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Global Warming: Is Planet Earth Under Threat?

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Abstract

More than 25 years have elapsed since it was reported that: “There is now overwhelming scientific evidence to suggest that Mother Earth cannot cope … for very much longer.” (The European, March 19-25, 1992). This paper explains a few of the causes which put our planet in peril and stresses out the magnitude to which we should heed such warnings and act promptly else our beautiful green planet may eventually be sandwiched in a catch 22 situation.

Introduction

Global warming has been delineated as the greatest threat facing humanity and it has become a very major political issue especially to the developed world (Robert O’Brien & Marc Williams 2016, p. 256). What worries researchers, says the journal Science, “is the prospect that we’ve started a slow however relentless avalanche of modifications.” Skeptics however question this assertion. True, several scholars and commoners alike agree that the world is warming; however, they’re unsure of each of the causes and therefore the consequences. Human activities could also be an element, they say, however not essentially the first one. Why the disagreement?

For one reason, the scientific processes that underlie world climate systems are complicated and not absolutely understood by many. Additionally, most if not all teams tend to only give out data which will serve them well like the ones used to show why the temperatures of the earth are rising. Research Question: Is our Planet in A Serious Threat as It continues to Warm Up?

Analysis

Temperature Rise—Is It Real?

According to a recent report of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on global climate change (IPCC), warming of the earth is “unequivocal,” or a fact; and “very seemingly,” humanity is basically responsible for it. Some who disdain this opinion, especially in reference to the human issue, concede that cities could also be heating up as a result of their ever-increasing size. Moreover, concrete and steel (which all have very low specific heat capacities) without delay absorb the sun’s heat and have a tendency to cool down slowly at nighttime and therefore shouldn’t be the principal cause of the warming. Amidst this urban reading, skeptics say, rural areas don’t replicate the trends and might cause a distortion in world statistics (IPCC 2014 Pp. 2, 4, 8-10).

The Greenhouse Effect—Vital for Flora and Fauna?

As discussed above, a typical reason always given for the changes that plague our blue planet is intensification of the greenhouse effect which is a natural phenomenon which is very essential for life on earth- both aquatic and terrestrial. Once energy from the sun reaches our planet, it is empirical to note that more than 60% is absorbed in heating the air, land, and the sea. If it weren’t for this mechanism, the typical surface temperature would likely plummet to zero Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius). Eventually, the absorbed heat is freed back into outer space as infrared waves, thereby preventing the blue planet from boiling. However once pollutants are present in the atmosphere, it causes its specific heat capacity to increase and hence a decrease in the amount of heat it can dissipate and so, less heat escapes from the planet and is trapped. This therefore leads to an increase in the overall temperature of the earth (IPCC Pp. 2-4; 6).

The gases carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane as well as water vapor are the principal contributors to the greenhouse effect. However, the atmospheric concentration of these gases has increased tremendously over the past 250 years, with the start of the industrial revolution and therefore the accumulated use of fossil fuels, like coal and oil. Another greenhouse-enhancing issue appears to be the rising population of cattle, whose anabolic and catabolic processes produces methane and nitrous oxide (EPA gov).

Just Another Fluctuation?

Skeptics of human-induced warming indicate that earth’s temperature has undergone substantial fluctuations within the past. They purpose to the questionable ice ages- a period when the world was purportedly much cooler than it is now; and in support of natural warming, they cite proof that cold regions, like Greenland, at once supported vegetation that prefers tropical areas. Of course, scientists concede that the more back in time they travel, the more their certainty concerning climate change fades (John Cook 2007).

What could have caused temperatures to vary considerably before human influence was a factor? Potential causes embody sunspots and Solar flares that correlate with fluctuations in solar power output. in addition, earth’s orbit moves in cycles that take several thousands of years which have an effect on our planet’s distance from the sun. There’s additionally the influence of volcanic dirt and changes in oceanic currents.

Climate Modeling

If earth’s temperature is rising—no matter what the cause or causes—how can it have an effect on the environment? Precise predictions are excruciatingly hard if not impossible to create. Nowadays, though, scientists have access to powerful super computers some which are even near quantum in nature, that they use to make digital simulations of the climate system. Incorporated into these models are embedded the laws of physics, climate information, and natural phenomena that influence climate (Andrew A. 2009).

Simulations with these super computers assist scientists to experiment with climate in ways which otherwise could not be possible. As an example, they will “change” solar output energy to check its effect on polar ice, air and ocean temperatures, evaporation rates, air pressure, cloud formation, wind, downpour, and a host of other physical variables. They can also “create” volcanic eruptions and examine methodically the consequences of volcanic dirt on weather. Again, they can without any harm examine the consequences of human population increase, deforestation, land use, changes within the emission of greenhouse gases, and so on. Scientists therefore hope that their models can and will become more correct and reliable for better and accurate predictions (Andrew A. 2009).

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How precise though are the current models? As with any computer system it obeys the rule of garbage in garbage out. Much of them depends on the accuracy of the data fed into the computer systems and the amount that is fed into these gigantic machines. Hence, climate projections vary from the gentle to the cataclysmic. Even so, says the magazine Science, “surprises might spring from the [natural] climate system.” And a few have already, like the outstandingly fast rate of Arctic melting, that has astounded several climatologists. Still, albeit policymakers had solely a rough plan of the results of their actions or inactions, they may build choices nowadays that may cut back issues tomorrow (Lauren Harper, 2018).

With that risk in mind, the IPCC examined with all closeness six completely different sets of computer-simulated scenarios—ranging from unrestricted greenhouse-gas production to business as was common to severe restraint—each manufacturing different environmental condition and environmental results. Within the lightweight and content of the predictions, analysts urge a spread of measures. These embody obligatory limits on fossil-fuel emissions, penalties for offenders, a lot of nuclear energy generation, and therefore the introduction of a lot of environmentally friendly technologies like the tesla innovations (IPCC Pp. 25-28).

Methods

Documentary Analysis

The method of research my work is based on could be likened to documentary analysis. Documentary analysis is one of the most used methods of data collection which involves the use Nof exploitable sources like books, articles, internet, reports and other sources which were exactly the sources where I derived my materials for the purpose of my work.

Qualitative Research

This work is also a qualitative research study as my materials were collected through text analysis. The answers to the research question are descriptive in nature haven obtained my materials from various available sources such as course literatures, internet sources, websites, and other scientific articles relating to the topic. Equally, I used important aspects of qualitative research such as the use of theories (as would be seen below) to better analyze the materials I collected.

THEORIES

Realism

From a realist point of view, incorporating extremes and variability into climate change experiments is crucial for understanding and forecasting potential changes in ecosystem functioning and services. I therefore strongly support Thompson T, R.M., Beardall, J. & others (2013 Pp. 799-806) in their call for experiments focusing on variability and extremes in addition to chronic shifts in mean conditions (Jentsch, A., Kreyling, J. 2007 Pp. 365-374; Kreyling & Beier 2013 p. 65-75). Thompson, R.M., Beardall, J. Propose experiments simulating likely scenarios including altered variability and occurrence of extreme events in addition to changes in mean climatic conditions derived from downscaled global climate models. However, the future climate is uncertain and climate projections differ among emission scenarios and among climate models (IPCC 2007). This is particularly true for climate variability and extremes. The call for ‘highly realistic treatments’ is therefore elusive (Thompson, R.M., Beardall, J., Beringer, J., Grace, M. & Sardina 2013 Pp. 799-806) propose ensembles of experimental treatments driven by different emission scenarios, models and target periods of the future in order to identify the potential width of responses. Based on this, a meaningful experimental design could consist of five emission scenarios and five different climate models (well below standard IPCC ensemble displays) for three different target periods and five replications, add a current ambient control and the experiment ends up with 380 experimental units. From a realist perspective, one could alternatively install a regression/gradient design with, for instance, seven levels of mean conditions, seven levels of variability and seven levels of extremes resulting in fewer experimental units (no replications of the single levels in such a regression/gradient approach (Beier, C., Beierkuhnlein, C., Wohlgemuth, T. 2012, Pp. 899-911). Here, one could determine the importance of the single aspects and their interactions and derive response surfaces. From a realist point of view, this piece of work highly suggest that field-scale and long-term experiments coupled with ecosystem models, are best when in combination with highly controlled short-term laboratory experiments, as this will allow for meaningful up-scaling.

Green Theory

A relatively new theoretical perspective, it only emerged around the 1990s. The catastrophic degradation of the environment by Man and his activities has a very long and complex history. However, until the period of European global expansion and the industrial revolution, environmental degradation generally remained uneven and relatively localized. The ‘modern ecological crisis’ – marked by an exponential increase in the range, scale, and seriousness ofenvironmental problems around the world – is generally understood to have emerged solely within the latter half of the twentieth century. However, the escalation in trans boundary ecological problems from the 1970s onwards saw the emergence of a dedicated sub-field of International Relations(IR) concerned with international environmental cooperation, which focused primarily on how natural resources like major river systems, oceans, and the atmosphere can be effectively catered for. This scholarship has since grown apace with increasing global economic and ecological interdependence and the emergence of uniquely global ecological problems, such as climate change, the thinning of the ozone layer, and the erosion of the Earth’s biodiversity (UNEP 2005; Beck 1992 p. 40).

The bulk of research has focused on the study of environmental regimes, primarily from the evolving theoretical framework of neoliberalism, which has approached the environment merely as a new political problem rather than an emerging theoretical challenge. By the closing decades of the twentieth century, however, a growing body of green IR theory had emerged that called into question some of the basic assumptions, units of study, frameworks of analysis, and implicit values of the discipline of IR. The complex problem of global warming provides an especially illuminating illustration of the diverse ways in which ‘real-world’ environmental problems are refracted through different theoretical lenses in the discipline of IR; As we all know, realists typically dismiss the problem as peripheral to the main game of international politics unless the consequences of climate change can be shown to Neoliberals, in contrast, are more likely to offer advice on how to adjust incentive structures in the climate change regime to induce inter-state cooperation.

Critical theorists, however, tend to reject such piecemeal, ‘problem-solving’ approaches that fail to address social and economic structures of domination. As we shall see, it is this overriding preoccupation with environmental justice that unites the Realist and normative wings of green IR theory.

Conclusions

The Present forecasting methods which are used by most scientists “oversimplify poorly understood climate processes” and “simply ignore others,” say critics who also point to the inconsistencies in the computer-generated projections. One scientist who participated in the IPCC discussions said: “There are some of us who remain so humbled by the task of measuring and understanding the extraordinarily complex climate system that we are skeptical of our ability to know what it is doing and why.”

In view of what we know, we can expect mankind as a whole to make an about-face so as to spare our beautiful home—with everyone playing their roles. Moreover, if human activity is causing global warming, we may have only a few years, not centuries, to make the needed changes else the planet may meet mayhem.

References

  1. Andrew A. (2009a), `Quantum Computing, Wikis` kybernetes. Access date 31 December 2019 (https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/03684920910962704/full/html)
  2. Andrew A. (2009b), `Quantum Computing, Wikis` kybernetes. Access date 31 December 2019 (https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/03684920910962704/full/html)
  3. Beier, C., Beierkuhnlein, C., Wohlgemuth, T., Penuelas, J., Emmett, B., Korner, C. € et al. (2012). Precipitation manipulation experiments – challenges and recommendations for the future. Ecol. Lett., 15, 899– 911.
  4. Committee on the Global Financial System, ‘Central bank operations in response to the financial turmoil’, CGFS Papers No 31, Bank for International Settlements (BIS), July 2008.
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  7. IPCC Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers (https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf)
  8. International Monetary Fund 2006, ´Australia: Financial System Stability Assessment’, Country Report No. 06/372, October.
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  14. https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/05/18/climate-models-accuracy/
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  20. Thompson, R.M., Beardall, J., Beringer, J., Grace, M. & Sardina, P. (2013). Means and extremes: building variability into community-level climate change experiments. Ecol. Lett., 16, 799–806.
  21. https://skepticalscience.com/climate-change-little-ice-age-medieval-warm-period.htm
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Global Warming: Is Planet Earth Under Threat? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Oct 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/global-warming-is-planet-earth-under-threat/
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