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The need for the policymakers is to have detailed understanding and knowledge of issues on physics of climate, and for that matter, climate change is very important. Without any doubt, the call for measures to control the recent appalling trends with climate is very popular in the media and in academic studies. Policymakers are aware of the campaigns that are going on, and we all admit that there is the need to change the issue of the climate change trends, but the question is, whether or not policymakers have the will power to effect any changes. Most policymakers do not have enough power to champion the policy programs that are directed towards stamping the firmer authority on climate change issues, simply because they do not understand the entire physics of climate and climate change, and so, do not realize the seriousness of the situation.
Overview of Global Climate System
In the subject of physics, we see natural and artificial mechanisms of work, involving the flow of particles and other objects. Because in the climate change, there is the flow of energy, we can generally describe the climate system as also being physics. The world climate system is described as physics, because it involves a whole network of how independent natural and artificial phenomena and mechanisms work. Box (n.d) notes that both the regional and global scales of the Earth’s climate are the result of the dynamic balances in energy flows, when averaged over the significantly large spaceandtime scales. Here, the major energy is being referred to its heat energy. This means that there must be the creation of equilibrium between the flow of the heat and space scales that is measured over a long period of time. Most commonly, the time frame for measuring this equilibrium is twenty-five (25) years. At the global perspective, the climate system is determined at the regional basis. The mechanism that goes to play in labeling a particular region with a particular climate is a measure of the whether that has existedfor a number of years. In this direction, the Met Office (2010) explains that “climate is the average, weather we expect over a long period of time.” It must be explained also that whether as an independent component of climate deals with precipitation(hail, rain, sleet and snow), the temperature, and wind, which changes every day and hour (Met Office, 2010). There is, therefore, a global climate system where portions of the world are divided, and in some cases, sub-divided into regions, and the particular system of whether that exists there is calculated over a long period of time to give a generalized whether system for that particular region.
Specific Policy Actions
It is important to take the specific actions towards the climate change menace. This is the only way to ensure that the nation does not suffer from the adverse effects of climate change (Dessler, 2002). This section, therefore, outlines the specific actions that government should take to deal with climate change. These actions are described in sufficient details to bring out a better understandingof what should be involved in the policy that is being recommended.
- Enactment of Law: Government is admonished to enact laws that will ensure the regulation and production of carbon waste in society. Knowing that carbon production accounts for some of the highest causes of the climate change, industries and individuals should be regulated by law on their levels of carbon production and emission.
- Regulatory Body: In addition to the laws, there should be regulatory bodies set up to ensure that they champion the enforcement of the law. Laws are virtually of no use, if there are no regulatory bodies to ensure the laws are enforced. These regulatory bodies would among other things visit industries and other sources, where carbon emission isrecorded in worse quantities. They would check to confirm that the laws and regulations set in the laws are adhered to.
- Education and Sensitization: More to the regulation of laws, there should be measures to educate the public and sensitize them on climate change. It is hoped that with massive education, people will have personal and political will to ensure that they adhere to the need to ensure that there is not much emission of carbon in to the environment. Such education will be carried out at schools and in public places.
- Enforcement of Law: Regardless of the activities of the regulatory bodies and the education, and sensitizations that will take place, there are certainly going to be people and bodies who would attempt to break the laws. To such people, the laws must be applied. They must be made to face the full rigors of the law. Laws without enforcement are only toothless bulldogs, and this must not happen. There should be enforcements that would ensure that others are deterred from breaking the laws.
Intended Target for the Policy
The target of the policy refers to the aims and objectives that the policy seeks to achieve. They are the basis for assessing whether or not the policy purpose has been achieved. By extension, therefore, these are the goals of the policy.
- Educating stakeholders and the public on climate change, its risks and how to avoid it: This policy will target the education of the masses on what the climate change is, its causes and effects. It is hoped that when the people gain enough education on the phenomenon, they will be empowered to be patriotic enough in ensuring that their actions and inactions do not lead to climate changes.
- Reduction of industrial carbon production: Industries will also be targeted in the policy. Indeed, industries are the worst offenders, when it comes to the causes of climate change (Peixoto, José and Oor, 2005). The policy shall, therefore, target the reduction of carbon production and carbon emission from heavy and light industries. Should these enforcements on industrial carbon production be met, it is hoped that the threat rate of the climate change would be reduced by over 80 percent.
- The reduction of environmental carbon production: The local people within the environment also contribute to the climate change. There are habits like deforestation and the use of machines and equipment that produce a lot of carbon. The policy shall, therefore, target these people,in order to ensure that the actions by ordinary people that lead to climate change are catered for. Particular emphasis shall be laid to the users of cars.
The Environmental and Economic Risks that thePolicy is Intended to Avoid
Climate change is more of an environmental factor, but also comes with a lot of economic effects. These environmental and economic effects are described as environmental and economic risks. This section of the policy spells these out clearly, so that the policy would target to achieve them.
- Thawing of permafrost,glaciers, an earlier break-up of ice on lakesandrivers,andlater freezing. (IPPC, 2007): The volumes of water bodies continue to swell by the day. This poses the environmental threat of occurrence of tsunamis and flooding. The policy shall, therefore, be structured to avoid these disasters.
- Lengthening of growing seasons: Economically, there is the threat that growing seasons will be lengthened. Once this happens, famine may break out. The policy shall, therefore,attempt to reduce or eliminate the risk of famine on present and future generations.
- Cost in catering for health: There are serious health risks that climate change brings on the population. Most of these health risks are associated with bad weather. The policy shall, therefore, be directed towards reducing the cost of expenditure spends on healthcare for the people. This shall be achieved, if quality health is assured among the populace, because they would not be faced with the health risks of the climate change.
The Economic and Environmental Risks that is Associated with theRecommended Policy
All policies are conducted amidst several challenges and risk factors. For this policy, most these risks are identified as economic and environmental ones. These risks that the policy is likely to face are spelt out in these sections.
- Cost in public education: Such an important policy is certainly come with so much cost in the policy education and advocacy section. This is a major economic risk to the budgetary allocation of the policy implication sector.
- High cost in use of machinery (brand new): The local people are also going toface the economic risk of having to deal with the second-hand machinery and equipment to buy the new ones. This is because the second-hand products have been associated with high rate of carbon emission (Cook, 2012).
- Cut down in production levels: Industries which must adhere to the new policies will have to cut down the production. This may pose an economic risk, where the national revenue generation is likely to go down.
The Source of Energy to the Climate System
From the overview above, it would be seen that energy, and for that matter, temperature, plays a crucial role in the climate of a given area, because it is the part of mechanisms that are balanced with other space scales to get an equilibrium to determine the final climate of an area. The absence of a crediblesource of energy, therefore, means that the system of climate will not be complete. So, where does the source of energy in the climate system come from? The question remains if there is any amount of energy from the source healthy for the climate system andhow the energy can be regulated from its source. These are questions that are briefly answered.
In the first place, Box (n.d) notes that the Earth’s climate is governed by the balance between the incoming solar radiation minus the fraction, which is reflected, and the emission of ‘terrestrial’ radiation. The two major forms of energy above discussed are, therefore, solar radiation and terrestrial radiation. By the mention of the word solar, it can be deduced that the major source of temperature (energy) with reference to climate is the solar. Regarding the amount of energy needed from the source, it must be emphasized that the nature in its own mechanisms has instituted a way of regulating the amount of energy that should be supplied to the earth to ensure the equilibrium for the determination of the climate. Energy is, therefore, not needed beyond the certain quantities. Sadly though, there are practices, most of which are man-made or caused by humans that deprive the natural functioning of the mechanisms that regulate the amount of energy that the earth should receive. This brings to discussion the problem of the climate change. This is because, once the natural processes are breached, the climate of the earth records the certain changes that are undesirable.
Existing Empirical Studies on Climate Change
Climate Change and Radiation Imbalance
There is a very disturbing trend of change in the temperature of the earth due to the changes in the natural regulation of the solar energy. Writing on this, the Environmental Protection Agency (2012) notes that “temperatures are changing in the lower atmosphere - from the Earth’s surface all the way through the stratosphere (9-14 miles above the Earth’s surface).” The source gives a pictorial representation of this situation in the diagram below. Generally, there must exist a balance in the major energies that are radiated and whose presence forms the climate situation. However, there are high levels of imbalances resulting from the excesses that the temperature of the world alone takes. This means that the solar radiation is way ahead and exceeds other forms of radiation. Writing on the Physics of Climate, Peixoto and Oor (2005) note that “solar radiation covers the entire electromagnetic spectrum from gamma and x ray, through ultra violet, visible and infrared radiation to microwaves and radio waves. This is contrary to the terrestrial radiation and thus the source of radiation imbalance. Again, because there are several spectrums of solar radiation, once the imbalance results in excesses for the solar energy, there are several radiation phenomena that are affected. This is perhaps the singular reason why climate change should be a problem for all to address.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency (2012)
The Roles of Albedo, Thermal Radiation and Greenhouse Gases
Albedo generally has to do with a planet’s ability to reflect incident energies on it. With reference to the earth as a planet, scientists report that there has been a major drop in the albedo of the earth over the past decades (Cook, 2012).. Meanwhile, the albedo of the earth and changes to it has a lot of effect on climate and climate change. This is because “when the planet's albedo or reflectivity increases, more sunlight is reflected back into space (Cook, 2012). This means that there will be a cooling effect on the earth and global temperatures will generally fall. Inversely, once there is a drop in the albedo, the earth will become warm. Cook (2012) observes that “a change of just 1% to the Earth's albedo has a radiative effect of 3.4 Wm-2, comparable to the forcing from a doubling of carbon dioxide.” With a continual drop in the Earths albedo, it means that albedo is part of the major causes of climate change and global warming.
The major form of thermal radiation is the sunlight. Even though all objects that have temperature higher than) degrees Kelvin radiate thermal energy, sunlight is described as the major form of thermal radiation because it actually produces thermal radiation from the burning plasma of the sun. As far as the temperature of the earth is concerned, it is important to note that the earth itself produces a substantial amount of thermal radiation and that is it actually a combined process of the ability of the earth to absorb solar radiations and also produce its own thermal radiation, which is cooler that determines the general temperature of the earth. This means that all things being equal, the earth must be in a position to produce enough thermal radiation to match up with the solar radiation to ensure equilibrium temperature because the earth’s thermal radiation is cooler whereas the solar radiation is warmer. However the lowering of the albedo has created a situation whereby the solar radiation far outweighs the earth’s thermal radiation, making the earth’s temperature persistently warm instead of balanced. and so the temperature of the earth.
Greenhouse gases are basically made up of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide. These gases are important for human existence on earth and account for some of the reasons why the earth can support life and not other planets because the greenhouse gases are responsible for absorbing excessive heat that reaches the earth. This process is known as greenhouse effect. However just as in the case of solar radiation, there can and is actually excesses with the supply of these greenhouse gases onto the earth. Particular suspect in this is carbon dioxide. Today, human activities, which include industrialization has led to so much excessive production of carbon dioxide that the earth is now struggling to handle the excesses. It is for this reason that greenhouse effect seems to have taken a negative dimension of late but in reality, the earth needs greenhouse effect (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 2012).
Summary of Introduction to Modern Climate Change by Andrew E. Dessler
All the ideas, points and concepts discussed above haven been presented in detail in Andrew E. Dessler’s book named Introduction to Modern Climate Change. The summary of the books can be given as follows. Dessler (2012) writes on very important issues on climate change. He first interrogates the question as to whether or not the climate is changing. The scrutiny of the interrogation is done with the help of concrete and empirical data on changing trend of various forms of whether such as temperature, wind, and precipitation. The data show that the consistencies that were associated with the whether conditions of various parts of the earth no longer exist. This clearly shows that there is change in climate indeed because the whether continues to change. The various factors that are accounting for this change are then diagnosed. Just as indicated in the report above, radiation and energy imbalance were pointed out as the major factors. With reference to the imbalance, it was realized that temperature of the earth that gets its source from solar radiation continues to out score other forms of radiation. Carbon dioxide emission is made the major suspect in changing trend of the temperature of the earth because as a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide continues to be produced in excess quantity than the earth needs. Due to this, the author discusses the carbon cycle into detail. Finally, the author concludes with a number of recommendations and suggestions that are directed towards policy makers making rules and setting up regulations to control the production and emission of carbon. On this note, the report is concluded with the recommendation that existing regulations and laws on carbon production and emission must be enforced to serve as deterrent to other potential offenders.
The data show that the consistencies that were associated with the weather conditions of various parts of the earth no longer exist. This clearly shows that there is a change in climate indeed, because the weather continues to change. The various factors that are accounting for this change are then diagnosed. Just as indicated in the report above, radiation and energy imbalance were pointed out as the major factors. Should the basis set for the policy be followed religiously, or, therefore, there is greater hope that the effects of the climate change will be reduced drastically.