Causes of climate change are geologic over the long term. But when people speak of Global warming, and climate change now, they invariably are referring to the steady, and alarming, human caused warming that marks the last two hundred years.
Inter glacial periods, volcanoes, and meteor strikes, of course impact earth’s temperature. They always have, and always will, but this article will deal with human activity, since that is the only cause which we have influence over.
Increased levels of CO 2 are primarily from emissions. Not only from cars, motors, engines of all kinds, but also from increased farming, less wild lands, more humans using more energy, and industrial production.
These five things combined have steadily increased dramatically over the last one hundred years, and effects are already felt quite severely in places like Bangladesh, and New Orleans.
Low lying areas are susceptible to rising oceans, and tend to be our most densely populated places, because they are typically ports, and water ways of commerce. Due to glaciers disappearing and ice melt, the waters rise. Also, as in the case of hurricane Katrina, warmer air over the gulf, lost buffer boundaries of outlying islands and reefs, and ignored science warnings from experts resulted in “a perfect storm.”
Temperature rise also is a result of less carbon sinks. That is, those places, including the oceans, where carbon is usually stored, such as forests, plains, green ways, and jungle are rapidly disappearing, or experiencing more fires,pollution, storms, droughts, and over use of arable land. Once the soil is depleted, it ceases to be fertile, moist, and protected by natural balances designed by nature. That is why agriculture to feed seven billion people is more and more challenging each day. If done efficiently, as with the goal of protecting land and productivity, agriculture could be advantageous, but most people are poor, and will work for the short term gain of food rather than stewardship of soils and forests. Those who are not poor, obviously care more about profit than pollution.
In the richer nations, constant production and consumption in industry, heating, cooling, and transportation fuels, are not regulated fairly, or for the long term. In fact, the richest corporations on earth have an immense investment, subsidized by your tax dollars, to lobby hard to create MORE pollution. Their public relations campaigns, far better funded than science, and human interest causes, sell the idea that they are global leaders in “going green.” This refers to their bank coffers, and not your clean air, water, soil, and food. Please remember who is paying for all those touchy, feely, Eco friendly ads. You are! You pay at the pump, in your diet, on your taxes, and at your health care clinic.
However, the greatest cause of global warming by far, is that people will habitually do as all others are doing, thinking that if it were “bad”, things like waste, garbage, cheap disposable goods, and all that traffic, would be stopped, or at least seriously curtailed. Humans are instinctively altruistic, so we need to believe we are doing nothing wrong.
Denial, then, the fact that we believe there is nothing we can do to conserve, or even that conservation would somehow even further damage the economy, is by far the greatest cause of Anthropocene global warming.
Changing doom and gloom to hope and appreciation of resources will turn this around, or possibly, the coming apocalypse, once a crucial tipping point is reached.
We only value clean air, water, food, and soil when we suddenly realize we are losing them, or they are prohibitively expensive. It takes an informed public to change a light bulb, but it takes an enthusiastic, positive, and reighteously demanding public to change the world.