What Is Global Warming ?

One of the biggest problems facing humanity is the increasing temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans, a phenomenon that has become widely known as global warming. While there is some controversy about the causes and effects of this phenomenon there is no doubt among the scientific fraternity that it is actual fact: over the past few decades there have been periods of warming to some quite significant levels, and the fear is that if it continues the effect on the planet could be devastating.

What Causes Global Warming ?

The accept explanation is that global warming has been largely caused by man; the use of fossil fuels – coal and oil for example – in power stations and other sources releases ‘greenhouse gases’ that exaggerate the heating of the earth. This in turn leads to small, but significant, increases in the temperature across the globe. While there is some question as to how much impact man has had on the changes there is no doubt that it is the case; we have in some way contributed to a growing problem for us and for the planet.

What Effect does Global Warming have ?

The problem with increased global temperatures is not that it means we will all suffer drought; on a long term basis this could be a problem, but a more immediate fear is that of rising sea levels. Caused by the heating of the oceans and increased precipitation, even the smallest of increases in worldwide sea levels could have a devastating effect on low lying countries and some heavily populated countries fear that widespread flooding could result in considerable loss of life. There have already been suggestions that an increase in floods in recent times has come about as a result of global warming. Another problem that will lead to the rising sea levels is the melting of the polar ice caps, something that we are already observing in the early 21st century.

What Can We Do about Global Warming ?

The world has thankfully woken up to the problems of global warming and many governments in the developed world have vowed to put a stop to the burning of fossil fuels. However, many developing countries are reliant on such fuels for growth and are reluctant to agree to curbs on their use. The answer lies, scientists believe, in green and sustainable fuel sources – such as solar power, wind power, geo-thermal heating and the harnessing of waves – and in some people’s eyes a drive towards cleaner and more efficient nuclear power sources is needed. In the home we are already contributing by using such power sources, while industry is turning to wind power on a greater level to power factories and other facilities with good effect. There is no doubt that a collective effort is needed to combat the rising problem of global warming as, despite the controversy, it is a fact that we have to live with.