The radiations emitted by the Sun are short wave radiation and our atmosphere is transparent to these radiations. Some of these radiations are absorbed by the surface of earth and some are reflect back to the outer space. Earth surface acts as a black body. It absorbs the short wave radiation and when gets heated it starts emitting that radiation in form of long wave radiation. The greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, CFC etc., absorbs long wave radiations and trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere which causes the temperature of the atmosphere to rise. The heating of atmosphere has direct proportionality relationship with the amount of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. Our atmosphere is actually heated from below.
In the last half century the level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has dramatically increased by more than two fifths which ultimately enhanced the absorption of long wave radiation emitted from earth surface. Therefore our only available atmosphere is warming up with the highest rate ever. In this Environmental Study we are going to throw some light on the various factors and their respective impact on the environment.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main actor among other greenhouse gases. The human activities are greatly responsible for the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. They emit the CO2 when they burn fossil fuel such as coal, oil and gas. The fossil fuel is burnt for the generation of electricity, transport, and heat. One of the, another very dangerous activity, the burning of trees results in emission of CO2 when we clear land for farming.
Another important factor of the greenhouse gases is nitrogen oxide (N2O). It is mostly produced by the use of artificial fertilizers in farming. Methane (CH4) is produced by the rotten waste and farm animals and it is also the main ingredient of natural gas so may be emitted by the oil and gas industries. The other element of greenhouse gases is the fluorinated gas which is used in fridge and air conditioners.
Greenhouse gases are also produced by the natural processes such as, CO2 is emitted by the soil, volcanoes and wild fires but scientists are in doubt that the frequency of naturally occurring greenhouse gases increasing because of because of human activities.
Now it is no longer the natural world we are living in. We have changed every part of the Earth’s environment. In turns the atmosphere is behaving in abnormal way too. The impact of global warming is already happening in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, North & South America, Polar region and small islands. The major areas where the global warming has pronounced affects are water and energy. The scarcity of water is increasing with the highest rate ever and the problem of energy crises also griping the states in every continent. The unprecedented anthropogenic activities have transformed the whole paradigm of the human needs which leads us to the un-noticed an000000000000....d non-recoverable destruction.
3. Objectives of the Study
There are two main objectives of this study. First is to identify the rationalize plan of action that would help in dealing with water scarcity issue in UK as the drought already poses the substantial threat to the UK agriculture, infrastructure and social cultures. Second is to identify new policy options to mitigate the risks of large-scale power cuts in United Kingdome as the growing demands of fuel from China and India may diminishes the UK ability to access the gas and oil as affordable prices.
The key areas are highlighted with the following policy questions:
- What is the extent of water scarcity in Europe at present and was it there two decades back?
- How successful is the existing water management policy in UK?
- How much dependency UK has on the fossil fuel to meet its current energy requirement?
- The changes occurred in international policy on using fossil fuel for energy generation and transportation in last 2 decades.
4. Literature Review
In 1992, almost every country in the world signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (IPCC). Since then, countries have met every year, to discuss action on climate change.
The Fourth Assessment Report Working Group I (WG1) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007a) has concluded that ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal’, and that ‘discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns’. The broad range of impacts of climate change (IPCC, 2007b) include effects on agriculture, fisheries, desertification, biodiversity, water resources, heat and cold related mortality, coastal zones and floods. These are increasingly linked with significant economic damages, and consideration of these costs is increasingly helping to inform the policy debate (Stern Review, 2006).
All countries have committed to launch a new climate agreement in Paris at the end of 2015. A Paris agreement would set climate action beyond 2020, either for 2025 or 2030. Countries set up the Green Climate Fund in 2009, to transfer green public funds for tackling climate change from developed to developing countries. A significant portion of $100 billion that developed countries have committed in 2020 will be channelled through the Green Climate Fund.
5. SWOT Analysis
The impact of limited climate change in the countries located in higher latitude can be very positive as the average temperature in these countries remains below 5 degree Celsius. The global warming may bring the temperature of these countries to a normal value which may enable the land for agriculture and milder winter may reduce cold-weather deaths. The crop may grow faster as the duration and intensity of photosynthesis process may increase because carbon dioxide is a vital ingredient in the process of photosynthesis, which plants use to grow. The global warming may help in melting the Arctic ice and allow the ships to pass through Northwest Passage which will prove great shortcut between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. Moreover the chances of fishing will also enhance and the Greenland economy will improve for sure.
There are large numbers of weaknesses associated with the Global warming the most important are explained below:
- The human water supply will decrease
- Increase in the fire frequency in the forests
- The agriculture of tropical and subtropical region will be seriously damaged as the night temperature will remain high.
- The death rate may also increase because of severe and prolonged heat waves. The mosquito borne diseases have already increased in subtropical region such as Malaria and Dengue Fever.
Figure 1. Catastrophic Natural Disasters World wide
- The catastrophic natural disasters will increase worldwide as depicted in above graph
- The arctic animal population will decreases or may vanish completely due to high temperature.
- The warming causes the release of methane gas from the arctic region which will contribute to greenhouse warming.
- The intense photosynthesis process in tropical and subtropical region will damage the crops
- The acidification of ocean will damage the marine ecosystems
- There will be severe consequences for at least 60 million people dependent on ice melt for water supply
- The people living in low latitude countries may face poor economic condition
- The cost of damage to public infrastructure will be in billions
- The risk of civil war may increase in African countries
- Millions of people may displace within countries due coastal erosions
The opportunities associated with the Global Warming are not very large in numbers but it does exist. Christopher B. Field, the co-chair of IPCC said “The Climate change can not only help us to deal with Climate change but ultimately build a better world”. According to the government report Climate change brings the great opportunity for the UK businessman as it and countries around the world are increasingly hit by extreme weather. The developed countries exploit the high temperature condition and introduce the innovations using new technologies and come up with the amazing solutions. The natural disasters, like flooding 2011 in Thailand, are enabling the countries to develop their strong management system as Thailand developed its flood and water management. Business opportunities like this are always associated with such events.
There are large numbers of threats associated with the Global warming some of the important ones are listed below
- The irregular weather patterns are now considered as normal because it has already started from last decade. More intense and devastating weather events will be associated with the future weather events.
- Plants may die and animals may migrate to other areas with the shift in the balance of the environment
- It may be severe flooding or severe drought condition in the same country as it is already happening in Africa and Asia
- The complete forests may disappear because of the natural fire causes due to heat wave and continues drought condition
- The human health will be at high risk as they are exposed to diseases
- The increase in rainfall will bring mosquito related diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Fever
- The intensity of hurricanes and other storms will also increase with the increase in oceans temperature
- The Sea level will rise due to large number of polar ice melting
- The coastal areas will always be at greatest risk
- It will be very difficult for the plants to survive in high temperature regions
- The shortage of food may lead to law and order situation in the country
- The unexpected streak of sever heat may start frequently damage human, animals and plants
- More number of death will occurs due to heat stroke events
- More frequent Wildfire may double the effect of greenhouse gases
- Severe precipitation may cause frequent flash flooding events in the country
- More powerful hurricane and summer storm may develop
- The duration of season will become unpredictable it will be longer/shorter season year after another
Figure 2.Views on Global Warming
- The most significant impact will be on crops. Very few crops will survive in the high temperature condition which will cause food processing industry insane
- The economy of the countries will be greatly affected
- The coral reef are going to be affected which in will intern affect the entire ecosystem
- The entire food chain could be disrupted and enormous consequences could follow
- The pure air would not be available to breath and high amount of carbon dioxide will cause emergence of anonymous diseases
- The impact of Global Warming will first be felt in the Animals
- The quality of life will no longer be there as the heat wave or severe precipitation will not allow us to enjoy the moderate weather which we generally take for granted
- The storm, floods, earth quacks, wild fires and other natural disasters would diminish half of the earth’s population
- The fresh water supply will greatly diminish with Global warming
6. Government Need to Take Step
There are some very important steps every government need to take to mitigate the situation developing because of the Global warming.
a). Fossil Fuel Burning
The use of fossil fuel in generating energy, running the industries, transportation and agricultural machineries need to be cut off to minimum. The use of latest technology can help in lowering the greenhouse gases emissions. The hybrid cars are good addition in the transportation industries and it needs to be made available to general public. The hydraulic dams should be used for the electricity generation. The power generation companies running on the coal, petrol or gases needs to be shifted to electricity which are made from hydraulic or other alternative energy sources.
b). Energy Mix
Instead of completely relying one source like coal or oil other sources also needs to be utilized like solar plants, wind mills can positively contribute to the present situation. The use of latest technology in generating the energy from solar panels should be made the center of attention.
c). Decisions on Qualitative and Quantitative Data
The meteorological offices nowadays has the large number of automated recorded data sensors which can provide the detailed statistical data about the past and number of computer software are available to extrapolate that data and analyze the expected situation in future. The quantitative data may serve the purpose better. The Global Forecasting Models performances are very much reliable nowadays and hundreds of models are run multiple times on daily basis to produce forecast.
d). Contributing parties to the research
The professional meteorologist, students, professors or universities and officers of national disaster management cells are the people who are directly involved in daily weather monitoring, research or observations. They can contribute very well to the existing situation and may greatly help in devising the policy for future.
National government have huge powers to cut the carbon emissions. They set the national law, standard and guidelines which drives decisions by local government, businesses and citizens. The anthropogenic activities of human are the great responsible for polluting the Earth’s environment. The life style of each individual also contributes towards the global warming. The shift towards the artificial culture is another great challenge which needs to be overcome. The burning of fossil fuel needs to be restricted to its minimum and plantation should be enhanced worldwide.