Global warming’ is the term used to describe the rise in global surface temperatures. The term is often used interchangeably with ‘climate change’. The phenomenon revolves around the rise in surface temperatures – over land and oceans – that have led to an accelerated increase in temperatures. This has in turn led to the progressive shrinkage of the glaciers and polar ice caps, leading to rise in sea level. Another observed effect has been the disruption of cyclical weather patterns and the rising number of freak natural disasters.
The rise in temperatures has been attributed to the build-up of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, at especially accelerated levels as a result of the industrialisation of the past 100 years. A concerted global effort to counter and mitigate the effects of this phenomenon has been elusive, with developed nations and developing countries facing off over the respective levels of emission cuts they would have to effect domestically.
However, there is also a considerable minority, especially in the US, that holds the assumption that global warming as a hoax perpetrated by certain countries for their own benefit.