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Supposed you are living in a coastal city. The city administrator has noticed that the mean sea level has been rising for the past 50 years. The raising is small but over a long period of time it may cause problems in the city centre as the level of that part of the city is quite low. If you are hired as a consultant, write a plan of action on what can be done to reduce or mitigate the problems. Your report must include Mitigation and Adaptation measures. Introduction Most of the world’s coastal cities were established during the last few millennia, a period when global sea level has been near constant. Since the mid-19th century, sea level has been rising, likely primarily as a result of human-induced climate change. During the 20th century, sea level rose about 15-20 centimeters (roughly 1.5 to 2.0 mm/year), with the rate at the end of the century greater than over the early part of the century . Satellite measurements taken over the past decade, however, indicate that the rate of increase has jumped to about 3.1 mm/year, which is significantly higher than the average rate for the 20th century . Projections suggest that the rate of sea level rise is likely to increase during the 21st century, although there is considerable controversy about the likely size of the increase. As explained in the next section, this controversy arises mainly due to uncertainties about the contributions to expect from the three main processes responsible for sea level rise: thermal expansion, the melting of glaciers and ice caps, and the loss of ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.

Figure : Image from NASA

Mitigation Mitigation of global warming involves taking actions aimed at reducing the extent of global warming. Scientific consensus on global warming together with the fear of climate transitions is leading to increased efforts to develop new technologies and sciences, to address the issue of global warming. At the core of most proposals is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy use and switching to cleaner energy sources. Responding to the challenges of controlling global warming requires fundamental changes in energy production, transportation, industry, government policies, and development strategies around the world. These changes would take time. The challenge today is to manage the impacts that cannot be avoided while taking steps to prevent severe impacts in the future. Some of the mitigating measure is appended below: a. Forests provide many social, economic and environmental benefits. In addition to timber and paper products, forests provide wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, prevent soil erosion and flooding, help provide clean air and water and contain tremendous biodiversity. Forests are also an important defense against global climate change. Through the process of photosynthesis, forests produce life-supporting oxygen and consume huge amounts of carbon dioxide, which help the most in mitigation of global warming. b. Hydro-electric power by means of dams is regarded as a relatively cleaner source of energy because it emits fewer greenhouse gases than thermal power plants. Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming and climate change, and for many environmentalists, the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the most important environmental issue. c. The scientific study of the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the world oceans is called oceanography. Greater knowledge of climatic variations can be attained to describe how the biological productivity in the sea is controlled. A lot of carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere if significant amounts of carbon dioxide could be sucked up by tiny floating marine plants in the vast oceans. Oceans receive considerable sunlight and have an abundance of the nitrogen and phosphorus compounds that usually support the growth of such plants in the greenish waters of the coastal ocean. In an experiment, sea-water containing dissolved iron was pumped to a small area resulting in growth of small marine plants.

d. One way to keep carbon dioxide emissions from reaching the atmosphere is to preserve and growing more trees. Trees, especially young and fast-growing ones, soak up a great deal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Slowing the rate of deforestation and planting new trees can help in neutralizing the expansion of greenhouse gases. In most cases, the process of carbon capture would involve transporting the gas in compressed form to suitable locations for underground storage. Deep ocean waters could also absorb a great deal of carbon dioxide, although the environmental effects may be harmful to ocean life. The feasibility and environmental effects of these options are under study by international teams. e. The total worldwide consumption of fossil fuels is increasing by several percent annually. Newer technologies for energy resources may help offset these effects. Significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions can only be achieved by switching away from fossil-fuel energy sources. i. Nuclear power plants release no carbon dioxide at all, but nuclear energy is controversial for reasons of safety, security and the high costs of nuclear waste disposal. ii. Solar Power, Wind Power and Hydrogen Fuel Cells can be alternative means of energy emit no greenhouse gases. These energy sources can be practical and low-polluting alternatives to fossil fuels. Other alternatives include fuels made from plants, such as biodiesel (made from used and new vegetable oil) and ethanol (a plant-based gasoline additive). Use of these fuels can help reduce total carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), which uses both an electric motor and a gasoline or diesel engine, emits less carbon dioxide than conventional automobiles. f. Urban planning also has an effect on use of energy. Inefficient use of land practices have increased infrastructure costs as well as the amount of energy needed for transportation, community services, and buildings. Efficient planning will serve to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Planning and the concentration of housing within walking distance of town centers and transport will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. g. Emissions from housing are substantial. New buildings using passive solar building design can be made more efficient through the use of insulation, high-efficiency appliances (particularly hot water heaters and furnaces), double or triple glazed gas-filled windows, external window shades, and building orientation and site. Renewable heat sources such as

geothermal power and passive solar energy reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted. This saves energy because it cools buildings and reduces the urban heat island effect thus reducing the use of air conditioning. h. Development of new technologies, such as hydrogen cars, may reduce the consumption of petroleum and emissions of carbon dioxide. A shift from air and transport to electric rail would reduce emissions significantly. Increased use of bio-fuels will also reduce emissions. For electric vehicles, the reduction of carbon emissions will improve further. i. The population explosion is a fundamental factor that has led to global warming. Proposed measures include improving access to family planning and reproductive health care and information, public awareness about the consequences of continued population growth, and improving access of women to education and economic opportunities. j. There is a requirement to launch a media campaign at national level through print and electronic media for awareness of the masses regarding hazards of Global Warming and importance of growing trees. k. Rules and regulations regarding setting up and operation of industries already exist. There is a dire need that industrial sector be forced by the concerned agencies, to follow the rules with letter and spirit regarding environment friendly policies. There is a need to secure our future from the hazards of environmental changes faced by the present world. The mitigation efforts for the reduction of Global Warming would help in making prosperous nation besides a healthy atmosphere for our next generations. The most basic question as to who would take the first step is now beyond discussion due to obvious scenery of consequences. So pro-active policy at each tier is mandatory and should become our moral obligation towards better and prosperous future. Global Warming is resulting in increased temperatures, drying up water sources, sudden and unpredictable natural calamities; resulting in loss of millions of lives every decade, which should act as a wake-up call and as a group or at an individual level we all must try to adopt applicable mitigation measures and this is only possible if we understand the core issue and severity of its far reaching implications.

Adaptation Adaptation to global warming is a response to climate change that seeks to reduce the vulnerability of social and biological systems to climate change effects. Even if emissions are stabilized relatively soon, climate change and its effects will last many years, and adaptation will be necessary. Climate change adaptation is especially important in developing countries since those countries are predicted to bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. Adaptation measures aim to reduce the impacts of global warming by adapting society and the economy to a warmer climate, based on the recognition that a certain amount of global warming will be inevitable. Those measures could be described as "treating the symptoms" --symptoms like rising temperatures and sea levels. The examples of realistic and effective adaptation measures include designing and constructing buildings with future warming in mind, for example, by including balconies, sun shades and natural ventilation systems. As well, in anticipation of decreases in available water resources due to drought and other impacts of global warming, precautionary measures can be taken against water shortages by introducing water-saving devices and water-loss control systems. Adaptation will not necessarily help society cope with all of the projected effects of climate change. However, given the fact that global warming is already upon us, it is essential to step up such measures in order to sustain our society and economy in warmer climates. For instance, when designing new buildings, it is important for us to take into consideration the higher temperatures and other foreseeable impacts of global warming. There is no doubt that the need and demand for adaptation measures will grow, as the impacts of global warming become increasingly apparent. When considering these matters, it soon becomes clear that adaptation measures will be expensive, as in the case of raising the height of coastal dikes, for example. It is all the more important, therefore, to strike a balance between adaptation and mitigation. Humanity must carefully allocate its resources--measured in terms of money, human resources, public attention, and so on not only into the obvious solutions but also into greater efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, as those are the ultimate steps needed to mitigate global warming.

Adaptation can consist of a wide variety of actions by an individual, community, or organization to prepare for, or respond to, climate change impacts. Many of these measures are things we are already doing but could be stepped up or modified to prepare for climate change. Some examples include: a) Agriculture and Food Supply •

Breed crop varieties that are more tolerant of heat, drought, and water logging from heavy rainfall or flooding

Protect livestock from higher summer temperatures by providing more shade and improving air flow in barns

b)Coasts •

Promote shore protection techniques and open space preserves that allow beaches and coastal wetlands to gradually move inland as sea level rises.

Identify and improve evacuation routes and evacuation plans for low-lying areas, to prepare for increased storm surge and flooding.

c)Ecosystems •

Protect and increase migration corridors to allow species to migrate as the climate changes.

Promote land and wildlife management practices that enhance ecosystem resilience.

d)Energy •

Increase energy efficiency to help offset increases in energy consumption.

Harden energy production facilities to withstand increased flood, wind, lightning, and other storm-related stresses.

e)Human Health •

Implement early warning systems and emergency response plans to prepare for changes in the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme weather events.

Plant trees and expand green spaces in urban settings to moderate heat increases.

f)Water Resources •

Improve water use efficiency and build additional water storage capacity.

Protect and restore stream and river banks to ensure good water quality and safe guard water quantity.

Task 6  

Global Warming.