The world climate is always changing through a natural sequence, and it grows up quickly due to the human activities which make the world worry about. As we all know that humans depend on a sustainable and healthy environment, and yet we have damaged the environment in numerous ways which lead the climate change and global warming occur. So, what is climate change and global warming?
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The climate change is an adjustment in the average weather for years. Usually, when we speak of climate change on a global scale, we are referring to changes in the climate of the Earth as a whole. Whereas, global warming is the growth up of the average temperature of the Earth’s surface. Although, the world climate and global warming are often used interchangeably, the NASA website has given the definition of these two terms that global warming refers to surface temperature increases, while climate change includes global warming and everything else that increasing greenhouse gases amounts will affect. For instance, if we look back to the 18 centuries till now, we can many homes, factories, and transportations increase dramatically. Those places are the main places where more coal and oil are burning; then those release greenhouse gases such as CO2, SO2 to the atmosphere, which cause the earth to warm quickly. Moreover, since the late 1800’s, the global average temperature has increased about 0.7 to 1.4 degrees F (0.4 to 0.8 degrees C). Many experts estimate that the average temperature will rise an additional 2.5 to 10.4 degrees F (1.4 to 5.8 degrees C) by 2100. This can happen due to the increase in total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which trap infrared radiation from the earth.
Causes and Effects of Climate Change to the World
There are two main causes of climate changes and global warming-natural and human activities. First, it is caused by natural activities like continental drift and volcanoes. Million of years back, the continental that we live today is the formed of a gradually drifting apart of landmass that changed the physical feature of the landmass, and the position of water bodies. For example, the Indian landmass is thronging towards the Asian landmass slowly, but steadily due to the increase by 1mm of Himalayan range. Moreover, the large amount of SO2, water vapor, dust, and ash were thrown out when the volcanic eruption occurred. Those gases have serious effect to the atmosphere. For instance, so2 combined with water, it produces the acid rain which causes trees to fall their leaves, land erosion, and make the color of buildings become lighter.
Second, climate change is caused by human activities. If we look back the industrial revolution in 19th century, we can see more industrial grow and the large scale of car increase nowadays. People also continue to burn more fossil fuel in their everyday activities like using modern transportation, create more factories and for household use. Burning fossil fuel, it release greenhouse gases to the atmosphere which cause to earth to warm quickly.
Those causes produce most serious impact to the word today as it increases of the global temperature. When the temperature increase, arctic sea ice, glaciers and permafrost are melt; therefore, the sea level is also rise. Therefore, the lowland area like Newzaland will go to flood and it will destroy the habitat of animals. Moreover, higher temperature will cause the world drought so that people and some animals may die or move to the cooler places. In addition, warmer temperature also has bad effect to human health. People will have more allergies due to heat waves and the effect of direct ultraviolet from the sun. More animals that carry disease like mosquitoes are also growth more quickly.
The Effects of Climate Change and Global Warming on Cambodia as a Nation
Climate change and global warming affect Cambodia in several ways. First, it causes flood and drought. Flood and draught are two main extreme climate events and occur every year in a number of provinces such as Stung Treng, Kratie, Kampong Cham, Kandal, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhanang, Battambang, Siem Reap, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, and Takeo. Severe floods have resulted in a high number of casualties and destruction of infrastructures. For example, the recent flood caused by Ketsana at this end of September and early October 2010 caused 43 deaths and USD132 million of GDP loss due to the destruction of production sector, infrastructures, and social sector USD132 million, 19% of GDP loss in , and 33% of GDP loss in social sector.
Besides, drought in Cambodia causes Mekong has low water levels which harm to people around 60 million who live along the Mekong River. For instance, the most severe drought, which subsequently occurred in 2002, affected more than 2 million people and destroyed more than 100,000 ha of paddy fields (Analysis of Policies to Address Climate Change Impacts in Cambodia by Ministry of Environment, March 2005).
Second, it causes typhoons which strike the Cambodian coastline every 2 to 5 years and normally occur at the end of the rainy season. In November 1997, Typhoon Linda hit the Gulf of Thailand. At that time, the wind spread in Sihanouk reached 60m/s. Over five days, approximately 400mm of rainfall was recorded in coastal areas. It destroyed 81 fishing boats, claiming some 100 victims and most of the paddy fields of the Sihanoukville area (MoE, 1998).
Third, climate change and global warming affect to Cambodian health especially the rural people. Those have high risk in facing to the disease such as dengue fever, typhoid and diarrhea. According to the Cambodia Ministry of Health (MoH) in 2004, it stated that Cambodia already has the highest malaria fatality rate within Southeast Asia, and 500 deaths per year. It was predicted by MoH that the changing of climate will increase the numbers of Malaria by 16%.
How Cambodia Respond to the Effect of Climate Change and Global Warming
Cambodia is a small a country that got impact form climate change and global warming as I have mentioned in the previous MC. The below are the response of Cambodia include individual, state, and international level to climate change and global warming.
As individuals, we play a vital role in helping to protect our environment by trying to reduce the green house gases that emit from our everyday life. People can use bicycles to travel or walk from place to another instead of using cars or buses which burn fossil fuels that effect to our environment. Moreover, we can use some methods of recycle and reuse for some products in order to cut down the emission of CFCs into the atmosphere and then slow down the process of increasing our global climate which will deplete the ozone layer. Nowadays, we got a modern technology so that factories can use those techniques to apply in their factory to reduce pollution and destruction to the environment. Individuals alone cannot make an effect way to deal with the climate change and global warming.
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State also plays an important role to respond to the effect of climate change. As we can that Cambodia is the most vulnerable to the effect of climate change due to our economy depends mainly on agriculture. Due to 80 percent of Cambodian people are farmers and they facing severe drought and flood which cause serious problems to their rice yield, the government of Cambodia introduced some new techniques to them. In order to adapt to the climate change, he suggested some methods consist of changing the way of farming by telling them to chose the right seed, practicing rice growth techniques, promoting multi purpose of farming, and requesting them to do research for new techniques. Moreover, he can make a decision and enforce the environmental law such as not to cut down the tree, and set the maximum of emission of GHGs for each industries.
In addition to the state actions, it has to cooperate with international level in order to get an effective to cope with climate change. For example, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted at the 3rd Conference of the Parties (COP-3), held in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997. It commits 39 developing countries to reduce their GHG emissions of about 5% below their 1990 levels during the period between 2008 and 2012. Moreover, Cambodian Climate Change Alliance (CCCA) funded by Climate Change Trust Fund of 8.9 million US dollars from European Union, UNDP, SIDA, and DANIDA to cover the period 2010-2012 in the aim of supporting the integration of climate change.
Taking everything into account, we can make a conclusion that climate change and global warming is a hot issue that the world is worry about and it is really related to the global governance that we have learn for a semester. The reason is that climate change has no boundaries. For example, the forest fires in Sumatra Island which located nearby Singapore and Malaysia caused a serious haze to Southeast Asia by polluting the atmosphere. When it happens, it will destroy our hold economy, infrastructures, and our health; Cambodia is an example. To deal with those problems, we have to take time and spend more money by stating from ourselves to international level.
However, I can pinpoint the challenge in this topic that the government may get difficulties in dealing with the climate change in the case of air pollution. As Cambodia is a developing country, we have to think and build up our economics first. Therefore, we have to lure the investors to invest our country. In this case, industries will grow so it leads to increase the emission of CO2, CFCs which cause more pollution to the atmosphere. Moreover, I think our government still not yet gets successful in helping the farmers to cope with climate change although he introduced some new techniques to them. As more than 80 percents of Cambodian people are farmers, not all of them get support from the government.
Global government plays an important role in responding to this issue. As we can see that in 1988, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide a credible assessment of the state of scientific knowledge on global warming. Moreover, Untied Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) adopted in 1992 which consists of 194 countries to address global climate change. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is created to allow developed countries to meet part of their reduction obligations through projects in developing countries that reduce emissions or sequester CO2 from the atmosphere.
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