Degradation and Global Warming by Parul Sharma

Degradation and Global Warming

                                                                                 * Parul Sharma[1]

                                                       Abstract

The ‘Environment’ is perhaps the biggest gift that the humans have ever got. It is the utmost duty of each and every living being to protect and preserve environment for themselves and the generations to come. This research paper focuses on major issues of Environmental degradation which is the disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. It is characterized as any change or aggravation to nature’s turf seen to be pernicious or undesirable and Global warming which is the increase of Earth’s average surface temperature due to effect of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels or from deforestation, which trap heat that would otherwise escape from Earth. The paper also discusses Climate change and it’s repercussions. The paper analyses the causes of these issues alongside its impact and remedies. The overuse of natural resources including land or water are the major causes of degradation and deterioration of Environment. Industrialization is also one of the prominent causes for global warming. Due to advances in science and technology, the growth rate of industrialization has gained momentum in both developed and developing countries.  The paper also discusses some major conventions including the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 which was held in Paris, Copenhagen and Cancun, 2009, Kyoto summit on global warming 1997 with a view to make an in-depth study of the issue. The basic aim of this paper is to suggest some remedies at the personal as well as general level in order to preserve our Environment. The decision as to what car one drives,
Upgrading one’s refrigerator and air conditioner, especially if they are more than five years , spreading the word about environmental conservation are some of the basic steps that can be taken by an individual to protect and preserve the environment. Now is the time to act and solve this catastrophic issues. Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation – if, admittedly, a daunting one. Key words: Environmental Degradation, Global warming, COP 21 or CMP 11, Climate change

 

When the last tree has been cut down, the last river poisoned, the last fish caught, only then will we realize, we can’t eat money.

                                                                                                            -Source unknown

Introduction

The ‘Environment’ is perhaps the biggest gift that the humans have ever got. Of course, they are a part of it and the very world they live in is their environment, their surroundings. Regardless of it being such an essential element of life, humans are persistent on making it abominable place to live on for themselves and for the future generations[2].

Living in a village one would come across the disheartening site of trees being cut for using the land to grow crops or to construct houses. The small water bodies that existed some time ago are no longer seen now. The plight of Cities is no different, every day one can come across the barbaric act of trees being severed to fulfil the greed of humans for constructing houses, multiplexes and roads to lead a comfortable life. In hilly areas, forests are being cut to meet the fast growing needs of the people.

Even after being aware that all these are adversely affecting our environment owing to the media and articles all over the internet, one chooses to stay silent. Every week, one can see new and undeniable climate events. The evidence presents itself in the form of droughts intensifying, oceans warming and acidifying, with methane plumes rising up from beneath the ocean floor. Extreme weather events, increased temperatures, and the West Antarctic and Greenland ice-sheets are melting at unprecedented rates, decades ahead of scientific projections can be seen. None of this is rhetoric, and none of it is hysteria. It is a fact.Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems’’ at a rate unseen in past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gasses and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment. The scientific community knows it, Industry and governments know it too.[3]

Needless to say that environmental degradation and global warming are the major global issues that need immediate and extensive attention. This research paper presents an overall in-detail analysis of these issues alongside their causes and antidotes. The aim of the research paper is to spread awareness of this growing menace and how to curb it.

 

Environmental Degradation

Meaning

Environmental degradation is the disintegration of the earth or deterioration of the environment through consumption of assets, for example, air, water and soil; the destruction of environments and the eradication of wildlife. It is characterized as any change or aggravation to nature’s turf seen to be pernicious or undesirable.[4]

This is the result of the consolidation of an effective and substantial increase in human population, and constant expansion of monetary development or per capita fortune and the application of asset exhausting and polluting technology. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction characterizes environmental degradation as the lessening of the limit of the earth to meet social and environmental destinations, and needs. [5]

Causesof Environmental Degradation

  • Inappropriate land use:

These phenomena can lead to soil degradation. Further, it may take place due to bad farming techniques. Leaving fields bare or ploughing those up and down the sides of a hill can cause severe soil erosion when it rains heavily as the soil has nothing keeping it in place. When the left over parts of crops and animal manure are ploughed back into the soil they serve to replenish and fertilize it. However, if the crops are cut to be fed to animals and the manure is burnt as a fuel, the soil will have no way of replenishing itself, and decreases in fertility. Sometimes landowners make changes in the way they use the land in an attempt to make the land more productive, but often these changes damage the land and actually make it less productive.

  • Over cultivation: This happens when a farmer does not allow a piece of land to recover in between plantings, exhausting the soil. Left unchecked this can eventually lead to land degradation as the land is being used in a way which is unsustainable.
  • Overgrazing: It is caused when more animals than a piece of land can support are allowed to graze in that area. It can cause and accelerate soil erosion and with it there is a loss of soil fertility. When large herds are concentrated around one particular area the animals compact the soil by trampling on it resulting in the soil being unable to retain as much moisture as it needs. Once the animals have overgrazed an area it is often left barren with no protection and the wind blows away the topsoil.[6]
  • Pollution: Pollution is also an important factor in causing environmental degradation. Soil can be damaged as a result of waste products and pollutants being deposited and left in it. When garbage from factories, mines and households is dumped in the natural environment, it pollutes the land and leaves its toxins within the soil. The soil therefore becomes unfit to support any plant growth or animal life. The increase in the global population has caused a massive increase in levels of waste and pollution, adding to increasing environmental degradation. It is often the people living in degraded environments are responsible for the occurred, but this is often as a result of and economic problems.
  • Poverty

Poverty is a major contributing factor to land degradation as is forces millions of people to destroy the resources within their surroundings in order to survive. Poor people often do not have access to the best land, leaving them to depend on the most fragile areas and resources. This means that they have no other choice than to use what resources are available to them. even if these result in the degradation of the land. Foreign debt often forces governments in door countries to pursue policies and practices which are harmful to the environment in order to keep up with their debt payments, such as intensive farming for export. These are important for ne national economies of these countries but may take the place of traditional land uses -which may have been more eco-friendly and provide food for people to eat. Besides population growth, natural disasters such as floods and droughts and national emergencies like war and political tensions can also add to the pressures which are placed on file land. [7]

  • Deforestation: It is basically conversion of forest land into agricultural land and pastures.[8]It not only affects the climate by increasing the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide but also affects the environment by inhibiting water recycling, triggering severe flooding, aquifer depletion, soil degradation and the extinction of plant and animal species. Cutting of trees deprive the atmosphere of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis which further causes a decline in photosynthetic activity which results in the atmosphere retaining higher levels of carbon dioxide. Forests also store an enormous amount of organic carbon which is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide when forests are cleared by burning. [9]
  • Overpopulation: Overpopulation is caused by number of factors. Reduced mortality rate, better medical facilities, depletion of precious resources etc.[10]this rapid population growth puts strain on natural resources which results in degradation of our environment. With the increase in number of people, there is also a hike in the demand for food, clothes and shelter. One need more space to grow food and provide homes to millions of people. This results in deforestation which is another factor of environmental degradation. This is a vicious cycle which continues and there is no end to it.
  • Transport: As a consequence of population increase, the number of vehicles on the road increases. The amount has grown exponentially in countries like India, Brazil and China and this is a point form of pollution which directly affects humans. Air pollution is one of the repercussions that is created because of vehicular pollution, and Hydro-Carbons released from engines are the cause of creation of lower level ozone that is harmful to humans.

 

 

Impact of Environmental Degradation:

 

  • Impact on Crop yields:

Environmental degradation and a loss of ecosystem has a direct impact on pests (weeds, insects and pathogens), soil erosion and nutrient depletion, growing conditions through climate and weather, as well as available water for irrigation through impacts on rainfall and ground and surface water. These are factors that individually could account for over 50% in loss of the yield in a given “bad” year. The interactions among these variables, compounded by management systems and society, are highly complex. Unsustainable practices in irrigation and production may lead to increased salinization of soil, nutrient depletion and erosion.

  • Impact on Human Health:

Human health is very badly affected due to environmental degradation. Areas exposed to toxic air pollutants can cause respiratory problems like pneumonia and asthma. Lung cancer can also be caused due to the toxic gases in air. Millions of people are known to have died as a consequence of air pollution.

  • Economic Impact:

The country will be forced to bore huge costs due to environmental degradation. These phenomena results in big economic impact in terms of restoration of green cover, cleaning up of landfills and protection of endangered species and loss of tourism industry.  Environmental damage in the form of loss of green cover, loss of biodiversity, huge landfills, increased air and water pollution can be a big turn off for most of the tourists.

  • Climatic Change:

There has been a tremendous climatic change due to the environmental degradation. Climate change is a long-term shift in the statistics of the weather (including its averages). We know that the global climate is currently changing. The last decade of the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st have been the warmest period in the entire global instrumental temperature record, starting in the mid-19th century. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea-level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate-related changes. Certain naturally occurring gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2 O), trap heat in the atmosphere causing a greenhouse effect. Burning of fossil fuels, like oil, coal, and natural gas is adding CO2 to the atmosphere. The current level is the highest in the past 650,000 years.[11]

 

 

GLOBAL WARMING

 

Global warming is for real. Every scientist knows that now, and we are on our way to the destruction of every species on earth, if we don’t pay attention and reverse our course.                       

 

                                                                                                        Theodore C. Sorensen

 

Today all the countries in the world are confronted with the severe duo impediments of global warming and climate change that are the most crucial phenomena. Along-with the advancement of technology and cultural transformation, the race for economic development was enormous during the last centuries. Global warming is a process by which the average temperature of the atmosphere, oceans and landmasses of the earth is increasing. It is a burning issue in the present era of globalization and it gives a sense of increasing temperature over the surface of the earth and in the atmosphere. The planet earth has warmed and cooled many times during the 4.65 billion years of its history. At present, it appears to be facing a rapid warming, which most scientists believe is the result, at least in part, of human-induced developmental activities.

As early as 1896, scientists suggested that burning fossil fuels might change the composition of the atmosphere and that an increase in global average temperature might result. The first part of this hypothesis was confirmed in 1957, when researchers working in the global research programme called the International, Geophysical Year sampled the atmosphere from the top of the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa. Their instruments indicated that carbon dioxide concentration was indeed rising. Since then, the composition of the atmosphere has been carefully tracked. The data collected show undeniably that the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are increasing. [12]

In 1988, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization established a panel of 200 leading scientists to consider the evidence. The panel concluded that global air temperature had increased 0.6°C since 1861. The panel agreed that the warming was caused primarily by human-induced developmental activities that add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The summers are now extremely hot; winters excessively cold, and floods and droughts are also severe.

 

Meaning and definition

Before embarking on a detailed analysis of Global warming and its impacts on Indian climate, we should first know what climate, greenhouse effect and global warming actually mean.

CLIMATE– The climate is defined as’ the general or average weather conditions of a certain region, including temperature, rainfall, and wind’. The earth’s climate is most affected by latitude, the tilt of the Earth’s axis, the movements of the Earth’s wind belts, and the difference in temperatures of land and sea, and topography. The climate system is a complex, interactive system consisting of the atmosphere, land surface, snow and ice, oceans and other bodies of water, and living things.

GREEN HOUSE EFFECT– Green House effect is the phenomenon whereby the earth’s atmosphere traps solar radiation, and is mediated by the presence in the atmosphere of gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapour, and methane that allow incoming sunlight to pass through, but absorb the heat radiated back from the earth’s surface. Thus the Greenhousegases provide a blanketing effect in the lower strata of the earth’s atmosphere, and this blanketing effect is being enhanced because of the human activities like burning of fossil fuels etc.

GLOBAL WARMING– ‘Global warming is defined as an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, especially a sustained increase great enough to cause changes in the global climate’. The term global warming is synonymous with Enhanced greenhouse effect, implying an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, leading to entrapment of more and more solar radiations, and thus increasing the overall temperature of the earth.[13]

 

Causes of Global Warming

The major causes of global warming and consequent climate change are El Nino process. The issues that causes the global warming is divided into two categories include natural and human influence of global warming[14].

  1. Natural Causes:
    There are several natural causes that result in global warming. The climate has continuously changing for centuries. The global warming happens because the natural rotation of the sun that changes the intensity of sunlight and moving closer to the earth. Another cause of global warming is greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide it trap the solar heats rays and prevent it from escaping from the surface of the earth. This has because the temperature of the earth increases. Volcanic eruptions also play a major role in global warming. For instance, a single volcanic eruption will release amount of carbon dioxide and ash to the atmosphere. Once carbon dioxide increase, the temperature of earth increase and greenhouse trap the solar radiations in the earth.
  2. Human Influences:
  3. Industrialization

It is one of the prominent causes for global warming. Due to advances in science and technology, the growth rate of industrialization has gained momentum in both developed and developing countries. The smog releases from the industries is very harmful for the structured atmosphere. Also increasing numbers of vehicles also release toxic smog in the atmosphere and, the increasing rate of carbon dioxide, CFCs and carbon monoxide is causing great harm to life.[15]

 

  1. Population Explosion

Increasing human population is the prime concern of the environmentalists because of this environment is deteriorating at a large scale. For fulfilling daily needs and increasing development activities, the human population is heavily dependent on natural resources. Overutilization of natural resources has thus led to the degradation of environment.

  1. Pollution

This has raises a question on the longevity of human race. In India, according to a survey made by the Central Board of Water Pollution Control (CBWPC), 13 cities are fully affected by water pollution. These are all industrial cities. The river water in these cities is neither usable for drinking nor for irrigation. About 190 billion cubic metres water is available for drinking purposes in the form of rivers, lakes, ponds and glaciers. Out of that, about 70 per cent of water has fully been polluted, according to an estimate by the scientists of National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI). Dry regions are being dryer and if this trend continues in the future too, most of these regions will be converted into deserts. [16]

  1. Depletion of Forestland

Tropical rainforest of the world are depleting due to mass cutting of these forests. A report by the FAO reveals that the tropical rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 15.4 million hectares, because forestland is converting into agricultural land. It is also due to population growth and increasing need for timber for industrial and other development purposes. Depletion of forest areas has severe implications on climate change and global warming. According to the researchers, the impact of forest depletion also falls on the wildlife.[17]

Impact of Global Warming

  1. Killer heat waves

Due to global warming the chance of “killer” heat waves like the one that hit Europe in July and August of 2003 is almost certain. That summer was very likely the continent’s hottest in 500 years. The relentless heat killed at least 27,000 people, breaking all records worldwide for heat-induced human fatalities[18].

  1. Torrential rains and flooding

Increasing temperature is likely to lead to increasing precipitation and it has increased over recent decades. In December 1999, for instance, Venezuela saw its highest monthly rainfall in 100 years, with massive landslides and flooding that killed approximately 30,000 people[19].

  1. Drought, forest pests, and wildfires

Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of other extreme weather events, such as floods, droughts, heat waves, and tornadoes.The worldwide drought has been linked to unusually warm waters in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific, which many scientists believe to be caused in part by global warming. Insect pests are spreading to forests previously too cold for their survival; Alaska, for instance, had in the 1990s the world’s largest recorded outbreak of spruce bark beetles. Drought, heat, and insect attacks promote severe forest fires[20].

  1. Rising sea level

Sea-level rise is one of the major repercussions of global warming. During the 20th century, sea levels around the world rose by an average of 4 to 8 inches, ten times the average rate over the last 3,000 years. That rise is projected to continue or accelerate further, with possible catastrophic increases of many meters if the ice sheets on Greenland and/or Antarctica collapse. If sea level continues to rise, thousands of square miles of land in densely populated areas such as the eastern U.S. and Bangladesh may be lost, and flooding during storm surges will worsen. Construction of physical barriers such as seawalls would be expensive and in some cases unfeasible[21].

  1. Vanishing glaciers

In almost every mountainous region across the world, glaciers are retreating in response to the warming climate. The shrinkage of glaciers is already creating water shortages, and threatening tourism in scenic parks. In one basin in Glacier National Park in Montana, for instance, two-thirds of the ice has disappeared since 1850; with uncontrolled warming, the remaining glaciers could disappear by 2030. In Asia, glaciers are retreating at a record pace in the Indian Himalaya, and two glaciers in New Guinea will be gone in a decade[22].

  1. Disintegrating polar ice and melting permafrost

In 2003 the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, the largest in the Arctic, broke in two, draining a unique freshwater lake that was home to a rare microbial ecosystem. At present rates of shrinkage, Arctic sea ice could soon pass a point of no return, disappearing completely each summer by the end of this century and pushing polar bears to the brink of extinction everywhere. Shrinking and thinning ice has also made hunting of seals and other food sources more challenging and accident filled for humans. Continued warming could destroy traditional societies. The 4,000 year-old Eskimo village of Shishmaref has been so severely eroded by ocean waves that the entire community was forced to relocate.[23]

  1. Damage to coral reefs

The past 25 years have witnessed a higher incidence around the world of large-scale coral “bleaching” events, which can lead to coral death. In 1997–98 alone, the largest bleaching event on record seriously damaged 16% of the reefs in the world and killed 1,000-yearold corals. Mass bleaching are usually caused by excessively high temperatures. Within the next few decades, continued warming could cause mass bleaching to become an annual event, wiping out some reef species and ecosystems along with the food, tourism income, and coastline protection they provide[24].

  1. Disease outbreaks

Human beings are exposed to climate change through changing weather patterns and indirectly through changes in water, air and food quality and changes in ecosystems, agriculture, industry and settlements and the economy[25]. It is concluded that climate change had altered the seasonal distribution of some allergenic pollen species. It has also been found out that climate change had altered the distribution of some infectious disease vectors and increased heat wave related deaths.[26]

 

Law relating to Global Warming

The law relating to climate change has been discussed over and over throughout the history. However, this is has taken an eminent position only in the nearer times that have passed.

 

  1. International

The United States, although a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, has neither ratified nor withdrawn from the protocol. In 1997, the US Senate voted unanimously under the Byrd-Hagel Resolution that it was not the sense of the Senate that the United States should be a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. New Energy for America is a plan to invest in renewable energy, reduce reliance on foreign oil, address the global climate crisis, and make a coal a less competitive energy source[27].

The IPCC, established jointly in 1988 by the WMO and the UNEP, has been mandated to ‘assess on a comprehensive, objective, open, and transparent basis the scientific, technical, and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impact, and options for adaptation and mitigation.’ The IPCC meets in plenary sessions approximately once a year and is constituted of three working groups and a task force of National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.[28]

The three working groups aim at reporting on scientific basis of climate change; vulnerability of social, economic, and ecological systems to climate change and their positive and negative aspects; ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

In the United Kingdom, wind farm development was quickly identified as a means of achieving reductions in the production of greenhouse gases.[29]

 

  1. India

In India, though there is no legislation on climatic change as such, the Environment Protection Act, 1986 deals with the cause of environment as a whole. Also the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government for planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes. This Ministry also serves as the nodal agency in the country for the United Nations Environment Programme[30], South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and for the follow up of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

 

India has experienced a dramatic growth in fossil fuel CO2 emissions, and the data compiled by various agencies shows an increase of nearly 5.9 per cent since 1950. India is rated as the sixth largest contributor of CO2 emissions, and in 2003 contributed to 4.43 per cent of the world’s GHG emissions. In India the main contributor to the emissions is coal burning. India ratified the Kyoto Protocol on 26 August 2002, and thus committed to the furtherance of the objectives of the Convention, which came into force on 16 February 2005. The Gazette of India, on 19 July, 2000, notified rules for regulation of ODS phase-out called the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules. 2000.

 

International Treaties and Conventions

~ Kyoto Summit on Global Warming, 1997 ~

 

A conference on ‘climate change’ was held at Kyoto (Japan). The conference achieved some success as it took certain solid decisions, viz. that the emission of greenhouse gases from the 1990 level would be reduced by 8%, 7% and 6% by European Union, America and Japan, respectively. Similarly, targets of 21 other industrial countries were fixed for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases viz. an average of five percent relative to their 1990 levels. These targets are to be achieved in between 2008 and 2012. The Kyoto process envisages that poor or developing countries will take on targets at a later stage[31].

 

The developing countries expressed the view that their economic conditions do not permit them to accept such commitments. Developing nations only agreed at the last minute to allow emissions trading among all countries as part of ‘clean development mechanism’.

The Kyoto Protocol has been criticized on the ground that it calls for sharp reduction in emissions over a relatively short period of time. There are ambitious targets but no limits on compliance costs (which could be very high). The U.S.A. argues that “the Kyoto Protocol is unfair to the United States and to other Industrialized nations because it exempts 80% of the world from compliance.”

The Protocol has been approved (signed) by 120 countries. At least 55 countries need to concur (ratify) to grant the Kyoto Protocol legal status. Very recently (Oct. 2004), Russia, responsible for 17% of the world’s greenhouse gas emission, signed the Protocol. With Russia’s participation the threshold for enactment under the treaty’s complicated terms has been reached. In other words, the Protocol can become operational now.

 

 

 

Copenhagen and Cancún

 

As part of the 2009 Copenhagen negotiations, a number of countries produced the Copenhagen Accord. The Accord states that global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F). This may be strengthened in 2015 with a target to limit warming to below 1.5 °C. The Accord does not specify what the baseline is for these temperature targets (e.g., relative to pre-industrial or 1990 temperatures). According to the UNFCCC, these targets are relative to pre-industrial temperatures.

114 countries have agreed to the Accord. As part of the Accord, 17 developed country Parties and the EU-27 have submitted mitigation targets, as have 45 developing country Parties. Some developing country Parties have noted the need for international support in their plans. Many aspects of the Copenhagen Accord were brought into the formal UNFCCC process as part of the Cancún agreements[32]. The Cancún agreements were adopted by the COP in 2010. The agreement states that global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level. This target may be strengthened “on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge, including in relation to a global average temperature rise of 1.5 °C”.

 

As part of the Cancún agreements, developed and developing countries have submitted mitigation plans to the UNFCCC.

 

Paris Climate Conference, 2015

 

In 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, was held in Paris. France played the leading international role in hosting this seminal conference, and COP21 was one of the largest international conferences ever held in the country.

The conference negotiated the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on the reduction of climate change, the text of which represented a consensus of the representatives of the 196 parties attending it.  According to the organizing committee at the outset of the talks, the expected key result was an agreement to set a goal of limiting global to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C) compared to pre-industrial levels. The agreement calls for zero net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to be reached during the second half of the 21st century. In the adopted version of the Paris Agreement, the parties will also “pursue efforts to” limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. The 1.5 °C goal will require zero emissions sometime between 2030 and 2050, according to some scientists.[33]

Prior to the conference, 146 national climate panels publicly presented draft national climate contributions (called “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions“, INDCs). These suggested commitments were estimated to limit global warming to 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100. For example, the EU suggested INDC is a commitment to a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. The agreement establishes a “global stock take” which revisits the national goals to “update and enhance” them every five years beginning 2023. However, no detailed timetable or country-specific goals for emissions were incorporated into the Paris Agreement – as opposed to the previous Kyoto Protocol.

A number of meetings took place in preparation for COP21, including the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 19 to 23 October 2015, which produced a draft agreement. [34]

.

 Remedies for Global Warming

 

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:

Do your part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense for you) will help to reduce waste. And whenever you can, recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn’t a recycling programme at your workplace, school, or in your community, ask about starting one. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.[35]

  1. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning:

Adding insulation to your walls and attic, and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home.[36] Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

  1. Change a light bulb:

Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat. If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.

  1. Drive less and drive smart:

Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Explore your community mass transit system, and check out options for carpooling to work or school. When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tries properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3%. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget; it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere[37].

  1. Buy Energy-Efficient Products:

When it’s time to buy a new car, choose one that offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy efficient models, and compact florescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less energy than standard light bulbs. Avoid products thatcome with excess packaging, especially moulded plastic and other packaging that can’t be recycled. If you reduce your household garbage by 10 %, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

  1. Use less Hot Water:

Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating blanket if it is more than 5 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most households. Use the energy-saving settings on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry.

  1. Use the “Off” Switch:

Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room, and using only as lighter as you need. And remember to turn off your television, video player, stereo and computer when you’re not using them. It’s also a good idea to turn off the water when you’re not using it.[38] While brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it for rinsing. You’ll reduce your water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.

  1. Plant a tree:

If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by automobile traffic, manufacturing and other human activities. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

  1. Get a report card from your utility company:

Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

  1. Encourage Others to Conserve:

Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment. These 10 steps will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and your monthly budget. And less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.

Conclusion

When trying to determine if global warming is fact or fiction, we must take into account evidence from all sides. Plenty of evidence exists within the science community. While the evidence points to the existence of global warming, the cause is still widely disputed. The climate change would increase the number of people suffering from death, disease and injury from heat waves, floods, storms and droughts.[39] Floods are low-probability, high-impact events that can overwhelm physical infrastructure and human communities. Major storm and flood disasters have occurred in the last two decades. Vulnerability to weather disasters depends on the attributes of the person at risk, including where they live and their age, as well as other social and environmental factors. High-density populations in low-lying coastal regions experience a high health burden from weather disasters. Hot days, hot nights and heat waves have become more frequent. Heat waves are associated with marked short-term increases in mortality. In some regions, changes in temperature and precipitation are projected to increase the frequency and severity of fire events. Forest and bush fires cause burns, damage from smoke inhalation and other injuries. Background levels of ground-level ozone have risen since pre-industrial times because of increasing emissions of methane, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. However, armed with the proper knowledge and efforts, we can reduce this and fight this monster from destroying any more of our mother nature or bringing about our doom.

[1] Student, University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Sector 14, Chandigarh

 

[2]Sahasranaman P.B., OXFORD HANDBOOK OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW, 2nd Edition, 2012, p 1

[3]‘Climate change is not hysteria – it’s a fact’ http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/23/leonarodo-dicaprio-un-climate-change-speech-new-york, retrived on 14thfeb, 2016.

[4]What is Environmental Degradation?http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-and-effects-of-environmental-degradation.php, reterived on 14thfeb, 2016.

[5] ID

[6] Malik Sumeet, ENVIRONMENT LAW, Eastern Book Company, p 4 4 T.N.GodavarmanThirumalpad v. Union of India, (2002) 10 SCC 606

[7] Sati Prasad Vishwambhar, Än introduction to Environment”, RawatPunlications, 2012, p:168-9

[8] Supra 5, p:158

[9] Nature and Environment, http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/the-effect-of-deforestation-on-the-climate-and-environment.aspx, retrieved on 16th Feb, 2016.

[10]Overpopulation, http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-effects-solutions-of-overpopulation.php, retrived on 16th Feb, 2016.

[11]http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/climate/Climatechange.pdfNOAA National Weather Service climate change, retrieved on 2oth feb, 2016.

[12] Energy Bulletin <http://energybulletin.net >., retrieved on 20thfeb, 2016

[13] Matthews John A., THE SAGE HANDBOOK OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, SAGE, Volume 2, 2012, pp 114- 257

[14]The Causes of Global Warming. (n.d.). The Causes of Global Warming. Retrieved Feb 18, 2016 , fromhttp://causesofglobalwarming.net/the_causes.html

[15]History of Fossil Fuel Usage since the Industrial Revolution. (n.d.). . Retrieved , from https://www.mhi-global.com/discover/earth/issue/history/history.html

[16]Doabia T.S., ENVIRONMENT AND POLLUTION LAWS IN INDIA, Wadhwa and Company, Nagpur, Volume 1, 2005, p 503

[17] Sunder I., PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY, Sarup Book Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1st edition, 2012, p 558

[18] Stott, P.A., D.A. Stone, and M.R. Allen, Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003, Nature, 432, 610–614, 2004.

[19]Wieczorek, G.F., M.C. Larsen, L.S. Eaton, B.A. Morgan, and J.L. Blair, 2001. Debrisflow and flooding hazards associated with the December 1999 storm in coastal Venezuela and strategies for mitigation. USGS Open-File Report 01-0144. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2001/ofr-01-0144/

[20] 4 Stocks, B.J., et al. 1998. Climate change and forest fire potential in Russian and Canadian boreal forests. Climatic Change, 38, 1–13;

[21]Meehl, G.A., W.M. Washington, W.D. Collins, J.M. Arblaster, A. Hu, L.E. Buja, W.G. Strand, and H. Teng. 2005. How much more global warming and sea level rise? Science, 307, 1769-1772.

[22] Meier, Mark F., Mark B. Dyurgerov, Gregory J. McCabe, 2003. The Health of Glaciers: Recent Changes in Glacier Regime, Climatic Change, 59(1-2), 123–135.

[23] Meier, W., J. Stroeve, F. Fetterer, and K. Knowles. 2005. Reductions in Arctic sea ice cover no longer limited to summer. Eos Transactions AGU, 86(36), 326.

[24]Hoegh-Guldberg, O. 1999. Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the world’s coral reefs. Marine and Freshwater Res., 50, 839–866.

[25] Patz, J.A., P.R. Epstein, T.A. Burke, and J.M. Balbus. 1996. Global climate change and emerging infectious diseases. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 275, 217–223.

[26] Sati Vishwambhar Prasad, AN INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENT, Rawat Publications, 2012, pp 193 – 203

[27] Lal, ENCYCLOPAEDIA ON ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND POLLUTION LAWS, Delhi Law House, Volume 2, 5th  Edition, p 85

[28] Ibid at p 280

[29] Holder Jane, Lee Maria, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LAW AND POLICY, Cambridge, 2nd Edition, 2007 at p 699

[30] UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, ‘CDM Project Activity Cycle’ http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/pac/index.html (last visited 13 February, 2016)

[31]Mike Lockwood, “Solar Change and Climate: an update in the light of the current exceptional solar minimum,” Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 21 Feb 2016

[32]Judith Lean, “Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate,” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 1, January/February 2010, 111-122.

[33]http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en/, retrieved on 23rdfeb, 2016.

[34] “Bonn Climate Change Conference – October 2015”. unfccc.int. Retrieved on 23rdfeb, 2016.

[35]Bedi R.S., Bedi A.S., ENCYCLOPAEDIA ON ENVIRONMENT AND POLLUTION LAWS, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, p 1427

[36] P. K. Bhattacharjee, “Environmental Pollution Free System in All Over the World”, International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, Singapore, vol. 1, no. 1, pp 57-59, April 2010.

[37]http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/global-warming.pdf Global Warming The Hottest Debate of the Decade

[38] N. K. Uberoi, Environmental Management, Revised Edition, Excel Books, 2002.

[39] N. K. Uberoi, Environmental Management, Revised Edition, Excel Books, 2002.

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