The Tunguska Event
The rise in temperature on earth has been studied by Vladmir Shaidurov of the Russian Academy of Science who has indicated that the cause could actually be due to atmospheric changes and not actually be caused by emissions of CO2 created from human industrial and mechanical engineering.
He believes that it could all be directly related to the Tunguska Event, which occurred in a remote part of Siberia on 30th June 1908. On this day an asteroid or meteorite entered the earths atmosphere and then exploded, this released as much energy as 15 atom bombs, felled 60 million trees and blasted dust into the atmosphere. This theory, of course, totally blows the idea that global warming is man made, right out of the water.
Global Warming and The Green House Effect
However, other scientists have suggested that the cause in the rise of temperature is in fact due to global warming which has been created by the release of Hydrogen & CO2, the main Green House Gases. The effect is responsible for life as we know it and without the Greenhouse effect earth would still be covered in ice.
It has been connected to the Troposphere (which is the lower part of the atmosphere) within which there are Green House Gases trapped. When sunlight reaches the earth some of it is turned into heat and remains close to the earth in the Troposphere creating warmth. The temperature decreases with altitude and so closest to the earth is warmest, weather also occurs within the troposphere.
Since the Industrial Revolution in 1850 more CO2 has been created causing the temperature to increase further, this is what is referred to as Global Warming.
When it was discovered that this appeared to be the cause, action was taken to reduce CO2 and CFCs (also a contributor to the Green House Gasses) and you will probably remember CFCs being in aerosols and how manufacturers took steps to change this.
Hydrogen and CO2
As previously mentioned Hydrogen and CO2 are the most common Green House Gases, but we do not actually emit Hydrogen during the Industrial Process and this is why CO2 has become such a huge focus as this we can do something about.
Fossil Fuel combustion causes 70-75% of CO2, the remaining 20-25% is caused by land clearing and burning, and emissions from Vehicle Exhausts. Most CO2 is produced from Industrial Processes in developed countries such as USA and Europe, but as other countries develop and become industrialised the CO2 created can only rise.
From this we can see that although doing our bit will all help toward the issue of CO2 emission, real pressure needs to be being applied to Industrial Processes which involve the burning of Fossil Fuels as this is where the main CO2 emissions are created.
Which kind of Industrial Processes does this actually refer to? And who should be responsible for making the changes?
Production of Electricity
One of the biggest culprits of CO2 emissions is actually the industrial process in the production of Electricity and according to a report by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) Coal Power Stations are the top of the list. Fossil Fuels (such as coal) are used by power plants and use the chemical energy stored in this type of fuel to convert it into thermal, mechanical and then electrical energy. In fact electricity generation is responsible for 41% of US man made Carbon Dioxide emissions.
Other Power Sources
Because of this alternatives are being sought out, such as wind power, solar power and nuclear power, in fact nuclear power already accounts for 15% of the worlds energy with France, US & Japan leading the way and accounting for 56.5% of nuclear generated electricity.
Nuclear power works by using a Nuclear reactor. With this device a chain reaction is started under a controlled rate with the result being the production of nuclear power. Part of this energy is usable energy which can be used to produce pressurised steam to drive a steam turbine which then produces electricity. This is very different from a Nuclear Bomb, where a chain reaction is started, not controlled and results very quickly in an explosion which has the ability to cause devastation and death.
Read more information on The Positive and Negative Factors of Nuclear Power.
Global Warming Summary
To summarise, we need to consider that there may not actually be just the one reason for the rising temperature on earth and it may be due to a cause outside of our control.
However, when the proof we have is not solid we must act on the side of caution and in a manner which is considerate to one another as well as our future generations. We must also keep an open mind to progress and we hope that this section has made you realise that though the unknown can be pretty daunting, what we currently accept as the normal could actually be a whole lot worse. We just don't see it that we have accepted it as our way of life.