Effects of Climate Change

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Increased human activity in the world has greatly changed the environment in a negative way as individuals try to get the most out of their activities. Climate change is described as a broad range of global phenomena that are created predominantly by burning fossil fuel resulting in the heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Climate change is one of the most serious problems because the temperature in the earth is rising at a higher rate than it was 50 years ago. In fact, the rate of global warming cannot be explained by the natural cycles in the world but rather the human activities. For instance, more than 48% of participants in the Global Shapers survey in the World Economic Forum proclaimed that climate change is the most serious issue affecting the world today (Milfont, Wilson & Sibley, 2017). While there are many causes of climate change, the major ones are carbon dioxide emissions, the release of methane from animals and agriculture in addition to other gases, usage of chemical fertilizers as well as deforestation.

Emission of Carbon Dioxide

Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a major cause of climate change in the world today. Climate change is a global environmental problem in the world and all countries contribute to the worsening of the problem in one way or another. Human expansion of the greenhouse effect has rapidly increased the temperatures of the world. Life on earth depends on the energy that comes from the sun and the light passes through the atmosphere (Blaum et al., 2017). However, the higher greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere absorbs much of the heat from the sun and it is radiated back towards the earth’s surface making the environment warmer than it is supposed to be. Most of the carbon dioxide emission is caused by power plants that burn fossil fuel. There is an increased demand for electricity since the industrial revolution and the coal-burning power plants continuously release massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the stratosphere. As such, the increased demand for electricity for both personal and commercial use has resulted in increased emissions of carbon dioxide which cause an increase in the temperature.

Another cause of global warming is the increased emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning fuel for transportation. An increase in the demand for more cars as well as the consumer goods results in the augmented use of fossil fuel. Transportation and manufacturing have become a significant part of most countries including the United States and the human consumption has outpaced any discoveries on how to mitigate the effects. In fact, the massive consumer culture of human beings across the world as well as population growth has enormously increased the concentration of carbon dioxide gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. The rise of global temperatures since the industrial revolution has only increased with 2016 being the warmest year on record (Milfont, Wilson & Sibley, 2017). As such, human activities are responsible for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Emission of Methane and other gases

Methane is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas which comes from both natural and human sources. The levels of methane in the atmosphere have doubled over the last 100 years (Reddy, 2015). Although there are natural sources of methane gas such as wetlands, termites as well as oceans, human activities across the globe has significantly changed the cycle of the emission. Additionally, human activities such as landfills and waste, livestock farming as well as agriculture have increasingly resulted in the accumulation of methane gas in the atmosphere. Other sources include rice agriculture, biomass burning as well as the production of fossil fuel. Other similar causes of climate change include nitrous oxide emitted during agriculture and industrial activity and the fluorinated gasses from a variety of industrial gases. Since the earth is not capable of removing the gases faster as compared to its production, much heat is trapped in the atmosphere causing devastating climate change.

Chemical Fertilizers

The use of chemical fertilizers for agriculture has significantly increased since the second half of the 20th century. Most farmers today prefer to use chemical fertilizers in their plantations as opposed to the historical use of manure from animals and other plants. The dramatic rise of the application of nitrous-rich fertilizers affects the heat storage of croplands (Reddy, 2015). Fertilizers in the soil increase the capability of the lands to accommodate more heat in the environment which contributes to climate change. Additionally, increased use of chemical fertilizers for agriculture is responsible for the histrionic rise in the nitrous oxide in the atmosphere, which is a major greenhouse gas. Nitrogen-based fertilizers are responsible for the stimulation of microbes in the soil for the conversion of nitrogen into nitrous oxide at a faster rate than normal (Blaum et al., 2017). As such, fertilizer usage increases the level of greenhouse gas leading to climate change. Furthermore, some chemicals run-off into the oceans due to increased application of nitrogen-rich fertilizers, forming dead zones that are responsible for global warming.


Deforestation is the process of permanent destruction of forests with the aim of making the land available for other uses. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) of the United Nations, more than 18 million acres of forests are lost every year across the globe (Reddy, 2015). Forests are responsible for balancing the amount of carbon dioxide in the world by capturing the gas in a natural manner. Increase in the human population has prompted many people to use forests for fuel, including both wood and charcoal which results in deforestation. Additionally, the demand for wood and paper products has increased across the globe as well as the consumption of livestock that is grazed on former forest land. Moreover, the demand for tropical forest lands for the farming of commodities such as palm oil plantations has also increased the rate of deforestation in the world. Increased deforestation reduces the ability of forests to balance the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Since forests store some of the carbon dioxide in the environment, deforestation inhibits its ability resulting in greenhouse gas effect.


Climate change is one of the most challenging environmental problems in the world today and has received the attention of the world leaders as well as many of the nations around the globe. Climate change has majorly been significant in the 21st Century when its effects have been most severe. The major cause of the menace is the emission of greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide as well as fluorinated gases. Deforestation is yet another causal factor of climate change due to insufficient forests to balance the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Increased use of chemical fertilizers makes the soil vulnerable, allowing it to trap more heat than recommended while at the same time increasing the rate of production of nitrous oxide. As such, human activities are the major causes of climate change in the world today.


Blaum, D., Griffin, T. D., Wiley, J., & Britt, M. A. (2017). Thinking about global warming: Effect of policy-related documents and prompts on learning about causes of climate change. Discourse Processes, 54(4), 303-316.

Milfont, T. L., Wilson, M. S., & Sibley, C. G. (2017). The public’s belief in climate change and its human cause are increasing over time. PloS one, 12(3), e0174246.

Reddy, P. P. (2015). Causes of Climate Change. In Climate Resilient Agriculture for Ensuring Food Security (pp. 17-26). Springer, New Delhi.

August 21, 2023

Environment Science

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