Along a busy street, a bearded man looking like a prophet is ringing a medium-sized bronze bell in his right hand and holding a sign in his left hand which reads, “The end is near.” Is humanity to blame or is it just an environmental phenomenon that is induced by nature?
This is the overlying debate that has been revolving around the minds of the people of the world. On one hand, there are those who argue that the threat of global warming is human-induced. While on the other hand, there are also those assert that nature is truly the responsible for this. The issue on global warming has always been put as an agenda in the international community for several years now. However, it has only been in the year 2007 that global warming has been given the attention it warrants or deserves.
The recent facts and studies made and collected by numerous countries, agencies and organizations across the world have come to an agreement that the world is facing a substantial threat that may cause catastrophic consequences or results that may alter the history of mankind itself. Therefore, in order to battle this threat, the world is trying to understand the primary cause that is making this phenomenon. In doing so, society is looking at either the human explanation or the natural one.
Those who are proposing that global warming has been a human-induced product rely on several factors. First of all, they say that the greenhouse gases have been contributing a significant amount of damage that is drastically changing the world’s climate. The major greenhouse gas contributing end-user sectors are the industrial, transportation, residential, commercial and agricultural (U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reports).
Moreover, the pollution brought by cars and other heavy machineries such as equipments used in factories are making the atmosphere worse every minute. The fact is that in the United States, more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels (U.S. EPA). There are also the problem of dumping garbage and other waste materials. Another factor for human’s induced climate change is deforestation due to the prevailing focus on progress and development.
The main cause of deforestation in some countries is the growing population and subsequent higher demand for agriculture, livestock production and fuel wood (Sucoff, 2002, pp. 358 – 359). Finally, the government and private corporations are cutting costs when it comes to being environmentally friendly.
The problem or the excuse most are saying is that economic profits or gains will be cut and funds will be needed for the environmentally friendly technologies (Rudiman, 2005, p.153).
Others who are proposing that global warming is nature-induced are forwarding the data and research they made scientifically. The basis for their proposal states that global warming is just an environmental phenomenon made by nature itself. They are proposing that this incident have happened already in the past as part of a normal cycle the world goes through (Trenberth, 1997).
Moreover, there is even geological evidence which states that the earth’s climate changes quite a lot; sometimes colder than today and sometimes warmer. Some have suggested changes in the sun’s output of radiation, or changes in the amount of dust in the atmosphere from volcanoes or meteor impacts as natural causes.
The earth’s climate changes in response to external forcing, including variations in its orbit around the sun and also volcanic eruptions (Robock & Oppenheimer, 2003, p. 360). In addition, the atmosphere to trap reflected sunlight and thus cause the atmosphere to heat up.
The two sides are trying to understand the cause of this phenomenon to further gain valuable knowledge and information in dealing with it. But in essence, it is undeniable that global warming poses a substantial threat to society.
Robock, Alan, and Clive Oppenheimer. Volcanism and the Earth’s Atmosphere, Geophysical Monograph 139, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, 360, 2003.
Ruddiman, William. “How Did Humans First Alter Global Climate?” (PDF). March 2005 issue. Scientific American. 153, 2005.
Sucoff, E. Deforestation. In Environmental Encyclopedia. (P.g.358-359). Detroit: Gale, 2003.
Trenberth, Dr. Kevin. Global Warming: It’s Happening. Natural Science, December 4, 1997.
US EPA. Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-1998, Rep. EPA 236-R-00-01. US EPA, Washington, DC, 2000.
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory – U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Reports | Climate Change – Greenhouse Gas Emissions | U.S. EPA