Global Warming Causes and Effects

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Starting from the early 1980s, a number of scientists from different countries across the globe have been reporting a substantial increase in the atmosphere temperature. The most commonly cited reason for the rise is human activity, namely the Industrial Revolution which has led to exceedingly large emissions of carbon dioxide and several other gases being released into the atmosphere. Pessimistic forecasts say that by the end of the 21st century the overall increase in carbon dioxide concentration will cause the surface air temperature rise by 2°C to 5°C, while in the polar region the temperature may boost by 12°C (Jaworowski, 2004). Public and governmental concerns about the phenomenon of global warming peaked in 1997 when leaders of the industrially developed states gathered in Kyoto, Japan to sign a treaty limiting emissions of carbon dioxide.Despite seriously improved public awareness of the adversities allegedly caused by global warming, the issue still remains highly controversial both with the public and scientific community. Unfortunately, global warming is a global phenomenon closely related to climate change. The time scale for such change is measured in centuries rather than in years, while the dynamics of the climate involves a number of factors and variables and is still poorly understood. As a result, majority of Americans, though perceive the dangers of global warming, adopt a laissez-faire attitude: until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs (Sterman and Sweeney, 2001: 56). Such public indifference coupled with the complexity of climate change, long feedback time, and non-linear nature of climatic processes, maybe rather dangerous in the long-term perspective.Although the final answer on the causes of global warming is still to be found, two major factors are normally referred to as the causes of global warming.