Cause Of Global Warming

The Cause of Global Warming is a complex and controversial subject. Here an attempt is made to present the subject in simple terms.

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To understand the …

…“Cause of Global Warming” …

we must first of all understand what is meant by …

…“Global Warming”.

Global warming in simple terms refers to the increase in the average temperature of our planet earth.

Over the last 100 years it has risen by nearly 1° C.

While detailed recorded temperatures since 1880 are available at NOAA (National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration), other temperature records taken by different methods like satellite temperature records and the records taken over the past few centuries give us an idea of the changing temperature trends over time.

  

From these records we can see that over the past several centuries average global temperature has been rising and falling over different time periods due to natural causes.

But as per IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – report:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal and

  • Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (human) greenhouse gas concentrations
  • Let us try to find out the answers to the few questions that may arise in our minds:

    Q : Why and how has this happened?

    A : Following the industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, humans have made tremendous progress in their standard of living.....

    ….as a result of which, we can see an enormous difference in the living standards from the earliest times to the present times.

    The earliest times represented an age of unending struggle for survival against the harsh vagaries of the nature while the present times represent a highly educated, civilized society living in a comfortable setting.

    This is due to the:

  • enterprise,

  • leadership and

  • propensity to learn new techniques
  • among a host of positive parameters exhibited by the humans during the past several centuries to overcome the difficulties imposed on them by the nature and come out successfully.

    One of the techniques learnt this way is

    Productivity,

    by which humans achieve maximum output while utilizing

    minimum quantity of various resources.

    This became a cause of global warming.

    Thus raw materials like oil were imported from oil rich countries and labor was "imported" from less developed continents like Africa or Asia, since they were cheaper as compared to the locally available raw materials or labor.

    While economically this practice of utilizing low priced raw materials for financial development over the past few centuries was necessary for improving the viability and financial success of business entities, such practices caused environmental pollution in different sectors.

    Q : What are the anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations?

    Following the industrial revolution,

  • agricultural,

  • industrial,

  • transportation and

  • land use activities underwent rapid changes.
  • Emphasis changed over to more and more

    mechanization and automation

    as compared to labor intensive way of working prior to the industrial revolution period.

    We can consider such change - that is the change to:

    mechanization or automation or

    the emphasis of technology

    as the chief cause of global warming.



    Let us look at how these have come about:

    Agriculture involves the production of plants, rice, wheat and other products from the soil like cotton as also the growth and maintenance of animals like cows, hogs, and sheep and chicken among others.

    Agricultural practices changed from subsistence farming for a single family consisting of operations like

  • sowing,

  • tilling,

  • maintaining crop management like

  • single crop to multiple crops and

  • crop rotation to
  • large scale farming and on to

  • industrial farming and

  • agribusiness.
  • When agricultural activities changed over to industrial farming methods, they created a vast variety of animal related activities such as

  • aquaculture,

  • animal husbandry,

  • poultry,

  • veterinary science etc
  • yielding huge outputs due to the application of modern technologies like using

  • tractors,

  • chemical fertilizers,

  • organic farming,

  • pesticides,

  • agricultural research,

  • genetic engineering,

  • mechanization and

  • economies of scale operations.
  • If the industrial activities of all the other industries are added to this, we can understand the total picture.

    The result was the production of several man-made or anthropogenic "Greenhouse Gases" such as

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2),

  • Methane (CH4),

  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O),

  • Hydro Floro Carbons (HFCs),

  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs),

  • Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) etc.
  • All such industrial activities require :

    1. Electrical power:

      Power is generated by using fossil fuels like:

      1. Coal,
      2. Oil and
      3. Natural Gas

      which are rich in carbon and hence production of power generates greenhouse gas like CO2.


    2. Infra structure:

      Infra structure requires land availability to accommodate:

      1. Factories,

      2. Commercial Premises,

      3. Warehouses,

      4. Government Offices

      5. Defense, Police and other security related premises

      6. Residential premises for the people running

        1. Industries,

        2. Schools and Colleges,

        3. Universities, Schools and other education
          related administration bodies

        4. Hospitals and other medical related premises,

        5. Entertainment centers

        6. and a vast variety of other structures.

      This necessitated a land use change from rural settings to urban settings, since towns and cities had to be created to accommodate all such infra structure.

      The result was deforestation of forests to create the land for the structures.

      Trees absorb carbon dioxide and so by cutting forests several tons of carbon dioxide get released into the atmosphere.

      This leads to another cause of global warming.


    3. Transportation:

      To carry people and materials from place to place.

      This requires

      1. Vehicles:

        1. Cars,

        2. Vans and Mini Vans

        3. SUV's

        4. Buses

        5. Passenger Trains,

        6. Planes

        7. Containers,

        8. Trucks and

        9. Pick Up Vans.

      2. Infra structure

        1. Roads

        2. Expressways

        3. Railway networks

        4. Bridges,

        5. Flyovers,

        6. Airports,

        7. Automatic Signalling System.

      These vehicles use petrol and diesel, which again being rich in carbon become the sources of greenhouse gases.

      They emit carbon dioxide as also carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and other hydro carbons through the exhaust pipe into the atmosphere.

      This is due to the burning of the air and petrol mixture in the engine of the petrol driven cars or diesel only in diesel driven vehicles.

      Other causes for cars to emit carbon dioxide will include:

      1. poor engine tuning,

      2. increased load on engines due to the usage of air-conditioning and power steering,

      3. improper tier pressures etc

      since under these conditions the car has to use extra energy to perform satisfactorily, which in turn will mean more usage of petrol adding to the release of more carbon dioxide.



    Understanding the cause of global warming is the first big step in finding out the ways and the means to solve the problem and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    We shall do it in the near future.


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