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Impact of Human Activity on Climate Change

Is Human Activity Mainly Responsible for Global Climate Change?

People are used to believing that they remain the main global force influencing the climate change. To a certain extent, this assumption is true, and yet plentiful influencing factors remain unevaluated during the estimation of global transformations. Firstly, one should consider the natural forces that inevitably interfere with the climate on the scales that reach far beyond human possibilities. Secondly, it is important to explore to what extent the climate is stable and what exactly the climate change is. The evaluation of the borders of human influence should also be performed. Considering the natural processes that transform the climate, humanity underestimates them despite their profound effect by focusing on their own actions and evaluating the transformation of the climate only within the borders of people’s comfortable survival.

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Transformations Performed by Humanity

The whole assumption that humanity is responsible for climate change is self-focused to a certain extent. While the human-caused influence on the atmosphere is significant, it is majorly represented by the greenhouse effect that contributes to the global warming. The greenhouse effect is the phenomenon where greenhouse gases such as “water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide” accumulate in the atmosphere and absorb the infrared radiation. Consequently, the atmosphere preserves the heat (“Anthropogenic Climate Change”, n.d.). In the 20th century, as the intensity of fossil fuels is increasing dramatically, global temperature is rising as well. The temperature grows faster than ever before, and while it is nearly not as hot as it was during the other periods of intense warming, the speed of transformation becomes unprecedented. Over the past 100 years, the warmth has hindered the cooling processes that have been developing for 6000 years and significantly increased the temperature of the Earth (SciShow). Based on this, it can be said that the intensity of temperature growth is threatening, which is why the issue of determining who is responsible is essential.

Still, people focus on greenhouse effects and mainly ignore the natural temperature transformations. While they consider the intense greenhouse effect a tragedy, they disregard the possible threat of temperature decrease caused by the change of solar cycles (Loyola). Without the global warming, the temperature would be lower for about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (“Anthropogenic Climate Change”, n.d.). The current period on Earth is presumed to become a time of global freezing instead of global heating (SciShow). However, humanity tends to forget about the climate changes that are not performed or controlled by people. Thus, people build their homes near the sleeping volcanoes as the soil around them is fertile and the land is attractive for tourists (Guidotti). When the volcano awakens, plenty of deaths and major local destructions might be witnessed. Volcano hibernation is a natural local climate change that may influence the global climate (“Natural Drivers of Climate Change”, n.d.). Still, no one is concerned about the relevant issue of volcanoes as they cease their activity, even if this process contributes to a change of climate. This phenomenon is not caused by humanity and because of this, people do not consider the ways of trying to stop such type of climate changes.

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The same can be applied to other factors. Annual floods are connected to the climate change and yet despite the fact that they are becoming more intense, no one attempts to try to predict the cycle and interfere with it (“Floods”). The possibility that the North Pole melts remains threatening and Gulf stream transformation becomes crucial for the climate in a way that could directly affect the level of human survival (Cho). However, since these numerous transformations are not caused by the human influence, people do not try to find ways of prevention and limit themselves to exploring the possible impacts (Cho). Mario Loyola argues that scientists know little about the current threat of global warming as the process can stop without a reduction in carbon emissions or could develop even if emissions are gone. While human interference is a part of it, natural climate variability is impossible to calculate at the moment. People interfere only with a segment of processes that reshape the climate on Earth. The processes that are not made by humans are not considered as relevant factors even though they affect the climate change directly.

Natural Influencing Factors

Numerous factors that humanity may predict but barely controls interfere with the climate regularly, and the solar energy is among them. The evaluation of solar influence on the climate in its various aspects dates back to 1800 when Sir William Herschel calculated the existence of interconnection between the number of sunspots, solar activity, and consequent crops amount (Herath). Modern studies are less abstract as they allow discussing such aspects of solar influence as “historic temperature deviations, geomagnetic activity, and the frequency of sunspots” (Herath) that consequently influence the climate on Earth in both short and long terms. The information supplied by The Pennsylvania State University also states that the brightness of the sun gradually changes during the 11 years cycle, and the intensity of this light influences the Earth temperature (“Natural Drivers of Climate Change”, n.d.). During the 20th century, the solar activity was immense but it currently decreases, resulting in consequent cooling. Still, people fail to evaluate the influence of the sun sufficiently, and in this case, stating that humanity is not responsible at all would be impossible.

Orbital change is presumed to be the other long-lasting factor of influence on the Earth climate. It did not stop in the past but rather develops through the time that the Earth exists and influences it intensely (Herath). The strongly supported scientific opinion states that previously, Sahara was a fertile land and transformed to the desert after the reshaping of the orbit and consequent greater availability to the sunrays (Herath). The transformation of the climate is presumed to be able to shift the Earth’s orbital tilt (Herath), but the axis itself tilts seasonally (“Natural Drivers of Climate Change”, n.d.). The influence of this factor reshapes the climate gradually despite being often forgotten.

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Global Ocean has its share in the influence on the Earth’s climate. Various currents have their cycles of transformation, speeding and slowing down, warming and cooling. The temperature shift and movement of the ocean flow inevitably influence the Earth’s surface. These cycles are often short lasting and result in the exchange of the temperature between the atmosphere and the ocean (“Natural Drivers of Climate Change”, n.d.). They remain stable for decades, but not forever.

Finally, geologic activity and volcanoes become the other natural factor of influence on the Earth’s climate. The volcano eruption causes the accumulation of various microelements in the stratosphere together with ash. They shelter the Earth from the sun and temporarily cool the climate (“Natural Drivers of Climate Change”, n.d.). The production of carbon dioxide by the volcanoes is much lesser than the one produced by humans, meaning that people should start evaluating it.

Instability of the Climate

People use to overreact when evaluating the intense transformation of the climate caused by human activity. Current rapid temperature increase is sufficient to worry about the properness of human actions, but it is not nearly considerable enough in terms of the global history. Through the time of existence, the planet has survived Ice ages, iceless ages, volcanic winters, and methane and ammonia atmosphere (SciShow). Various cycles of different duration have been influencing the Earth long enough for people to forget about the cyclic nature of the climate. Under the influence of the sun and other space activities, the planet changed the orbit shape, and consequently, the amount of sunlight coming to the atmosphere has changed (SciShow). The Earth’s atmosphere was not originally full of oxygen, but became like that in the process of development (SciShow). The continents moved, the glaciers appeared, disappeared, and reappeared. 18,000 years ago, the average temperature was 40 degrees Fahrenheit lower and modern mild areas were covered with snow, but the glaciers started melting and the ocean level became 300 feet higher (Loyola). The Earth transformed into its modern state within 7,000 years (Loyola). Thus, there is a probability that current weather transformations, as well as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, are the symbols that one more cycle comes to an end.

The Solution

Humanity strongly needs to reevaluate their attitude towards the climate change and to reshape their actions accordingly to the newly acquired data. The connection between the desired and undesired climate changes should be considered as a crucial factor in the evaluation of human activity. Afterward, the differentiation between natural factors and human influence should be performed; the intensity of natural influence should be measured. The intensity of human influence should be evaluated with consideration of the desired result and the existing balance between human and natural triggers of global warming. Operating with more realistic facts, humans will have a possibility to interfere with climate efficiently.


While the influence of humanity on the production of carbon dioxide and pollution is significant, one should ask whether pollution remains the only reason for climate change. Evaluation of data allows stating that numerous non-human factors daily reshape the temperature of the Earth. These factors are underestimated and some of them lack the possibility for evaluation. More importantly, people may not wish to study the topic accordingly. They evaluate only the consequences of the climate change that they wish to focus on and consequently, make presumptions about the superiority of human influence. Otherwise, one would evaluate the development of Earth through the history and understand how minor, though intense, the influence of humanity is. Considering the previously existing transformations, one may hardly assume that the global heating is abnormal for the Earth. People view climate transformations as dangerous for their species and thus develop the beliefs that they are majorly responsible for this type of danger. Only by handling the exuberant feeling of responsibility, they will receive the opportunity to address the climate change.

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