2022 GS3 Answer

Q. Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, in the light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997.

Question from UPSC Mains 2022 GS3 Paper

Model Answer: 

Introduction to Global Warming

Global warming is a long-term increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature, primarily due to the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities. These gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to a rise in temperature.

Effects of Global Warming on the Global Climate

Global warming has significant impacts on the global climate, including:

Rising sea levels: As global temperatures increase, glaciers and ice caps melt, leading to a rise in sea levels. This phenomenon can cause coastal flooding, erosion, and loss of habitat.

More frequent extreme weather events: Global warming increases the frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. These events can cause widespread damage and loss of life.

Shifts in ecosystems: Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns can cause significant changes in ecosystems. Species may have to adapt to new conditions or risk extinction.

Ocean acidification: As carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, it reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid. This process leads to ocean acidification, which can harm marine life and disrupt food chains.

Control Measures to Bring Down the Level of Greenhouse Gases

To mitigate the impacts of global warming, it is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement adopted in 1997, outlines measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The following are control measures that can help to bring down the level of greenhouse gases:

Energy conservation: Reducing energy consumption through energy-efficient practices can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of energy-efficient practices include using public transport, turning off lights and appliances when not in use, and using energy-efficient light bulbs.

Renewable energy: Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power generate electricity without producing greenhouse gases. Governments can encourage the use of renewable energy by providing incentives and subsidies.

Carbon capture and storage: Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a process that captures carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and other industrial processes and stores them underground. CCS can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Forest conservation: Forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their biomass. Governments can encourage forest conservation by protecting forests and promoting afforestation.

Conclusion

Global warming has significant impacts on the global climate, including rising sea levels, more frequent extreme weather events, shifts in ecosystems, and ocean acidification. To mitigate the impacts of global warming, it is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol outlines measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including energy conservation, renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, and forest conservation. By implementing these measures, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of global warming.

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