Global Warming and Climate Change Legislation

Executive Summary

Human activities have caused the near-surface air temperature of the earth to rise at a higher rate than expected. The human activities have led to this due to the increased release of greenhouse gases. The earth’s warming has been coined as global warming which has been defined as the increase of earth’s average temperature. When high volumes of greenhouse gases are released to the atmosphere, these gases trap the heat and light from the sun resulting in the increased temperatures. With the increased gases, the natural cycles such as carbon and precipitation cycles have changed leading to the change in weather and finally to climate changes.

Instances of global warming have been experienced. For example, the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas, the floods in Pakistan and the drought and heatwaves of Russia have been associated with global warming and climate change. Due to this problem, there have been efforts by world governments to check and control the release of greenhouse gases and England has not been left behind with its introduction of the energy policy and other acts which are seeking ways of cutting the carbon emissions by certain percentages. These legislations are likely to change the way most companies operate since they have to follow the same policies in their production processes and thus may need to invest in more efficient technologies.

Introduction

For about three decades now, climatologists have been claiming that human activities have caused the near-surface air temperature to rise at a high rate. This has been as a result of human activities which interfere with the composition of air. The industrial carbon emissions have been increasing and if the same rate remains, world temperatures will rise by about 2o to 5o degrees (World Bank 2010).

Global warming

To this, global warming is thus defined as the increase in earth’s average temperature ranges. It is caused by increased emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide methane and nitrous oxide to the air. These gases then trap the heat and light from the sun in the earth’s atmosphere and this in return increases the temperatures (McKinney Schoch Yonavjack 2007).

Greenhouse gases are those gases that are in the atmosphere and prevent the loss of heat to the outer space. Thus they are essential for living things survival but their overproduction is leading to global warming and climate change effects. They are produced through normal human activities such as combustion of organic matter, transport systems and even decomposition of organic matter. These among other human activities contribute to the increase of greenhouse gases and thus global warming.

The increased temperatures are not suitable for living things survival since they lead to alteration of ecologies due to changing weather patterns. They have also resulted in increased sea level as well as the emergence of new diseases such as malaria due to the presence of good multiplication areas for the pathogens as well as the vectors (Houghton 2004). Global warming thus leads to climate change.

Climate change

Climate change is the change in the ordinary or the average weather which we are used to or which a certain region experiences. The change of the features associated with weather such as temperature and precipitation seasons are as a result of global warming. It is thus important to indicate that global warming and climate change are not the same but one leads to another whereby global warming leading to climatic changes.

Scientific evidence about global warming

In the world, there have been instances where we have experienced the effects of global warming and they include:

In the Himalayas, the ice has been melting and the glaciers are moving down the mountain in a very fast manner.

Scientific evidence about global warming
(People and Planet 2010)

In the photo above, we can see how the glaciers have melted and are moving down the mountain. Unless the government and people who are living in these areas are well prepared, the rapid melting of the glaciers will increase the vulnerability of the residents as well as lack of water in future years. The above melting of lakes can also lead to the formation of the Glacial Lake Outburst Floods thus there is need for the global community as well as the local governments in these risk-prone areas to introduce long term resilience and adaptation programs (People and Planet 2010).

Another case which has been associated with global warming is the recent flooding in Pakistan and the heat waves which were experienced in some places of Russia. According to experts, the year 2010 was the warmest since reliable temperature records began in the middle of the 19th century. With the floods in Pakistan being associated to global warming and leaving about 1600 people dead as well as more than 2 million homeless it seems like if people do not change the way they interact with the earth, similar catastrophic occurrences might occur in future.

In the year 2010, Russia also experienced the worst drought ever experienced for the last 10 years and this drought led to break out of fires which killed almost 700 per day prompting the country even to ban any grain export and the drought was also associated to the impacts of global warming (Doyle, 2010).

The threat of any future legislative controls imposed by the British Government to our products and those of Green Industries

The British government in its 2007 White Paper titled “meeting the energy challenge” indicated the strategies it intended to use to address the long term energy challenges likely to be faced by the country and its citizens with the climate change and global warming effects as well as in the use of the scarce resources whose sources are declining at a very high rate (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2009).

Joining other world countries, the British government has committed to reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases emission as indicated in the Energy policy. With the UK releasing a less than 5% carbon gases in the world, a long term scheme of reducing carbon emissions has been set which among them will be through carbon trading policies and program which have been enacted to see the reduction of greenhouse gases. With such laws, the Green Industries since they have to adopt new technologies which minimize carbon releases since the release of more carbon than the allocated units will mean the companies buying credits from other companies which are not exploiting their carbon units but at a higher price or paying a fine to the government as extra taxes (Fells& Whitmill 2008).

The climate change act of 2008 is another law which has been legislated in a bid of the government to control carbon emissions and it puts a framework to achieve a mandatory reduction of carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. This means that if the law becomes fully functional, all companies in the use would have to set emission reduction strategies to make sure it goes in line with the country’s objective of reducing the emissions (Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2009)

Published in the year 2009 also is the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan. The plan puts in detail what needs to be done to reduce carbon emissions by 34% come 2020. Within this plan, the plan estimates that 40% of the electricity will be produced from low carbon sources as well as ensuring that the new cars made in the factories will emit 40% less carbon compared to the 2009 levels. With the government also establishing that a 5% of the fuels produced will have to originate from renewable sources by the year 2010, this means that the Green Industries will have to change their manufacturing process, for example, the company at Cambridge where the company is a leading manufacturer of both the motor vehicle and aircraft engines, the engines will have to be designed in such a way they can burn the renewable energy as well as design exhausts which can inhale and exhale air in a higher rate to ensure that the fuel consumption is more efficient (National Strategy for Climate and Energy, 2009).

Through the energy policy and with the government introducing the issuance of energy performance certificates and the display energy certificates means that all Green Industries plc will have to ensure that energy-saving mechanisms are introduced and employed in all the companies to ensure that it complies with the regulation as required by the government.

Conclusion

Global warming is the increase in earth temperatures due to the increased release of greenhouse gases due as a result of human activities. Greenhouse gases include Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide. When these greenhouse gases are released in excess to the atmosphere, they trap the sun’s heat and light and this has resulted in the increased temperatures which in return has caused the change in climatic conditions.

It has been a major concern to government and watchdog organizations all over and this has led to the creation of policies and enactment of laws whose main aim is to reduce carbon emissions.

Recommendations

As the governments enact a law which seeks to reduce the release of greenhouse gases, it is important for the processing, manufacturing and all the other forms of industries to start investing in new technologies which seek to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere because government policies may force them either to phase out or pay excess taxes due to their excess release of greenhouse gases.

Reference List

Department of Energy and Climate Change: 2009. Energy White Paper: Meeting the Energy Challenge. Web.

Department of Energy and Climate Change: 2009. Climate Change Act 2008. Web.

Fells, I; & Whitmill, C. 2009. A Pragmatic Energy Policy for the UK. Web.

Doyle, A. 2010. Analysis: Pakistan Floods, Russia Heat Fit Climate Trend. Web.

Houghton, J. T. 2004. Global Warming: The Complete Briefing. 3rd Edition: Cambridge University Press.

McKinney M, L; Schoch M, R; Yonavjack, l. 2007. Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions. 4th Edition: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

National Strategy for Climate and Energy. 2009. The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan. Web.

People and Planet. 2010. Global Warming Cause of Glacial Melting and Glacial Floods. Web.

World Bank. 2010. World development report 2010: Development and climate change. World Bank Publications.