GLOBAL WARMING AND EPISTEMIC COMMUNITIES
In our world, technology is improving day by day. People
invent new tools, devices, transportation techniques, treatment techniques to
illnesses and many other things. These are good developments for humanity, however,
it may have some bad effects, which we can call, alienation.
Alienation means experiencing and inducing feelings of
isolation or estrangement, according to the Oxford dictionary. We can express
this as someone is so unaware of the world because he focuses on his work too
much. The person becomes insensitive to events those happening in the
environment, which may harm them today, or in the future. An example of this
could be, today, we see many political events happening in Turkey, which are
affecting or will affect people’s lives. However, an average person from the
street could say that ‘I don’t care. I am not a politician’. Despite he is not
a politician, these political decisions would have more affect on his life, if
he doesn’t care more.
Global warming, in a sense, is a similar case. It is not
counted as a big issue in people’s minds. Global warming is basically the
observed and projected increases in the average temperature of Earth’s
atmosphere and oceans (Definition for Global Warming, n.d.). According to National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, average temperature around the world have risen by 0.8 Celsius
degrees since 1880 (Global Warming Mapped, n.d.). Moreover, National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration states that 2016 was the first, 2015 was the
second and 2017 was the third warmest year in 137 years’ period of record (2017
was 3rd warmest year, 2018). The results don’t seem good, but how bad are they?
In what perspective does global warming harm or could harm people?
Global warming is a huge problem to the Earth and it is
needed to be taken into consideration. Epistemic communities have potential to
solve this problem, but they are not able to do this because of some barriers.
These will be covered in this research.
Effects of Global Warming
There are some reasons why global warming is a big problem.
The first reason is desertification. Desertification is the process of fertile
lands become desert. We can also call this as land degradation. According to
UNESCO, one third of world’s land surface is under threat of desertification
(Desertification, Drought, 2012). It has many bad effects. Desertification
makes farming impossible. Once desertification happens in a place, it is so
expensive to gather it back, or even it is not possible. This would make the
people on that place be hungry. In the long run, people move out of that place. One of the reasons of
overpopulation is this. Furthermore, these reasons may lead to poverty. And also,
natural disasters’ effects could increase because of global warming. Flooding,
for example, could happen more harshly when there is nothing to stop that
flood. All of these are likely to happen when desertification occurs.
Global warming melts ice glaciers. This is ruining natural
living spaces, polar bears’ for example. A big result of melting ice glacier is
the increase of sea level. Sea water seeps into fresh water, which makes our
drinking water contaminated. Irrigation is also under risk because of the same
reason. Fresh water is important for plants. Thus, melting of glaciers is a
threat to humanity.
According to NASA, global warming could increase the effect
of hurricanes and cyclones. (Storms are Getting Stronger, n.d.). They state
that the storms may be fewer but stronger. It is visible that how disasterous
today’s hurricanes are. These are likely to become worse if global warming’s
Causes of Global Warming
The main reason of global warming is greenhouse effect,
which is caused by greenhouses gases. Greenhouse gases are a group of compounds
which traps heat in the atmosphere, making the Earth’s surface warm. This
warming process is called greenhouse effect. The main greenhouse gases are
water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide. (A blanket around the Earth,
n.d.). Greenhouse gases make the Earth a warm place. If there is no greenhouse
effect, people won’t be able to live in this planet because of cold. However,
if it is more than enough, the Earth experiences extra warming. This could be
problem for many species.
Human activities are the main source of excessive greenhouse
gases. United States Environmental Protection Agency made a research about
these gases and investigated the proportion of the emissions in 2010 (Global
Emissions by Gas, 2017). 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions occur
from electricity and heat production. Burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for
electricity are the main parts of it. Secondly, industrial activities had 21
percent of global greenhouse emissions. These include mostly burning fossil
fuels. 20 percent comes from agricultural activities. Transportation had 14
percent of total. Fossil fuels play important part in all of these above. According to Carbon Dioxide Information
Analysis Center Data, carbon emissions from fossil fuels had significantly
increased since 1990 (Global Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions, 2017). This is a problem.
Possible Long Term Effects of Global Warming
According to Third National Climate Assesment Report, global
warming could cause real disaster if it couldn’t be stopped (The consequences
of climate change, n.d.). They state that frost-free season, which corresponds
by growing season would lengthen. It may help increasing plant productivity,
however, changes in climate extremes such as natural disasters may reduce this.
So it is unpredictable. Heavy precipitations (rain, snow) could occur.
Similarly, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, cyclones’ effects could increase.
It is projected that in the year 2100, sea level could rise 30 to 120 cm.
As seen, global warming causes ‘ambiguity’ in many fields,
so it has to be stopped.
International Environmental Law
The United Nations Environment Programme concerned with
assessing global, regional and national environmental trends, developing
international environmental instruments and strengthening instutions for the
management of the environment (Overview, n.d.). They basically state two
things, preserving human environment and sustainable development around the
Time for Change (n.d.). Definition for global warming – what
is global warming?
Earth, N. V. (2009, August 11). Global
NOAA: 2017 was 3rd warmest year on record for the globe. (2018)
Desertification, Drought Affect One Third of Planet, Worlds
Poorest People, Second Committee Told as It Continues Debate on Sustainable
Development | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases.
(2012, November 8).
In a Warming World, the Storms May Be Fewer But Stronger :
Feature Articles. (n.d.). Retrieved
January 19, 2018, from https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ClimateStorms/page2.php
Climate change causes: A blanket around the Earth. (2017, August
10). Retrieved from https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/
Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. (2017, April 13). Retrieved from
Laboratory, O. R. (n.d.). Global Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions. Retrieved from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob_2014.html
Overview. Retrieved from