Global warming has been a source of worry to the international community to the extent that starting from 1995, parties to the Kyoto Protocol have met annually to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Also known as climate change, this global warming thing is the rise in average surface temperatures on Earth. The global community’s worry about global warming is well founded on the fact that it melts the ice in the polar regions of the earth and thereby increases the sea level in threat of the coastal cities of the world. In this regard, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) quoted in Independent said that they have tracked a sea level rise of 20cm over the past century. The body also said that they have observed significant shift in the weather pattern of the world over where wet regions became wetter while dry regions became drier. In my country Nigeria for instance, scores of communities were submerged in a flood disaster in 2012. If this global warming could be wrecking this havoc today, I have once asked, what would be the fate of the posterity? Hence, the need to identify the reasons why we are faced with global warming. All of the identifiable reasons have one thing in common: they increase the amount of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. An example of the greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide, and also methane and water vapour. These greenhouse gasses trap and emit heat that could ordinarily have dissipated into the space and spare our world. Some of the greenhouse gases are natural and useful, but their high concentration in the atmosphere is counter-productive as they threaten humanity. We are faced with global warming due to the following reasons:
#1 The use of fossil fuels: Burning of fossil fuels such coal, gas and oil increase the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. They also emit tiny particles into the atmosphere. Some of the particles called the aerosols reflect sunlight back to the space while others known as the black carbon absorb sunlight and drive temperature rise, the global warming. The earth’s average temperature has gone up 1.4° F over the past century and is expected to rise as much as 11.5° F over the next.
#2 Agricultural activities and deforestation: This is another reason for the problem of global warming facing the world today. Agricultural activities involve clearing of lands and felling of trees. These activities worsen the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as the grasses and trees that were cut down oftentimes are set ablaze releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The trees and grasses it should also be said, take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and thereby reduces the amount of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. When trees and grasses are cut down, they would cease to do the needful function for our habitat.
#3 Natural occurrences: Prominent in this category is volcanic eruptions which occurs when molten magma reaches the surface of the earth through a broken part in the earth’s crust. This natural occurrence increases the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. This is even when it is reported that the most abundant greenhouse gas emitted in volcanic eruptions is water vapour.