Studies have established that one of the greatest challenges in contemporary society is the issue of greenhouse gases. Experts have noted that the world continues to experience the effects of climate change due to increased human activity. Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming by reflecting radiation from the earth’s surface and absorbing rays from the sun (Hardy 20). According to experts, this cycle is called the greenhouse effect (Wood and McDonald 116). Some of the most common greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone (Hardy 29).
Human activities are responsible for the high amount of pollutant gases released to the atmosphere every day. According to research studies, human activities responsible for emitting huge amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere include industrial processes, transportation of fuels, agriculture, and retrieval of fossil fuels (Maslin 60). Others include power station operations, burning of biomass, land use, as well as waste disposal and treatment.
According to experts, there is a need for concern over the welfare of human beings because the increasing intensity of human activities is slowly modifying the natural process of the greenhouse effect (Leonard 6). The consequences are already being felt through the gradual increase in global temperatures. Without the greenhouse effect, the earth could be extremely cold due to lack of radiation.
The increased emission of greenhouse gases, the depletion of the ozone layer, and formation of clouds has increased the vulnerability of people to the lethal effects of global warming. Over the last couple of decades, the world has made numerous efforts in dealing with the challenge of climate change caused by the depletion of the ozone layer (Shackleton 9).
The ozone layer plays a crucial role of protecting the earth from excess heat that comes from the sun by absorbing much of the radiation. This means that the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere cause a lot of damage (Casper 130). Studies have established that greenhouse gases have numerous effects on various elements of the contemporary world. Some of the elements affected by the emission of these gases include the global financial system, environment, and human health (Leonard 19).
Effect of greenhouse gases on the environment
The environment has been greatly affected by the emission of greenhouse gases. Environmental experts argue that the loss of biodiversity has been one of the main indicators of the negative effects of greenhouse gases (Maslin 63). Over the next couple of years, temperatures are expected to rise above average levels. This will be caused by the high rate of ozone depletion. Another effect of high temperatures on the environment is high sea levels and regular flooding of the coastline (Wood and McDonald 120).
The main effect of this change has been the increasing number of homeless people as a result of flooding (Shackleton 11). Global warming leads to a decline in snow and sea ice. Greenhouse gases have also lead to an increase in the number of storms as well as the degree of their intensity (Casper 143). People often experience heat waves on a regular basis (Letcher 308). Greenhouse emissions have also intensified the challenge of climate change through loss of biodiversity. Some plant and animal species are becoming extinct due to extreme weather conditions that are not conducive to their growth and reproduction (Cline 36).
Effects of greenhouse gases such as global warming often create a stressing environment for certain plants and animals due to high temperatures (Letcher 311). Such conditions often predispose certain sections of the animal and plant population to certain diseases that annihilate them (Casper 145). Biodiversity largely depends on the environment. However, when the environment experiences changes that destabilize the ecosystem, the end result is often the extinction of various animal and plant species (Casper 152).
Effects of greenhouse gases on human health
According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), greenhouse gases have a negative huge effect on human health (Wood and McDonald 110). The increased concentration of these gases in the atmosphere often predisposes people with weak immune systems such as children, pregnant women, and the elderly to numerous diseases (Casper 161).
Contemporary challenges such as climate change and global warming have increased the vulnerability of the global population to numerous health conditions. Human beings have higher chances of dying due to causes such as stroke and dehydration because of the negative effects of greenhouse emissions (Maxim and Dunne 50). High temperatures cause dehydration of the body, which can lead to death when essential metabolic processes in the body stop functioning. Excess heat can cause someone to lose consciousness due to the rapture or occlusion of blood vessels that transport oxygen to the brain (Maslin 70).
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death for millions of people in the world (Cline 41). Medical and environmental experts argue that increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere predisposes people to certain types of cancer, as well as respiratory and heart conditions. These problems often emanate from the high rate of air pollution initiated by increased human activity (Letcher 343).
Greenhouse gases tend to contaminate the air by creating an imbalance in the amount of oxygen circulating in the atmosphere. Studies have established that the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases increases the chances of people suffering from diseases brought forth by contaminated food and water (Maxim and Dunne 67). Air pollution causes acid rain, which often leads to contamination of crops and water resources (Letcher 360). When people consume contaminated food and water, the number of deaths often increases tremendously.
Effects of greenhouse gases on the economy
Since the turn of the century, many parts of the world have experienced hard economic times due to a number of factors. Climate change and global warming have been some of the greatest contributing factors to the weak economic status of various countries across the world (Casper 100). Extreme weather conditions caused by the concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere have negative effects on the operations of crucial sectors that support the economies of many nations (Wood and McDonald 128). For example, many countries have been experiencing numerous changes in their tourism sectors.
These changes are characterized by a drastic decline in the number of local and international tourists due to irregular weather patterns (Cline 49). This affects the economy negatively because people lose jobs and countries lose investments. In addition, the governments fail to achieve their revenue targets. Agriculture is another sector that helps to boost the economy in several countries (Wood and McDonald 136).
However, due to irregular weather patterns that are characterized by extremely high temperatures, growing crops for commercial purposes is very challenging. The reason for this is that farmers hardly get any meaningful returns from their investments (Casper 113). This also contributes to the high cost of living due to food insecurity and inadequate supply of crucial resources.
The global economy suffers a lot due to the high costs of providing health care services (Casper 181). Emission of greenhouse gases has impacted human health negatively through increased susceptibility of people to serious diseases such as cancer (Hardy 107). Cancer treatment is quite expensive and governments spend a lot of money in equipping hospitals with the necessary resources.
This also affects the labor market because many people end up becoming unproductive due to poor health (Cline 68). Greenhouse emissions affect the economy through loss of infrastructure. Infrastructure plays a crucial role in economic growth. Any loss or damage can have huge impact on the people’s welfare (Casper 200).
Greenhouse gases have numerous effects on the environment, economy, human health, and other crucial elements that support life on earth. They are mainly produced from unmanaged garbage, increasing number of automobiles, deforestation, pollution, and industrialization. There is an urgent need for stakeholders across the world to come up with ways to provide lasting solutions to the challenges posed by greenhouse gases.
Some of the ways that can effectively help to reduce the effect of global warming include planting trees, using alternative sources of energy, effective management of waste, pollution control, population control, and use of eco-friendly materials. It is also important for people to start engaging in activities that promote environmental conservation.
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Casper, Julie. Greenhouse Gases: Worldwide Impacts. New York: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Cline, William. Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country. New York: Peterson Institute, 2009. Print.
Hardy, John. Climate Change: Causes, Effects, and Solutions. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Print.
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Letcher, Trevor. Climate Change: Observed Impacts on Planet Earth. New York: Elsevier, 2009. Print.
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Maxim, Daniel, and S. Dunne. The Potential Effects of Greenhouse Gas Control Initiatives in the Primary Metal Industry: A Preliminary Analysis of Carbon Taxes. New York: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.
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