The temperature of the planet has consistently risen in recent years leading to several adverse long-term consequences. Scientists have termed this as the biggest threat to life in the future due to its intergenerational effects. Global warming has caused the deaths of hundreds of people through severe heat waves, flooding, wild fires, cyclones and hurricanes that have adverse health effects on the population (Eckelman & Sherman, 2018). As a result, the conversation on global warming has taken centre-stage with countries looking for ways to prevent it and safeguard the future of the planet. However, the lack of individual responsibility in tackling this menace has seen a continuous rise in the temperatures with no hope of success due to the limited knowledge on the causes, effects, and way to prevent global warming. This paper explains the causes and effects of global warming. It also provides a highlight of the necessary interventions to reverse this worrying trend.
The major cause of global warming is the increased emission of greenhouse gases such as Carbon (IV) Oxide. These gases result from the use of fossil fuels as the major form of energy. When released into the atmosphere, the gases reach the ozone layer which protects the earth from direct and harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun (McMichael, Montgomery, & Costello, 2012). They destroy this layer leading to the passage of dangerous UV rays into the earth’s atmosphere. The energy carried by these rays leads to a further rise in the global temperatures. Carbon (IV) Oxide and other pollutants also tend to absorb and retain solar radiations thus preventing them from escaping into space. The greenhouse gases also remain in the atmosphere for centuries this continue to trap heat and retain more heat which creating a vicious cycle of climate change that makes the planet hotter.
Global warming has had serious effects on the health of individuals. To begin with, the increase in basal global temperatures has orchestrated the greatest adverse weather events that have caused loss of life for hundreds of people. Heatwaves have increased in number and intensity leading to several deaths. According to Anderson & Bell (2011), there are more heatwaves in recent years averaging at two per year since 2010 and affecting more than 200 million people. They lead to heatstroke and extreme dehydration due to excessive sweating. As a result, the national mortality rate increases by 3.74% in times of heatwaves. For example, in July, more that 6 people died as a result of heatwaves with hundreds being admitted and treated for heat-related complications.
The high temperatures associated with global warming have led to more wild fires in the U.S. Reisen et al., (2015) associated these wild fires to the recent rise in global temperatures.
They cause burns, injuries, and deaths making them a health concern. Additionally, they compromise on the quality of air due to the release of Carbon (IV) Oxide in smoke. Soot also contains other irritants and fine particles that cause a myriad of health problems such as chronic cough, sore throat, pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis (McMichael, Montgomery, & Costello, 2012). These respiratory diseases overburden the hospitals and lead to untold suffering. A case in point the California’s deadliest fire that occurred in November 2018 and caused the deaths of 88 people and hospitalization of hundreds for treatment due to these respiratory problems.
Additionally, global warming has led to a change in the precipitation patterns all over the world. The high temperatures have caused the melting of polar ice caps and reduction in the size of glaciers. This loss of ice has resulted to rising sea levels causing severe storms and cyclones that cause the loss of life (Eckelman & Sherman, 2018). The associated flooding has also led to increased spread of communicable diseases such as typhoid. Additionally, the storms basic amenities such as hospitals, schools, and work areas leading to lack of essential medicines, spoilage of food, contamination of clean water source, and depression due to the associated losses. A good example is Hurricane Katrina that saw the loss of over 2,000 lives, injury to more than 10,000 and destruction of property worth billions of dollars.
The adverse effects of increased global temperatures necessitate urgent interventions to reverse the trend. Therefore, it is important to adopt the use of cleaner energy sources that are renewable as they lead to the emission of less greenhouse gases. Solar, geothermal, and wind power are some of the cleanest forms of energy as opposed to the use of fossil fuels that can prevent further warming of the planet (Eckelman & Sherman, 2018). Establishing a tree planting culture can also help reduce the carbon foot print as trees use Carbon (IV) Oxide in photosynthesis and release oxygen which purifies the air. Additionally, investing in environmentally friendly technologies such as electric and hybrid cars can also slow down the emission of greenhouse gases and subsequently prevent the adverse effects of global warming.
In conclusion, global warming is a serious issue affecting the contemporary world. It results from the increased release of Carbon (IV) Oxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere leading to the destruction of the protective ozone layer. This has led to vast adverse effects on the planet.
Global warming causes an increase in the incidence and frequency of heat waves in the world. It has resulted in the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers leading to a rise in sea levels. This in turn causes severe storms and cyclones that have devastating consequences. Additionally, global warming also leads to more wild fires that cause injuries through burns, respiratory diseases from soot, and death. Therefore, it is important to adopt greener energy sources such as geothermal, wind, and solar power and plant trees so as to reverse this worrying trend.
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- Eckelman, M., & Sherman, J. (2018). Estimated Global Disease Burden from US Health Care Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions. American Journal of Public Health, 108(S2), 120-122. doi: 10.2105/ajph.2017.303846
- McMichael, T., Montgomery, H., & Costello, A. (2012). Health risks, present and future, from global climate change. BMJ, 344(mar19 1), e1359-e1359. Doi: 10.1136/bmj.e1359
- Reisen, F., Duran, S., Flannigan, M., Elliott, C., & Rideout, K. (2015). Wildfire smoke and public health risk. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 24(8), 1029. doi: 10.1071/wf15034