Environmental Studies Paper on Climate Change and its Causes

Climate change is one of the most intense environmental challenge facing the world today. The impacts of climate change such as life-threatening weather conditions which have become very common, rising sea levels, drought, floods, diminishing snow and ice caps and other climate-related disasters are already being felt all over the world (Desonie, 2017). There are two perceptions of the significant causes of climate change. One perception holds that the current happenings of the climate change are caused by natural factors while the other insists on human factors. This paper analyzes the two perspectives of the causes of climate change as an environmental issue.

According to Climate: Causes and effects of climate change (2017), one of the natural causes of climate change is the orbital changes. As described by the Milankovitch theory, climate fluctuations are facilitated by the variations in the Earths orbits and angle. These changes are experienced over thousands of years and occur on their own. The three orbital alterations determine the amount of solar energy received at different parts of the earth. This also controls the melting of glaciers and ice caps. Volcanic eruptions also cause climate change following the emission of substances such as carbon (IV) oxide, dust, soot, bacteria, and aerosols among others. These substances disseminate inbound solar radiation leading to cool climatic conditions. A cooling effect lasting for two years can also occur as a result of blockage of the sunlight by the volcanic aerosols.

Other natural causes of climate change include the movement of tectonic plates, El-Nino southern oscillation as well as differences in solar radiation. The movement of tectonic plates affects the circulation of the global air and oceanic water thus determining the climate of different continents (Desonie, 2017). During El- Nino phase causes a change in weather patterns. For instance, South America becomes warmer while North America experience storms during winter. Besides, less intense hurricanes are experienced in the Atlantic Ocean after which cooler weather is experienced. This phase is referred to as La-Nina.

The perspective on the human factors as the cause of the climate change lies on the premise that human activities are influencing earth temperatures. Greenhouse gases are naturally occurring and liable for global warming. They trap solar energy and prevent it from bouncing back into the atmosphere. A greenhouse effect occurs leading to global warming (Malik, 2014).  Human activities also aggregate the concentration of greenhouse gases in the environment. The combustion of remnant fuels such as ordinary gas, gasoline, and petroleum products emits carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Deforestation, on the other hand, exacerbates the greenhouse effect since the cut trees can no longer play their vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide. This gas is then released into the environment adding to the warming problem.

Farm animals such as cattle and sheep produce methane gas after digestion. Methane contributes 17 % of the Earth’s warming. Also, the use of fertilizers containing nitrogen also increases emissions of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere (Malik, 2014).The most notorious greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. Research has established that carbon dioxide is accountable for 64% of global warming facilitated in particular by human activities. It is followed by methane while the rest contributes a total of 6% warming. This explains why today’s global temperatures are 0.85 degrees higher compared to the temperatures in the 19th century.

The two perspectives on the causes of climate change as an environmental issue are all true. However, the perspective on the human causes of climate change seems to hold more water since human activities are attributed to emission a high percentage of greenhouse gases which are the leading causes of climate change. For instance, the burning and the use of fossil fuels is an activity that emits a lot of carbon dioxide into the environment yet this gas is responsible for more than half of global warming (Malik, 2014). This is an indication that humans can embark on activities that are friendlier to the environment. The use of eco-friendly sources of energy such as solar energy for example to replace fossil fuels would significantly reduce global warming and other environmental problems.



Desonie, D. (2017). Climate: Causes and effects of climate change. New York: Chelsea House

Malik, A. (2014). Causes of climate change. New Delhi, India: Rajat Publications