Global warming: cause and mitigation
Global warming refers to climate change that causes an increase in the average temperature of the lower atmosphere. Though global warming has many different causes, it is greatly associated with human activities especially those that leads to release of greenhouse gases. This paper aims at evaluating both the scientific basis of global warming and the role of human beings in global warming. The paper achieves this by comparing natural and anthropogenic climate changes, providing evidence that global warming is taking place, and assessing carbon taxing and clean coal technology as current alleviation strategies for ...view middle of the document...
Natural changes on the other hand include solar changes and changes to the earth’s orbit (Crowley, 2000).
Is global warming taking place?
I support the claim that global warming is really taking place. One of the evidence to support this claim is the recent global temperature rise. According to statistics by NASA most of earth’s warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the warmest years having occurred since 1981. The statistics shows that surface temperatures continue to increase as years proceed (Nakicenovic, & Swart, 2000). Another evidence of occurrence of global warming is the decrease in mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. According to Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, a body of NASA, Greenland lost 36 to 60 cubic miles of ice annually between 2002 and 2006. Antarctica on the other hand lost approximately 36 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005 (Watson, & Albritton, 2006). Decreased snow cover is also another evidence to show that global warming is taking place. Satellite observations have shown the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades ( DeFries et al, 2002).
Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. As many scientists have agreed, anthropogenic or human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are the leading cause of global warming. To counter global warming primarily caused by human activities some policies like carbon taxing and clean coal technology have been put in place. According to Nordhaus, 2007, carbon taxing is a policy that imposes direct tax on the level of carbon dioxide emissions. Putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions through carbon taxing encourages the sectors with high emission rates to establish incentives to undertake research and development and promote innovation especially in energy saving and climate friendly technologies. This strategy is effective since it reduces carbon emissions as firms develop environmental friendly production processes. Carbon taxes also acts as a way of internalizing the negative externality of carbon emissions and can also be used as a scheme to raise funds to be spent on environmental initiatives. Though carbon taxing policy reduces the rate of carbon emissions, it also increases the cost of living. In particular it makes households to pay more for commodities like gas and electricity and also costs businesses more to operate. Besides having impacts on the living standards, carbon taxing also exhibits some problems like the difficulty to measure how much carbon is produced, the difficulty of determining the true cost of carbon emissions on the environment and finally it poses the risk of loss of competitive edge of a company in areas where carbon tax policy has been implemented as compared to where it hasn’t (Nordhaus, 2008).
Clean coal technology
When coal is used as a source of fuel, thermal decomposition of coal generates massive emissions of hazardous...