Traces history of issues of Greenhouse effect and Global warming
There is one subject that is certain to raise a passionate argument in a party these days and that is “Global Warming”. Everybody has an opinion about it. And why not? After all if the international action plans for reduction of carbon emissions have to succeed, every individual needs to be involved and committed to it!
It is generally believed that the earth was covered with ice about 15000 years ago. About 7000 years ago the earth began to warm up and the ice age came to an end. Then again from the 14th century to the 19th century large parts of the earth experienced harsh, cold conditions. This period was known as “the little ice age”. In 1824 Fourier proposed the theory that solar radiations are trapped by the atmosphere and reflected back to the earth causing the earth to warm up and that the earth was slowly getting warm. Arrhenius termed it the greenhouse effect in the late 19th century. In the 1950s, Callendar supported the theory of the greenhouse effect.
From late 20th century there was a much greater attention being paid to environmental issues and serious scientific activities started for devising ways to measure global temperatures and to devise better mathematical models to analyze earth’s climate. By the end of the 20th century there was a large body of scientific opinion that believed that increased carbon dioxide emissions, caused by ever increasing use of fossil fuels, were responsible for global warming. In 1994, the United Nations Panel on Climate Change asserted that global warming was still a threat and nations needed to take action to negate the effects of global warming. Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to fight global warming, was born in 1997. This protocol called for countries to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases. After eight years of hard bargaining, and acrimonious debates Kyoto treaty was finally ratified by 141 countries. Noteworthy among the countries that did not ratify it were the USA and Australia – both the largest producers of greenhouse gases.
The treaty aims to limit and cut back emission of greenhouse gases to control global warming. It sets limits for emission from 35 developed countries; developing countries are exempted from emission limits to allow them time to catch up. Under the treaty, various countries have committed to reduce the emissions to below their 1990 levels by 2012.
Most of the countries are struggling to limit the greenhouse emissions to the levels they had committed to; many are finding it quite tough when it comes to pushing for action while balancing domestic political pressures and pressure from oil & gas industry. It is, however, heartening to note that there are already significant success stories coming up where individual companies have shown the leadership and achieved remarkable success in attaining, and in some cases over attaining, their targets of reduction of carbon emission. In USA public opinion is seen to be far more decisive and assertive than the Federal government and many states are going ahead enacting legislations to limit carbon emission while federal government twiddles thumbs.
The Kyoto Protocol provides targets for reduction of emissions up to 2012. The recent G8 meeting has already come up with a plan of action and new emission reduction limits for the year 2050. The developed nations have shown their impatience with the dithering attitude of the US government in no uncertain terms.
Global Warming and climate change are events that effect our lives today, learn more about Climate Change at http://globalwarmingpages.com
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