“Global Warming and green house effects: Causes and Solutions to this potential environmental hazard to mankind”
Global Warming is a widely used term nowadays which refers to the increase of average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere (mainly stratosphere and troposphere) and oceans causing and adverse effect on the global climate patterns. Termed generally, “global warming” refers to the warming or heating up of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans due to various human activities which lead to the release of green house gases. 
Global warming is a more brought up issues in international summits and government conferences as this issue is getting serious every day. As a part of valuing it after realization, various environmental laws were brought into action, of which the most popular law is called the Kyoto Protocol along with some other environmental laws.
It is evident that all countries in this world has contributed to this hazard, some more than the others. According to Reay & Hogan (2012) a greenhouse gas is one of several gases that can absorb and emit long wave (infrared) radiation in a planetary atmosphere. They include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), and water vapor .
These greenhouse gases form naturally and also due to certain human activities. Natural reasons include decomposition of biological matters, forest fires and fermentation. Our main concern will be the human activities. Let us look at a list of human activities which leads to global warming discussed below
· Burning of fossil fuels
· Deforestation of tropical rainforests
· Various Industrial practices
· Enteric fermentation of livestock waste
· Changes in wetland structure
· Landfill methane emissions
· Emission fluorinated gases in refrigeration systems and fire suppression systems
· Agricultural activities like using nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizers
Effects of global warming on Earth
Let us see 10 worst effects of global warming as ranked by the Discovery Channel:
· Rising Sea levels due to ice cap melting
· Shrinking Glaciers: Glaciers are large bodies of ice melting into water which can cause flood also are threatening the biodiversity in Arctic Animals.
· Heat Waves
· Storms and floods.
· Drought: Refers to decertified land. These lands lack important nutrients and every day, therefore plants cannot grow in these lands.
· Outbreak of diseases like dengue
· Economic consequences for restoration caused by natural destructions
· Conflicts and War rising from share of water, land and food
· Loss of biodiversity: refers to the decreasing number and verity of species and being extant from the inability of coping up with the environmental changes.
Measures taken to control global warming
There are a number of measures proposed and taken to prevent global warming, of which some are based on individual awareness, some are public, some are political and others are industrial.
Personal or individual awareness
The individual measures proposed to control global warming, these are not implied by law, therefore there are no obligations rather depends on will. The measures are as follows:
· Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
· Use less Air conditioning
· Change light bulbs: Use compact florescent lamps (CFL)
· Drive less, use bicycles. Also drive cars which are less polluting
· Use less hot water
· Plant a tree
· Encourage other people to conserve energy
Industrial measures to control global warming
Governments of different countries also encourage industrialists to take certain measures to control global warming. The measures are:
· Improve energy efficiency
· Develop renewable energy
· Reduce gasoline consumption for transportation
· Switch from coal, oil to natural gas
· Phase out CFC
· Preserve plants and forests:
· Transfer technology: Multinational industries should also transfer technologies from developed countries to the developing countries to prevent developing countries to use old machines and technologies.
Legal measures to control global warming
There are a number of measures and legislations passed bills to reduce or to take global warming under control. It is to be noted that global laws regarding the control of global warming coincides with the environmental laws and serves to the same big goal i.e. reducing GHG. Below we shall discuss various such laws created and implemented worldwide.
In 2006 the legislature passed and Governor Schwarzenegger approved of it by signing the AB32 the Global Warming solutions act of 2006, which set the 2020 GHG emission reduction goal into law. It advised the California ARB to begin developing early actions in discrete, to reduce GHG while also preparing a possible plan to identify how best to reach the 2020 limit. The control and reduction measures to meet the 2020 target are to be adopted by the start of 2011.
The bill included the following requirements that too needed to be fulfilled alongside the bill.
· ARB shall prepare and approve a scoping plan for achieving the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
· Identify the statewide level of greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 to serve as the emissions limit to be achieved by 2020
· Adopt a regulation requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions
· Appoint an Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC)
· Clean air acts
Clean air acts is one of the environmental laws that were passed in a number of countries stating different facts from each other. This is one of those environmental laws which in turn help the reduce Global Warming
· Clean Air Act 1972 (New Zealand):
This act was passed from the parliament in New Zealand in 1972, later which was replaced by the Resource Management Act 1991 in 1991.The Resource Management Act (RMA) passed in 1991 in New Zealand is controversial Act of Parliament. The RMA promotes the <href=”#Definition_of_sustainable_management” title=”Resource Management Act 1991″>sustainable management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water. The adoption of the RMA was significant for three reasons. Firstly,
· Replacing previous resource-use regimes, such as land use
· Incorporate the principle of sustainability.
· RMA incorporated ‘sustainable management’, as an explicitly stated purpose placed at the heart of the regulatory framework.
Clean Air Act 1956 (United Kingdom)
The Clean Air Act 1956 passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom after London’s great Smog of 1952. It took effect until 1964, and patron by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in England and the Department of Health for Scotland. The Act introduced a number of strategies to reduce air pollution, especially by creating ‘smoke control areas’ in selected towns and cities in which only smokeless fuels could be used. By shifting homes’ sources of heat towards cleaner coals, electricity, and gas, it brought down the amount of smoke pollution and Sulphur Dioxide from household fires. The Act was an important milestone in the development of a legal framework to protect the environment.
· Clean Air Act (USA):
The Clean Air Act is a Federal Law in United States designed to control the national air pollution. It requires EPA to make and enforce rules to protect the public from Air Pollutants. Major amendments to the law, requiring regulatory controls for air pollution, passed in 1970, 1977 and 1990.The 1970 amendments greatly enlarged the federal mandate, requiring complete federal and state regulations for stationary (industrial) pollution sources and temporary sources. The amendments also created new auto gasoline re-formulation requirements.
The Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention in Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a treaty effective internationally which obligates the industrialized countries to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. All UN countries along with the EU except Afghanistan, Andorra, United States, Sudan (south) and Canada are supporting parties of this Protocol. Although the US has signed the Protocol, but it denied to ratify the Protocol and following to that Canada also withdrew this Protocol in 2011.
The Kyoto protocol, in general terms is an agreement that was established in December 1997 after negotiating it’s terms and conditions with several countries. It came into action in 2005 with Russia’s ratification on. 2005.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, the more industrialized nations promised to cut their yearly emissions by 5.2%, by 2012. That translates to a 29% cut in the carbon emissions.
The Main objective of Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol has its specific set of strategies to reach the reduction of emission rates for each industrialized nation and in order to do that, it proposed several strategies
· Restricting in emission levels
· Reduce the emissions from transportation
· Make better uses of renewable energy
These objectives will be practiced in:
· Fuel combustion
· Energy industries
· Manufacturing industries and construction
· Fugitive emissions from fuels
· Solid fuels
· Oil and natural gas
· Industrial processes
· Mineral products
· Chemical industry
· Metal production
· Other production
· Solvent and other product use
· Enteric fermentation
· Manure management
· Rice cultivation
· Agricultural soils
· Prescribed burning of savannas
· Field burning of agricultural residues
· Solid waste disposal on land
· Wastewater handling
· Waste incineration
The Current Status of Kyoto Protocol
Certain countries and regions, including the European Union, corrected themselves by 2011 to meet their Kyoto goals, but some large nations were falling drastically behind. the two biggest emitters of all – the United States and China – generated excess greenhouse gas which overlaps all the reductions made by other countries. Worldwide, emissions accounted to increase by nearly 40% from 1990 to 2009, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA)
An interesting fact tells us that the USA is responsible for 25% of the emissions of the world.
The Kyoto Protocol and the US
USA did not sign the treaty; instead, George W. Bush (Former US president) proposed an alternative plan which would result in a 30 percent increase in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions instead of the 7 percent reduction the treaty requires
The world is in a severe threat from the environmental aspects of it, heating up of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans due to various human activities which lead to the release of green house gases. My opinion is no law or obligation or rule would be able to do any help unless people are concerned and people are aware of its effects on future generation. Therefore the respective governments take charge of the matter in their geographical region.
Undoubtedly global warming, greenhouse effect and carbon and greenhouse gas emissions is a serious matter of concern as far as the environment Is concerned, the environment that we live in. No one wants to jeopardize their own habitat; neither they willing to save it. The ignorance and the negligence of people in small things add a bit to the global climate change. We have already analyzed the causes and measures to improve the conditions. We have also seen the different laws such as the Global Warming Solutions act was passed. The clean air act was created and passed and lastly the Kyoto protocol. These were measures that were taken to save us from the position we are currently in and to present us with a nicer and better future.
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