Understanding Global Warming

Global warming refers to the increase in the earth’s temperature over a hundred years. In the last 100 years, the earth’s temperature has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 °c.

Causes of global warming;

The main cause of global warming is the greenhouse effect which is the process by which certain gases in the atmosphere trap and emit infrared radiation; simply put, certain gases in the atmosphere prevent the escape of heat, thereby causing the earth to warm up. These gases are produced by a number of activities carried out by humans.


Important greenhouse gases include;

  1. Water vapour; this is the most abundant greenhouse gas, however it also serves as a medium of assessing global warming
  2. Carbon dioxide: released by respiration, deforestation, land use changes, burning of petroleum and coal products.
  3. Methane: this is produced through decomposition of wastes, agriculture (rice cultivation), ruminant animal digestion, manure management etc. it is more active than carbon dioxide but it is less abundant in the atmosphere.
  4. Nitrous oxide; produced by soil cultivation processes, use of fertilizers etc.
  5. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): these are synthetic compounds, commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators.

Effects of global warming

On the environment;

Oxygen depletion, increased heat waves (hotter days and nights), expansion of deserts, increase in sea levels (may lead to increased flooding).

On agriculture;

Changes in temperature and rainfall, changes in pests and diseases (these are climate sensitive), changes in nutritional quality of some foods.

What role do you play?

  1. Waste generation; by reducing the amount of waste you generate, you reduce the amount of waste that has to be decomposed. Reduce, reuse and recycle your material, purchase items with less packaging.
  2. Reduce electricity and fuel consumption: use energy saving items, reducing your electricity consumption reduces the amount of fuel used to produce them, take a walk sometimes, use less hot water, and use solar systems if you can afford it.
  3. Plant a tree or 20 trees if you like.
  4. Tell someone about global warming, share this article!

Abisola Oladele