The entire climate change debate symbolizes the two sides of a coin. There is a section of people who believe that the current changes in climate are caused by natural forces and has nothing to do with human interventions. This is the philosophy of natural climate change.
On the other hand some people think that human factors are solely responsible for the climate change happening place. This is the philosophy of anthropogenic climate change.
However, whatever be the logic of both sides, everyone feels that there is being a devastating change in the climate which is not suitable for human living. (Hansen, 2015)
Examples of natural climate change:
- Sun’s Energy: The variation in the sun’s energy output is believed to cause changes in the earth’s climate.
- Orbital Change: Theory attributes that a possible cause of climate change can be linked to the ever changing earth’s orbit around the sun.
- Volcanic Eruptions: Several massive volcanic eruptions have also effected the climate on earth theoretically.(Burroughs)
Examples of anthropogenic climate change:
- Greenhouse gases: Uninterrupted release of greenhouse gases increases heat absorption resulting in global warming.
- Land Use change: Widespread deforestation has lead to changes in amount of radiation being reflected.
- Aerosols: Human Activity is changing aerosol content which leads to changes in radiation scattering.
Global warming – Truth or Myth?
Yes, global warming is taking place. The reasons I support this statement are:
- Rise in Earth’s Average Temperature: Over the past 100 years, there has been a steady rise in the earth’s average temperature with just a lull period in the 90s. The increase has picked up in 2000s which can be co-related to the exponential industrial expansion and booming developing economies.
- Shrinking glaciers: Glaciers in Greenland and Antartica are reducing in size day by day as the temperature as on a rise. Studies show that Greenland has lost 36-60 cubic miles of ice every year in the early 2000s.
- Rise in Sea Level: Studies show the sea level has been rising and it has been attributed to melting glaciers. The global sea levels have seen a rise of 6.7 mm in the last century with an increasing rate of rise(Kearns, 2007).
Global Warming Mitigation Strategies
- Carbon sequestration: It is process in which carbon is captured and intended to be stored for a long-term to mitigate or defer global warming. Storage can be done in Terrestrial biosphere, oceans or underground.
Effectiveness: It will not be much effective as it would only defer the global warming process. Moreover, there is a high chance of leakage of CO2 which will again de-mitigate the process. Also, storage of high amounts of CO2 will create imbalance in natural life like sea flora and fauna, birds and underground water.
Potential Costs: The costs would keep increase year by year. On top of that, the cost of technology would be huge. Hence, it would be a huge financial step.
Policy Implications: This would require a group of nations coming together on a consensus and mutually forming a fund to sponsor this strategy. (Morgan, 2010)
- Clean Coal Technology: It is a collection of latest technologies to mitigate the harmful effects of energy generation through coal.
Effectiveness: It has been very effective across nations and has lead to decrease in CO2 emissions.
Potential Costs: It is a very costly strategy. Energy produced through CCT will cost $6800 per kilowatt compared to $1000 of natural gas and $5500 for nuclear energy.
Policy Implications: This will require bilateral relationship between countries for technology transfer and implementation. It will also require governments to commit to producing clean energy. (Miller, 2011)q
Policies for Global Climate Change
The nations that have to follow a strict regime for climate change are the developing nations and developed nations with high industrial output.
These include: China, India, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and United States of America.
The policy changes would be:
- A Climate Change Group of Nations: A body should be made with most of the nations who officially pledge to commit themselves in stopping this.
- Quantifiable metrics: Every nation should commit themselves on quantifiable parameters like CO2 emission and greenhouse gases etc. for a period of 3-5 years and take actions to achieve it.
- Regular review: A regular review of the nations has to be conducted by this body and any nation not following the commitments has to be pressurized to do so.
- Easy in technology transfer: Norms have to be laid down for easier technology transfer in matters related to making cleaner energy.
Hansen, G., & Stone, D. (2015). Assessing the observed impact of anthropogenic climate change. Nature Climate Change, 6(5), 532-537. doi:10.1038/nclimate2896
Carbon Sequestration, Environmental Implications of. (n.d.).SpringerReference. doi:10.1007/springerreference_301232
Burroughs, W. J. (n.d.). The natural causes of climate change. A Multidisciplinary Approach, 151-199. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511803819.007
Miller, B. G. (2011). Clean Coal Technologies for Advanced Power Generation. Clean Coal Engineering Technology, 251-300. doi:10.1016/b978-1-85617-710-8.00007-8
Bockris, J. G. (2010). Global Warming. Global Warming. doi:10.5772/10290
Kearns, L. G. (2007). Cooking the Truth: Faith, Science, the Market, and Global Warming. Ecospirit, 97-124. doi:10.5422/fso/9780823227457.003.0006