Other effects observed worldwide include modifications in the distribution of plants and animals throughout and outside natural habitats, the fact that the trees start to bloom earlier than initially considered normal, the length of the seasons continue to increase, probably leading to a situation in which only two seasons with replace the traditional four. Foremost, ice has been found on rivers and the lakes freeze later in the winter and the ice on them melts earlier in the spring (United States Environmental Protection Agency).
The effects that have already been observed are called fingerprints of global warming and refer primarily to the heating temperatures in of the North and South Poles, the melting of the glaciers, the increasing levels of the seas and oceans and the growing number and intensity of heat waves. The effects that will be likely felt in the future in a more frequent and intense manner are called harbingers and they include the modifications in seasons' structures, the more rapid spreading of diseases, modifications in animal and plant patterns, the bleaching of the coral reef, fires and droughts (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009).
As mentioned before, it is rather difficult to assess the long-term effects of global warming, and effectively, of any climate change. However, with more and more information gathered each year, scientists seem to agree that, continuing with the same increased levels of pollution, global warming will, in the future, materialize in the following:
The melting of the glaciers and the snows, combined with massive droughts will lead to water shortages (this water shortage is already present in the Middle East, where the nations are likely to start wars not for oil, as other international powers, but for sources of fresh water)
The rising levels of the seas will generate floods in the coastal regions
The increasing temperatures in seas and oceans will generate more intense hurricanes, with more devastating outcomes
New pests will emerge to damage farms, forests and cities; it will also mean an increase in the mosquito-borne diseases
The disturbances in natural habitats, such as the coral reefs, will lead to the extinction of several species (the National Resources Defense Council)
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
In order to most effectively approach the matter of climate change and contemporaneous features, it is vital to make the distinction between climate change and global warming. Climate change refers to a process expanded through long periods of time in which the Earth's natural conditions suffer modifications. Global warming is part of the larger concept of climate change and refers to the specific situation in which the Earth's temperatures increase, generally due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. Global warming is the most stringent concern of the contemporaneous environmentalists, but a resolution is impeded by those organizations which either deny the existence of the process, or which place their own profits in front of environmental stability.
In this light of events, it is imperious that immediate measures be taken, otherwise the Earth will in the future become less able to support human and animal life -- the effects are already here and revolve primarily around increasing temperatures, raising sea and ocean levels, the melting of the glaciers, changes in regnum and seasons' structure. The measures that could be taken in order to reduce global warming include:
Massive reduction in the polluting waste generated by automobiles, power plants and other vehicles
Significant investments in technologies that support hybrid engine cars and fuel efficient engines
Investments in alternative sources of renewable energy, such as wind, sun or geothermal
Investments in modernizing the energy generators, which today consume large amounts of energy and generate high levels of greenhouse gases
Investments in research and development to manufacture home and industry appliances that consume less energy and generate lower levels of waste (Natural Defense Resource Council)
Development of educational programs for the population that teaches them how to become environmentally responsible consumers; they should start in school and continue in the work place and individually
Greenpeace U.S.A., http://www.greenpeace.org last accessed on March 31, 2009
Natural Resources Defense Council, http://www.nrdc.org last accessed on March 31, 2009
Union of Concerned Scientists, http://www.ucsusa.org last accessed on March 31, 2009