Mitigationand Policy Changes for Climate Change
Mitigationand policy change for climate change
Global warmingand climate change have become geo-hazard both to humans and theenvironment. Whereas global warming denotes the earth’s escalatingsurface temperature, climate change encompasses warming and itsimplications, such as, drought, rainstorms, and melting glaciers.This means that global warming is almost entirely human-causedparticularly from greenhouses gases while climate change can meannatural or human influenced causes. In their evaluation of more than11,000 journal articles, Cook et al. (2013) show that human-relatedaspects cause roughly 97% of global warming. In this regards, it isimperative to point the differences between natural and human climatechanges and the proliferation of global warming in order tounderstand the strategies or changes best suited to mitigate globalwarming.
Naturaland anthropogenic climate changes
Natural climatechange refers to the variation in the distribution of weatherpatterns for a prolonged time because of biotic processes, volcaniceruptions, plate tectonics, and changes in solar radiation. On theother hand, anthropogenic changes refer to the alterations of thepatterns as caused by human-related aspects. According to Seinfeldand Pandis (2016) greenhouses gases and natural causes affect theenergy balance and radiation of the earth, which alters oxygen levelsand ultimately result in climate changes. Human activities, forexample, clearing forests, burning fossil fuels, and industrial oragriculture activities cause variations in the earth’s atmosphereby increasing greenhouse gases, cloudiness, and aerosols. Accordingto Huber and Knutti (2012) and Seinfeld and Pandis (2016), reports byscientists confirm that greenhouses gases, especially carbon dioxidehave greatly resulted to global warming. The concentration of CO2increased by 100ppm between 1750 and 2005 while the same increased by20ppm in 8,000 years before the industrial revolution, which showsthat human activities have contributed heavily to climate change(Shaftel, 2016). Agriculture, deforestation, and petroleum and coalburning have been the major human aspects that have contributed togases accumulation and concentration in the atmosphere.
Manifestationof global warming
Reports and studies on weather patterns, climatic changes, and theearth’s surface heat provides proof that global warming is takingplace. In fact, physical evidence, for example, glaciers,temperature, sea level changes, and decreasing sea ice infer thevariations in climate. According to Shaftel (2016), the presentglobal warming, mostly triggered by human-related activities isproceeding at an unprecedented rate. Technological analysis andearth-orbiting satellites have allowed scientists to obtain data ofthe earth and the climate change taking place. Seinfeld and Pandis(2016) and Yang et al. (2013) postulate that glaciers provide themost profound pointers of climate change since a mass balance betweenmelt output and snow input determines their size. According toShaftel (2016), glaciers are receding almost universally across theworld including Africa, Himalayas, Alaska, Alps, and Rockies.Glaciers shrink and grow because of external forcings and naturalvariability. Reports from United States Geological Survey (USGS) andNASA show that the retreat of glaciers contribute to climate changesince they regulate temperature and maintain the flow of streams orwater (Melillo, Richmond, & Yohe, 2014).
Rising temperatures also point to the occurrence of climate changes.Since the 1970s, the earth’s surface temperature continues to rise,especially because of greenhouses effect. Shaftel (2016) reports thatsince the development of modern information collection and analysistechniques, the surface temperature was warmest during 2015.Furthermore, the warming oceans correspond to the rising temperaturesas oceans continue to absorb much of the increased heat. Melillo etal. (2014) and Shaftel (2016) report that since 1969, oceans’temperatures have consistently risen with the top 2,300 feet ofshowing warming of 0.302°F. Declining sea ice and increasing sea levelspoint to the rapid climate changes. The use of tide gauge analysis,satellite orbits, and altimeter collated over a long time support theworld sea level variations. The measurements indicate that sea levelsare rising due to the expansion of sea water as it warms and theadded water from melted ice. Reports from NASA and USGS show that seaice is declining at a high rate both in thickness and extent, whichshows the increased warming (Melillo et al., 2014). Thus, decreasingsea ice, rising sea levels, increasing surface and oceantemperatures, and receding glaciers show that climate change israpidly taking place.
Existingmitigation strategies for global warming: Effectiveness,implications, and costs
The course ofclimate change will fundamentally be determined by the implementationof effective mitigation approaches. Mitigation diminishes the humaninfluence on the environmental greenhouse effect and includeslowering gases and particles emissions and increasing uptake of CO2through forestry. To reduce human contributions, carbon taxing andclean coal technology should be cultivated as the best-suitedmitigation strategies. Coal is an essential fuel in most sections ofworld’s economies, but unfortunately, it produces tons of CO2annually (Yang et al., 2013). The World Nuclear Association recommendthe use of clean coal techniques and technologies to avert furtherdamages (Cook et al., 2013). The technology entails making hydrogenfrom water using coal, then burying the by-product CO2 andburning the hydrogen. The technologies include chemically washingimpurities from coal, gasification, and treating flue gas. Bearing inmind that coal is one of the contributors of gas and particlesemissions in the world and a primary generator of electricity, thetechnology is effective in reducing global warming. The technology ishighly costly and energy-sensitive, especially on a global scale. Itis critical to note that if the technology does not becomecost-effective soon, developing countries will continue to burn coalin an environmentally-negative way. This means that the technologywill require capital and massive investments to enable clean coal tobecome competitive. However, climate policies are demanding forcleaner power thus, cleaner coal will become common with countriesbuilding emissions-restricted plants.
Carbon taxingrefers to tax impositions proposed to make fossil fuels’ users payfor climate damage. The tax is a form of carbon pricing charged oncarbon contents. The levy is imposed on industries that use fossilfuel for commercial or residential heating, electricity production,and transportation. The income generated is utilized to cultivateprograms for offering a safe and healthy environment. According toGür (2016) and Huber and Knutti (2012), carbon taxing raises thecost of fossil fuels, which helps reduce demand for fuels like coaland escalate demand for natural gases. Some countries have alreadydeveloped effective carbon taxes on diesel and gasoline with revenuesused to pay for transit and road projects Gür (2016) posits thatthese taxes are the most cost-effective ways of reducing emissionssince they only require implementations and policy changes. Theireffectiveness and less-costly aspect are illustrated by the nature ofthe tax, as it helps address the issue of emission. The taxes notonly decrease the affinity for fossil burning, but they also motivatefirms to look for environmental-friendly energy sources. According toGür (2016), the policy implications of carbon taxing is such that itis greatly easier to administer than most other climate changestrategies. However, the adoption of the policy may prove challengingespecially in getting lawmakers pass a law on cap-and-trade.
Policychanges to stabilize global climate
The mostcomprehensive policy changes to stabilize global climate should becarbon taxing and emissions trading. These changes should be focusedon economic, environment, and energy sectors and would greatly reduceglobal warming through diminishing emissions. An emission fee thatputs a cost on warming-causing gases or particles from all energysources is an effective strategy tool, as it would decrease the usageof environmental-unfriendly energy sources. Additionally, the incomecollected would be used to fund development and research, protectvulnerable societies, incentivize clean land use technologies, andpromote the use of clean energies. Businesses would not only bemotivated to diminish carbon usage, but they would also benefit fromconverting to cleaner energy. Emissions trading would allow nationsor businesses reducing releases below the required levels to utilizeor trade the excess diminutions to offset discharges at anothersource.
Today, global warming is a threat to the environment and the worldcommunities. Increased temperatures, rising sea levels, recedingglaciers, and decreasing sea ice point to climate changes thus,every individual has a role in preventing pollution. Forestation,protection of nature, and development of strategies remainsignificant in reducing discharges, which ultimately stabilizeclimate change. Although natural events contribute to the changes,human-related activities largely contribute to the variationstherefore, involving all the communities in education, development,research, and cultivation of policies to reduce gases and particlesreleases remain the most effective ways to check carbon footprint.
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Gür, T. M. (2016). Progress in carbon fuel cells for clean coaltechnology pipeline. International Journal of EnergyResearch, 40(1), 13-29.
Huber, M., & Knutti, R. (2012). Anthropogenic and natural warminginferred from changes in Earth/`s energy balance. NatureGeoscience, 5(1), 31-36.
Melillo, J. M., Richmond, T. T., & Yohe, G. W. (2014). Climatechange impacts in the United States. Third National ClimateAssessment.
Shaftel, H. (2016). Climate change: How do we know? NationalAeronautics and Space Administration Retrieved 13 September 2016 fromhttp://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
Seinfeld, J. H., & Pandis, S. N. (2016). Atmosphericchemistry and physics: from air pollution to climate change. JohnWiley & Sons.
Yang, J., Gong, P., Fu, R., Zhang, M., Chen, J., Liang, S., … &Dickinson, R. (2013). The role of satellite remote sensing in climatechange studies. Nature climate change, 3(10),875-883.