Is There Any Upside to Global Warming?

Even Best-Case Scenario, the Cons Outweigh Any Possible Pros

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The United Nations has been studying climate change and working to combat its effects since the first Earth Summit in 1992. The UN Intergovernmental panel's fifth report, published in late 2014, reiterates that  global warming —more precisely called climate change—is happening and will likely not abate for centuries.   The report also states with 95% certainty that the activity of humans has been the primary cause of increasing temperatures over the previous few decades, up from 90% in a previous report. We've heard the dire warnings—even if we have yet to heed them—but could there possibly be any advantages to climate change, and if so, could these upsides possibly outweigh the downsides? The short answer is no. Here's why.

Advantages of Global Warming? It's a Bit of a Stretch

The so-called advantages of climate are out there—if you're really looking but do they compensate for the disruption and destruction wrought by the disadvantages? Again, the answer is no but for die-hard fans of the global warming trend, advantages might include the following suspect scenarios:

  • The Arctic, Antarctic, Siberia, and other frozen regions of the earth might experience more plant growth and milder climates.
  • The next ice age could possibly be prevented.
  • The  Northwest Passage through the formerly icy Canadian Arctic Archipelago could arguably open up to transportation.
  • Fewer deaths or injuries would occur due to arctic conditions.
  • Longer growing seasons could mean increased agricultural production in some areas.
  • Previously untapped oil and gas reserves might become available.

Disadvantages: Ocean Warming, Extreme Weather

For every minutely possible advantage to climate change, there is a much more profound and compelling disadvantage. Why? Since the oceans and weather are highly interconnected and the water cycle has an impact on weather patterns (think air saturation, precipitation levels, and the like), what affects the ocean affects weather. For instance:

  • Changes in ocean circulation and the resulting warmer temperatures disrupt the world's normal weather patterns, bringing about more extreme weather and an increased frequency of severe and  catastrophic storms , such as hurricanes and typhoons. The increase in severe storms leads to a more frequent occurrence of such things as "hundred-year floods," decimation of habitats and property, not to mention, loss of life—human and otherwise.  
  • Higher sea levels  lead to flooding of lowlands. Islands and coastlines are engulfed by water leading to death and disease due to flooding.
  • The acidification of warming oceans leads to a loss of coral reefs. Coral reefs protect shorelines from heavy waves, storms, and floods and while they only cover about 0.1% of the ocean floor, reefs provide a habitat for 25% of the ocean's species.   Demolished reefs lead to increased erosion and coastal property damage and the extinction of species.
  • Warming ocean waters means increased melting of glaciers and ice sheets. Smaller ice sheets form each subsequent winter, which has a devastating impact on the habitat of cold-climate animals and the Earth's reserves of freshwater. (According to the United States Geography Survey [USGS], 69% of the Earth's ice is locked in ice and glaciers.)  
  • Less sea ice, warmer water, and increased acidity are catastrophic for krill which forms the base of the ocean's food web and feeds whales, seals, fish, and penguins. The plight of polar bears due to the loss of Arctic ice is well documented, but at the other end of the globe, in 2017 as a result of local climate change, in a colony of 40,000 Antarctic Adélie penguins, only two chicks survived.   In 2013, in the wake of a similar event, none survived.   Emperor penguin colonies are also expected to decline due to loss of sea ice and rising temperatures.

Disadvantages: Land Desertification

As weather patterns are disrupted and droughts intensify in duration and frequency, agricultural sectors are particularly hard hit. Crops and grasslands can't thrive due to lack of water. With crops unavailable, cattle, sheep, and other livestock don't get fed and die. Marginal lands are no longer useful. Farmers who find themselves unable to work the land lose their livelihoods. In addition: 

  • Deserts become drier, leading to increased desertification , resulting in border conflicts in already water-scarce areas.
  • Decreased agricultural production leads to food shortages.
  • Starvation, malnutrition, and increased deaths result from food and crop shortages.

Disadvantages: Health, Social, and Economic Impact

In addition to climate change affecting weather patterns and food production, which in turn have a negative impact on the future of human race as well as the planet, climate change can also put the hurt on people's pocketbooks, the economy of an area on a larger scale, and health in general: 

  • Insect-borne diseases increase. For example, if insects don't die off in an area because it no longer reaches the cold temperatures it once did, diseases those insects may carry—such Lyme disease—can proliferate more easily.
  • People from poorer, drier, hotter, or low-lying countries may attempt to emigrate to wealthier or higher-elevation locales seeking better (or at least nondeadly) conditions, causing tension among the existing population.
  • As climates warm overall, people use more energy resources for cooling needs, which will lead to a rise in air pollution and deaths from increasingly hot weather conditions that cannot be mitigated.
  • Allergy and asthma rates go up due to pollution exacerbated by the earlier and longer blooming of plants.
  • Cultural or heritage sites are destroyed due to increased extremes and acid rain.

Disadvantages: Nature Out of Balance

The environment around us is affected by climate change in a multitude of ways. The component parts of any ecosystem normally must maintain a delicate balance but climate change is throwing nature is out of whack—in some places more than others. Effects include: 

  • Increase in the number of species of animals and plants heading toward extinction.
  • Loss of animal and plant habitats causes animals to move into other territories, disrupting ecosystems that are already established.
  • Because the behaviors of many plants, insects, and animals are dependent on temperature, a change in climate can cause an imbalance in the ecosystem itself. For example, say the availability of food for a particular insect no longer coincides with the time when the offspring of the natural predator for that insect is born. Uncontrolled by predation, the insect population booms, resulting in an overabundance of that pest. This, in turn, leads to increased stress on the foliage the insects eat, which ultimately results in a loss of food for larger animals in the food chain that also depend on those plants for sustenance.
  • Pests such as viruses, fungi, or parasites that usually perish at a certain low temperature no longer die off, which may lead to an increase in disease among plants, animals, and humans.  
  • Melting of permafrost leads to flooding and greatly increases the release of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere which only serves to exacerbate climate change. In addition, ancient viruses long held in stasis by the permafrost are allowed to escape into the environment. 
  • Rainfall increases in acidity.
  • Earlier seasonal drying of forests leads to forest fires of increased frequency, size, and intensity. Loss of plants and trees on hillsides leaves them more vulnerable to erosion and landslides and may lead to an increased probability of property damage and loss of life.

Pachauri, R.K. and L A. Meyer (eds.) " Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report ." Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 2014.

" Coral Reefs ." World Wildlife Fund

" Where is Earth's Water? " USGS Water Science School. United States Geological Survey. 

Bittel, Jason. " The Complicated Story Behind 18,000 Dead Penguin Chicks ." onEarth Species Watch, 9 Nov 2017. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Ropert-Coudert, Yan et al. " Two Recent Massive Breeding Failures in an Adélie Penguin Colony Call for the Creation of a Marine Protected Area in D'urville Sea/Mertz. " Frontiers in Marine Science , vol. 5, no. 264, 2018, doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00264

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Causes and Effects of Climate Change

Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions. As greenhouse gas emissions blanket the Earth, they trap the sun’s heat. This leads to global warming and climate change. The world is now warming faster than at any point in recorded history. Warmer temperatures over time are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature. This poses many risks to human beings and all other forms of life on Earth. 

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The Effects of Climate Change

The effects of human-caused global warming are happening now, are irreversible for people alive today, and will worsen as long as humans add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

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  • We already see effects scientists predicted, such as the loss of sea ice, melting glaciers and ice sheets, sea level rise, and more intense heat waves.
  • Scientists predict global temperature increases from human-made greenhouse gases will continue. Severe weather damage will also increase and intensify.

Earth Will Continue to Warm and the Effects Will Be Profound


Global climate change is not a future problem. Changes to Earth’s climate driven by increased human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are already having widespread effects on the environment: glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking, river and lake ice is breaking up earlier, plant and animal geographic ranges are shifting, and plants and trees are blooming sooner.

Effects that scientists had long predicted would result from global climate change are now occurring, such as sea ice loss, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves.

The magnitude and rate of climate change and associated risks depend strongly on near-term mitigation and adaptation actions, and projected adverse impacts and related losses and damages escalate with every increment of global warming.

global warming disadvantages essay

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Some changes (such as droughts, wildfires, and extreme rainfall) are happening faster than scientists previously assessed. In fact, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the United Nations body established to assess the science related to climate change — modern humans have never before seen the observed changes in our global climate, and some of these changes are irreversible over the next hundreds to thousands of years.

Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for many decades, mainly due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report, published in 2021, found that human emissions of heat-trapping gases have already warmed the climate by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since 1850-1900. 1 The global average temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5 degrees C (about 3 degrees F) within the next few decades. These changes will affect all regions of Earth.

The severity of effects caused by climate change will depend on the path of future human activities. More greenhouse gas emissions will lead to more climate extremes and widespread damaging effects across our planet. However, those future effects depend on the total amount of carbon dioxide we emit. So, if we can reduce emissions, we may avoid some of the worst effects.

The scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human wellbeing and the health of the planet. Any further delay in concerted global action will miss the brief, rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future.

Here are some of the expected effects of global climate change on the United States, according to the Third and Fourth National Climate Assessment Reports:

Future effects of global climate change in the United States:

sea level rise

U.S. Sea Level Likely to Rise 1 to 6.6 Feet by 2100

Global sea level has risen about 8 inches (0.2 meters) since reliable record-keeping began in 1880. By 2100, scientists project that it will rise at least another foot (0.3 meters), but possibly as high as 6.6 feet (2 meters) in a high-emissions scenario. Sea level is rising because of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms. Image credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Sun shining brightly over misty mountains.

Climate Changes Will Continue Through This Century and Beyond

Global climate is projected to continue warming over this century and beyond. Image credit: Khagani Hasanov, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Satellite image of a hurricane.

Hurricanes Will Become Stronger and More Intense

Scientists project that hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates will increase as the climate continues to warm. Image credit: NASA

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More Droughts and Heat Waves

Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves (periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks) are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense and less frequent. Image credit: NOAA

2013 Rim Fire

Longer Wildfire Season

Warming temperatures have extended and intensified wildfire season in the West, where long-term drought in the region has heightened the risk of fires. Scientists estimate that human-caused climate change has already doubled the area of forest burned in recent decades. By around 2050, the amount of land consumed by wildfires in Western states is projected to further increase by two to six times. Even in traditionally rainy regions like the Southeast, wildfires are projected to increase by about 30%.

Changes in Precipitation Patterns

Climate change is having an uneven effect on precipitation (rain and snow) in the United States, with some locations experiencing increased precipitation and flooding, while others suffer from drought. On average, more winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century. Image credit: Marvin Nauman/FEMA

Crop field.

Frost-Free Season (and Growing Season) will Lengthen

The length of the frost-free season, and the corresponding growing season, has been increasing since the 1980s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States. Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen, which will affect ecosystems and agriculture.

Heatmap showing scorching temperatures in U.S. West

Global Temperatures Will Continue to Rise

Summer of 2023 was Earth's hottest summer on record, 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit (F) (0.23 degrees Celsius (C)) warmer than any other summer in NASA’s record and 2.1 degrees F (1.2 C) warmer than the average summer between 1951 and 1980. Image credit: NASA

Satellite map of arctic sea ice.

Arctic Is Very Likely to Become Ice-Free

Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is expected to continue decreasing, and the Arctic Ocean will very likely become essentially ice-free in late summer if current projections hold. This change is expected to occur before mid-century.

U.S. Regional Effects

Climate change is bringing different types of challenges to each region of the country. Some of the current and future impacts are summarized below. These findings are from the Third 3 and Fourth 4 National Climate Assessment Reports, released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program .

  • Northeast. Heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose increasing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Farmers can explore new crop options, but these adaptations are not cost- or risk-free. Moreover, adaptive capacity , which varies throughout the region, could be overwhelmed by a changing climate. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.
  • Northwest. Changes in the timing of peak flows in rivers and streams are reducing water supplies and worsening competing demands for water. Sea level rise, erosion, flooding, risks to infrastructure, and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats. Increasing wildfire incidence and severity, heat waves, insect outbreaks, and tree diseases are causing widespread forest die-off.
  • Southeast. Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture, and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts.
  • Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also worsen a range of risks to the Great Lakes.
  • Southwest. Climate change has caused increased heat, drought, and insect outbreaks. In turn, these changes have made wildfires more numerous and severe. The warming climate has also caused a decline in water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, and triggered heat-related health impacts in cities. In coastal areas, flooding and erosion are additional concerns.

1. IPCC 2021, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis , the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

2. IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

3. USGCRP 2014, Third Climate Assessment .

4. USGCRP 2017, Fourth Climate Assessment .

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global warming disadvantages essay

A Degree of Difference

So, the Earth's average temperature has increased about 2 degrees Fahrenheit during the 20th century. What's the big deal?

global warming disadvantages essay

What’s the difference between climate change and global warming?

“Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. “Climate change” encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet, including rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times.

global warming disadvantages essay

Is it too late to prevent climate change?

Humans have caused major climate changes to happen already, and we have set in motion more changes still. However, if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, the rise in global temperatures would begin to flatten within a few years. Temperatures would then plateau but remain well-elevated for many, many centuries.

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What Are the Effects of Climate Change?

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An area flooded by Super Typhoon Noru in the Bulacan Province of the Philippines, September 26, 2022

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Climate change is our planet’s greatest existential threat . If we don’t limit greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, the consequences of rising global temperatures include massive crop and fishery collapse, the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of species, and entire communities becoming uninhabitable. While these outcomes may still be avoidable, climate change is already causing suffering and death. From raging wildfires and supercharged storms, its compounding effects can be felt today, outside our own windows.

Understanding these impacts can help us prepare for what’s here, what’s avoidable, and what’s yet to come, and to better prepare and protect all communities. Even though everyone is or will be affected by climate change, those living in the world’s poorest countries—which have contributed least to the problem—are the most climate-vulnerable. They have the fewest financial resources to respond to crises or adapt, and they’re closely dependent on a healthy, thriving natural world for food and income. Similarly, in the United States, it is most often low-income communities and communities of color that are on the frontlines of climate impacts. And because climate change and rising inequality are interconnected crises, decision makers must take action to combat both—and all of us must fight for climate justice. Here’s what you need to know about what we’re up against.

Effects of climate change on weather

Effects of climate change on the environment, effects of climate change on agriculture, effects of climate change on animals, effects of climate change on humans, future effects of climate change.

As global temperatures climb, widespread shifts in weather systems occur, making events like droughts , hurricanes , and floods more intense and unpredictable. Extreme weather events that may have hit just once in our grandparents’ lifetimes are becoming more common in ours. However, not every place will experience the same effects: Climate change may cause severe drought in one region while making floods more likely in another.

Already, the planet has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius (1.9 degrees Fahrenheit) since the preindustrial era began 250 years ago, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) . And scientists warn it could reach a worst-case scenario of 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 if we fail to tackle the causes of climate change —namely, the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) .

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Tokyo during a record-breaking heat wave, August 13, 2020

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images

Higher average temperatures

This change in global average temperature—seemingly small but consequential and climbing—means that, each summer, we are likely to experience increasingly sweltering heat waves. Even local news meteorologists are starting to connect strings of record-breaking days to new long-term trends, which are especially problematic in regions where infrastructure and housing have not been built with intensifying heat in mind. And heat waves aren’t just uncomfortable—they’re the leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States.

Longer-lasting droughts

Hotter temperatures increase the rate at which water evaporates from the air, leading to more severe and pervasive droughts . Already, climate change has pushed the American West into a severe “megadrought”—the driest 22-year stretch recorded in at least 1,200 years—shrinking drinking water supplies, withering crops , and making forests more susceptible to insect infestations. Drought can also create a positive feedback loop in which drier soil and less plant cover cause even faster evaporation.

More intense wildfires

This drier, hotter climate also creates conditions that fuel more vicious wildfire seasons—with fires that spread faster and burn longer—putting millions of additional lives and homes at risk. The number of large wildfires doubled between 1984 and 2015 in the western United States. And in California alone, the annual area burned by wildfires increased 500 percent between 1972 and 2018.

Multiple rafts and boats travel through floodwaters on a multi-lane roadway, along with people walking in the waist-high water

Evacuation after Hurricane Harvey in Houston, August 28, 2017

David J. Phillip/AP Photo

Stronger storms

Warmer air also holds more moisture, making tropical cyclones wetter, stronger, and more capable of rapidly intensifying. In the latest report from the IPCC , scientists found that daily rainfall during extreme precipitation events would increase by about 7 percent for each degree Celsius of global warming, increasing the dangers of flooding . The frequency of severe Category 4 and 5 hurricanes is also expected to increase. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey, a devastating Category 4 storm, dumped a record 275 trillion pounds of rain and resulted in dozens of deaths in the Houston area.

From the poles to the tropics, climate change is disrupting ecosystems. Even a seemingly slight shift in temperature can cause dramatic changes that ripple through food webs and the environment.

Small chunks of ice melting in a body of water, with low, snowy mountains in the background

The lake at Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon in Iceland, which has grown because of continued glacial melting

Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo

Melting sea ice

The effects of climate change are most apparent in the world’s coldest regions—the poles. The Arctic is heating up twice as fast as anywhere else on earth, leading to the rapid melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets, where a massive amount of water is stored. As sea ice melts, darker ocean waters that absorb more sunlight become exposed, creating a positive feedback loop that speeds up the melting process. In just 15 years, the Arctic could be entirely ice-free in the summer.

Sea level rise

Scientists predict that melting sea ice and glaciers, as well as the fact that warmer water expands in volume, could cause sea levels to rise as much as 6.6 feet by the end of the century, should we fail to curb emissions. The extent (and pace) of this change would devastate low-lying regions, including island nations and densely populated coastal cities like New York City and Mumbai.

But sea level rise at far lower levels is still costly, dangerous, and disruptive. According to the 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report from the National Ocean Service, the United States will see a foot of sea level rise by 2050, which will regularly damage infrastructure, like roads, sewage treatment plants, and even power plants . Beaches that families have grown up visiting may be gone by the end of the century. Sea level rise also harms the environment, as encroaching seawater can both erode coastal ecosystems and invade freshwater inland aquifers, which we rely on for agriculture and drinking water. Saltwater incursion is already reshaping life in nations like Bangladesh , where one-quarter of the lands lie less than 7 feet above sea level.

People with umbrellas walk on a street through ankle-deep water

A waterlogged road, caused by rainstorm and upstream flood discharge, in the Shaoguan, Guangdong Province of China, June 21, 2022

Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In addition to coastal flooding caused by sea level rise, climate change influences the factors that result in inland and urban flooding: snowmelt and heavy rain. As global warming continues to both exacerbate sea level rise and extreme weather, our nation’s floodplains are expected to grow by approximately 45 percent by 2100. In 2022, deadly flooding in Pakistan—which inundated as much as a third of the country—resulted from torrential rains mixed with melting glaciers and snow.

Warmer ocean waters and marine heat waves

Oceans are taking the brunt of our climate crisis. Covering more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, oceans absorb 93 percent of all the heat that’s trapped by greenhouse gases and up to 30 percent of all the carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels.

Temperature-sensitive fish and other marine life are already changing migration patterns toward cooler and deeper waters to survive, sending food webs and important commercial fisheries into disarray. And the frequency of marine heat waves has increased by more than a third . These spikes have led to mass die-offs of plankton and marine mammals.

To make matters worse, the elevated absorption of carbon dioxide by the ocean leads to its gradual acidification , which alters the fundamental chemical makeup of the water and threatens marine life that has evolved to live in a narrow pH band. Animals like corals, oysters, and mussels will likely feel these effects first, as acidification disrupts the calcification process required to build their shells.

Ecosystem stressors

Land-based ecosystems—from old-growth forests to savannahs to tropical rainforests—are faring no better. Climate change is likely to increase outbreaks of pests, invasive species, and pathogen infections in forests. It’s changing the kinds of vegetation that can thrive in a given region and disrupting the life cycles of wildlife, all of which is changing the composition of ecosystems and making them less resilient to stressors. While ecosystems have the capacity to adapt, many are reaching the hard limits of that natural capacity . More repercussions will follow as temperatures rise.

Climate change appears to be triggering a series of cascading ecological changes that we can neither fully predict nor, once they have enough momentum, fully stop. This ecosystem destabilization may be most apparent when it comes to keystone species that have an outsize- role in holding up an ecosystem’s structure.

An aerial view two people standing in a large field covered by a coffee plants

Coffee plants destroyed by frost due to extremely low temperatures near Caconde in the São Paulo state of Brazil, August 25, 2021

Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Less predictable growing seasons

In a warming world, farming crops is more unpredictable—and livestock, which are sensitive to extreme weather, become harder to raise. Climate change shifts precipitation patterns, causing unpredictable floods and longer-lasting droughts. More frequent and severe hurricanes can devastate an entire season’s worth of crops. Meanwhile, the dynamics of pests, pathogens, and invasive species—all of which are costly for farmers to manage—are also expected to become harder to predict. This is bad news, given that most of the world’s farms are small and family-run. One bad drought or flood could decimate an entire season’s crop or herd. For example, in June 2022, a triple-digit heat wave in Kansas wiped out thousands of cows. While the regenerative agriculture movement is empowering rural communities to make their lands more resilient to climate change, unfortunately, not all communities can equitably access the support services that can help them embrace these more sustainable farming tactics.

Reduced soil health

Healthy soil has good moisture and mineral content and is teeming with bugs, bacteria, fungi, and microbes that in turn contribute to healthy crops. But climate change, particularly extreme heat and changes in precipitation, can degrade soil quality. These impacts are exacerbated in areas where industrial, chemical-dependent monoculture farming has made soil and crops less able to withstand environmental changes.

Food shortages

Ultimately, impacts to our agricultural systems pose a direct threat to the global food supply. And food shortages and price hikes driven by climate change will not affect everyone equally: Wealthier people will continue to have more options for accessing food, while potentially billions of others will be plummeted into food insecurity—adding to the billions that already have moderate or severe difficulty getting enough to eat.

A small blue frog sits on a browb leaf.

The poison dart frog’s survival is currently threatened by habitat loss and climate change.

Chris Mattison/Minden Pictures

It’s about far more than just the polar bears: Half of all animal species in the world’s most biodiverse places, like the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands, are at risk of extinction from climate change. And climate change is threatening species that are already suffering from the biodiversity crisis, which is driven primarily by changes in land and ocean use (like converting wild places to farmland) and direct exploitation of species (like overfishing and wildlife trade). With species already in rough shape—more than 500,000 species have insufficient habitat for long-term survival—unchecked climate change is poised to push millions over the edge.

Climate change rapidly and fundamentally alters (or in some cases, destroys) the habitat that wildlife have incrementally adapted to over millennia. This is especially harmful for species’ habitats that are currently under threat from other causes. Ice-dependent mammals like walruses and penguins, for example, won’t fare well as ice sheets shrink. Rapid shifts in ocean temperatures stress the algae that nourishes coral reefs, causing reefs to starve—an increasingly common phenomenon known as coral bleaching . Disappearing wetlands in the Midwest’s Prairie Pothole Region means the loss of watering holes and breeding grounds for millions of migratory birds. (Many species are now struggling to survive, as more than 85 percent of wetlands have been lost since 1700). And sea level rise will inundate or erode away many coastal habitats, where hundreds of species of birds, invertebrates, and other marine species live.

Many species’ behaviors—mating, feeding, migration—are closely tied to subtle seasonal shifts, as in temperature , precipitation level, and foliage. In some cases, changes to the environment are happening quicker than species are able to adapt. When the types and quantity of plant life change across a region, or when certain species bloom or hatch earlier or later than in the past, it impacts food and water supplies and reverberates up food chains.

A thick smog hangs over a mostly-deserted city street.

Wildfire smoke–filled air in Multnomah County, Oregon, September 16, 2020

Motoya Nakamura/Multnomah County Communications, CC BY NC-ND 4.0

Ultimately, the way climate change impacts weather, the environment, animals, and agriculture affects humanity as well. But there’s more. Around the world, our ways of life—from how we get our food to the industries around which our economies are based—have all developed in the context of relatively stable climates. As global warming shakes this foundation, it promises to alter the very fabric of society. At worst, this could lead to widespread famine, disease, war, displacement , injury, and death. For many around the world, this grim forecast is already their reality. In this way, climate change poses an existential threat to all human life.

Human health

Climate change worsens air quality . It increases exposure to hazardous wildfire smoke and ozone smog triggered by warmer conditions, both of which harm our health, particularly for those with pre-existing illnesses like asthma or heart disease.

Insect-borne diseases like malaria and Zika become more prevalent in a warming world as their carriers are able to exist in more regions or thrive for longer seasons. In the past 30 years, the incidence of Lyme disease from ticks has nearly doubled in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Thousands of people face injury, illness , and death every year from more frequent or more intense extreme weather events. At a 2-degree Celsius rise in global average temperature, an estimated one billion people will face heat stress risk. In the summer of 2022 alone, thousands died in record-shattering heat waves across Europe. Weeks later, dozens were killed by record-breaking urban flooding in the United States and South Korea—and more than 1,500 people perished in the flooding in Pakistan , where resulting stagnant water and unsanitary conditions threaten even more.

The effects of climate change—and the looming threat of what’s yet to come—take a significant toll on mental health too. One 2021 study on climate anxiety, published in the journal Nature , surveyed 10,000 young people from 10 different countries. Forty-five percent of respondents said that their feelings about climate change, varying from anxiety to powerlessness to anger, impacted their daily lives.

A girl sits on a hospital bed that is covered in blue netting.

A patient with dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, in Karachi, Pakistan, where the spread of diseases worsened due to flooding, September 2022

Fareed Khan/AP Photo

Worsening inequity

The climate crisis exacerbates existing inequities. Though wealthy nations, such as the United States, have emitted the lion’s share of historical greenhouse gas emissions, it’s developing countries that may lack the resources to adapt and will now bear the brunt of the climate crisis. In some cases, low-lying island nations—like many in the Pacific —may cease to exist before developed economies make meaningful reductions to their carbon emissions.

Even within wealthier nations, disparities will continue to grow between those rich enough to shield themselves from the realities of climate change and those who cannot. Those with ample resources will not be displaced from their homes by wars over food or water—at least not right away. They will have homes with cool air during heat waves and be able to easily evacuate when a hurricane is headed their way. They will be able to buy increasingly expensive food and access treatment for respiratory illness caused by wildfire smoke. Billions of others can’t—and are paying the highest price for climate pollution they did not produce.

Hurricane Katrina, for example, displaced more than one million people around the Gulf Coast. But in New Orleans , where redlining practices promoted racial and economic segregation, the city’s more affluent areas tended to be located on higher ground—and those residents were able to return and rebuild much faster than others.


Climate change will drive displacement due to impacts like food and water scarcities, sea level rise, and economic instability. It’s already happening. The United Nations Global Compact on Refugees recognizes that “climate, environmental degradation and disasters increasingly interact with the drivers of refugee movements.” Again, communities with the fewest resources—including those facing political instability and poverty—will feel the effects first and most devastatingly.

The walls of a small room are pulled down to the studs, with debris and mold visible on the floor.

A flood-damaged home in Queens, New York, December 1, 2021

K.C. Wilsey/FEMA

Economic impacts

According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, unless action is taken, climate change will cost the U.S. economy as much as $500 billion per year by the end of the century. And that doesn’t even include its enormous impacts on human health . Entire local industries—from commercial fishing to tourism to husbandry—are at risk of collapsing, along with the economic support they provide.

Recovering from the destruction wrought by extreme weather like hurricanes, flash floods, and wildfires is also getting more expensive every year. In 2021, the price tag of weather disasters in the United States totaled $145 billion —the third-costliest year on record, including a number of billion-dollar weather events.

The first wave of impacts can already be felt in our communities and seen on the nightly news. The World Health Organization says that in the near future, between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year from things like malnutrition, insect-borne diseases, and heat stress. And the World Bank estimates that climate change could displace more than 140 million people within their home countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America by 2050.

But the degree to which the climate crisis upends our lives depends on whether global leaders decide to chart a different course. If we fail to curb greenhouse gas emissions, scientists predict a catastrophic 4.3 degrees Celsius , (or around 8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by the end of the century. What would a world that warm look like? Wars over water. Crowded hospitals to contend with spreading disease. Collapsed fisheries. Dead coral reefs. Even more lethal heat waves. These are just some of the impacts predicted by climate scientists .

Workers move a large solar panel into place in a row on the shore of a lake

Solar panel installation at a floating photovoltaic plant on a lake in Haltern am See, Germany, April 2022

Martin Meissner/AP Photo

Climate mitigation, or our ability to reverse climate change and undo its widespread effects, hinges on the successful enactment of policies that yield deep cuts to carbon pollution, end our dependence on dangerous fossil fuels and the deadly air pollution they generate, and prioritize the people and ecosystems on the frontlines. And these actions must be taken quickly in order to ensure a healthier present day and future. In one of its latest reports, the IPCC presented its most optimistic emissions scenario, in which the world only briefly surpasses 1.5 degrees of warming but sequestration measures cause it to dip back below by 2100. Climate adaptation , a term that refers to coping with climate impacts, is no longer optional ; it’s necessary, particularly for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

By following the urgent warnings of the IPCC and limiting warming, we may be able to avoid passing some of the critical thresholds that, once crossed, can lead to potentially irreversible, catastrophic impacts for the planet, including more warming. These thresholds are known as climate tipping points and refer to when a natural system "tips" into an entirely different state. One example would be Arctic permafrost, which stores carbon like a freezer: As the permafrost melts from warming temperatures, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Importantly, climate action is not a binary pass-fail test. Every fraction of a degree of warming that we prevent will reduce human suffering and death, and keep more of the planet’s natural systems intact. The good news is that a wide range of solutions exist to sharply reduce emissions, slow the pace of warming, and protect communities on the frontlines of climate impacts. Climate leaders the world over—those on major political stages as well as grassroots community activists—are offering up alternative models to systems that prioritize polluters over people. Many of these solutions are rooted in ancestral and Indigenous understandings of the natural world and have existed for millennia. Some solutions require major investments into clean, renewable energy and sustainable technologies. To be successful, climate solutions must also address intersecting crises—like poverty, racism, and gender inequality —that compound and drive the causes and impacts of the climate crisis. A combination of human ingenuity and immense political will can help us get there.

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Global warming.

The causes, effects, and complexities of global warming are important to understand so that we can fight for the health of our planet.

Earth Science, Climatology

Tennessee Power Plant

Ash spews from a coal-fueled power plant in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, United States.

Photograph by Emory Kristof/ National Geographic

Ash spews from a coal-fueled power plant in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, United States.

Global warming is the long-term warming of the planet’s overall temperature. Though this warming trend has been going on for a long time, its pace has significantly increased in the last hundred years due to the burning of fossil fuels . As the human population has increased, so has the volume of fossil fuels burned. Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas, and burning them causes what is known as the “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s atmosphere.

The greenhouse effect is when the sun’s rays penetrate the atmosphere, but when that heat is reflected off the surface cannot escape back into space. Gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels prevent the heat from leaving the atmosphere. These greenhouse gasses are carbon dioxide , chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor , methane , and nitrous oxide . The excess heat in the atmosphere has caused the average global temperature to rise overtime, otherwise known as global warming.

Global warming has presented another issue called climate change. Sometimes these phrases are used interchangeably, however, they are different. Climate change refers to changes in weather patterns and growing seasons around the world. It also refers to sea level rise caused by the expansion of warmer seas and melting ice sheets and glaciers . Global warming causes climate change, which poses a serious threat to life on Earth in the forms of widespread flooding and extreme weather. Scientists continue to study global warming and its impact on Earth.

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Global Warming: Causes And Consequences

The familiar photo of the Earth spinning in the blackness of space that was taken 50 years ago by William Anders, an astronaut on the Apollo 8 lunar mission, starkly illustrated our isolation on this planet. Now we face a crisis as the climate and environmental conditions that support life as we know it become ever more fragile owing to CO 2 -induced global warming. The evidence suggests there is significant risk that areas of the Earth in tropical zones may become uninhabitable and that significant food chains will collapse in this century. 


Spaceship Earth

The familiar photo of the Earth spinning in the blackness of space that was taken 50 years ago by William Anders, an astronaut on the Apollo 8 lunar mission, starkly illustrated our isolation on this planet. Now we face a crisis as the climate and environmental conditions that support life as we know it become ever more fragile owing to CO 2 -induced global warming. The evidence suggests there is significant risk that areas of the Earth in tropical zones may become uninhabitable and that significant food chains will collapse in this century. We agree with those who say that the highest human priority now is to greatly reduce human societies’ reliance on CO 2 -producing oil and coal. However, even the most optimistic projections of reduced CO 2 production and resulting reductions in climatic warming suggest that future generations will face daunting problems. Fortunately, this growing disruption is occurring at a time of unprecedented breakthroughs in science and technology. Although there are many things that can be done to ameliorate individual events, the worldwide effort is uncoordinated and there is widespread resistance from vested economic and political interest groups. Here, we first survey the consequences of the rapid rise in CO 2 emissions and then consider the possibility that new genetic technologies can help mitigate some of the biological consequences of global changes in climate patterns.

Life on Earth has evolved in an interconnected ecology determined by weather patterns, movements of global tectonic plates, and the dynamic surface chemistry of oceans and land. The creatures on Earth—all the humans, animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, and viruses—are dependent on each another as well as on this enveloping ecosystem. Since the Earth is an integrated system, significant changes in any internal component or in external influences induce movement toward a new equilibrium. Throughout the history of the Earth there have been long periods of cooling leading to growth of massive continental ice sheets, interspersed with warm intervals. While the causes of these ice ages are not fully understood, the principal contributing factors have been identified. The composition of the atmosphere, particularly the concentration of carbon dioxide and methane, is important. Also changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, changes in the tilt in the Earth’s axis, impacts of large meteorites, and eruptions of super volcanoes. The latter two phenomena can both put massive amounts of particulate matter and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In two instances, biological phenomena have disrupted the composition of the atmosphere with global consequences. One was the Great Oxidation Event or the Oxidation Catastrophe, around 2.45 billion years ago. This occurred after a bacterial species, an ancestor of contemporary cyanobacteria, evolved the ability to produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis. This event had extraordinary consequences for ocean chemistry and eventually for the slow accumulation of atmospheric oxygen to contemporary levels over an interval of several million years. The newly oxygenated atmosphere was toxic to virtually all the anaerobic organisms that then populated the earth. These organisms died and were replaced by creatures that could thrive in the new oxygenated atmosphere. 1 Now, the current human-induced increase in atmospheric CO 2 is the second biological disruption of atmospheric composition that is producing global warming with credible predictions of ever more dire consequences in coming decades. Consequences we are already seeing include:

Accelerating rise in global sea level owing to irreversible melting of glacial ice in the European Alps, melting of arctic ice, and of greatest concern, melting of the land ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

Large changes in climate patterns that have led to cataclysmic wild fires encouraged by the hottest summers on record and extreme floods stemming from new and disruptive storm patterns.

Acidification and warming of the oceans leading to decimation of coral reefs and other changes that are disrupting the marine food chain.

The global redistribution of bacterial, fungal, and viral pathogens and their vectors out of the tropics and into temperate zones and the emergence of previously unknown pathogens.

As the Earth’s climate continues to warm owing to increasing levels of atmospheric CO 2 the mean sea level will rise. 2 The mean sea level has risen about 8 inches since the late 1800s, and projections suggest an accelerating rise of between 2 and 6 feet by 2100. 3 The predominant contributor to the future sea level increase will be melting of the enormous land-based ice sheets and glaciers on Antarctica and Greenland. The amount of the rise will be strongly dependent on mankind’s success in limiting future CO 2 emissions. However, even the lowest estimates portend devastating consequences: 4 loss of arable land owing to flooding and salt water intrusion (e.g., Vietnam, Bangladesh, California’s Salinas valley 5 ); major population displacements (100 million people will be displaced by a three-foot rise); many coastal areas may have to be abandoned (e.g., South Florida and Miami 6 ).

We are already experiencing changes in global weather patterns. Regions accustomed to temperate temperatures and predictable periods of rainfall are seeing prolonged drought and periods of extreme high temperature, while other regions are experiencing excess rain and snowfall along with lower ambient temperatures. In parts of Australia, drought and peak summer temperatures nearing 116 o F are causing vast wildfires. Simultaneously, U.S. states around the Great Lakes have experienced winter temperatures of -34 o C (-29.2 o F) that are significantly colder than temperatures in the Arctic. This skewing of ambient temperatures in North America is due to changes in the jet stream that have allowed polar air from the Arctic to flow into zones normally buffered against temperature extremes. Global warming contributes to these unusual weather patterns through its influence on the polar vortex, a wide expanse of swirling cold air near the pole. 7 Over a surprisingly short time, the average temperature rise at the north polar region has been higher than in some more southerly areas. While average temperatures across the globe have now increased to 1.2 o C above preindustrial revolution levels, the poles have seen an average increase of 3 o C. During March 2018, temperatures in Siberia were 15 o C (59 o F) above historical averages, and Greenland experienced a period of 61 hours above freezing (three times longer than any previous year), while temperatures were unusually low in Europe. These disruptions in global weather patterns have caused long-term drought conditions in some regions and unprecedented floods in others, leading to loss of arable land and precipitous reductions in agricultural production. Those who deny climate change often point to periods of extreme cold in unexpected regions as evidence supporting their views, without understanding that the large-scale changes in weather patterns are a central consequence of global warming. When the oceans warm, global weather patterns are disrupted in many areas in unexpected ways.

It is important to recognize that these global events are interconnected. For example, consider the consequences of sustained rainfall on degraded farmland: Increased rainfall leads to soil erosion, that in turn results in the release of phosphorous from fertilized soil into rivers and the oceans. That release, in turn can stimulate algal blooms and red tides, further reducing the ocean oxygen levels that are already lowered by warming waters. These phenomena add to the impacts of warming and acidification on food chains in the ocean.

What will be the impact of global warming on our land-based food supply and our ability to maintain the animals and plants we depend on? Warming is already slowing yield gains in most wheat-growing locations, and global wheat production is expected to fall by 6% for each 1°C of further temperature increase while becoming more variable. 8 Global production of corn is similarly at risk. 9 Global warming will alter world food production patterns, with crop productivity reduced in low latitudes and tropical regions but increased somewhat in high latitude regions. This will lead to trade changes with expanded sales of food products from the mid-to-high latitudes to lower latitude regions. 10

Extinction of species owing to expanding human activities around the globe has been accelerating over the last two centuries. Now the onset of changes in the climate is accelerating the rate of extinctions. Disruptions of habitats, loss of food sources, and the spread of infectious diseases are happening at a rate that cannot be accommodated by evolutionary adaptation. The number of species that have gone extinct in the last century alone would have taken between 800 and 1000 years to disappear in previous mass extinctions. 11 During one of these extinctions, the Permian-Triassic extinction 250 million years ago, 12,13 the earth lost 96% of all marine species, 100% of the coral reefs, and 70% of terrestrial vertebrates. In that event, the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere led to ocean warming and to ocean acidification that together played a key role in the global loss of life. Recovery from that extinction event took more than 10 million years.

Currently, we are experiencing a 6 th mass extinction, 11 and we are approaching up to 100x higher rates of extinction than the background rate. There are two critical differences now. First, the current rate of change to the earth’s ecosystem is occurring in a few decades rather than over thousands of years as in the previous five extinction periods. Second, the events underlying the current cataclysm are man-made. Metaphorically, we are riding a runaway climate train with no one at the controls.

Effects on the Oceans

In the past there have been few established populations of invasive species identified in the high northern latitudes, that is, the northern coasts of Canada or Russia. With the continuing loss of Arctic sea ice, this situation will change. There has been rapid growth of shipping traffic along the northern coast of Russia in recent years, a large cruise ship went through the Northwest Passage in 2016, and now multiple arctic cruises are advertised each year. We can expect continuing expansion in arctic shipping activities, mineral/energy exploration, fishing, and tourism in future years. These new northern transport routes offer shorter and less expensive connections between northern hemisphere ports, so the shipping traffic will inevitably grow as more ice melts and warmer weather seasons get longer. Introduction of invasive species into these Arctic regions will follow rapidly. This will bring new challenges to the native inhabitants—humans, wildlife, and plants—of these northern ocean and terrestrial habitats. There will be greater competition for food sources and introduction of new infectious diseases. This sequence of events has occurred innumerable times before when alien populations expanded into new regions. 14

Currently, the oceans absorb 93% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thus slowing warming of land masses. But the resulting rapid warming of the oceans directly impacts marine life and related food chains. Consider, for example, the coral reefs along over 93,000 miles of coastline rimming the oceans—one of the largest ecosystems on the planet.

A thriving coral reef is comprised of groups of millions of identical tiny polyps a few millimeters wide and a few centimeters long, each with a calcite skeleton. Millions of these tiny stony skeletons accumulate over generations to form the large hard coral reefs found along tropical shorelines. Many of the coral species obtain most of their nutrients from photosynthetic algae plants called zooxanthellae . When the sea around them warms excessively, the polyps expel the zooxanthellae and the coral becomes completely white—a condition called coral bleaching. Corals can survive bleaching events and restore the zooxanthellae , if conditions normalize quickly enough. But the bleaching events are highly stressful, and the corals will die if occurrence of bleaching events persists. When this happens, only the dead coral skeletons—which can be immense—are left.

The Great Barrier Reef, 500 feet thick at some points, extends discontinuously for over 1500 miles off the coast of eastern Australia. By 2018, half of the Great Barrier Reef had died from heat stress. Similar damage is occurring in the Caribbean and the rest of the world’s tropical shorelines. 15,16

Loss of the ocean reef ecosystems could substantially compromise the Earths ability to sustain the health and well-being of its inhabitants. Fish populations in the coral reefs are the source of food for hundreds of millions of people. Loss of the reefs disrupts the marine food chain which causes loss of local food supplies, stressed populations, and conflicts over fishing rights.

There is now a global sense of urgency to develop methods to restore and maintain the health of the reefs considering their increasing destruction. Corals can evolve to survive in changed conditions—warmer, more acidic, etc. However, the rate of natural adaptation is too slow relative to the current rate of changes in their ocean environment, so there is widespread devastation of established reefs. This has led to efforts to accelerate the rate of adaptation. In some stressed reefs, small coral colonies are found that have successfully adapted to the local changes in temperature and increased acidity. Reef preservationists have shown that corals harvested from these colonies can be nurtured in coral “farms” and then used to seed new growth in damaged areas. Scientists are also experimenting with selective breeding to develop coral strains better adapted to changed conditions. 17–19

In Indonesia another attempt at coral reef remediation involves attaching optimized coral polyps to metal rods planted within the compromised reefs. The application of a mild electric shock causes minerals in the water to precipitate and adhere to the metal structures, thus stimulating calcification with the goal of creating the more native ‘cement’ of a reef’s exoskeleton, referred to as ‘Biorock.’ 20 The resulting limestone surface increases the growth of the corals under conditions that would normally lead to their death. All these schemes are highly promising, but there are daunting cost and logistical barriers to scaling restoration efforts to address the vast areas of lost reefs.

Global Warming Is Changing the Distribution of Animal and Plant Pathogens

The last century has seen radical changes in the pattern, volume, and speed of transport of people and cargo between widely separated regions on the planet. One consequence has been the increase in direct long-distance human transport of dangerous infectious diseases by person to person transmission. Surveillance of travelers at entry points, coupled with identification, treatment, and when necessary, quarantine of the infected persons and their contacts, has been the response strategy. But diseases that are carried by intermediate vectors, for example, mosquitoes or ticks, present a different and more complex challenge. Any such vector is adapted to thrive in some environmental niche—characterized by a temperature and rainfall range, urban or rural, indoor or outdoor, etc. When a region’s climate warms, it may become hospitable to new vectors, which will then inevitably arrive either by expansion from adjacent territories or as accidental hitchhikers in freight shipments or transport vehicles.

For example, in a remarkably short time, human viruses like Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, and West Nile have spread into regions of the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States that until recently had ambient temperatures below that required to support their transmission. In addition, fungal infections of food plants, like the blights infecting Cavendish bananas and cocoa trees, have become a global problem. The rapid spread of global disease caused by changes in atmospheric temperature, ocean temperature, erratic and drenching rains, and floods in one geographic location accompanied by droughts in another location is being facilitated by migration of the vectors, such as mosquitoes, ticks, bats, and rats, that carry the pathogens. Insect vectors are exquisitely sensitive to changes in temperature, and warmer temperatures increase their breeding season and life span. Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, and Yellow Fever viruses soon follow arrival of the common Aedes aegypti mosquito and are then transmitted among humans by the female mosquito. Other mosquito species transmit West Nile virus, the malaria parasite, and the parasitic nematode worm that causes the human disfiguring disease lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).

Ticks are another rapidly spreading vector. Although most tick species do not harbor pathogens harmful to humans, Lyme disease is caused by a tick-borne bacterial pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi . Until recently, ticks were inhibited over much of North America by cold winters, but with increasing average temperatures and milder winters they are becoming established further north. Lyme disease is now endemic in Canada, so the government has recently established tick surveillance networks.

The vector-borne bacterial pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter that causes citrus greening disease is a serious agricultural threat. Liberibacter are transferred to citrus trees by an insect vector, the Asian citrus psyllid or jumping plant lice. The disease causes the decline and death of citrus trees by blocking the flow of nutrients and sugars from the leaves to the roots. Once infected, the tree is doomed. Liberibacter have recently migrated along with the citrus psyllid vector to warming temperate climate zones worldwide, including ten U.S. states. 21 The resulting Citrus Greening infections have devastated the Florida citrus industry and destroyed citrus groves in Asia, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. In the United States, the damage has been less in states further north than Florida, probably because of their cooler temperatures, but as the climate warms, the citrus greening infections will likely continue moving northward.

Owing to the huge financial impact of citrus greening, there are multiple biology-based efforts underway to disrupt the infection pathway either by eliminating the psyllid vector, by killing the bacterial Liberibacter pathogen, or by developing an infection resistant citrus tree variety. 22 Insect warfare has also been tried by introduction of a wasp that preys specifically on the Asian citrus psyllid. This strategy works, but it only reduces, rather than eliminating, the citrus psyllid population. 23

Each biological approach tried so far has its pros and cons. Insecticides can kill the citrus psyllid, but they may also threaten beneficial insects. Antibiotics may kill the Liberibacter, but their use can also increase bacterial antibiotic resistance and thus loss of antibiotic effectiveness for treating human diseases. This story of the challenges of containing the spread of the citrus greening disease is representative of similar challenges encountered in trying to deal with a myriad of newly encroaching diseases, some carried by other insect vectors. Are there better solutions on the horizon? It may be that recent advances in genetic technology will lead to more effective approaches.

Can New Genetic Technologies Reduce Global Warming Consequences?

Along with the increasing threat of climate change to human health and agriculture, we are experiencing a revolution in genetic engineering technology. Perhaps this will lead to new methods for effective surveillance and for mitigation of the redistribution of vectors that transmit disease.

The new CRISPR Cas9 technology lets us change specific genes in an insect or animal vector, thus making it either unable to serve as a reservoir for a given pathogen (known as a population modification drive) or eliminating the ability of the vector to propagate (known as a suppression drive). A suppression drive targets the reproductive capacity of the insect vector and can lead to a population crash, potentially wiping out a species. A population modification drive does not affect the reproduction capability of the insect, but it prevents the vector from harboring the pathogen or it prevents transmitting the pathogen to the human host. With these technologies, the genetic makeup of a few individuals in a targeted vector species is changed in such a manner that once these individuals are released into the wild, the change spreads rapidly throughout the entire vector population. Gene drives only affect sexually reproducing species, and thus they cannot be used directly on bacterial and viral pathogens.

Malaria transmission has been used as a test case to explore use of a vector gene drive to contain the spread of a disease. The results have been encouraging. In 2015, 200 million people worldwide were infected with malaria and between 500,000 and 700,000 died from the disease. Seventy-two percent of these were children under 5 years of age. In 2016, the number of cases worldwide increased to 216 million. Of 3,500 mosquito species, only those that belong to a subset called Anopheles can transmit the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum , to a human by means of a bite from a female. The Anopheles stephensi mosquito, endemic to India and South Asia, carries the malaria parasite in that region. These mosquitoes were experimentally gene edited so that they could no longer carry the malaria parasite, establishing a population modification gene drive. A key trick in a gene drive is to engineer both copies of the chromosome so that all the offspring of a mating between a normal mosquito and a genetically altered one carry the genetic profile of the desired alteration, rather than just half the offspring, which is normally the case. Under laboratory conditions, it was demonstrated that this population modification drive leads to rapid spread of the desired genetically-altered mosquito and disappearance of the normal mosquitoes. The genetically altered mosquitoes cannot harbor the malaria parasite. This suggests that release of this genetically altered mosquito into the wild would halt the spread of malaria and thus save millions of lives. Eventually the malaria parasite could naturally mutate to overcome the genetic change in its mosquito host allowing it to once again infect humans, but this might not occur for a long time.

Another example is the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, which transmits malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. In another series of gene drive experiments, gene editing was used to change genes that the female mosquito needs for egg production, thereby creating female sterility (a suppression gene drive). In this case, the goal was just to reduce the number of mosquitoes transmitting malaria, but the technique could potentially wipe out the entire population of Anopheles gambiae . The combined challenge of climate change, which is altering the geographic distribution of the vector mosquitoes, and growing resistance to drugs routinely used to treat malaria-infected patients is making gene editing of the insect vectors an increasingly attractive potential solution. However, the notion of eliminating an entire insect species troubles many people.

In another test case, gene drives are being explored as a way of controlling transmission of Lyme disease by ticks on the U.S. island of Nantucket. Owing to recent increases in the population of island ticks, over 40% of the 10,000 inhabitants of Nantucket have, or have had, Lyme disease. Both deer and the white foot mouse can transmit the Lyme disease pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, to ticks, and the pathogen can then be transmitted to humans by the ticks. Ticks feed on the deer or white foot mice carrying Borrelia and the infected ticks bite humans, passing on Lyme disease. A plan was proposed by Kevin Esvelt (MIT) and Sam Telford (Tufts U., Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine) to use a gene drive to reduce the population of white footed mice that are infected with Borrelia . To do this, the mice would be genetically engineered so that they are immune to infection by the Lyme disease bacterial pathogen and thus could not accumulate infectious Borrelia . In this case, there would still be the same number of mice and the same number of ticks, but the number of ticks able to transmit Borrelia would be significantly reduced. Thousands of altered mice would be released on the island. The gene drive would ensure that the genetic alteration would pass down through all following generations of mice on the island, disrupting the cycle of transmission. The plan is to first test the genetically modified mice on an uninhabited island and then, with the concurrence of the inhabitants of both Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard, release the genetically altered mice. The first step will be to get the concurrence and support of the inhabitants of these islands, because the gene drive would be altering the environment shared by all inhabitants.

Recently, a new gene editing application has been developed to alter the response of plants to environmental challenges. The proposed scheme involves spraying a field of plants with millions of insect vectors carrying viruses that are programmed to edit the genome of a plant such as maize to become drought resistant, in one growing season. This technique would be significantly faster than a gene drive. Further, this method would not permanently alter the genetic makeup of future plant generations, as is the case with gene drives. The goal is to engineer drought-resistant and temperature-tolerant plants, thereby securing the food supply during times of climate instability. But there is a catch, as once released into the wild, controlling these insect vectors would be difficult, if not impossible. As a result, this work has been limited so far to the laboratory. There is also concern that the method could be adapted as a biological weapon, enabling destruction of targeted food crops over wide areas by adverse genetic manipulation of the plants’ chromosomes. In addition to controlling mosquito vectors and tick-borne Lyme disease, gene drives are also being devised to control the nematode worms that carry the parasite causing Schistosomiasis.

Gene drives have not yet been released in the wild to mitigate vector-borne transmission of disease as there are critical questions to be resolved as noted above. Although the biology is ready, there are many questions of governance, safety, and ethics to be answered. Caution is important, since once the genetically-altered vectors are released, there is no assured way of controlling them at this point.

In July 2015, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences convened a meeting to discuss “the promise and perils of gene drives.” Critical questions raised at the meeting were:

Will an entire species of vector be wiped out? Methods are being devised to slow the gene drive so that only a portion of the offspring contain the genetically engineered alterations. These “Daisy chain drives,” have been engineered to be self-limiting and eventually disappear from the population.

Have techniques been devised that could control a runaway gene drive? By creating a second gene drive that undoes the genetic alterations of the first gene drive, essentially “a molecular eraser,” it is hoped a gene drive could be reversed, but not before unintended consequences to the ecosystem become apparent.

Can the altered genetic traits be transferred to other insect species ? Unlikely, but possible. If this occurred, the potential for wiping out beneficial insect species would lead to further ecological disruptions, compounding the ravages of climate change.

Global Warming Mitigation Will Require a Coordinated International Effort

Many climate scientists and other thoughtful people have had concerns about the deteriorating global ecosystem for several decades now. The contribution of human activity to this escalating cataclysm is well documented. Predictions of dire consequences have been noted and sporadic attempts by the international community have been made to mitigate the ongoing onslaught of carbon emissions. But global warming is a problem that can only be solved by global cooperation because the world’s ecosystem is an integrated system. The causes of environmental degradation cannot be addressed by a patchwork of uncoordinated responses. We are dependent upon achieving international cooperation to mount a coordinated, science-based response.

In the United States today, political calculations relating to oil and coal interests have halted government acknowledgement of the risks of continuing future emissions of CO 2 into the atmosphere. In December 2018, at a UN Climate Change Conference in Poland, Wells Griffith, Mr. Trump’s international energy and climate adviser, said “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.” The attendees broke into jeers and mocking laughter. 24 Do not think that the United States is alone in this stance. We are aligned with other major fossil fuel producing nations, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Australia. We are now well beyond the time of debating about validity of the predictions about what will happen if climate change is left unaddressed. Rather, we are trying to mitigate what has already happened, while, as a society, summoning the courage and the will to leave fossil fuels in the ground and switch to alternative energy sources. Renewable power resources and improvements in the efficiency of our energy use can be important components of our energy future for the rest of this century. But, practically speaking, nuclear power will probably also have to be a major component of the future energy portfolio in order to meet world energy demands while greatly reducing use of fossil fuels. 25, 26 That too is controversial. These are existential choices that call for an unprecedented level of wisdom and societal responsiveness in the world’s political systems. It does seem likely that achieving the necessary global political response will only come when there is widespread public fear and panic as the realization of the danger percolates into public consciousness. 27 It is extraordinary that the current U.S. national leadership both denies existence of the global warming problem and actively promotes more use of fossil fuels. The longer we delay reduction in global CO 2 emissions, the worse the ultimate catastrophe will be.

Authors’ Note:

We believe the world energy economy must shift rapidly from reliance on fossil fuels—coal, oil, and gas—to cleaner alternatives or our children and grandchildren will suffer dire consequences. We encourage the reader to personally assess the risks and potential solutions. To that end, we have included references for further reading that are openly accessible on the Internet.

Lucy Shapiro is a professor in the Department of Developmental Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine where she holds the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Chair in Cancer Research and is the director of the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine. Harley McAdams is an emeritus professor at the Department of Developmental Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

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Causes of global warming, explained

Human activity is driving climate change, including global temperature rise.

The average temperature of the Earth is rising at nearly twice the rate it was 50 years ago. This rapid warming trend cannot be explained by natural cycles alone, scientists have concluded. The only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by humans.

Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in our atmosphere are higher than at any point over the past 800,000 years , and their ability to trap heat is changing our climate in multiple ways .

IPCC conclusions

To come to a scientific conclusion on climate change and what to do about it, the United Nations in 1988 formed a group called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , or IPCC. The IPCC meets every few years to review the latest scientific findings and write a report summarizing all that is known about global warming. Each report represents a consensus, or agreement, among hundreds of leading scientists.

One of the first things the IPCC concluded is that there are several greenhouse gases responsible for warming, and humans emit them in a variety of ways. Most come from the combustion of fossil fuels in cars, buildings, factories, and power plants. The gas responsible for the most warming is carbon dioxide, or CO2. Other contributors include methane released from landfills, natural gas and petroleum industries, and agriculture (especially from the digestive systems of grazing animals); nitrous oxide from fertilizers; gases used for refrigeration and industrial processes; and the loss of forests that would otherwise store CO2.

a melting iceberg

Gaseous abilities

Different greenhouse gases have very different heat-trapping abilities. Some of them can trap more heat than an equivalent amount of CO2. A molecule of methane doesn't hang around the atmosphere as long as a molecule of carbon dioxide will, but it is at least 84 times more potent over two decades. Nitrous oxide is 264 times more powerful than CO2.

Other gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs—which have been banned in much of the world because they also degrade the ozone layer—have heat-trapping potential thousands of times greater than CO2. But because their emissions are much lower than CO2 , none of these gases trap as much heat in the atmosphere as CO2 does.

When those gases that humans are adding to Earth's atmosphere trap heat, it’s called the "greenhouse effect." The gases let light through but then keep much of the heat that radiates from the surface from escaping back into space, like the glass walls of a greenhouse. The more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the more dramatic the effect, and the more warming that happens.

Climate change continues

Despite global efforts to address climate change, including the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement , carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels continue to rise, hitting record levels in 2018 .

Many people think of global warming and climate change as synonyms, but scientists prefer to use “climate change” when describing the complex shifts now affecting our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and and habitats, rising seas , and a range of other impacts.

Read next: Global Warming Effects

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Essay on Global Warming

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global warming disadvantages essay

Being able to write an essay is an integral part of mastering any language. Essays form an integral part of many academic and scholastic exams like the SAT , and UPSC amongst many others. It is a crucial evaluative part of English proficiency tests as well like IELTS , TOEFL , etc. Major essays are meant to emphasize public issues of concern that can have significant consequences on the world. To understand the concept of Global Warming and its causes and effects, we must first examine the many factors that influence the planet’s temperature and what this implies for the world’s future. Here’s an unbiased look at the essay on Global Warming and other essential related topics.

Short Essay on Global Warming and Climate Change?

Since the industrial and scientific revolutions, Earth’s resources have been gradually depleted. Furthermore, the start of the world’s population’s exponential expansion is particularly hard on the environment. Simply put, as the population’s need for consumption grows, so does the use of natural resources , as well as the waste generated by that consumption.

Climate change has been one of the most significant long-term consequences of this. Climate change is more than just the rise or fall of global temperatures; it also affects rain cycles, wind patterns, cyclone frequencies, sea levels, and other factors. It has an impact on all major life groupings on the planet.

Also Read: World Population Day

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century, primarily due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels . The greenhouse gases consist of methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, carbon dioxide, water vapour, and chlorofluorocarbons. The weather prediction has been becoming more complex with every passing year, with seasons more indistinguishable, and the general temperatures hotter.

The number of hurricanes, cyclones, droughts, floods, etc., has risen steadily since the onset of the 21st century. The supervillain behind all these changes is Global Warming. The name is quite self-explanatory; it means the rise in the temperature of the Earth.

Also Read: What is a Natural Disaster?

What are the Causes of Global Warming?

According to recent studies, many scientists believe the following are the primary four causes of global warming:

  • Deforestation 
  • Greenhouse emissions
  • Carbon emissions per capita

Extreme global warming is causing natural disasters , which can be seen all around us. One of the causes of global warming is the extreme release of greenhouse gases that become trapped on the earth’s surface, causing the temperature to rise. Similarly, volcanoes contribute to global warming by spewing excessive CO2 into the atmosphere.

The increase in population is one of the major causes of Global Warming. This increase in population also leads to increased air pollution . Automobiles emit a lot of CO2, which remains in the atmosphere. This increase in population is also causing deforestation, which contributes to global warming.

The earth’s surface emits energy into the atmosphere in the form of heat, keeping the balance with the incoming energy. Global warming depletes the ozone layer, bringing about the end of the world. There is a clear indication that increased global warming will result in the extinction of all life on Earth’s surface.

Also Read: Land, Soil, Water, Natural Vegetation, and Wildlife Resources

Solutions for Global Warming

Of course, industries and multinational conglomerates emit more carbon than the average citizen. Nonetheless, activism and community effort are the only viable ways to slow the worsening effects of global warming. Furthermore, at the state or government level, world leaders must develop concrete plans and step-by-step programmes to ensure that no further harm is done to the environment in general.

Although we are almost too late to slow the rate of global warming, finding the right solution is critical. Everyone, from individuals to governments, must work together to find a solution to Global Warming. Some of the factors to consider are pollution control, population growth, and the use of natural resources.

One very important contribution you can make is to reduce your use of plastic. Plastic is the primary cause of global warming, and recycling it takes years. Another factor to consider is deforestation, which will aid in the control of global warming. More tree planting should be encouraged to green the environment. Certain rules should also govern industrialization. Building industries in green zones that affect plants and species should be prohibited.

Also Read: Essay on Pollution

Effects of Global Warming

Global warming is a real problem that many people want to disprove to gain political advantage. However, as global citizens, we must ensure that only the truth is presented in the media.

This decade has seen a significant impact from global warming. The two most common phenomena observed are glacier retreat and arctic shrinkage. Glaciers are rapidly melting. These are clear manifestations of climate change.

Another significant effect of global warming is the rise in sea level. Flooding is occurring in low-lying areas as a result of sea-level rise. Many countries have experienced extreme weather conditions. Every year, we have unusually heavy rain, extreme heat and cold, wildfires, and other natural disasters.

Similarly, as global warming continues, marine life is being severely impacted. This is causing the extinction of marine species as well as other problems. Furthermore, changes are expected in coral reefs, which will face extinction in the coming years. These effects will intensify in the coming years, effectively halting species expansion. Furthermore, humans will eventually feel the negative effects of Global Warming.

Also Read: Concept of Sustainable Development

Sample Essays on Global Warming

Here are some sample essays on Global Warming:

Essay on Global Warming Paragraph in 100 – 150 words

Global Warming is caused by the increase of carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere and is a result of human activities that have been causing harm to our environment for the past few centuries now. Global Warming is something that can’t be ignored and steps have to be taken to tackle the situation globally. The average temperature is constantly rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the last few years.

The best method to prevent future damage to the earth, cutting down more forests should be banned and Afforestation should be encouraged. Start by planting trees near your homes and offices, participate in events, and teach the importance of planting trees. It is impossible to undo the damage but it is possible to stop further harm.

Also Read: Social Forestry

Essay on Global Warming in 250 Words

Over a long period, it is observed that the temperature of the earth is increasing. This affected wildlife, animals, humans, and every living organism on earth. Glaciers have been melting, and many countries have started water shortages, flooding, and erosion and all this is because of global warming. 

No one can be blamed for global warming except for humans. Human activities such as gases released from power plants, transportation, and deforestation have increased gases such as carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants in the earth’s atmosphere.                                              The main question is how can we control the current situation and build a better world for future generations. It starts with little steps by every individual. 

Start using cloth bags made from sustainable materials for all shopping purposes, instead of using high-watt lights use energy-efficient bulbs, switch off the electricity, don’t waste water, abolish deforestation and encourage planting more trees. Shift the use of energy from petroleum or other fossil fuels to wind and solar energy. Instead of throwing out the old clothes donate them to someone so that it is recycled. 

Donate old books, don’t waste paper.  Above all, spread awareness about global warming. Every little thing a person does towards saving the earth will contribute in big or small amounts. We must learn that 1% effort is better than no effort. Pledge to take care of Mother Nature and speak up about global warming.

Also Read: Types of Water Pollution

Essay on Global Warming in 500 Words

Global warming isn’t a prediction, it is happening! A person denying it or unaware of it is in the most simple terms complicit. Do we have another planet to live on? Unfortunately, we have been bestowed with this one planet only that can sustain life yet over the years we have turned a blind eye to the plight it is in. Global warming is not an abstract concept but a global phenomenon occurring ever so slowly even at this moment. Global Warming is a phenomenon that is occurring every minute resulting in a gradual increase in the Earth’s overall climate. Brought about by greenhouse gases that trap the solar radiation in the atmosphere, global warming can change the entire map of the earth, displacing areas, flooding many countries, and destroying multiple lifeforms. Extreme weather is a direct consequence of global warming but it is not an exhaustive consequence. There are virtually limitless effects of global warming which are all harmful to life on earth. The sea level is increasing by 0.12 inches per year worldwide. This is happening because of the melting of polar ice caps because of global warming. This has increased the frequency of floods in many lowland areas and has caused damage to coral reefs. The Arctic is one of the worst-hit areas affected by global warming. Air quality has been adversely affected and the acidity of the seawater has also increased causing severe damage to marine life forms. Severe natural disasters are brought about by global warming which has had dire effects on life and property. As long as mankind produces greenhouse gases, global warming will continue to accelerate. The consequences are felt at a much smaller scale which will increase to become drastic shortly. The power to save the day lies in the hands of humans, the need is to seize the day. Energy consumption should be reduced on an individual basis. Fuel-efficient cars and other electronics should be encouraged to reduce the wastage of energy sources. This will also improve air quality and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is an evil that can only be defeated when fought together. It is better late than never. If we all take steps today, we will have a much brighter future tomorrow. Global warming is the bane of our existence and various policies have come up worldwide to fight it but that is not enough. The actual difference is made when we work at an individual level to fight it. Understanding its import now is crucial before it becomes an irrevocable mistake. Exterminating global warming is of utmost importance and each one of us is as responsible for it as the next.  

Also Read: Essay on Library: 100, 200 and 250 Words

Essay on Global Warming UPSC

Always hear about global warming everywhere, but do we know what it is? The evil of the worst form, global warming is a phenomenon that can affect life more fatally. Global warming refers to the increase in the earth’s temperature as a result of various human activities. The planet is gradually getting hotter and threatening the existence of lifeforms on it. Despite being relentlessly studied and researched, global warming for the majority of the population remains an abstract concept of science. It is this concept that over the years has culminated in making global warming a stark reality and not a concept covered in books. Global warming is not caused by one sole reason that can be curbed. Multifarious factors cause global warming most of which are a part of an individual’s daily existence. Burning of fuels for cooking, in vehicles, and for other conventional uses, a large amount of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, and methane amongst many others is produced which accelerates global warming. Rampant deforestation also results in global warming as lesser green cover results in an increased presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is a greenhouse gas.  Finding a solution to global warming is of immediate importance. Global warming is a phenomenon that has to be fought unitedly. Planting more trees can be the first step that can be taken toward warding off the severe consequences of global warming. Increasing the green cover will result in regulating the carbon cycle. There should be a shift from using nonrenewable energy to renewable energy such as wind or solar energy which causes less pollution and thereby hinder the acceleration of global warming. Reducing energy needs at an individual level and not wasting energy in any form is the most important step to be taken against global warming. The warning bells are tolling to awaken us from the deep slumber of complacency we have slipped into. Humans can fight against nature and it is high time we acknowledged that. With all our scientific progress and technological inventions, fighting off the negative effects of global warming is implausible. We have to remember that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors but borrow it from our future generations and the responsibility lies on our shoulders to bequeath them a healthy planet for life to exist. 

Also Read: Essay on Disaster Management

Climate Change and Global Warming Essay

Global Warming and Climate Change are two sides of the same coin. Both are interrelated with each other and are two issues of major concern worldwide. Greenhouse gases released such as carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants in the earth’s atmosphere cause Global Warming which leads to climate change. Black holes have started to form in the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. 

Human activities have created climate change and global warming. Industrial waste and fumes are the major contributors to global warming. 

Another factor affecting is the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and also one of the reasons for climate change.  Global warming has resulted in shrinking mountain glaciers in Antarctica, Greenland, and the Arctic and causing climate change. Switching from the use of fossil fuels to energy sources like wind and solar. 

When buying any electronic appliance buy the best quality with energy savings stars. Don’t waste water and encourage rainwater harvesting in your community. 

Also Read: Essay on Air Pollution

Tips to Write an Essay

Writing an effective essay needs skills that few people possess and even fewer know how to implement. While writing an essay can be an assiduous task that can be unnerving at times, some key pointers can be inculcated to draft a successful essay. These involve focusing on the structure of the essay, planning it out well, and emphasizing crucial details.

Mentioned below are some pointers that can help you write better structure and more thoughtful essays that will get across to your readers:

  • Prepare an outline for the essay to ensure continuity and relevance and no break in the structure of the essay
  • Decide on a thesis statement that will form the basis of your essay. It will be the point of your essay and help readers understand your contention
  • Follow the structure of an introduction, a detailed body followed by a conclusion so that the readers can comprehend the essay in a particular manner without any dissonance.
  • Make your beginning catchy and include solutions in your conclusion to make the essay insightful and lucrative to read
  • Reread before putting it out and add your flair to the essay to make it more personal and thereby unique and intriguing for readers  

Also Read: I Love My India Essay: 100 and 500+ Words in English for School Students

Ans. Both natural and man-made factors contribute to global warming. The natural one also contains methane gas, volcanic eruptions, and greenhouse gases. Deforestation, mining, livestock raising, burning fossil fuels, and other man-made causes are next.

Ans. The government and the general public can work together to stop global warming. Trees must be planted more often, and deforestation must be prohibited. Auto usage needs to be curbed, and recycling needs to be promoted.

Ans. Switching to renewable energy sources , adopting sustainable farming, transportation, and energy methods, and conserving water and other natural resources.

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Digvijay Singh

Having 2+ years of experience in educational content writing, withholding a Bachelor's in Physical Education and Sports Science and a strong interest in writing educational content for students enrolled in domestic and foreign study abroad programmes. I believe in offering a distinct viewpoint to the table, to help students deal with the complexities of both domestic and foreign educational systems. Through engaging storytelling and insightful analysis, I aim to inspire my readers to embark on their educational journeys, whether abroad or at home, and to make the most of every learning opportunity that comes their way.

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This was really a good essay on global warming… There has been used many unic words..and I really liked it!!!Seriously I had been looking for a essay about Global warming just like this…

Thank you for the comment!

I want to learn how to write essay writing so I joined this page.This page is very useful for everyone.

Hi, we are glad that we could help you to write essays. We have a beginner’s guide to write essays ( ) and we think this might help you.

It is not good , to have global warming in our earth .So we all have to afforestation program on all the world.

thank you so much

Very educative , helpful and it is really going to strength my English knowledge to structure my essay in future

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Global warming is the increase in 𝓽𝓱𝓮 ᴀᴠᴇʀᴀɢᴇ ᴛᴇᴍᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴜʀᴇs ᴏғ ᴇᴀʀᴛʜ🌎 ᴀᴛᴍᴏsᴘʜᴇʀᴇ

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global warming disadvantages essay

A problem built into our relationship with energy itself. Photo by Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum

Deep warming

Even if we ‘solve’ global warming, we face an older, slower problem. waste heat could radically alter earth’s future.

by Mark Buchanan   + BIO

The world will be transformed. By 2050, we will be driving electric cars and flying in aircraft running on synthetic fuels produced through solar and wind energy. New energy-efficient technologies, most likely harnessing artificial intelligence, will dominate nearly all human activities from farming to heavy industry. The fossil fuel industry will be in the final stages of a terminal decline. Nuclear fusion and other new energy sources may have become widespread. Perhaps our planet will even be orbited by massive solar arrays capturing cosmic energy from sunlight and generating seemingly endless energy for all our needs.

That is one possible future for humanity. It’s an optimistic view of how radical changes to energy production might help us slow or avoid the worst outcomes of global warming. In a report from 1965, scientists from the US government warned that our ongoing use of fossil fuels would cause global warming with potentially disastrous consequences for Earth’s climate. The report, one of the first government-produced documents to predict a major crisis caused by humanity’s large-scale activities, noted that the likely consequences would include higher global temperatures, the melting of the ice caps and rising sea levels. ‘Through his worldwide industrial civilisation,’ the report concluded, ‘Man is unwittingly conducting a vast geophysical experiment’ – an experiment with a highly uncertain outcome, but clear and important risks for life on Earth.

Since then, we’ve dithered and doubted and argued about what to do, but still have not managed to take serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which continue to rise. Governments around the planet have promised to phase out emissions in the coming decades and transition to ‘green energy’. But global temperatures may be rising faster than we expected: some climate scientists worry that rapid rises could create new problems and positive feedback loops that may accelerate climate destabilisation and make parts of the world uninhabitable long before a hoped-for transition is possible.

Despite this bleak vision of the future, there are reasons for optimists to hope due to progress on cleaner sources of renewable energy, especially solar power. Around 2010, solar energy generation accounted for less than 1 per cent of the electricity generated by humanity. But experts believe that, by 2027, due to falling costs, better technology and exponential growth in new installations, solar power will become the largest global energy source for producing electricity. If progress on renewables continues, we might find a way to resolve the warming problem linked to greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, large-scale societal and ecological changes might have helped us avoid the worst consequences of our extensive use of fossil fuels.

It’s a momentous challenge. And it won’t be easy. But this story of transformation only hints at the true depth of the future problems humanity will confront in managing our energy use and its influence over our climate.

As scientists are gradually learning, even if we solve the immediate warming problem linked to the greenhouse effect, there’s another warming problem steadily growing beneath it. Let’s call it the ‘deep warming’ problem. This deeper problem also raises Earth’s surface temperature but, unlike global warming, it has nothing to do with greenhouse gases and our use of fossil fuels. It stems directly from our use of energy in all forms and our tendency to use more energy over time – a problem created by the inevitable waste heat that is generated whenever we use energy to do something. Yes, the world may well be transformed by 2050. Carbon dioxide levels may stabilise or fall thanks to advanced AI-assisted technologies that run on energy harvested from the sun and wind. And the fossil fuel industry may be taking its last breaths. But we will still face a deeper problem. That’s because ‘deep warming’ is not created by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s a problem built into our relationship with energy itself.

F inding new ways to harness more energy has been a constant theme of human development. The evolution of humanity – from early modes of hunter-gathering to farming and industry – has involved large systematic increases in our per-capita energy use. The British historian and archaeologist Ian Morris estimates, in his book Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve (2015), that early human hunter-gatherers, living more than 10,000 years ago, ‘captured’ around 5,000 kcal per person per day by consuming food, burning fuel, making clothing, building shelter, or through other activities. Later, after we turned to farming and enlisted the energies of domesticated animals, we were able to harness as much as 30,000 kcal per day. In the late 17th century , the exploitation of coal and steam power marked another leap: by 1970, the use of fossil fuels allowed humans to consume some 230,000 kcal per person per day. (When we think about humanity writ large as ‘humans’, it’s important to acknowledge that the average person in the wealthiest nations consumes up to 100 times more energy than the average person in the poorest nations.) As the global population has risen and people have invented new energy-dependent technologies, our global energy use has continued to climb.

In many respects, this is great. We can now do more with less effort and achieve things that were unimaginable to the 17th-century inventors of steam engines, let alone to our hominin ancestors. We’ve made powerful mining machines, superfast trains, lasers for use in telecommunications and brain-imaging equipment. But these creations, while helping us, are also subtly heating the planet.

All the energy we humans use – to heat our homes, run our factories, propel our automobiles and aircraft, or to run our electronics – eventually ends up as heat in the environment. In the shorter term, most of the energy we use flows directly into the environment. It gets there through hot exhaust gases, friction between tires and roads, the noises generated by powerful engines, which spread out, dissipate, and eventually end up as heat. However, a small portion of the energy we use gets stored in physical changes, such as in new steel, plastic or concrete. It’s stored in our cities and technologies. In the longer term, as these materials break down, the energy stored inside also finds its way into the environment as heat. This is a direct consequence of the well-tested principles of thermodynamics.

Waste heat will pose a problem that is every bit as serious as global warming from greenhouse gases

In the early decades of the 21st century , this heat created by simply using energy, known as ‘waste heat’, is not so serious. It’s equivalent to roughly 2 per cent of the planetary heating imbalance caused by greenhouse gases – for now. But, with the passing of time, the problem is likely to get much more serious. That’s because humans have a historical tendency to consistently discover and produce things, creating entirely new technologies and industries in the process: domesticated animals for farming; railways and automobiles; global air travel and shipping; personal computers, the internet and mobile phones. The result of such activities is that we end up using more and more energy, despite improved energy efficiency in nearly every area of technology.

During the past two centuries at least (and likely for much longer), our yearly energy use has doubled roughly every 30 to 50 years . Our energy use seems to be growing exponentially, a trend that shows every sign of continuing. We keep finding new things to do and almost everything we invent requires more and more energy: consider the enormous energy demands of cryptocurrency mining or the accelerating energy requirements of AI.

If this historical trend continues, scientists estimate waste heat will pose a problem in roughly 150-200 years that is every bit as serious as the current problem of global warming from greenhouse gases. However, deep heating will be more pernicious as we won’t be able to avoid it by merely shifting from one kind energy to another. A profound problem will loom before us: can we set strict limits on all the energy we use? Can we reign in the seemingly inexorable expansion of our activities to avoid destroying our own environment?

Deep warming is a problem hiding beneath global warming, but one that will become prominent if and when we manage to solve the more pressing issue of greenhouse gases. It remains just out of sight, which might explain why scientists only became concerned about the ‘waste heat’ problem around 15 years ago.

O ne of the first people to describe the problem is the Harvard astrophysicist Eric Chaisson, who discussed the issue of waste heat in a paper titled ‘Long-Term Global Heating from Energy Usage’ (2008). He concluded that our technological society may be facing a fundamental limit to growth due to ‘unavoidable global heating … dictated solely by the second law of thermodynamics, a biogeophysical effect often ignored when estimating future planetary warming scenarios’. When I emailed Chaisson to learn more, he told me the history of his thinking on the problem:

It was on a night flight, Paris-Boston [circa] 2006, after a UNESCO meeting on the environment when it dawned on me that the IPCC were overlooking something. While others on the plane slept, I crunched some numbers literally on the back of an envelope … and then hoped I was wrong, that is, hoped that I was incorrect in thinking that the very act of using energy heats the air, however slightly now.

The transformation of energy into heat is among the most ubiquitous processes of physics

Chaisson drafted the idea up as a paper and sent it to an academic journal. Two anonymous reviewers were eager for it to be published. ‘A third tried his damnedest to kill it,’ Chaisson said, the reviewer claiming the findings were ‘irrelevant and distracting’. After it was finally published, the paper got some traction when it was covered by a journalist and ran as a feature story on the front page of The Boston Globe . The numbers Chaisson crunched, predictions of our mounting waste heat, were even run on a supercomputer at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, by Mark Flanner, a professor of earth system science. Flanner, Chaisson suspected at the time, was likely ‘out to prove it wrong’. But, ‘after his machine crunched for many hours’, he saw the same results that Chaisson had written on the back of an envelope that night in the plane.

Around the same time, also in 2008, two engineers, Nick Cowern and Chihak Ahn, wrote a research paper entirely independent of Chaisson’s work, but with similar conclusions. This was how I first came across the problem. Cowern and Ahn’s study estimated the total amount of waste heat we’re currently releasing to the environment, and found that it is, right now, quite small. But, like Chaisson, they acknowledged that the problem would eventually become serious unless steps were taken to avoid it.

That’s some of the early history of thinking in this area. But these two papers, and a few other analyses since, point to the same unsettling conclusion: what I am calling ‘deep warming’ will be a big problem for humanity at some point in the not-too-distant future. The precise date is far from certain. It might be 150 years , or 400, or 800, but it’s in the relatively near future, not the distant future of, say, thousands or millions of years. This is our future.

T he transformation of energy into heat is among the most ubiquitous processes of physics. As cars drive down roads, trains roar along railways, planes cross the skies and industrial plants turn raw materials into refined products, energy gets turned into heat, which is the scientific word for energy stored in the disorganised motions of molecules at the microscopic level. As a plane flies from Paris to Boston, it burns fuel and thrusts hot gases into the air, generates lots of sound and stirs up contrails. These swirls of air give rise to swirls on smaller scales which in turn make smaller ones until the energy ultimately ends up lost in heat – the air is a little warmer than before, the molecules making it up moving about a little more vigorously. A similar process takes place when energy is used by the tiny electrical currents inside the microchips of computers, silently carrying out computations. Energy used always ends up as heat. Decades ago, research by the IBM physicist Rolf Landauer showed that a computation involving even a single computing bit will release a certain minimum amount of heat to the environment.

How this happens is described by the laws of thermodynamics, which were described in the mid-19th century by scientists including Sadi Carnot in France and Rudolf Clausius in Germany. Two key ‘laws’ summarise its main principles.

The first law of thermodynamics simply states that the total quantity of energy never changes but is conserved. Energy, in other words, never disappears, but only changes form. The energy initially stored in an aircraft’s fuel, for example, can be changed into the energetic motion of the plane. Turn on an electric heater, and energy initially held in electric currents gets turned into heat, which spreads into the air, walls and fabric of your house. The total energy remains the same, but it markedly changes form.

We’re generating waste heat all the time with everything we do

The second law of thermodynamics, equally important, is more subtle and states that, in natural processes, the transformation of energy always moves from more organised and useful forms to less organised and less useful forms. For an aircraft, the energy initially concentrated in jet fuel ends up dissipated in stirred-up winds, sounds and heat spread over vast areas of the atmosphere in a largely invisible way. It’s the same with the electric heater: the organised useful energy in the electric currents gets dissipated and spread into the low-grade warmth of the walls, then leaks into the outside air. Although the amount of energy remains the same, it gradually turns into less organised, less usable forms. The end point of the energy process produces waste heat. And we’re generating it all the time with everything we do.

Data on world energy consumption shows that, collectively, all humans on Earth are currently using about 170,000 terawatt-hours (TWh), which is a lot of energy in absolute terms – a terawatt-hour is the total energy consumed in one hour by any process using energy at a rate of 1 trillion watts. This huge number isn’t surprising, as it represents all the energy being used every day by the billions of cars and homes around the world, as well as by industry, farming, construction, air traffic and so on. But, in the early 21st century , the warming from this energy is still much less than the planetary heating due to greenhouse gases.

Concentrations of greenhouse gases such as CO 2 and methane are quite small, and only make a fractional difference to how much of the Sun’s energy gets trapped in the atmosphere, rather than making it back out to space. Even so, this fractional difference has a huge effect because the stream of energy arriving from the Sun to Earth is so large. Current estimates of this greenhouse energy imbalance come to around 0.87 W per square meter, which translates into a total energy figure about 50 times larger than our waste heat. That’s reassuring. But as Cowern and Ahn wrote in their 2008 paper, things aren’t likely to stay this way over time because our energy usage keeps rising. Unless, that is, we can find some radical way to break the trend of using ever more energy.

O ne common objection to the idea of the deep warming is to claim that the problem won’t really arise. ‘Don’t worry,’ someone might say, ‘with efficient technology, we’re going to find ways to stop using more energy; though we’ll end up doing more things in the future, we’ll use less energy.’ This may sound plausible at first, because we are indeed getting more efficient at using energy in most areas of technology. Our cars, appliances and laptops are all doing more with less energy. If efficiency keeps improving, perhaps we can learn to run these things with almost no energy at all? Not likely, because there are limits to energy efficiency.

Over the past few decades, the efficiency of heating in homes – including oil and gas furnaces, and boilers used to heat water – has increased from less than 50 per cent to well above 90 per cent of what is theoretically possible. That’s good news, but there’s not much more efficiency to be realised in basic heating. The efficiency of lighting has also vastly improved, with modern LED lighting turning something like 70 per cent of the applied electrical energy into light. We will gain some efficiencies as older lighting gets completely replaced by LEDs, but there’s not a lot of room left for future efficiency improvements. Similar efficiency limits arise in the growing or cooking of food; in the manufacturing of cars, bikes and electronic devices; in transportation, as we’re taken from place to place; in the running of search engines, translation software, GPT-4 or other large-language models.

Even if we made significant improvements in the efficiencies of these technologies, we will only have bought a little time. These changes won’t delay by much the date when deep warming becomes a problem we must reckon with.

Optimising efficiencies is just a temporary reprieve, not a radical change in our human future

As a thought experiment, suppose we could immediately improve the energy efficiency of everything we do by a factor of 10 – a fantastically optimistic proposal. That is, imagine the energy output of humans on Earth has been reduced 10 times , from 170,000 TWh to 17,000 TWh . If our energy use keeps expanding, doubling every 30-50 years or so (as it has for centuries), then a 10-fold increase in waste heat will happen in just over three doubling times, which is about 130 years : 17,000 TWh doubles to 34,000 TWh , which doubles to 68,000 TWh , which doubles to 136,000 TWh , and so on. All those improvements in energy efficiency would quickly evaporate. The date when deep warming hits would recede by 130 years or so, but not much more. Optimising efficiencies is just a temporary reprieve, not a radical change in our human future.

Improvements in energy efficiency can also have an inverse effect on our overall energy use. It’s easy to think that if we make a technology more efficient, we’ll then use less energy through the technology. But economists are deeply aware of a paradoxical effect known as ‘rebound’, whereby improved energy efficiency, by making the use of a technology cheaper, actually leads to more widespread use of that technology – and more energy use too. The classic example, as noted by the British economist William Stanley Jevons in his book The Coal Question (1865), is the invention of the steam engine. This new technology could extract energy from burning coal more efficiently, but it also made possible so many new applications that the use of coal increased. A recent study by economists suggests that, across the economy, such rebound effects might easily swallow at least 50 per cent of any efficiency gains in energy use. Something similar has already happened with LED lights, for which people have found thousands of new uses.

If gains in efficiency won’t buy us lots of time, how about other factors, such as a reduction of the global population? Scientists generally believe that the current human population of more than 8 billion people is well beyond the limits of our finite planet, especially if a large fraction of this population aspires to the resource-intensive lifestyles of wealthy nations. Some estimates suggest that a more sustainable population might be more like 2 billion , which could reduce energy use significantly, potentially by a factor of three or four. However, this isn’t a real solution: again, as with the example of improved energy efficiency, a one-time reduction of our energy consumption by a factor of three will quickly be swallowed up by an inexorable rise in energy use. If Earth’s population were suddenly reduced to 2 billion – about a quarter of the current population – our energy gains would initially be enormous. But those gains would be erased in two doubling times, or roughly 60-100 years , as our energy demands would grow fourfold.

S o, why aren’t more people talking about this? The deep warming problem is starting to get more attention. It was recently mentioned on Twitter by the German climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf, who cautioned that nuclear fusion, despite excitement over recent advances, won’t arrive in time to save us from our waste heat, and might make the problem worse. By providing another cheap source of energy, fusion energy could accelerate both the growth of our energy use and the reckoning of deep warming. A student of Rahmstorf’s, Peter Steiglechner, wrote his master’s thesis on the problem in 2018. Recognition of deep warming and its long-term implications for humanity is spreading. But what can we do about the problem?

Avoiding or delaying deep warming will involve slowing the rise of our waste heat, which means restricting the amount of energy we use and also choosing energy sources that exacerbate the problem as little as possible. Unlike the energy from fossil fuels or nuclear power, which add to our waste energy burden, renewable energy sources intercept energy that is already on its way to Earth, rather than producing additional waste heat. In this sense, the deep warming problem is another reason to pursue renewable energy sources such as solar or wind rather than alternatives such as nuclear fusion, fission or even geothermal power. If we derive energy from any of these sources, we’re unleashing new flows of energy into the Earth system without making a compensating reduction. As a result, all such sources will add to the waste heat problem. However, if renewable sources of energy are deployed correctly, they need not add to our deposition of waste heat in the environment. By using this energy, we produce no more waste heat than would have been created by sunlight in the first place.

Take the example of wind energy. Sunlight first stirs winds into motion by heating parts of the planet unequally, causing vast cells of convection. As wind churns through the atmosphere, blows through trees and over mountains and waves, most of its energy gets turned into heat, ending up in the microscopic motions of molecules. If we harvest some of this wind energy through turbines, it will also be turned into heat in the form of stored energy. But, crucially, no more heat is generated than if there had been no turbines to capture the wind.

The same can hold true for solar energy. In an array of solar cells, if each cell only collects the sunlight falling on it – which would ordinarily have been absorbed by Earth’s surface – then the cells don’t alter how much waste heat gets produced as they generate energy. The light that would have warmed Earth’s surface instead goes into the solar cells, gets used by people for some purpose, and then later ends up as heat. In this way we reduce the amount of heat being absorbed by Earth by precisely the same amount as the energy we are extracting for human use. We are not adding to overall planetary heating. This keeps the waste energy burden unchanged, at least in the relatively near future, even if we go on extracting and using ever larger amounts of energy.

Covering deserts in dark panels would absorb a lot more energy than the desert floor

Chaisson summarised the problem quite clearly in 2008:

I’m now of the opinion … that any energy that’s dug up on Earth – including all fossil fuels of course, but also nuclear and ground-sourced geothermal – will inevitably produce waste heat as a byproduct of humankind’s use of energy. The only exception to that is energy arriving from beyond Earth, this is energy here and now and not dug up, namely the many solar energies (plural) caused by the Sun’s rays landing here daily … The need to avoid waste heat is indeed the single, strongest, scientific argument to embrace solar energies of all types.

But not just any method of gathering solar energy will avoid the deep warming problem. Doing so requires careful engineering. For example, covering deserts with solar panels would add to planetary heating because deserts reflect a lot of incident light back out to space, so it is never absorbed by Earth (and therefore doesn’t produce waste heat). Covering deserts in dark panels would absorb a lot more energy than the desert floor and would heat the planet further.

We’ll also face serious problems in the long run if our energy appetite keeps increasing. Futurists dream of technologies deployed in space where huge panels would absorb sunlight that would otherwise have passed by Earth and never entered our atmosphere. Ultimately, they believe, this energy could be beamed down to Earth. Like nuclear energy, such technologies would add an additional energy source to the planet without any compensating removal of heating from the sunlight currently striking our planet’s surface. Any effort to produce more energy than is normally available from sunlight at Earth’s surface will only make our heating problems worse.

D eep warming is simply a consequence of the laws of physics and our inquisitive nature. It seems to be in our nature to constantly learn and develop new things, changing our environment in the process. For thousands of years, we have harvested and exploited ever greater quantities of energy in this pursuit, and we appear poised to continue along this path with the rapidly expanding use of renewable energy sources – and perhaps even more novel sources such as nuclear fusion. But this path cannot proceed indefinitely without consequences.

The logic that more energy equals more warming sets up a profound dilemma for our future. The laws of physics and the habits ingrained in us from our long evolutionary history are steering us toward trouble. We may have a technological fix for greenhouse gas warming – just shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources – but there is no technical trick to get us out of the deep warming problem. That won’t stop some scientists from trying.

Perhaps, believing that humanity is incapable of reducing its energy usage, we’ll adopt a fantastic scheme to cool the planet, such as planetary-scale refrigeration or using artificially engineered tornadoes to transport heat from Earth’s surface to the upper atmosphere where it can be radiated away to space. As far-fetched as such approaches sound, scientists have given some serious thought to these and other equally bizarre ideas, which seem wholly in the realm of science fiction. They’re schemes that will likely make the problem worse not better.

We will need to transform the human story. It must become a story of doing less, not more

I see several possibilities for how we might ultimately respond. As with greenhouse gas warming, there will probably be an initial period of disbelief, denial and inaction, as we continue with unconstrained technological advance and growing energy use. Our planet will continue warming. Sooner or later, however, such warming will lead to serious disruptions of the Earth environment and its ecosystems. We won’t be able to ignore this for long, and it may provide a natural counterbalance to our energy use, as our technical and social capacity to generate and use ever more energy will be eroded. We may eventually come to some uncomfortable balance in which we just scrabble out a life on a hot, compromised planet because we lack the moral and organisational ability to restrict our energy use enough to maintain a sound environment.

An alternative would require a radical break with our past: using less energy. Finding a way to use less energy would represent a truly fundamental rupture with all of human history, something entirely novel. A rupture of this magnitude won’t come easily. However, if we could learn to view restrictions on our energy use as a non-negotiable element of life on Earth, we may still be able to do many of the things that make us essentially human: learning, discovering, inventing, creating. In this scenario, any helpful new technology that comes into use and begins using lots of energy would require a balancing reduction in energy use elsewhere. In such a way, we might go on with the future being perpetually new, and possibly better.

None of this is easily achieved and will likely mirror our current struggles to come to agreements on greenhouse gas heating. There will be vicious squabbles, arguments and profound polarisation, quite possibly major wars. Humanity will never have faced a challenge of this magnitude, and we won’t face up to it quickly or easily, I expect. But we must. Planetary heating is in our future – the very near future and further out as well. Many people will find this conclusion surprisingly hard to swallow, perhaps because it implies fundamental restrictions on our future here on Earth: we can’t go on forever using more and more energy, and, at the same time, expecting the planet’s climate to remain stable.

The world will likely be transformed by 2050. And, sometime after that, we will need to transform the human story. The narrative arc of humanity must become a tale of continuing innovation and learning, but also one of careful management. It must become a story, in energy terms, of doing less, not more. There’s no technology for entirely escaping waste heat, only techniques.

This is important to remember as we face up to the extremely urgent challenge of heating linked to fossil-fuel use and greenhouse gases. Global warming is just the beginning of our problems. It’s a testing ground to see if we can manage an intelligent and coordinated response. If we can handle this challenge, we might be better prepared, more capable and resilient as a species to tackle an even harder one.

global warming disadvantages essay

Stories and literature

Her blazing world

Margaret Cavendish’s boldness and bravery set 17th-century society alight, but is she a feminist poster-girl for our times?

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Ecology and environmental sciences

To take care of the Earth, humans must recognise that we are both a part of the animal kingdom and its dominant power

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Mental health

The last great stigma

Workers with mental illness experience discrimination that would be unthinkable for other health issues. Can this change?

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Quantum theory

Quantum dialectics

When quantum mechanics posed a threat to the Marxist doctrine of materialism, communist physicists sought to reconcile the two

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Folk music was never green

Don’t be swayed by the sound of environmental protest: these songs were first sung in the voice of the cutter, not the tree

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Nations and empires

A United States of Europe

A free and unified Europe was first imagined by Italian radicals in the 19th century. Could we yet see their dream made real?

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Essay on Global Warming – Causes and Solutions

500+ words essay on global warming.

Global Warming is a term almost everyone is familiar with. But, its meaning is still not clear to most of us. So, Global warming refers to the gradual rise in the overall temperature of the atmosphere of the Earth. There are various activities taking place which have been increasing the temperature gradually. Global warming is melting our ice glaciers rapidly. This is extremely harmful to the earth as well as humans. It is quite challenging to control global warming; however, it is not unmanageable. The first step in solving any problem is identifying the cause of the problem. Therefore, we need to first understand the causes of global warming that will help us proceed further in solving it. In this essay on Global Warming, we will see the causes and solutions of Global Warming.

essay on global warming

Causes of Global Warming

Global warming has become a grave problem which needs undivided attention. It is not happening because of a single cause but several causes. These causes are both natural as well as manmade. The natural causes include the release of greenhouses gases which are not able to escape from earth, causing the temperature to increase.

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Further, volcanic eruptions are also responsible for global warming. That is to say, these eruptions release tons of carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming. Similarly, methane is also one big issue responsible for global warming.

global warming disadvantages essay

So, when one of the biggest sources of absorption of carbon dioxide will only disappear, there will be nothing left to regulate the gas. Thus, it will result in global warming. Steps must be taken immediately to stop global warming and make the earth better again.

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Global Warming Solutions

As stated earlier, it might be challenging but it is not entirely impossible. Global warming can be stopped when combined efforts are put in. For that, individuals and governments, both have to take steps towards achieving it. We must begin with the reduction of greenhouse gas.

Furthermore, they need to monitor the consumption of gasoline. Switch to a hybrid car and reduce the release of carbon dioxide. Moreover, citizens can choose public transport or carpool together. Subsequently, recycling must also be encouraged.

Read Global Warming Speech here

For instance, when you go shopping, carry your own cloth bag. Another step you can take is to limit the use of electricity which will prevent the release of carbon dioxide. On the government’s part, they must regulate industrial waste and ban them from emitting harmful gases in the air. Deforestation must be stopped immediately and planting of trees must be encouraged.

In short, all of us must realize the fact that our earth is not well. It needs to treatment and we can help it heal. The present generation must take up the responsibility of stopping global warming in order to prevent the suffering of future generations. Therefore, every little step, no matter how small carries a lot of weight and is quite significant in stopping global warming.

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FAQs on Global Warming

Q.1 List the causes of Global Warming.

A.1 There are various causes of global warming both natural and manmade. The natural one includes a greenhouse gas, volcanic eruption, methane gas and more. Next up, manmade causes are deforestation, mining, cattle rearing, fossil fuel burning and more.

Q.2 How can one stop Global Warming?

A.2 Global warming can be stopped by a joint effort by the individuals and the government. Deforestation must be banned and trees should be planted more. The use of automobiles must be limited and recycling must be encouraged.

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Are there positive benefits from global warming?

Yes, there will probably be some short-term and long-term benefits from global warming. For example, the flip side of increased mortality from heat waves may be decreased mortality from cold waves.

In the short term, farmers in some regions may benefit from the earlier onset of spring and from a longer warm season that is suitable for growing crops. Also, studies show that, up to a certain point, crops and other plants grow better in the presence of higher carbon dioxide levels and seem to be more drought-tolerant.  [ 1 ]  But this benefit is a two-edged sword: weeds, many invasive plant species, and insect pests will also thrive in a warmer world. Water availability will be impacted in drier agricultural areas that need irrigation. At some point, the benefits to crops of increased carbon dioxide will likely be overwhelmed by the negative impacts of heat stress and drought.

An icebreaker in the Arctic

In July 2017, Finnish icebreaker, MSV Nordica , photographed here in 2011, set a new record for the earliest transit through the Northwest Passage. Photo CC license by JV Virta .

In the long term, shipping commerce will benefit from the opening of the Northwest Passage for longer periods of the year due to the loss of Arctic sea ice. However, in the long run, if a "business as usual" approach to emitting heat-trapping gases is maintained at the present rate, or faster, then the negative costs and impacts of global warming are very likely to far outweigh the benefits over the course of this century, with increased potential for catastrophic impacts from more extreme events.  [ 17 ]  In part, this is because any substantial change, whether warmer or colder, would challenge the societal infrastructure that has developed under the current climate.

IPCC (2012): Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation . A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, 582 pp.

USGCRP (2017). Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume 1 [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 470 pp, doi:  10.7930/J0J964J6 .

Hoegh-Guldberg, O., D. Jacob, M. Taylor, M. Bindi, S. Brown, I. Camilloni, A. Diedhiou, R. Djalante, K.L. Ebi, F. Engelbrecht, J.Guiot, Y. Hijioka, S. Mehrotra, A. Payne, S.I. Seneviratne, A. Thomas, R. Warren, and G. Zhou. (2018). Impacts of 1.5°C Global Warming on Natural and Human Systems. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W.

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Impact of Prevailing Westerlies on Global

This essay about the prevailing westerlies explains their crucial role in shaping global climate patterns. It discusses how these winds, blowing from west to east between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, influence weather systems, ocean currents, and climatic conditions. The text highlights the impact of westerlies on heat and moisture distribution, marine ecosystems, and human activities such as maritime navigation and aviation. It also addresses how changes in the strength and position of the westerlies can affect global weather patterns and climate variability.

How it works

This rejection leads despite caractéristique west-to-east the river westerlies.


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"Impact of Prevailing Westerlies on Global.", May 28, 2024. Accessed May 29, 2024.

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Letters to the Editor: Animal rights activists are overwhelmingly women. That doesn’t reflect well on men

Animal rights activists gather in Vernon before pigs are taken to a nearby slaughterhouse on Feb. 2, 2023.

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To the editor: While appreciating Mark Hawthorne’s essay , I question his contention that the reason three-quarters of vegans are female has much to do with veganism being seen as unmanly.

With the help of figures gathered by the nonprofit Faunalytics, I analyzed the gender make-up in animal advocacy and found that about 80% of people in the field are female; that includes animal rescuers who may eat the species they don’t rescue.

That may be less about manly appearances, and more of an indication of gender differences in character traits. Violent crime statistics make those differences clear.

Women’s outsized involvement in animal advocacy supports the notion that they tend to be more nurturing, compassionate and driven to protect those with less power. Surely those same qualities lead women into fields such as nursing and teaching, where women are over-represented and underpaid.

Animal rights and women’s rights are interconnected. I therefore find myself less interested in trying to persuade men to go vegan, and more eager to create a society where women have more power as decision makers.

Hawthorne hopes veganism can be associated with masculine values, but our greatest hope for animals and Mother Earth is a society in which feminine values hold true sway.

Karen Dawn, Santa Barbara

The writer is founder and president of DawnWatch, an animal advocacy nonprofit.

To the editor: Veganism is indeed manly.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies certain kinds of meat as carcinogenic for two common cancers — colon and prostate. Real men shouldn’t let others get cancer.

We spend billions on colonoscopies, mammograms and other medical interventions, when a plant-based diet is an effective way to reduce cancer risk.

The U.S. is overly meat-oriented. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is about one gram per kilogram of body weight, but most Americans consume twice as much. Excess protein consumption can increase a person’s risk of kidney and heart disease.

Vegan dishes cost less than meals containing meat, yielding less in tips and revenue. So, restaurants don’t like vegans. Real men can change that.

Ghan-Shyam Lohiya, M.D., Santa Ana

More to Read

FILE - A Tesla auto charges on May 10, 2023, in Westlake, Calif. All of Ford Motor Co.'s current and future electric vehicles will have access to about 12,000 Tesla Supercharger stations starting in 2024, according to an announcement Thursday, May 25, 2023, by Ford CEO Jim Farley and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Letters to the Editor: Punishing EV drivers with higher fees is foolish. Tax oil companies instead

Jan. 20, 2024

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 16, 2024 - Stacks of tortillas available for customers at La Princesita Tortilleria in Los Angeles on May 16, 2024. Manufacturers of corn masa flour, like La Princesita Tortilleria, may be mandated to add a new ingredient to some products sold in California if Assembly Bill 1830 passes. The bill would require folic acid to be added to popularly consumed food items that use corn masa flour, like chips, tortillas, tamales and pupusas. Folic acid is an important ingredient for women of reproductive age requiring it to be in some common foods would particularly benefit Latina women, who are less likely to take it early on in pregnancy, according to public health data released by the state. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Letters to the Editor: Tasty tortillas or healthier babies? Put folic acid in masa

May 29, 2024

More From the Los Angeles Times

FILE - Former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan criminal court, May 21, 2024, in New York. Trump has spent the majority of his time as a criminal defendant sitting nearly motionless, for hours, leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed, so zen he often appeared to be asleep. It is, at least in part, a strategy in response to warnings that behaving like he has in past trials could backfire. (Justin Lane/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: This election isn’t about Trump’s policies. It’s about whether there will even be elections

CHATSWORTH, CA - JUNE 30: Victoria Marguleta, founder and director of A Mother Goose Academy in Chatsworth, shows one of two empty classrooms for four-year-olds. She said that for 15 years the classes have always been full. Her student body of 54 students will be reduced to 34 with the loss of the four-year-olds. The Los Angeles Unified School District is in the midst of a major marketing push to convince 10,000 families to send their kids to the newly-expanded Transitional Kindergarten program rolling out in the district. But preschools and day care centers like A Mother Goose Academy are desperate to hang onto their students as their business model depends on these students. Photographed at A Mother Goose Academy in Chatsworth, CA on Friday, June 30, 2023. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Letters to the Editor: Make teachers feel valued by giving them real policymaking power

Graffiti at the Powell Library on the UCLA campus where pro-Palestinian demonstrators erected an encampment in Dickson Plaza on on Monday, April 29, 2024 in Los Angeles, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Letters to the Editor: Is anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism? Readers debate

May 28, 2024

WILMINGTON, CA -- TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 2016 -- The Phillips 66 refinery looms over a Wilmington neighborhood where some long-time residents feel their health issues might stem from their proximity to the refinery. The Union Oil Company of California built the original refinery in 1919 between the old Anaheim road and the port, years before homes were constructed to form the neighborhood. ( Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )

Letters to the Editor: Oil companies profit while they destroy the planet. That must end


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A Test of Cloud-Brightening Machines Poses No Health Risk, Officials Say

After halting a test of controversial technology to fight global warming, the city of Alameda, Calif., said it had found no “measurable health risk” from the giant salty-mist-spraying fans.

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Clouds of misty air billow across the flat deck of an aircraft carrier, with two people standing near the edge of the mist.

By Christopher Flavelle

A technology that could one day cool the planet cleared a key hurdle on Thursday.

At the beginning of April, scientists from the University of Washington began testing a device that sprays tiny sea-salt particles into the air. The initial tests, held on the deck of a decommissioned aircraft carrier in Alameda, Calif., were simply to see if the machine propelled a mist of suitable size. But, in the future, versions of that device could eventually be used to spray particles into clouds, causing them to reflect more sunlight back into space and to temporarily ease global warming.

Two weeks later, Alameda officials ordered the researchers to stop their experiment, citing possible health and environmental risks. The city said it would commission its own assessment to determine whether the experiment posed any threat.

On Thursday evening, Alameda released its findings : The experiment does not generate “a measurable health risk to the surrounding community” or pose a risk to wildlife, the city said.

“The chemical components of the saltwater solution (which is similar to seawater) being sprayed are naturally occurring in the environment,” the report said. It also noted that seawater “is one of the largest sources of natural aerosols in the atmosphere.”

Alameda city councilors plan to meet on June 4 to consider the report and to decide whether to allow the experiment to resume. Researchers had hoped to test the device in different weather conditions over several months or more.

The report, presented by Alameda’s city manager, recommends that the City Council “consider granting” that permission, with additional safeguards in place. The recommended safeguards include setting up air quality monitors at the test site and limiting the hours during which the device can be used.

Officials also recommended that the City Council require the researchers to show in writing that the experiment meets “all local, state and federal regulations,” including written confirmation from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

A spokeswoman for Alameda, Sarah Henry, said that the officials who had written the report were not authorized to comment on it.

The director of the Marine Cloud Brightening Program at the University of Washington, Sarah J. Doherty, welcomed the report.

“Alameda has a high standard of care for its people and the local environment, and we appreciate the findings of their experts,” Dr. Doherty said. “This supports our own evaluation that this is a safe, publicly accessible way to further research on aerosols in the atmosphere.”

Brightening clouds is one of several ideas to push solar energy back into space, a concept sometimes called solar radiation modification, solar geoengineering or climate intervention.

The idea is built on a scientific concept called the Twomey effect: Large numbers of small droplets reflect more sunlight than small numbers of large droplets do. So spraying vast quantities of minuscule aerosols into the sky, forming many small droplets, could change the reflective properties of clouds.

Compared with other options, such as injecting aerosols into the stratosphere, marine cloud brightening would be localized and use relatively benign sea-salt aerosols in place of other chemicals.

Researchers say that there are potential side effects that still need to be studied, including changing ocean circulation patterns and temperatures that could hurt fisheries.

Environmentalists warn that the technology could thwart the deeper changes required to address climate change. If people believe that global warming can be addressed by artificially cooling the planet, some say, the momentum could slow toward renewable energy, electric vehicles and other changes required to reduce the emissions of planet-warming gases.

The researchers working on marine cloud brightening agree that the technology should not be viewed as a substitute for moving away from fossil fuels. Instead, they say that the research is important in case that transition continues to move slowly and short-term efforts to cool the planet become necessary. In other words, the technology might buy some extra time.

The strong emotions that typically accompany discussion of solar-geoengineering research could be seen in the debate over the experiment in Alameda. When the city said on Facebook that it was halting the experiment, commenters sparred over the decision.

“Leave our skies alone. The natural sunlight is our birthright,” one person wrote. Another commenter said: “They could do that in Washington. No need to do that here.” (The researchers say that the weather conditions in San Francisco Bay make it an ideal spot for the experiment.)

But the announcement also drew comments in support of the experiment. “I’m hopeful that this could be a tool to fight global warming,” one commenter said. “Some extra clouds would be nice,” another wrote.

Christopher Flavelle is a Times reporter who writes about how the United States is trying to adapt to the effects of climate change. More about Christopher Flavelle

Our Coverage of Climate and the Environment

News and Analysis

Heat and drought are taking a toll on the tiny soil creatures  that help to lock away planet-warming carbon, according to a new analysis.

A group of health experts, economists and U.S. government lawyers are working to address a growing crisis: people dying on the job from extreme heat. They face big hurdles .

After halting a test of controversial technology to fight global warming , the city of Alameda, Calif., said it had found no “measurable health risk” from the giant salty-mist-spraying fans.

Adopting Orphaned Oil Wells:  Students, nonprofit groups and others are fund-raising to cap highly polluting oil and gas wells  abandoned by industry.

Struggling N.Y.C. Neighborhoods:  New data projects are linking social issues with global warming. Here’s what that means for five communities in New York .

Biden Environmental Rules:  The Biden administration has rushed to finalize 10 major environmental regulations  to meet its self-imposed spring deadline.

F.A.Q.:  Have questions about climate change? We’ve got answers .


  1. Essay on Global Warming with Samples (150

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  1. Disadvantages vs. Advantages of Global Warming

    The United Nations has been studying climate change and working to combat its effects since the first Earth Summit in 1992. The UN Intergovernmental panel's fifth report, published in late 2014, reiterates that global warming—more precisely called climate change—is happening and will likely not abate for centuries. The report also states with 95% certainty that the activity of humans has ...

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  3. Global warming

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  4. What are the effects of global warming?

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  5. Causes and Effects of Climate Change

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  6. Effects

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  9. Global Warming: Causes And Consequences

    Consequences we are already seeing include: Accelerating rise in global sea level owing to irreversible melting of glacial ice in the European Alps, melting of arctic ice, and of greatest concern, melting of the land ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Large changes in climate patterns that have led to cataclysmic wild fires encouraged by ...

  10. The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence and Proof

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  11. What is global warming, facts and information

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  12. Essay on Effects of Global Warming for Students

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  13. Causes and effects of global warming

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  14. Causes of global warming, facts and information

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  16. Humans are causing global warming

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  17. Climate Change Assay: A Spark Of Change

    Bahçeşehir College is committed to increasing students' awareness of the changing world we live in. This climate change essay competition saw many students submitting well thought out pieces of writing. These essays were marked on their format, creativity, organisation, clarity, unity/development of thought, and grammar/mechanics.

  18. Essay on Global Warming with Samples (150, 250, 500 Words

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  20. Climate Change Is Accelerating, Bringing World 'Dangerously Close' to

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  22. Climate Change Is Taking a Toll on Mites and Springtails, a New

    And, the effects of climate change aren't the same the world over. An increased temperature of, say, 4 degrees Celsius and decreased soil moisture by 20 percent will have a different effect on a ...

  23. Are there positive benefits from global warming?

    Published October 29, 2020. Yes, there will probably be some short-term and long-term benefits from global warming. For example, the flip side of increased mortality from heat waves may be decreased mortality from cold waves. In the short term, farmers in some regions may benefit from the earlier onset of spring and from a longer warm season ...

  24. Impact of Prevailing Westerlies on Global

    Essay Example: Prevailing westerlies is a component atmospheric above all earthly whirlwind, frisks an in critical role forming examples climate global. These winds, that blow from a west despite one is between scopes 30 and 60 stages in all two hemispheres, promote influence weathers systems ... Global Warming is Real: Unveiling the Impact on ...

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  29. Carbon Offsets, a Much-Criticized Climate Tool, Get Federal Guidelines

    After halting a test of controversial technology to fight global warming, the city of Alameda, Calif., said it had found no "measurable health risk" from the giant salty-mist-spraying fans ...

  30. A Test of Cloud-Brightening Machines Poses No Health Risk, Officials

    After halting a test of controversial technology to fight global warming, the city of Alameda, Calif., said it had found no "measurable health risk" from the giant salty-mist-spraying fans.