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Global Warming - A Cause of Climate Change

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Global climate change refers to the nonlinear system made up of overlapping patterns and cycles. This means that when the input threshold for carbon dioxide(CO2) is crossed, the system responds in very sudden, severe, and unpredictable ways. Changing the inputs of a nonlinear system is just like playing with fire. With enough stress, gradual changes may suddenly result in catastrophic or dangerous system changes. For instance, the warming in the arctic melts permafrost releasing more CO2: hence global warming is taking place. Another unlikely, but a very possible scenario is that gradual warming can reverse the Gulf Stream leading to plunging of temperatures in the Northeast US and Europe.     

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 Climate change is one of the emerging issues in the automotive industry. It has significant effects in the sector and the world as whole (Harold & Center, 2005). Climate change polices have already been implemented by several automotive markets, and it is spreading fast forcing Original Equipment Manufactures to reduce the carbon emissions profile of brand new vehicles. Consequently, new technology options in various states of development are offering the potential to meet the ever increasing carbon constraints, as well as increasing profitability. It should be noted that carbon constraints create a combination of opportunities and risk for OEMs. Climate change has proved to be a household issue of the 21st century. Every sector of the economy from energy to finance and consumer products will be affected by changes in weather patterns, regulations, and commodity prices. Uncontrolled climate changes will probably have some devastating effects on the economies and ecosystems, especially in the developing countries.

Major automotive markets in the world have already enacted policies to minimize vehicle related CO2 emissions. The carbon policies, if implemented, will push the OEMs into producing vehicles that emit lower CO2 per kilometer travelled (Harold & Center, 2005). Japan and the EU have already started such programs that call for significant CO2 reductions in the next century. The emergence of carbon constraints in motor markets symbolizes the ongoing concerns about the adverse effects of climate change, and the degree of contribution by vehicles to the atmospheric growth of CO2 and the Principle of Greenhouse Gas (GHG).

Latest scientific reports indicate that human activities also contribute to the increased accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which are directly changing the earth’s climate patterns at alarming rates. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has established that the average atmospheric temperatures in the world rose by 0.60 C over the last decade. Most of the global warming observed was brought about by human activities. Come 2100, the average surface temperature in the earth will be ranging from 1.4-5.8 Celsius as predicted by the IPCC. The changing climatic condition can be costly or cause unpredictable consequences like the rise in sea level and spread of diseases. Others include adverse weather conditions such as monsoons, droughts, and hurricanes. Several problems are associated with climate change or global warming. These include:

1. Rise in sea level is caused by either expansion of the ocean banks or melting of ice caps. This can result into a rise of about one meter. As the tsunami tragedy struck in 2004, it was not the average sea level but peaks of raised sea levels that had adverse effects to both economies and more so human life. The rise in sea level increases the probability of floods in the coastal regions.

2. Worsened droughts, desertification, and heat waves. There was a heat wave that killed approximately 20,000 civilians in Europe in the year 2003, and this could be a sign of more dangerous things to come. Around the globe, the human and economic costs of global warming are significant. For instance, farmers in Australia really struggled to earn their livelihood in 2004 due to the outbreak of bush fires, which caused the worst drought ever.

3. Loss of coral reefs, mangroves and plant or animal species. Any slight increase in temperature will shift plant and animal habitats towards the much cooler poles. Many animal species migrate with these changes, and some of them may be unable to cross mountains and water bodies while others, such as trees, cannot move at all.

4. Reduced agricultural output. In countries like Canada and Russia, food production increases with the raise in temperatures. On the other hand, agricultural productivity around the globe remains highly devastated. For example, a late monsoon in India cost the country 1-2% of its GDP smothering national growth by a third.

5. Frequent and more severe storms. Although no individual hurricane can be related to global warming, it is evident that climate change is responsible for increased frequency and the degree of severity of natural disasters. In 1998, it was reported that many people were made refugees and properties destroyed by natural environmental disasters like water (floods) than even by wars.

The Primary Causes of Global Warming/Climate Change, and the

Stakeholders on Each Side of the Issue and Their Positions

Automotives Sector

This is a major source of carbon dioxide emission in the modern world. Most of the target policies are directed towards this source the world over. Emissions from burning fossil fuels like diesel and gasoline are a major source of CO2 leading to global warming. According to the OECD, the transport sector accounts for approximately 30% of the CO2 emissions in industrialized countries and 20% world over. Projections indicate that CO2 emissions from vehicles will grow rapidly (Austin, Rosinski, Sauer & le Duc,  2004).

Earlier research has shown that, the global fleet has been growing at a very fast rate of about 16 million motor vehicles per annum since 1970 (Austin et al., 2004). This translates to one billion vehicles on the road by 2025. Several countries and organizations have put up policies to curb the emissions of CO2 from these vehicles. For instance, the EU inspired a voluntary commitment from the vehicle manufacturing industry to reduce emissions from passenger cars by approximately 25% relative to 19.95% levels by 2008. Consequently, this reduced the emission rates to a level of 140g CO2 for every kilometer covered or 39 miles per gallon. According to these efforts, ACEA decided to extend the target to even 120g CO2 per kilometer or 46 miles per gallon by 2012 (Austin et al., 2004).

United States has taken extensive measure to control and regulate vehicle emissions in response to challenges of global warming and climate change. The United States congress has severally rejected bills proposing for higher fuel economy standards, and it has been reluctant to take actions on global warming challenge (Austin et al., 2004). Notably, carbon constraints may emerge in the atheist parts of the Americas automotive market over the next one or two decades. In 2002, the CaliforniaState passed a law directing the Californian Air Resources Board to adopt policies that realize “maximum feasible reduction” in GHG emissions from light trucks and cars. These regulations were put into effect in 2006, but the OEMs given them up to 2009 to comply with them.

Companies and Business Firms

Environmental standards. Traditional methods of controlling pollution are through the use of environmental standards. These standards are established by regulatory bodies for controlling the amount of pollutants emitted by industries or firms in the environment. They are implemented by administrative courts and agencies.

Command and control regulation. The government commands firms and businesses to adhere to certain standards and directly control technology to apply in production. A good example of this regulation is the Environmental Quality Standard which protects a given geographical position from hosting not more than a certain amount of pollutants like sulphur dioxide in the air (Austin et al., 2004). Firms present in this area are required to control their rates of emissions so as to maintain these standards of air quality.

Alternatives Measures to Pursue the Issue

Business as Usual Alternative

Many firms around the world have increased their efforts of determining how sustainable development relates to actual business practice. The process involves collection of information about the long run impacts of a product ranging from extraction of raw materials to manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and ultimate disposal. The aim of this life cycle analysis is to reduce the adverse effects of a product at all stages (life span analysis).

Incremental Technologies

These can be introduced so as to raise the fuel economy related to the standards of gasoline-ICE vehicle. They include engine technologies like direct fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, and variable valve timing. Other incremental technologies involve continuously variable and automatic transmissions, integrated starter generators, and weight reduction

Diesel Technology (Compression Ignition)

They are used to combust diesel fuel, which allows OEMs to produce more powerful and durable automotives with lower rates of carbon emissions. Recently, better compression ignition engine have been developed that operates at even higher pressures than diesel engines of today.  This is a major boost to the project since this enhances the combustion process which reduces the amount of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere.

Hybrid Technology

Examples of this case are the Hybrid Electric Vehicles that combine an electric drive with a fuel-based engine. These vehicles have the potential of reducing wheel to wheel CO2 emissions by over 50% (Austin et al., 2004).

Fuel Cell Technology

Fuel cells can be defined as electrochemical devices that are directly used to convert fuel energy to electrical one. An example of this is the hydrogen driven vehicles which emit water as the only by-product. This has been a significant boost towards reducing global warming effects.


It is ethical to implement the above methods of minimizing climate changes because environmental regulations stimulate other sectors of the economy. Though environmental regulation has rendered some people jobless, like in high-sulfur coal mining, and forest-related companies, many other new job opportunities have emerged which are environmentally friendly. For instance, environmental consulting, solar panel production and installation, wind turbines, recycling, and air pollution control are some of the new lucrative opportunities which are environmentally friendly. Environmental regulations are also products of differentiation, cost savings, technological innovations, and strategic planning. Thus, global warming has proved to be the most important business issue of the 21st century. Managers wishing to be ethical to their shareholders and the community at large must be ready to face the consequences of changing climate to leap from its associated opportunities.

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