Good Essay About Greenhouse Effect And Global Warming
The greenhouse effect is a natural process through which thermal heat from a surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and this radiation in turn is re-radiated in all directions. Part of this re-radiation goes back to the surface and the lower atmosphere, and thus the average surface temperature of the planet is higher. The earth receives energy from the sun in the form of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light, and most of this passes through the atmosphere while not being absorbed. However, there is about 50% of this energy that passes through the top of the atmosphere and is absorbed by the surface of the earth. The surface of the earth then re-radiates this thermal energy (usually the long-wavelength thermal energy), and it is then taken in by the atmosphere, which then warms the earth. The presence of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere contributes to the absorption of this re-radiated thermal energy into the atmosphere. According to the website of Live Science, the greenhouse effect is a natural process. However, with the increases in the amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect has been enhanced, thus making the atmospheric temperature hotter as less heat escapes into the atmosphere. Humans have been seen as most responsible for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, as a result of burning fossil fuels and other human-initiated activities. It is said today that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 315 ppm in 1958 to 380 ppm in 2004. In the website of the Boston Review, this is due to the increase in the burning of fossil fuels whose emissions are released into the atmosphere. The graph of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions through the years is shown below:
Carbon Dioxide Levels in the Atmosphere, 1958-2004
As the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere go up, the more heat is trapped in the atmosphere, and thus levels of temperatures will increase more. Between 1990 and 2012, the total emissions of greenhouse gases (measured in metric tons) increased by around 500 million metric tons as shown in the graph from the website of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) below:
Mitigating the Effects of Global Warming
Each nation must implement a mitigation program that will have activities on the national level, and down to the community level. Governments should focus on designing programs that will lead to independence from fossil fuels for the energy needs of the country by increasing funding for research and development of alternative sources of energy, and legislate on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. This is already being done in many states in the United States. For instance, according to the website of the Governor of the state of California, in 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 32 which requires the California Air Resources Board to create laws and other market tools such that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 25% by the year 2020. There are many government programs and laws that could be implemented in support of this objective. For one, laws on putting a limit on the emissions on specific types of vehicles can be created and implemented. Also, funding for the development of new hydrogen based technologies can be set aside, and partnerships with the private sector could be formed such that the funding requirements are not too difficult or burdensome for governments. Policy making must focus also on the reduction of carbon emissions of vehicles as this contributes greatly to the total anthropogenic emissions in the atmosphere. Countries can do this through limiting what vehicles can be used in their countries, as well as any other equipment that releases emissions into the atmosphere.
At the community level, there are many ways by which the effects of global warming may be mitigated. One main activity that can be easily carried out at the community level is recycling. Old plastic soda and other bottles can be put together and be used to plant small plants that are edible such as leafy vegetables or tomatoes. In some Asian communities, they make use of old tarpaulin signages and sew them together to make bags that can be used for shopping. The young children in schools may be asked to bring their used tin cans, and they can also plant herbs and other smaller plants in these tin cans. They can create hanging gardens in school using these tin cans and other plastic bottles. People can refrain from using their dryers to dry their laundry in the summer – they can hang their clothes to dry out in the sun to take advantage of solar energy. It is also advisable to walk and refrain from taking the car if the distance to be traveled is only a few blocks, thereby reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from the use of cars or any other vehicles. The point here is everyone can do his or her share to help bring down the emissions released into the atmosphere.
Schools can also take part in mitigating acts by requiring students to participate in car pooling and to designate certain hours as ‘earth hours’ wherein no electricity is used, such that overall emissions for the school districts are lowered. It is also best to inculcate ‘green values’ in the minds of these children, while also educating their parents such that ‘green’ practices in school are also performed at home.
What is essential in the case of global warming is that all countries participate in some form of mitigation strategies in order that the total emissions will not increase at a rate that will cause the atmosphere to heat up even more. While all the previous emissions are still in the atmosphere, or are escaping the atmosphere little by little, governments around the world must implement strategy that will not cause any further release of emissions therein. Strategies that will take into account the production of more renewable sources of energy must take precedence over those strategies that will make use of the regular fossil fuels to produce much-needed energy. Population control will also be an important factor in these strategies, as larger increases in population will cause the demand for energy to increase as well.
Governor of the State of California, 2006.‘Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Registration to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions’. Web. http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/4111/
Kerry, Emmanuel. 2007. Phaeton’s Reins. Boston Review. Web. http://bostonreview.net/BR32.1/emanuel.html
Lallanilla, Marc. 2015. What is the Greenhouse Effect? Web. http://www.livescience.com/37743-greenhouse-effect.html
US EPA. 2014. Climate Change Indicators in the USA. Web. http://www.epa.gov/climate/climatechange/science/indicators/ghg/us-ghg-emissions.html