Global warming has been an important environmental topic of discussion for the last few decades. There is an urgent need to find out which phenomena are responsible for this temperature increase, in order to know how to counteract it. Various distinct phenomena are implicated in the issue and need to be discussed in order to understand global warming and devise strategies to reduce it.
Experts agree that humanity’s production of pollutants, such as carbon dioxide or methane, is the most important factor contributing to global warming. These pollutants create a “greenhouse effect” through which part of the heat from the sun is not reflected back, instead retained in the atmosphere. This is especially pertinent in industrial, urban and suburban areas, where human activities are of the highest and thus, more of these gases are produced.
Nevertheless, some other phenomena exist, besides the more obvious ones, and should also be taken into account. One of them, recently discovered by scientists, is black carbon. It is a particulate matter emitted mainly through the burning of fossil fuels. In combination with other substances it leads to an increase in heat retention, comparable to that of oxide pollutants.
Another contributing factor to global warming is land degradation, due to practices such as deforestation. Trees are incredible absorbers of carbon dioxide and when eliminated, large amounts of this gas are released back into the atmosphere, leading to a global increase. Although this phenomenon is global, it has become most evident in countries such as China, India and U.S, who have deforested more than 60% of their land.
As the human population grows, unsustainable methods of agriculture develop, aiming to satisfy food demands. Unusually high soil temperature, amplified by the destruction of native plants, is produced by this activity, increasing the temperature of the atmosphere. Furthermore, water vapour is produced by the burning of fuels, as well as by rising air temperatures, and also contributes to global warming.
All these processes are interconnected and have to be taken into account in order to effectively address global warming. Nevertheless, the main issue remains to find a way to reduce the impact of the pollutants and emissions released into the atmosphere by the human population.
Setting higher standards in terms of air quality and reducing emissions is a crucial step towards global warming containment. Governments could increase petrol taxation as well as incentivize and regulate the use of alternative energies such as solar or wind. On an individual level, each person could be encouraged to recycle, reduce car use and switch to more efficient energy sources. Actions such as these, if well-administered, could lead to the amelioration of some of the phenomena related to global warming.
In conclusion, global warming is a very complex phenomenon, affected by diverse and interconnected causes. Although reducing the emission of pollutants is the main route of tackling this challenge, alternative practices such as increasing the use of renewable energies should also be considered. Humanity has to act now, in order to avoid irreversible and devastating changes.