One of the fundamental challenges facing many economies globally is global warming. While the global scientific community has universally reached a consensus about the gradual increase in atmospheric temperature and to some extent its effects, there are significant skepticism regarding the extent of these effects and how to tackle it. These skepticisms have been witnessed within scientific communities and political and economic spheres. The various mitigation measures are primarily based on a polluter pays principles which chiefly proposes that parties that contribute to the pollutants should pay. This payment can be in the form of implementation of policies and laws as well as monetary in the form of fines and funds to finance environmental conservation and protection initiatives. However, these mitigation measures have generated controversy with some countries unwilling to support initiatives (Meyer n.pag).
Global Warming: Controversies
One of the controversies surrounding climate change is the risk and cost associated with using green technologies that reduce environmental pollution. Proponents of green movement which calls for adoption of green technologies which are environmentally friendly argue that they are cost effective in the long run. They argue that such alternative sources of energy including hydroelectric power, wind and solar have little to no toxic waste and by-products. They play a key role reducing the greenhouse effect as they do not product greenhouse gases which have been implicated in causing the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are emitted from burning of fossil fuels such as coal which are the primary source of energy in many countries.
Opponents of the green movement have held that many countries lack the political and financial capital to purchase and install such technologies. This is because such technologies require significant financial outlay to acquire, install and maintain. Therefore, choosing these technologies would amount to prioritizing the welfare of the environment over that of the citizens. Such funds could therefore be directed into other important sectors such as healthcare and education which are significantly lagging behind in many countries. Moreover, these green technologies have limited scalability and have limited geographical coverage. In addition, implementing such policies directly challenges the free-economic system and capitalism which are the widely practiced economic systems globally. Implementing policies and laws pushing green technologies would curtail individual freedoms and liberties (Jordan n.pag). The effects of global warming are universal in nature and are not confined in one geopolitical location. Even countries that produce fewer pollutants are affected. Therefore, coming up with cross-border policies are challenging.
Human activities are the main contributors of global warming. Activities that release pollutants into the environment include industrial, farming and household activities. These pollutants deplete the ozone layer and trap ultraviolet rays of the sun within the atmosphere leading to gradual warming of the atmosphere. Studies have shown that atmospheric temperature spiked during the industrialization era and has gradually increased over the years. As a result of the increased temperatures, cases of melting icebergs and rising sea levels have been recorded as well as emergence of extreme weather conditions such as flooding and drought, skin cancer and disease patterns. Consequently, lives and properties have been while governments are been forced to spend millions of dollars in emergency funds.
However, many scientists have disputed the correlation between greenhouse gases and aerosols and global warming since the metrics used to established such correlations were based on simulation to give historical data. Therefore, such simulation did not take into account the various scenarios that are usually present in nature. Such extrapolation and generalization therefore did not fully capture the status of the atmosphere in relation to greenhouse gases and aerosols and other pollutants; both in the past and at the present (Ruckstuhl et al n.pag). This challenge has further been reinforced by studies which have revealed that global temperatures have increased in values that are relatively lower than the estimates used by authorities to promote the global warming narrative.
In conclusion, global warming and its effects have been witnessed across many continents. Many initiatives have been put in place to tackle it based on the consensus on its existence and effects. Significant successes have been recorded in the use of green technologies to curb global warming. However, there are controversies surrounding this phenomenon which have hindered the implementation of these initiatives aimed at curbing its effects. Global warming affects all countries their pollutant emission levels notwithstanding. The key to success in tackling global warming is having strong policies and laws. But this is challenging due to the sovereignty of these countries. Some of these laws and policies have also been opposed since they seek to limit the liberties and freedoms of citizens. Moreover, the metric for measuring the correlation between pollutant levels and global warming have generated significant criticism since it is based on simulation. Without consensus on these critical aspects of tackling global warming, the process of tackling it has been with controversies, criticism and opposition from individuals, business entities and countries.
Ruckstuhl, C.; et al. “Aerosol and cloud effects on solar brightening and the recent rapid warming”. Geophysical Research Letters. 35.12 (2008): L12708.
Meyer, Warren. Understanding the Global Warming Debate. Forbes Feb. 2 2012.
Jordan, Stuart. The Global Warming Debate: Science and Scientists in a Democracy. Skeptical Inquirer 31.6(2007).