Numerous studies have been conducted in the world to assess the impacts of environmental issues such as global warming and climate change and how they threaten the very existence of humankind in the world. As a result of these studies, various measures and policies have been adopted by different countries of the world and international institutions that try to address the issues, for instance the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) had been established with the main reason of addressing the challenges and threats to humanity that result out of global environmental damage and degradation. This led to formation of various policies by nations and states of the world as well as international and national institutions that tried to mitigate the negative impacts resulting due to environmental damage such as climate change and global warming.
Scholars have pointed out that environmental issues are among the greatest challenges of the 21st century. It has been demonstrated that there has been widespread degradation of the earth’s water, air and soil. However, this paper examinesGargano and Cancilla (2011) contributions in global environmental policies among other scholars to demonstrate how greenhouse gas emissions have impacted the society and measures being taken not only in the United States (US) but other parts of the world to address the issue.
Environmental professionals and scientist have asserted that global warming results because of the greenhouse effect. Experts have noted that the greenhouse effect is important, and they have cautioned out that, without the greenhouse gas effect, the earth would not be warm enough for human beings and other plants and animals to live in. They have further warned that when the greenhouse gas effect becomes stronger, it could make the earth warmer than usual,and they noted that even a very little extra warming of the earth may cause problems not only to humans, but also to plants and animals (Ayres & Walter, 2011).
It has been simplified in explanation how greenhouse gas effect really happens. The earth atmosphere surrounds us including the air. Sunlight enters the Earth’s atmosphere passing via the ozone layer. As it descent towards the earth’s surface, the land and water absorbs the sunlight energy. After absorbing, the atmosphere reabsorbs the energy in the form of infra-red rays. A small fraction of the energy escapes into space, but much of it gets cornered in the ambience by the greenhouse gases, causing our globe or earth to warm up. People know this warming as the Global warming, and it is caused by the greenhouse effect.Adger, Brown and Conway (2012) in their article in Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensionsnoted thatgreenhouse gases occur as a result of natural processes or humaninduced processes. Those gases that occur as a result of natural processes include methane, water vapor,nitrous oxide, ozone and carbon dioxide. Others such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) result as a result of human industrial processes. It is relevant to note that human activities are the major contributors to the level of naturally occurring greenhouse gases.
Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by burning of fossil fuel such as oil, natural gas and coal. Burning of solid waste, wood and wood products are also great contributors. Nitrous Oxide omissions have been noted that it occurs mostly during the various agricultural and industrial processes and when the solid waste or fossil fuels are burned. On the other hand, emissions of methane are through decomposition of organic waste, which can either in landfills or association with livestock husbandry. Methane emissions have also been noted to occur during the production and transport of fossil fuel. Adger et al. (2012) in analyzing the above presented forms and ways in which the greenhouse gas is increased in the atmosphere; it is evident thathuman activity is the major contributor especially resulting from burning of fossil fuel and coal. The use of fossil fuel such as natural gas and oil has been on the increase not only in America but all over world. This has greatly contributed to greenhouse gases which scientists have proved to have a major negative environmental impact.
Analysts have pointed out the impacts that result from the continued increase of greenhouse gases and the costs implied to it in the quest to try and reduce the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and reduce fossil fuel consumptions. As a result, indirect benefits have been observed in terms of reduced air pollution damage, and direct cost savings to consumers as a result of reduced fossil fuel consumption (Ayres & Walter, 2011). It has been stated that reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the US may be realized by a combination of increased energy efficiency and restructuring that would permit simultaneous economic benefits (savings) to energy consumers. It is suggested that taxes on fossil fuel extraction or carbon tax is a reasonable way of inducing the structural changes that would be required to achieve significant reduction in energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.
Millions of dollars have been spent by government of various nations to try and reduce the effects of greenhouse to the atmosphere. Countries have come up with policies and laws that try to regulate and discourage air pollution that has been a great contributor in greenhouse gases (Gargano&Cancilla, 2011).
Greenhouse gases being the leading causes of global warming;it is proved that global warming has resulted in extreme and unpredictable weather patterns such asincrease in floods, and extreme weather conditions such as drought which leads mostly to famine among other disasters that are human made. With increased air pollution, there is a possibility of increased respiratory and cardiovascular disorders among other lung infection that can result from polluted air. When such disasters occur, they have costs and implications such as loss of property and life, displacement of population that in turn affects businesses and general production (Ayres &Walter, 2011). Therefore, the world may end-up with an ailing economy. In the presence of global warming, plants and animal species are under threat of being extinguished, and the benefits that normally accrue from such animals and plants, like tourism-attraction, will be under threat. This in turn affects the economies of respective countries.
Rules, regulations and policies,have been formulated in the US that tries to mitigate the adverse effects that result from the increased greenhouse gases. Laws have been formulated that discourage environmental pollution.Gargano and Cancilla (2011) in their presentation in Global Environmental Policies: Impacts, Management and Effects noted that the government has also encouraged the continued use of green energy that comprises use of solar energy and wind energy among others that are eco-friendly, that is, energy that has minimal or does not pollute the environment completely. The concept of using renewable products has been encouraged in the US including energy, so that the negative impacts resulting fromemission of greenhouse gases can be checked. There has been an increase in the number of those using renewable energy such as solar, wind and biogas and this has resulted from the increased information and education to the citizens about the importance and benefits of conserving and protecting the environment. Industries across the states have not been left behind in employing measures that would reduce greenhouse gases, and some industries it has been noted have come up with measures and strategies that intend to reduce carbon emissions such as carbon capture and storage in the industrial processes.
Industries, which environmentalists and economists(as cited in Gargano and Cancilla, 2011)have pointed out as the great contributors to greenhouse gas emissions have increased their monetary contributions to organizations concerned with environmental rehabilitation and management. The industries have embraced the concept of energy efficiency such as cogeneration. Some, it has been noticed have switched to use of biofuels as opposed to fossil fuel. It has also been observed that most industries have had an increase of environmental events that have aimed to encourage awareness about protection and conservation of the environment. Those in the construction industry for instance have designed buildings in consideration to the concern of the greenhouse gas challenges and have come up with structures that have improved insulation and low consumption of energy that are efficient. Electrical appliances and lights that conserve energy have been noted to rise as well (Gargano&Cancilla, 2011).
Fuel efficient vehicles have been designed that pollutes the air less. In the agricultural sector, new agricultural methods without tillage have been encouraged as well as capture of methane from landfills. Trees being a fundamental part in the elimination of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the government both at national and state level have encouraged a forestation and reforestation. People have been urged to plant more trees and deforestation has been greatly discouraged (Ayres & Walter, 2011).
Environmental challenge being viewed as global, measures that have been done in the US that try to mitigate the impacts, as well as the effects,have been applied in the other parts of the world,as well. Recycling and use of green energy has been witnessed in almost all parts of the world be it Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia among other places. Experts have pointed out has resulted due to the realities of the negative effects that many continents have realized in the near times.Ayres and Walter (2011) in their article The greenhouse effect: Damages, costs and abatementasserted that the world has noticed the relevance of reversing the high level of greenhouse gas because it threatens the existence of humanity in one way or the other. In Germany, for instance, it has been documented as having the highest number of users of solar energy in the whole world. The world has observed an increased in reforestation and forestation in almost all parts of the world.
From examining the various arguments and thoughts about greenhouse energy and its impacts to the world, it is clear that a lot needs to be done in order to mitigate the negative effects that results due to the increased emission of such gases. The whole world has a responsibility to do without looking at the development status; that iswhether developed or developing. As much as human kind rely so much on fossil fuel to drive various activities in the day to day process of life, regulation and control should be encouraged by providing alternative renewable energy such as biogas and solar to all, and this should be encouraged by all nations and the people of the world (Adger et al., 2012 ). Policies, rules and laws that regulate and protect the environment need to be introduced in most parts of the world so that an immediate impact to control environmental damage and pollution can be realized. Research has proved that the greatest challenge in implementing and encouraging the use of green energy in most developing countries especially in Africa and Asia has been poverty. Most of the population in these places uses wood and wood products as the major source of energy.
This has greatly encouraged deforestation and air pollution, especially increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.Analysts have pointed out that poverty is the main driving factor for this acts, therefore, they have urged nations to come up with steps that will fight poverty so that protecting the environment can be a reality to all (Gargano&Cancilla, 2011).Other obstacles in realizing global environmental concerns have been the arguments brought forward by developing countries pointing the developed countries as greatest contributors in global pollution. They have urged developed countries to takegreatest responsibility in restoring order in the environmental pollution. They have further argued that developed nations want them to drag behind in realizing development goals by limiting industry production and using other sources of energy that are less pollutant in production, which they accuse the developed countries of not using when they were developing. In addressing challenges to realize,a healthy global environment, all parties have to come together and address their concerns amicably so that the common goal of protecting humanity can be realized. A healthy environment is required by all (Ayres & Walter, 2011).
In conclusion, greenhouse gases emission has been on the increase. Every individual on the world hasresponsibility to curb it. This is for the good of humanity. The world should encourage the use of alternative energy and avoid the use of fossil fuel as possible in circumstances that are applicable. Whether in the US or any part of the world, we need to develop a culture that encourages environmental protection by using and encouraging recycling, renewable energy use, following environmental laws, as well as encouraging forestation and reforestation among other measures that have been proved to impact on the environment positively.
Adger, N., Brown, K. & Conway, D. (2012). Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions. Journal of the Natural and Social Sciences, Vol. 22(3): 75-103.
Ayres, R. & Walter, J. (2011). The greenhouse effect: Damages, costs and abatement. Journal of Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 1(3): 237-270.
Gargano, M. &Cancilla, R. (2011). Global Environmental Policies: Impacts, Management and Effects. New York: Nova Science Publishers.