Global Warming The Reality of essay

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" (Impacts of sea level rise) In these areas, such as India and Indonesia, even a small increase in sea level could result in forced migration with resultant economic hardship. The point should also be reiterated that in our interconnected world, the economic and social problems of one area or region have an impact on other countries. This is also related to the fact that many of the suugested means of dealing with global warming would contradict and even negate economic policies that many industrialized nations already have in place. This aspect will be expanded on in the following sections.


Political Issues

The response from governments to the problem and reality of global warming has not always been positive or enthusiastic. The Reagan administration and the First Bush Administration in the United States tended to be politically optimistic about the global environment. Governments in developed countries have in general not been particularly responsive to calls to curtail emission and find solution. They reason for this is that environmental concerns are often contrasted with and weighted up against the needs and demands of the economy. (Balaam and Veseth 435) This is related to the view that serious involvement in efforts to curtail global warming and other environmental issues are "too costly" and would interfere with the viability of the economy. (Balaam and Veseth 435) This ambivalence from many governments to global warming has become a central political problem in the present century as well.

In the past few decades been many political attempts to deal with environmental problems in an international and multilateral manner. A good example is the Earth Summit Rio de Janeiro in 1992. A wide range of representatives attended the summit. These included 178 national delegates, 115 heads of state and more than 15, 0000 environmental NGOs. ( Balaam and Veseth 436) This meeting resulted in an agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere, as well as treaty on biological diversity. It must be rembered that this international agreement took place before the latest findings on global warming had been scientifically ratified.

However, the United States did not play a major role in the application of this agreement and was considered by many countries to be reticent in playing a role in line with its power and international status. For example, the first Bush administration called only for voluntary cut in emission, as it was felt that this aspect would hurt the economy. (Balaam and Veseth 436) This typifies the conflict still evident today in politics between the need to satisfy or deal with internationals pressure to protect the environment and reduce global warming and the desire to be economically viable and competitive.

A central example of international attempts to deal with the issued was the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. This was essentially an attempt to build on previous international environmental agreements. However, the second Bush Administration withdrew for this Protocol in 2001. This administration claimed that the treaty would cost America 400 billion dollars and more than a million jobs. (Balaam and Veseth 437)

This withdrawal was also due to an increasing skepticism from many quarters about the validity of global warming and the seriousness of its effects. In recent years the issue of global warming has been brought to the forefront of the political and environmental agenda by the scientific finding that global warming is a reality which will certainly have devastating effects social and economic life of the planet in the near future if it is not aggressively curtailed. This view has been underscored by high profile environmentalists like Al Gore.

To cope with increasing criticism of its approach to the problem, the Bush Administration introduced a mixed policy approach to the issue. This was in essence a series of preventative measures, which included efforts to cut auto and industrial plant emissions. (Balaam and Veseth 444)

Another way of dealing with the problem is the introduction of new and different types of fuels. These have been introduced in an effort to reduce carbon emission without harming the economy. This also includes the development and testing of bio-fuels and hybrid vehicles. It is also important to note that more recently the Obama Administration has made new efforts to revitalize the ailing international drive to combat global warming. As a recent report states, "Barack Obama & #8230; pledged to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions as he also announced he will travel to next month's climate change summit in Copenhagen." ( Alberts)

4. Economic Issues

As referred to there is a general agreement that global warming constitutes a significant threat to life on this planet. However there is at the same time certain reluctance on the part of many developed countries to institute measures that may be sen to harm their economies. As lone report succinctly states, "The United States plus a few other countries, and many large corporations, have been against climate change treaties due to the fear of the threat to their economy and profits if they have to make substantial changes." ( Shah)

As has been suggested, the reduction of carbon emissions would in effect mean the slowing down of industrial output and this in turn would mean that the economy might be adversely affected. In order to understand the economic dilemma in relation to measures aimed at curbing global warming, the importance of oil in the international context should be briefly examined.

Oil and fuel are major causes of carbon emission. However, oil is also at the center of the global economy. The oil or petroleum industry is related to the petroleum market internationally. In understanding the key issues in international economics and oil one has to understand the importance of oil as an energy source. Oil drives the economies of the world and is related to almost every industry and economic activity. This does not only refer to the need for fuel for transport in modern economies but also to the many ways in which oil usage and consumption impacts on particular countries and economies. If one takes into account the contemporary reality of globalization, then the impact of oil becomes more evident. The importance of oil for the international economy and industry can be seen for the following figures. In terms of world production oil averaged about 83.02 million barrels per day in 2004 compared to about 74 million barrels per day 2002. (Some interesting oil industry statistics)

On the other hand oil and its products contribute to the problem of environmental pollutions. This problem is summarized by the fact that; " Oil is a Fossil fuel. Burnt fossil fuels release Carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Earth's atmosphere and thus contribute to Global warming." (Petroleum industry) Therefore, the economic situation can be summed up by the fact that "Cutting back on the production of greenhouse gases would mean major economic and political adjustments along with lifestyle changes in the industrialized nations." ( Balaam and Veseth 445)

5. Political and Economic Adjustment

There is almost unanimously agreement in the international community that something must be done to repair the damage to the environment. What is also recognized is that in order to achieve this goal there is the need for political and economic adjustment to meet the demands of the situation. However, as one article on this issue states, "The first stumbling block… has been trying to get an agreement on a framework." (Shah) This refers to an agreement that would be implemented wholeheartedly by the international community and in particular by developing countries that are responsible for most of the industrial emissions.

There are as number of economic obstacles that will first have to be dealt with. These include the fact that the cutting of carbon emissions is a costly enterprise that many of the larger countries are loath to implement. In other words, it has become to find political solutions to the economic impasse.



One of the obvious ways that global warming can be stopped or prevented from worsening is through international agreements to limit the emission of gases into the environment. The Kyoto Protocol is an example. However solutions to this problem are hampered by various disagreements. There are also disagreements between environmentalists, activists and industry about the realistic extent of the dangers and extent of global warming. These disagreements are important to resolve if the fight against increased global warming and its effects on the environment is to be successful. Among the many solutions that are put forward is that the problem and its solutions should be privatized. But this not considered by many to be an effective determining the cost of controlling pollution is difficult to estimate. (Balaam and Veseth 449)

In the final analysis the core of any real and effective solution to global warming must include the political vision and will to make hard decisions that will be adhered to. There is a growing concern that if economic and market factors are left to…[continue]

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