Comparison of Anthropogenic and Natural Climate Changes
Climate change refers to the change in the distribution of weather patterns over a certain period of time; this can be a few years or millions of years. This mainly refers to changes in the weather that are as a result of human activities. Natural climate change occurs as a result of natural causes. There are no external/human-induced forces attributed to its manifestation and it usually occurs over long periods of time. Naturally, the sun initiates global warming. The sun’s warmth causes the production of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane. These increase the temperature of the orbit. This results in a cycle that started long before human beings came into the picture. This cycle occurs over a huge time frame and its effects are not disastrous to the inhabitants of the planet (Hardy 2003). Anthropogenic climate change refers to weather changes that are brought about by human activity. Human beings use a lot of fossil fuels and this ultimately creates a burden on the atmosphere. The fossil fuels used produce carbon dioxide as wastes and this greatly increases its volume in the atmosphere. This is made worse by other human activities such as cutting down trees, factors that disrupt the natural cycle. This results in global warming whose effect is visible across the globe.
Last year, there was a heat wave during the summer season that had adverse effects on individuals. Over the years, there was an average change in the temperature of the environment by 0.05 degrees Celsius. However, the change has been 0.7 degrees for the past 50 years. This shows the impact that human activity has on climate change. If left unchecked, the impact can be fatal (Birch, 2009).
Position on Global Warming
Global change is a phenomenon that is taking place in reality. Changes in the atmosphere have resulted in changes across the globe that adds up to prove it’s far reaching effects. One such instance of this is the increase in the level of the ocean. A result is increase in flooding instances across the globe. This is because global warming causes the atmospheric temperature to go up. The increase in temperature causes ice in the north and south poles to melt. This increases the ocean levels across the globe resulting in flooding. The rate of reduction in the volume of Arctic sea ice is clearly evident, having reduced by a staggering figure of about 15 % in the last thirty years.
Secondly, the temperature of the sea surface in the Alaskan gulf. The temperature of the sea surface in the Gulf of Alaska has been constant for centuries. This has changed in recent times. Scientists have marked a 3 % increase in the temperature of this region over the past thirty years. It has therefore been concluded that this increase is due to global warming.
Finally, there has also been a marked increase in the number and frequency of hurricanes in the Caribbean and South eastern Atlantic regions (Smith 2003). Since 1995 there has been a marked increase in the frequency of hurricanes occurring in south eastern United States, this had been after a period of lower hurricane frequency over a period of thirty years.
Current Mitigation Strategies
Various mitigation strategies are being used in an effort to reduce global warming. One of these strategies is by introduction of carbon taxes. This is a tax that is levied on the carbon that they release into the atmosphere. Companies that produce carbon wastes have to pay a certain amount of money per ton of carbon produced. This financial burden is meant to make companies reduce their carbon emissions, the money obtained from this scheme will also be used to aid low income groups that are mostly affected by carbon emissions.
This strategy is effective as it can be easily administered in the country; this is because it has less initial cost to enable implementation. However, most countries are not quick to adopt carbon taxes. This is because most refer to levy taxes on other energy sources that are easier to administer, an example is taxes on crude oils and motor vehicles.
Motor vehicle manufacturers are also being encouraged to develop engines with higher fuel efficiency standards. If this is done, the vehicles will have less carbon emissions. This will require a lot of research by the motor vehicle industry if properly adopted. However, there are a number of factors that make this method not so feasible. Fuel efficient cars are more expensive than traditional fuel engines; therefore very few people purchase them. This makes it difficult for motor companies to market them and put a lot of emphasis in research according to this.
However, if used effectively, this can significantly reduce the amount of carbon emission since there are billions of cars that produce massive amounts of carbon emissions (Stern 2007). If legislation in this regard is passed, there will be far reaching effects. Motor vehicle companies will have to invest more in terms of research. This cost will be passed on to the consumers and as expected; people will have to pay more for the fuel efficient engines.
Global climate cannot be simply wished away. However, for the economy to progress, certain activities cannot be eliminated. I would propose a law where all companies had to use a certain proportion of clean fuels in their production. For a start, it can be 10 % of total energy requirements by the company. Large industries are the highest producers of carbon emissions and this should be checked. These companies have the financial ability to purchase clean energy sources. The 10% may look small, but given the total number of companies, the effects can be far reaching. The manufacturing industries are major contributors to the economy and I would be strict on them to implement the new policies. This policy should also be introduced in emerging countries where a lot of industries are coming up; they should be made aware of global warming and its effects. Therefore all the upcoming companies will adopt use of clean energy, even if it is by only a small percentage. I believe this will greatly reduce rapid climatic changes and eventually stabilize the global climate.
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