Op-ed

Climate change not a myth

 

 

 

Hamza Jaffry

Global warming is a term on the lips of many people these days. Just what is global warming? First of all, a definition: Global warming is a perceived increase in temperature around the world.

Some people believe that global warming is a myth. They don’t believe the environment is in danger. Global warming is not just a theory, it is real and it is happening now. The temperature of the Earth is rising, the ozone layer is decreasing, we are trapping increased heat in the atmosphere and sooner or later a number animal species will become extinct and human health will be at risk. Across the globe there have been increases in droughts, hurricanes, floods and unusual weather occurrences that hurt crops, destroyed homes and have taken lives. The temperatures in 2012 have been the warmest since records started to be kept in 1880. The last century has seen the temperature of the Earth rise because of the excessive use of fossil fuels that have made a hole in the ozone layer.

There are a group of scientists that meet in London to discuss the Earth and what is in store for the future of the planet. The Planet under Pressure Conference (PUP) has concluded that the Earth is coming to the point where a recovery from global warming will not be possible. They believe that by 2100 the temperature will rise by 6 degrees Celsius (42.8 degrees F) if gases continue to rise without control. This would result in the loss of ice sheets and rainforests. The tropical rainforests produce 40% of the world’s oxygen.

It is important to know what causes global warming if it is a fact. The climate experts of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by United Nations (UN) in 1988, concur that global warming is, at least, in part, caused by greenhouse gases. Gases like carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride, methane and sulfurous oxide are called greenhouse gases (GHGs). They are called GHGs because, like the glass panes of a greenhouse, they allow the ultraviolet radiation from the sun to enter the atmosphere of the earth but do not allow it to escape when it is reradiated by the earth as infrared radiation. The GHGs keep radiating the infrared radiation back to the earth, thereby raising its temperature.

Global warming would not only affect the animals on Earth but also the humans. The world will see a dramatic change over the next 100 years unless we try to make changes and do our part to conserve the planet.

Barack Obama said, “All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.”

He refers to global warming as a “man-made disaster.” I believe this statement truly reflects what is happening to the planet. We as humans have put ourselves in this alarming position and now we must suffer the consequences that lie ahead of us unless action is taken immediately. Some of the effects we may be able to reverse but some we will never be able to return from. Why it that some people cannot believe that climate change is real? World leaders and global scientists all point to the dangers that we will face as a result of global warming. The argument is too strong to be ignored any longer.

Industrialization not only leads to more emission of carbon dioxide, it also leads to more deforestation. Many industries need timber for construction and wood for paper. Deforestation leads to less absorption of carbon dioxide by trees. Consequently, every new year, there are fewer trees to absorb carbon dioxide. The unabsorbed carbon dioxide, in turn, goes up to trap more heat. This process certainly adds to warmth in the planet.

Moreover, the global temperature gets increase from another side. Ozone gas, which forms a gaseous blanket around the atmosphere, filters the ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth. However, the industrial emissions of gases like methane and carbon tetrachloride have caused holes in the belt. These holes are reported to be as big as the continent of Antarctica. These holes lead to increasing of the temperature b letting the UV rays enter the earth unfiltered. The unfiltered UV rays can cause damage to animals and plants. When the hole gets bigger, the rays will also affect humans.

The rise in temperature is evidenced by melting glaciers, recurrent floods, and rising sea levels. This rise is caused by human industrialization and deforestation. In order to save the green planet from being uninhabitable for us, we, as individuals and nations will have to cut down carbon emissions. We will also need to reduce emissions of other harmful gases that deplete the ozone layer. We need to reforest our planet to make it habitable for the future generations.

About the author

Mian Bilal

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