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Explain the causes, effects and possible solutions to the problem of global warming

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Introduction

Explain the causes, effects and possible solutions to the problem of global warming. Refer to both the UK and worldwide. Global warming is a problem that threatens the whole world. Though it has had little noticeable impact on the world so far, its potential impact could be disastrous which is why global warming has become an issue ever present in the media and for governments. Global warming is not a new phenomenon. The sun warms the Earth's surface and to stop it over-heating the heat energy is radiated back through the atmosphere and into space. Gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, CFC's and nitrogen oxides trap some of this heat thereby warming the lower atmosphere, which in turn warms the Earth's surface. This is the 'greenhouse effect' and is essential to life, as without it the earth would be so cold it would be uninhabitable. However global warming is attributed to the greenhouse effect as the increase in greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere by humans slowly warm the Earth, potentially changing the world's climate causing sea levels to rise and land to be flooded. ...read more.

Middle

However, a country such as the USA contains only 4% of the world population and emits just under 25% of all greenhouse gases. This is equal to the total emissions from all LEDC's which contain 80% of the world population. The impact of global warming will be widespread and not just affect those countries that contribute to it greatest. Already the impact can be seen in Britain where the winters over the past few years have been milder and with less snow. It is also predicted that there will be a climate divide in Britain, as well as the existing economic divide, where the north will become more wet and prone to flooding while the south will become drier with frequent droughts. It is anticipated that the area around London will have a climate similar to that of Bordeaux with an overall UK average temperature increase from 9�C to 10.6�C in 2050. This prediction is welcomed by those in the tourist and leisure industries yet to most farmers it will mean increased soil erosion and reduced crop yields through drought. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Kyoto Protocol was signed by 84 nations and though America signed it, the US Senate did not ratify it. Since George W. Bush has come to power he has declared that America will not follow the regulations and will not move to cut emissions. At the moment the UK is looking to exceed its target for reducing emissions and in doing so will be able to trade 'carbon credits' with other countries which could be worth as much as �100m. However the reduction in emissions of 12.5% is though by environmentalists to be too small and that the target should be nearer 60%. The effects of CFC's are well known and the use of them in manufacturing is decreasing and may eventually be banned. New environmentally friendly fuels have been developed and now cars can be run on gas. However, it has never been proved that greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming though scientists have yet to discover if anything else is to blame. In the meantime, governments work on the basis that they are to blame and if global warming is to be slowed down then more policies on greenhouse gas emissions need to be introduced. ...read more.

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