Global warming is a pressing issue that has garnered significant attention in recent years. It refers to the gradual increase in Earth’s average surface temperature, primarily caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere . These gasses act like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun’s heat and leading to a rise in global temperatures. In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the factors contributing to global warming and its far-reaching consequences.
The Greenhouse Effect
The Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is essential for maintaining a temperature suitable for human and animal life. Greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), play a crucial role in this process by keeping heat close to the Earth’s surface. However, the problem arises when there is an excessive emission of these gasses, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas .
Industrial Revolution and Fossil Fuels
The onset of the industrial revolution in the 1700s marked a significant turning point in human history. It brought with it an increased reliance on fossil fuels to power our industries, vehicles, and homes. While these fuels have undoubtedly driven progress, they have also released vast amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Transitioning to more environmentally friendly options, such as driving fuel-efficient cars, can help mitigate global warming’s impact .
Alarming Carbon Levels
Recent data shows that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher today than it has been for the past 800,000 years. This alarming trend underscores the urgency of addressing our carbon emissions to combat global warming effectively .
Responsibility and EPA
Addressing global warming requires concerted efforts on both individual and governmental levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays a vital role in regulating and reducing pollution, especially from electric power plants, under the Clean Air Act, a cornerstone of environmental legislation adopted in 1970 .
Rising Sea Levels
The consequences of global warming are already visible. Since 1870, global sea levels have risen by approximately 8 inches, leading to increased risks of coastal flooding and erosion .
Observable Environmental Effects
Climate change has had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers are shrinking, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier in the year, and the ranges of plants and animals are shifting. Trees are flowering sooner, disrupting ecosystems and the delicate balance of nature .
The rise in global temperatures also poses significant health risks. Heatwaves, exacerbated by global warming, increase the likelihood of heat-related illnesses and deaths, particularly among vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and those with conditions like diabetes .
Coral Reefs in Peril
Lastly, global warming is endangering our oceans and coral reefs. As ocean temperatures rise, coral reefs struggle to adapt quickly enough to the changing conditions, leading to increased incidents of coral bleaching and diseases .
Global warming is an urgent global crisis that demands our immediate attention and action. While the consequences are already apparent, we have the power to mitigate its impact by reducing our carbon footprint, transitioning to cleaner energy sources, and supporting policies aimed at combating climate change. It’s time to recognise the severity of the issue and work together to protect our planet for future generations.
 Gerretsen, I. (2023). Future: In the last few years, the world has experienced extreme weather, record temperatures and rapid ice melt. Where are we on key climate indicators? 20th March 2023.
 UN news, (2021). IPCC report: ‘Code red’ for human driven global heating, warns UN chief.
 National Geographic: The Greenhouse Effect and our Planet. URL: https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/greenhouse-effect-our-planet/
 Britannica: GreenHouse Gasses. URL: https://www.britannica.com/science/climate-change/Greenhouse-gases
 Climate.gov. Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. URL: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide