Pros And Cons Of Global Warming

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					                                      Global Warming and Human

                                        “Adaptation Pros & Cons”

                                      Cercis İKİEL 1 Beyza KAYMAZ 2
        Sakarya University, Faculty of Science and Art, Department of Geography, 54100, Esentepe, Sakarya
                Istanbul Technical University, Eurasia Institute of Earth Science, 34469, Maslak, Istanbul

One of the greatest environmental problems that have occurred in the new century due to the
changes in the weather conditions and climate as a result of the interaction between the human
kind and nature is the problem of global warming. Global warming is a world scale problem
that concerns all of us which occurs due to the change caused by human (anthropologic)
interference, instead of the natural changes in the climate. So what exactly is global warming?
How does it occur? Why are we facing a problem named global warming? What is the
relationship between climates and humans? Let’s first try to understand how we perceive the
Sun, the Earth and the Atmosphere that surrounds it. Some of the rays that come from the Sun
are absorbed by the Earth and the Atmosphere, and the rest is reflected back from these two
and return back to the Space. The gases that form the Atmosphere are more permissive for the
rays that come from the sun but less permissive for the ones that reflect from the Earth. These
gases which help maintain the heat balance between the Atmosphere and the Earth are called
“Greenhouse gases”. There have been various changes in the climate of the Earth within its
4.6 billion years geological history, due to natural and various other causes and these climate
changes have been effecting humans’ lives drastically. The climate changes during the
geological eras, especially: the glacial movements and the changes of the sea levels according
to these, the cooling of the Earth due to the gases and particles formed by volcanic eruptions,
ocean-atmosphere interactions, the seasonal changes of the sun’s rays, the axis of the Earth
and the changes in its orbit have caused great changes in locations and peoples. However, it
was found out only with the Industrial Revolution of 19th century that human activities can
affect climate conditions (Figure 1). Ever since the aforementioned era which can be
considered as the date which the concept of global warming was born, the factors such as the
usage of coal and other fossil fuels, the destruction of forest areas, the urbanization and
improper land use have triggered the increase of the amount of Greenhouse gases within the
Atmosphere such as Carbon Dioxide, Vapor, Ozone and Methane. The increase of these gases
within the Atmosphere has caused the rays which are reflected from the Earth to get caught
and spread within the Atmosphere. And this situation has caused the gradual increase of the
temperature of the Earth, namely, the concept of Global Warming.
Now that we have defined the problem that is global warming and listed its causes, we have to
ask ourselves these questions: How will the climate in the future be? How will the changes in
it affect us? What should be done about this? Whereas it is such a difficult task to predict the
weather forecast of even 1 week from today, it is almost impossible to draw a projection in
terms of years. There are several research centers which are carrying out studies about this
subject, such as NAO and Hadley. These develop different climate models based on
greenhouse gas emission scenarios that use different starting value conditions. Although none

of them can tell if the increase of the amount of Carbon Dioxide gas within the atmosphere up
to twice its current value would make the temperature of the Earth rise or fall, there is a
certain point that they all agree upon: the climate of the next century will be determined by
the amount of the greenhouse effect gases released into the atmosphere. The more the amount
of these gases increase, the more the temperature will rise. However, these temperatures will
be the global averages. Thus, there will be global and regional changes in the weather
conditions and as a result of this, the areas affected by drought will increase, the shores will
have to face powerful storms and floods and much hotter and colder weather will affect
particular regions. According to the researches made (IPCC, 2007) a global agricultural
depression due to droughts will cause a great problem of alimentation around the year 2100.
We can not react to these scientific facts by saying “We’ll wait and see”. The world that we
live on -the Earth- is our habitat and home. Before, we were unable to affect the natural
environment but now, we are capable of causing heavy destruction upon it either consciously
or unconsciously. The scientific facts need to be disclosed and the people need to provide all
the necessary means to improve consciousness about the matter. Turkey, the country I live in,
is a Mediterranean country on the variable zone! The First National Communication of
Turkey on Climate Change has just been submitted. According to the forecasts included in
climate change scenarios prepared as pre-studies for Turkey region, there will be significant
decreases at the flow rates of the rivers located within the region. There will also be great
rises of the temperature at the same regions. The increase of the water temperatures will affect
the ecological balance, the geographical distribution of the plants and animals living in water,
the hydrological characteristics of water and the water quality (DMI, 2007). If the oscillations
will not decrease, the temperature rise for the year of 2095 will increase by 1.1°C to 6.4°C
against the rise in the years from 1980 to 1999 (IPCC, 2007). The most important question
about this matter is: what will be the results of this rise in temperature? I think that this could
be answered by evaluating the results obtained through the 20th century. While only a 0.6°C
temperature rise of the global temperature means a 25 cm rise of the sea levels, many of the
important glaciers have melted and were pulled back. If the current situation persists, there
will be many ecological refugees throughout the world due to floods, droughts and storms.
Millions of people will have to immigrate because of environmental disasters. The
infrastructure of urban zones will be affected and thus cities will be emptied. As the desire for
“high living standards” will rise through time, the struggles for habitable living zones will
start. Climatic conditions affect the continuity of human life and lifestyle (Ikiel, 2005). Thus,
the climate and environmental conditions as we know them will completely change! It could
be said that occurrences like this took place in the past too, but back in those days the nature
had the power to renew itself and the interaction between human and nature was harmonious!
Also, the world population wasn’t so big either; but in the present day, the rapidly developing
technologies and increasing population are hazards for nature. The increase rates of carbon
and world population are building up in a parallel fashion… and since the human influence
over the system is huge, the solution for the problem is also searched by the ones who cause
the problem itself: humans. According to the first summary of the 4th report announced by
IPCC in Paris on 02.02.2007; the human influence which was not clearly defined within the
3rd report has been determined to be 90% and spotted in all regions of the world. By taking
the increase in Carbon Dioxide amounts as a reference, we face the fact that the human
influence over the weather conditions have increased, particularly after the industrial
revolution. In my opinion, the most logical way to reverse such an inbred ignorance and
exploitation is to get “humanism” into action! Our world is a whole and we are all aboard the
ship. Whatever the ideological and cultural differences might be, all the nations on the world
have to collaborate to fight this problem. We shouldn’t exercise a nationalist approach to it.
We must be sensitive. We will never be safe by continuing the developments in technology

but totally ignoring the results of it. The environmental depression that we experience today
should create a global consciousness, a mass enlightening. It is unclear how the animals and
also we the humans can adapt to new ecologies and how each region of the world would be
affected by these changes… Until this day, natural disasters such as floods, droughts and
hurricanes took place at various regions of the world and these concerned only the regions
that they took place in. It was a little bit unlikely for a person to feel the suffering from these
events, unless she lived in the said region (Kaymaz, 2005). But as of today, all of the nations
and folks are against such a great hazard that, since the lives being threatened are our very
own, it is very meaningless to start acting national over existing air, water and territory. In the
context of international relations, the geopolitical and strategic policies of countries have to
unite in this direction and the xenophobia between folks have to be left behind in order to help
them face each other and follow a humanist approach. This common sense must be created. If
we do not understand the problem and if we ignore it, it is not possible for us to find a
solution for it. While the natural changes keep occurring, within the context of “rebuilding of
the places” through human intervention, we all must approach the new world order in a more
humanist way (Ikiel, 2003). But, in order to create such a spirit, we must first recognize the
problem, have an advanced awareness and gain a humanist vision! Since the problem is on a
global scale, the solution also has to be on a global scale. Since the source of the problem is
thought to be humans, the solution should also be thought by humans. It would be wiser to
ask: “What could be done to solve this problem, instead of trying to find out who is
responsible for it”. It is impossible to stop the progression of the industry. Thus, logical
solutions such as trying to find renewable energy resources have come up. The developing
countries do not have much resistance against the dangers of global warming. They have very
little means of adapting to new weather conditions, switching to new agricultural products,
renewing degraded forest and agricultural areas, building barriers and dams against floods and
taking measures against droughts and floods. It doesn’t seem to be a very immediate
alternative solution for the developing countries to abandon the use of fossil fuels within their
rapidly growing industry sectors. In this context, probably nuclear energy, renewable energy
(such as biogas, etc.) or solar energy could be used as alternative solutions. Otherwise,
climate changes could cause imbalance in global politics and national security systems! The
western world which has made scientific and technological improvements and presented them
to the humanity also appears to be the reason of this change. But the rest of the world also
expect for a solution of this problem from those who hold the science and technology in their

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Turkish State Meteorological
Service, 2007 First National Communication of Turkey on Climate Change, Sf:174
Ikiel, C, 2003, Mekanın Yeniden İnşaası (Rebuilding of the Places), Editör Dergisi, Sayı:9-
10, Sf: 23-24, Istanbul
Ikiel, C, 2005, Muğla Yöresinde İklim Koşullarının İnsan ve Çevre Üzerine Etkileri (The
Effects of Climatic Conditions on Human and Environment in Muğla Region), Ulusal
Coğrafya Kongresi 2005, Sf: 233-242, İstanbul
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2007): Climate Change 2007: The
Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policymakers. (published online 2 Feb 2007 at
Kaymaz, B.;“Hazards and Their Impact on Human”, 29.IMISE Conference, The American
University of Paris, July 2005, Paris, France


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