The effects of global warming resulting in climate changes have affected large part of the world in terms of agriculture output health hazards and quality of life.
It has been documented that the global warming mean surface temperature for 2002 is 0.50 C above 1961- 1990 annual mean value. Year 2002 was seen as second warmest year next after 1998.
Extremely high temperature combined with dry winds has been noticed in many countries while Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria have seen severe winter in the last four decades. Countries like France and Canada have under gone the extreme summer temperature leading to deaths. In the process of fighting this global warming phenomenon, the Kyoto Protocol assumes significance. The International Delegates from all 165 participating countries had agreed to the full set of rules requiring these countries to scale back emission of carbon dioxide and other green house gas by an average of 50% from 1990 level to 2012.
The effects of global warming resulting in climate changes have affected large part of the world in terms of agriculture output health hazards and quality of life. Even coral reefs in the South East Asia Islands have been damaged substantially leading to environmental problems within the ocean.
Environment Transitional Hypothesis which is reflected in the world development report of World Bank (1992) mentions that environmental degradation has led to economic growth but it will again make a case for climbing up strong measures in environmental field. The European Union's decision for carbon trading program also reflects the need for maintaining the carbon level by trading of pollutants between the surplus and deficit countries with reference to the pollution level caused by carbon. The instances of droughts, wild fires, dust storms, heat waves and health problems like dengue, West Nile, encephalitis are all various facets and expressions of the global warming process leading to habitats degradation, our-land mass distortions. The WHO (World Health Organization), has reckoned the effects of this phenomena and has included environmental health as a part of the state of health.
Experts world over are continuously trying to analyze and study the global phenomena and in doing so specific area studies about the health problems and effects of eco-system and its implication like malaria are also being conducted for program and policy interventions. Concepts of clean energy technologies are gaining ground and studies on air craft cruise altitude and the contrail formation known as vapor trails are also being conducted to reduce green house effect in the atmosphere. The standards of exhaust emission from the heavy duty vehicles and using of wind energy as a tool of economy development are also some of the areas which are being explored as a result of this phenomenon.
Unless global temperature is controlled, global warming is arrested, the problems of food security due to reduction in agricultural productivity as a result of elevated temperature are not going to diminish. Already, agriculture has become vulnerable in the Canadian Prairies and Portugal where precipitation and wind movements have undergone radical change. The same impact of climate change is felt in Mexico which relies on rain-fed agriculture. In Colombia, instances of vegetation fires have been reported from the Savanas. All these regions specific experiences and events which have a terrible impact on productivity, quality of life or health have activated the debate now for bringing down this global warming through controls, regulation and program. Whether it is vector borne diseases like Malaria, Dengue or the drying of crops or rise in sea waves or increase in spells of heat waves; all these have a common origin to carbon accumulation and uninterrupted fiddling with eco-system and, therefore, a link has to be established between global climate contemporary science and the Government policy for effective solutions.
Renewed interest in Photo voltaic solar energy application has started which may lead to new concept of solar cell market for quality uses and controlling the green house effect. USA as a leader country needs to put its best efforts in such a gigantic battle against global warming through its day to day actions pollution particularly because it has not subscribed to Kyoto Protocol. At the same time, priority has to be given to the water resources management, agriculture in various resources management, forest resources human health management and eco-system management in order to cope up with climate changes and neutralize the climate impact and also carbon concentration which is contributing to depression of the eco-system formation of green house gas and leading to the process of warming even under the ocean water.
The need for awareness, education and extension among the youth particularly the students has to be stepped up and renewed energies reoriented to new methods, new equipments and new programs have to be stepped up to contain this new Frankenstein which has turned worse than a monster to humanity. The message for all and sundry is that, the same human beings who contributed to the warming of our mother earth have to join minds and hands to make this world cool again and make our lives on this Planet, better, safer and richer.
Rising global temperature is a fact of life. It is expected to raise sea levels, change precipitation systems and affect local climate conditions.
The mother earth lives and breaths with us. Its flora and fauna sub serve the human beings who are all part of the great eco system. By disregarding her needs and laws of nature since long, we have all put our planet to a state of predicament and jeopardy.
This threat is real and one has to explore different options and opportunities to get rid of this threat and work towards a livable and happy world.
It is expected to raise sea levels, change precipitation systems and affect local climate conditions. This is again going to have ripple effect on crop yields, forest resources, water supplies and alter balance of nature- All these would affect health of humans and animal life and other types of ecosystems. Deserts may expand while national parks may probably shrink. The impact of human disregard for the climate system is serious indeed. The green house gases that trap heat, include water vapor, CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) and Ozone. The scenario speaks of our neglect and careless use of the environment. Added to this gigantic problem is the one caused by Industrial gases like fluorine, chlorine and bromine which are also greenhouse gases. CFCS and hydrochloro fluorocarbons (HCFCS) and halons also deplete Ozone layer.
It is estimated that pollution releases 60 million tons of CO2 daily and CFCS trap 12000 times the heat trapped by CO2. Human Survival is thus increasingly threatened by the bio degenerative consequences of industrial and technological society. One can visualize the depletion of aquifers and water resources, decreasing of forest covers, poisoned food, impure air to breathe and water space shrinkage and also the climatic extremes like hurricanes, floods, droughts, dry winds, warming of atmosphere etc. In USA more intense rainstorms, drier soils and warmer weather are projected but all these are again dependent on quantity and duration of rains. It is also reported that CO2 promotes growth of invasive weeds, more than it stimulates crops and reduces the nutritional value of grass lands.
Several factors contributing to this greenhouse gas situation apart from warming the earth have also led to rise of epidemics, vector borne diseases, and spread of malaria, dengue, leading to morbidity. The earth is warming at an alarming rate and the average global temperature has risen by 0.6 degrees Celsius in one century. This intense temperature has affected us and spun off problems in Micro ecosystems, damages to coral reefs and the climate extremes of hot and dry winds, desert storms, sea wave rise which have become super sized.
Year 2002 has been seen as second warmest year next after 1998.
Extreme high temperatures combined with dry winds have been noticed in many countries while in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria winters have been very severe. France and Canada have undergone extreme summer temperatures leading to many instances of mortality and morbidity. Instances of droughts, wild fires and health problems like dengue, West nile encephalitis are all various facets and expressions of the global warming process leading to habitats degradation and air - land mass distortions. The WHO has also reckoned the wholesomeness of this problem. Unless global temperature is controlled, global warming arrested, the problems food security are not going to be contained. Agriculture has become vulnerable in Canadian Prairies and Portugal where precipitation and wind movements have undergone change. The El Nino impact is causing weather stress in Atlantic Ocean leading to erratic rainfall. The same impact is felt in Mexico principally rain fed. In Colombia instances of vegetation fires are reported. All these region specific events are a part of the same process of global warming affecting our life, health and happiness.
The process of global warming has brought in its trail transnational environmental issues, extreme climatic swings and raised debates on interface with natural resource and energy management. Experts all over the world have now started focusing on energy efficient devices, alternate fuel strategies, and clean fuel technologies. Studies on air cruise at high altitude causing vapors trail (contrail formation) are being done to reduce green house effect. Standards of exhaust emission from heavy duty vehicles, using of wind energy as non polluting alternative other than Bio- diesel fuel, and recycling of agricultural waste as alternatives to oil fuel are being seriously pursued.
The Montreal protocol had addressed itself to the Ozone depleting substances while the Kyoto protocol was signed by 165 countries which revolved round the issue of bringing down CO2 emission levels by an average of 5 per cent from 1990 to 2012. USA though not a signatory to Kyoto protocol firmly believes that economic development is the key to protection of global environment. It has launched climate change Technology initiative under the Framework convention of UNO, and started Research programs in 2001, to reduce projected growth in emissions in cost effective way. USA has announced reduction of green house gas intensity by 18%, over next decade by combination of voluntary, incentive based and mandatory measures. The New Energy policy would now aim at improved efficiency and cleaner fuels while sequestration technologies would promote economic and environmentally sound methods to capture and store green house gases. President of USA has declared Western Hemisphere initiative, aimed at improved energy efficiency for vehicles, buildings and appliances; development of hydrogen fuels, renewable technologies and expanded use of clean fuels. Even tax incentives have been built into the NEP and Budget for 2003 to promote renewable technologies.
USA is the largest user of energy per-capita and CO2 from fossil fuel combustion has been the dominant contributor of USA green house gas emissions in 1999, registering a growth of 13 percent between 1990 - 1999 Fuel combustion, nitric acid production processes have also contributed to nitrous oxide emissions. All these have prompted the Govt. to go for enhancement standards in emission reduction, creation of transferable credits for emission reduction and tax incentives for investment in low emission energy equipments.
Since climate change is a long drawn problem over decades, it can't be reversed overnight.
But USA being the principal contributor to CO2 emissions has to engineer, promote and develop technologies by use of research and development funds. The Environment Protection Agency has to further promote the Technology Transfer programs for both Hard and Soft Technologies (equipments and expertise) to reduce vulnerability and enhance public understanding and awareness of climate change by several methods. The formation of American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) for achieving Renewable energy component up to 30% by 2020 is a welcome step. Deploying renewable energy in agro sector through waste conversion and asking large companies to increase their use of renewable energy to stabilize costs, are the right remedies. Bio fuel industry may thus see a revival and add to revenue sources by sale of ethanol.
Green house gas inventories need to be prepared and monitored.
Private agencies need to be partnered and roped in under the auspices of UN Framework Convention on climate change. Clean cities program sponsored by US dept of energy need replication, as to encourage use of Alternate Fuel Vehicles (AFV) and obtain energy security and environmental quality. With demand for Energy to climb up by 40 percent by 2025 and the need to bring an end to hazardous dependence on imported oil, there is a strong case for producing liquefied natural gas by collaborating with Russia which has 1700 trillion cubic feet, by networking pipelines and giving benefits to Russia, technology transfers can take place. In the similar manner cellulose ethanol and Bio diesel using wastes as feed back can work wonders through coalitions of tree huggers and do-gooders. Since travel growth has exceeded improvements in energy efficiency, the need to lighten the vehicles to stop 80 percent Carbon emissions is acutely urgent too,
Action needs to be taken at every level to reduce, avoid and redeem the problems and understand them as well.
Technology transfers, cooperation at global and regional levels for use of alternate fuels and recycling of waste as bio fuel, and utilizing huge resources of gas by new LNG technologies have to be promoted. USA still has to become world leader like Japan in PV manufacturing, China in solar heating, Brazil in bio fuels and has to focus on new technologies, promote new partnerships, research and assistance and tell the whole world about the costs of conventional technology and create a world climate of confidence to face this global challenge and make freedom meaningful. The need to make men aware, educated and rise up to occasion for new methods, strategies and new applications is top most.
The late President Mr. Carter's dream of cars being powered by Hydrogen fuel and 20 percent energy use from Sun by 1985 has not come true. The job of building a vibrant century ahead through research and Development, cooperation and efficient use of power, and renewable Energy use and moving away from pollutants, (that blacken the face of mother Earth which make her cry) is still half done and everybody now should not think that some body else would do it. It is we only and all of us have to do this.
About the Author: Salil Nanda is pursuing Graduation in the field of Bio-Medical Sciences from a university in USA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org