnatural increase in the Earth’s temperature.
In addition, animals and plants that have been displaced or have become extinct due to changing climatic conditions hint at human involvement. For example, certain species which have been accustomed to living alongside glaciers or in specific landscapes where they can collect food, are being pushed out of their habitats and can no longer survive. This could be a direct result of industrialization and a higher demand for natural resources, both of which have contributed to the overall warming of the atmosphere.
Having said this, there are factors other than human activity which has been linked to global warming. As mentioned, the Earth’s climate system, which is made up of numerous processes, is an incredibly complex field. For instance, there are natural causes like volcanic eruptions, which have often been shown to produce harmful and toxic gases as well as ash and dust, both of which work to reduce the amount of light and heat from the sun reaching the Earth’s surface.
Also, solar cycles and long-term patterns of activity are thought to have an impact on the climate. Around 11 years after the beginning of a solar cycle, temperatures tend to rise significantly, only to slowly fall again as the cycle comes to an end. This could be seen as a hint towards a contribution to the recent global warming phenomenon over the last decade.
Overall, the evidence points towards human activities and the resulting levels of atmospheric pollution, being the primary cause of global warming. However, the complexity of the climate system and the various other external factors which could be involved are not to be overlooked. It is therefore important that further research is conducted in order to know the full extent of the problem and to accurately assess the potential consequences of continued human activities. With this knowledge, society might be better prepared to take the right steps to ensure the future safety and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants.