Today, the problem of global warming affects the entire world and this problem is apparently one of the major global problems. In this respect, it is important to underline that human activities are main causes of this problem, though some specialists argue that global warming may be caused by natural factors as well (Andreae, 1996). Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that human activity contributes consistently to the progress of global warming which leads to irrevocable changes in global terms. In such a situation, the normal life of people worldwide is under a threat because effects of global warming may be and already are disastrous since global warming leads to the climate change in global terms. However, many people, including political leaders and economic elite remain unaware of possible threats which results from the progressing global warming. As a result, a few practical steps have been made by now to prevent the further deterioration of the current environmental situation and to stop progress of global warming. Therefore, the understanding of possible effects of global warming, which may be extremely disastrous, can contribute to the growing awareness of public and political leaders of the world concerning real threats resulting from global warming. In such a way, the growing awareness of possible threats and dangers can stimulate the world community to undertake practical steps to solve the problem of global warming and these steps should be taken as soon as possible. Otherwise, the future of the mankind as well as many other species will be under a threat of total extinction.
On analyzing the problem of global warming and its effects, it is primarily necessary to dwell upon its causes and the current situation which reveals prospects of the further progress of global warming and its effects. In actuality, human activities have contributed to the dramatic change of the environment (Alley, 1998). Along with elimination of numerous species which was practically a norm in the process of the development of the mankind, there appeared a number of new problems, which threaten not only to other species but to humans directly. In fact, the growth of the number of humans on the planet naturally stimulated the growth of human settlements, transformation of the wild nature in accordance with the needs of humans, including the increasing number of agricultural lands, deforestation, and later urbanization. In such a situation, numerous species have been eliminated as they have lost their territories where they lived or lost any resources for living.
Today, the environmental situation has deteriorated consistently and, what is more important, the mankind accelerates the upcoming of the environmental apocalypse since people ignore existing environmental problems. To put it more precisely, such problems as water pollution can lead to the lack of water which is essential for the survival of humans and other species. At the same time, the lack of water can undermine the agriculture which is the main source of food for humans (Bartter, 1988). Consequently, the mankind can face a problem of starvation even at a larger scale than it is currently facing. In such a way, the prospect of wars for food and water may become a part of the reality of human life within the nearest decades. Even today, it is possible to observe a significant growth of food prices, which become just exorbitant for many people in developing countries. In this respect, environmental apocalypse would rather result in the self-extinction of the mankind.
However, it is necessary to underline that effects of the contemporary environmental problems can be much more destructing. In fact, human activities resulted in the air pollution, deforestation, progress of green house effect, and a considerable, if not to say irrevocable, climate change. Naturally, in such a situation, the risk of the extinction of the mankind and other species is very high (Abelmann, 2006). It proves beyond a doubt that the climate change leads to serious changes in the environmental conditions which become unaffordable for living of many species and unsuitable for cultivating vitally plants. As a result, people extinct other species and impose themselves to the higher risks of starvation or deaths caused by various natural disasters, such as hurricanes, for instance.
The most dangerous thing in the current situation is the unwillingness of people and world leaders to solve the existing environmental problems. The ignorance of the environmental problems make the environmental apocalypse practically inevitable. Such efforts as Kyoto agreement produce a little effect on the environmental situation in global terms, because the US and some other countries refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement and it is these countries which are the major contributors to the pollution of the environment (Barnett et al, 2005). Moreover, such agreements are rather declarations defining intentions of countries to struggle with the climate change and other negative effects of the environment pollution.
In fact, air pollution, green house effect and other problems contribute consistently to the progress of global warming because they stimulate the growth of the average temperature along with the destruction of the ozone layer that makes the Earth vulnerable to the negative impact of the solar radiation that enhances the negative effects of global warming (Barnett et al, 2005). Obviously, air pollution and green house effect leads to the accumulation of warmth on the surface of the planet because heat is not reflected from the surface of the planet while polluted air holds warmth on the surface.
The effects of global warming can be really disastrous. In fact, the mankind has already witnessed and keeps witnessing negative effects of global warming. At this point, it is important to underline that global warming have multiple effects which may be both direct and indirect. Among direct effects of global warming, it is possible to single out the global climate change (Barnett et al, 2005). The growing temperature contributes to the dramatic changes of climate and, what is more, it leads to the irrevocable change of geography of the planet and its surface. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the dramatic decline of the surface covered with ice on the poles of the planet. In fact, Arctic and Antarctic ice is melting steadily, its depth and surface is decreasing dramatically. Naturally, this leads to the increase of the level of sea waters.
As a result, many countries and regions of the world face a problem of the protection of the coast line since the high level of sea waters tend to cover the coastline with water. For instance, Netherlands have to develop constantly constructions, which prevent the country from being flooded by sea waters, since, today, the level of sea waters is higher than the ground level (Bartter, 1988). In such a way, potentially, the increasing level of sea waters threatens to cities and settlements of located on the coastline. At the present moment, this means that millions of people may need to move from the coastline.
Obviously, such migration can have disastrous demographic and socioeconomic effects. For instance, the migration of the population from the coastline inside the continent will increase the density of population in certain regions.
The latter will increase the demand for food supplies, which will be accompanied by the decreasing number of agricultural lands which may be also flooded by sea waters on the coast or by rivers (Bartter, 1988).
At the same time, global warming may have a totally different effect since the global climate change leads not only to the increase of the level of sea waters but it also changes the traditional climatic conditions in different parts of the world. For instance, today, Europe suffers from the extremely high level of rains and snowfalls. The same trend can be traced in some parts of the USA. Moreover, even African climate which was traditionally warm has started to change and snowfalls occur in regions where they have never occurred (Davis et al, 2005). In this respect, it is important to reveal a dangerous trend to the increasing surface of the land covered with deserts that is also the effect of global warming, in a way. To put it more precisely, the climate change results in the excessive, abnormal precipitation in some regions of the world and permanent droughts in other regions of the world.
As a result, natural conditions become unfavorable for the life of people and other species. Moreover, even modern technologies cannot prevent the dramatic climate changes which naturally results in the change of socioeconomic activities (Bartter, 1988). In fact, both excessive precipitation and droughts are unfavorable for the development of agriculture. Obviously, this leads to the socioeconomic crisis provoked by the decreasing food supplies since crops become poorer and poorer. Even today, it is already possible to observe the dramatic change in the food market.
Food prices have increased dramatically within the last couple of years. In such a situation, the problem of starvation and the lack of food has become one of the most dangerous effects of global warming.
It proves beyond a doubt that food shortage can provoke serious social conflicts. At any rate, food shortage will definitely lead to the growing social tension, while in the future this problem may outgrow into military conflicts for food, agricultural lands and sources of water (Clark et al., 2002). In other words, one of the indirect effects of global warming may be the growing social tension and military conflicts provoked by scarcity of food and water.
However, along with warnings concerning the dramatic climate change which result in the dramatic increase of temperature and global climate, some specialists (Christianson, 1999) warn that global warming can lead to the absolutely paradoxical result ”“ the new ice age. At first glance, such a prospect seems to be absolutely improbable, but, in actuality, specialists (Barnett, 2005) warn that global warming can naturally end up with a new ice age because of the dramatic climate change which results from global warming. To put it more precisely, global warming, which, as it has been already mentioned above contributes to the melting of ice in Arctic and Antarctic regions, can influence dramatically the Golf Stream, which, at the moment, is the major stream which provides the circulation of warm water in the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the melting of Arctic ice can decrease dramatically the temperature of sea water. Hence, the temperature of Golf Stream can decrease that will result in the total disappearance of the stream because there will be no temperature differences of water in the ocean, but it is exactly due to the temperature difference the water moves and forms the Golf Stream. If the Golf Stream dies out, this will produce a dramatic influence on the climate to such an extent that some specialists (Barrows et al, 2007) warn about the possibility of the beginning of a new ice age. They argue that the temperature will decrease dramatically because there will be no warm water circulated by the Golf Stream. Consequently, the Atlantic coast can face a problem of a considerable decrease of an average temperature. Obviously, such changes cannot fail to affect socioeconomic activities of people and, what is more, such changes will deteriorate consistently the life of people, if not to say, they will threaten to the survival of people, especially in Northern and Southern regions, which are close to poles.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problem of global warming is very important for the contemporary world. In fact, this problem raises the question of physical survival of the mankind and other species and the total change of the climate on the Earth. Unfortunately, people do nothing to avoid the environmental apocalypse, while today it is already obvious that negative environmental changes are irrevocable and disastrous. There are practically no positive effects of global warming, at least, in a long-run perspective. On the other hand, the negative effects of global warming are numerous. In this respect, the global climate change seems to be particularly dangerous because it will have multiple natural and socioeconomic effects which can put the mankind on the edge of the total extinction as well as other species inhabiting the planet. Global warming, being, to a significant extent, provoked by human activities, can result in the deterioration of natural conditions because of the global climate change. Potentially, global warming can lead to the growing number of natural disasters, which many regions of the world have already witnessed in recent years, such as floods, hurricanes, droughts, and so on.
Obviously, such dramatic climate change will lead inevitably to the deterioration of the socioeconomic development of the world. Moreover, some specialists (Fleming, 2000) warn about the threat of the growing social tension and even military conflicts which may be provoked by the food shortage, which, in its turn, may be the direct effect of global warming. In fact, it is hardly possible to presuppose all negative effects of global warming. What is obvious at the moment is the necessity to start acting right now, in order to minimize the negative impact of global warming on the world or, at least, decrease consistently the contribution of human activities in the progress of global warming.
Today, little practical steps have been made by world leaders to change the situation consistently for better, but the understanding of negative effects of global warming can stimulate world leaders and world community to start acting and changing the world for better.