Case study global warming


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Case study global warming

  1. 1. Franklin Kan GoBSBA4Global WarmingThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency definition of global warming:“Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth’ssurface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns.Global warming can occur from a variety of causes, both natural and human induced. In commonusage, “global warming” often refers to the warming that can occur as a result of increasedemissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.”Case study: Global WarmingThis case study on the potential damage from global warming consists of the following parts:1. This page, which is a summary of the scenarios for the effects of global warming and a shortdiscussion on how we should try to choose between the scenarios.2. We will examine global warming and the alternate scenarios using two different views; thesystems view and the games view. You have already used these two views previously. In thesystems view, we will focus on comparing positive and negative feedback controls and in thegames view we evaluate different scenarios in a game against nature.3. A link to a website that describes the problem and costsEPA Global Warming4. A like to a website that describes abrupt climate change Cycles in Global WarmingOne of the causes of global warming, or more generally, global climate change is increasedatmospheric CO2 that comes from anthropogenic sources. Human activity is increasing therelease of CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, burning forests, deforestation anddestruction of the soil, along with other activities. This pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere is aperturbation and the earth system will respond with some changes. Our focus is to attempt toidentify important responses and determine whether these responses will counter the increase inCO2 or temperature, or whether the response will exacerbate the change.In a systems view of this system, we are looking for feedback cycles that are either positive ornegative (Figure 1). A negative feedback cycle will resist change with compensatory flows inother parts of the system. Conversely, a positive feedback will accelerate the rate of change.
  2. 2. Figure 1: Several possible feedback cycles for global warming.The details are discussed in the text below.• There is a negative feedback cycle involving CO2, temperature and algae.o increased CO2 causes surface temperature to riseo which leads to increased algae growth rates in the ocean,o which depletes atmospheric CO2o thus countering the rise in atmospheric CO2.• There is a positive feedback cycle involving air temperature, CO2 and soil organisms.o increased CO2 causes surface temperature to riseo increased temperature causes soil organisms to respire fastero faster respiration converts more soil organics to CO2o thus accelerating the cycle of CO2 input.• There is another positive feedback involving surface albedo of glaciers and temperature.o increased temperature causes glaciers to melto the loss of reflective surface of the glacier leads to more absorption of sunlighto more absorption leads to higher temperatureso thus accelerating the melting and temperature riseIt is crucial that we understand these cycles and the potential interaction between these cycles.The negative feedback cycles will lead to controlling or minimizing temperature gain, whereaspositive feedback processes will contribute to acceleration of the problem. If we are very lucky,there may be very strong negative feedback controls that will buffer human impact. If we are lesslucky, a slight anthropogenic change may trigger a set or processes that will cause a shift in theprocesses that control surface temperature. In terms of resilience; if the overall global system isvery resilient, human perturbation may be quickly fixed, on the other hand, once we cross athreshold (exceed the resilience) there may be a dramatic and essentially irreversible shift in thefundamental processes of the system.Systems View Simulations of the Possible ScenariosOne aspect of the systems view that is very useful is the construction of simulation models thatwill predict what will happen if the current processes continue at the same rate. A simplesimulation is the projection of when oil or natural gas reserves will be depleted if they areconsumed at the same rate as they are now compared to if there is the same rate of growth of theconsumption. This is a very enlightening comparison that shows that a resource that might last
  3. 3. 200 years at the current rate of consumption (barrels of oil per year for example) might only last50 years if we project that the rate of growth of consumption continues at 5% per year.We have seen other examples of this type of modeling when we studied population growthmodels. Pure exponential growth occurs if we assume that the growth rate remains unchanged,whereas the "logistic" equation is on example of the pattern of growth that factors in reducedgrowth rate as resources are depleted. Variations on the "logistic" model include boom and bustcycles or irruptive growth.Similar, but more involved, simulations can be constructed for human population growth, energyresource depletion, pollution, and quality of life indicators. Donella Meadows and colleagues(Meadows et al. 1992) have created very large models that project future scenarios based oncurrent consumption and growth rates and slight variations in those assumptions. They have usedthese to explore possible future scenarios and examine characteristics of systems that lead toglobal collapse compared to the characteristics of systems that lead to sustainable societies.Figure 2 presents a cartoon of one of their comparison.Figure 2a: In this scenario the initial resources are lower which leads to a moderate rise inpopulation. As resources are depleted, industrial output only creates a low level of pollutionwhich is eventually reduced. The population goes through a minor correction as expected fromthe industrial transition.
  4. 4. Figure 2b: In this simulation, higher initial resources lead to more rapid population growth andthe level of pollution reaches as level that is high enough to degrade natural resources, includingfood production. The drop in resources and pollution lead to a major correction, i.e. bust, in thepopulation.Both of these scenarios are equally probably but one is much more desirable. The simulationshows illustrates the importance of containing a potentially positive feedback between increasedpopulation leading to increased pollution which destroys food production capacity and leads toan overshoot in population and a crash. Although we may see a population crash as a "natural"correction in human population, the causes and circumstances (environmental degradation andstarvation) would probably be considered very undesirable future for most people. Choosing Between ScenariosEach scenario represents a set of initial conditions and response parameters that are theoreticallyunder human social control. The choice of strategy can be portrayed as a "game against nature",where each strategy that you choose has different outcomes depending on uncertain naturalevents. Figure 3 was presented earlier in the "games view" as a game against nature. No tornado Tornado comes right down your streetYou - spend You "wasted" your You suffered onlymoney to money minor damage andprepare for a lived through the stormbad tornadoYou - spend You didnt waste your Your house is wreckedthe money on a money and you have and it isnt the samenew TV a cool TV in front of watching your TV your lounger from a folding chair Figure 3: A simple game against nature.
  5. 5. In the present case study, you choices are more sophisticated strategies for managing naturalresources and reducing pollution impact, and the natural uncertainty has to do with the globalbiogeochemical cycle response to resources, pollution and human population. For the purposesof this case study, the pollution is the general CO2 increase in the atmosphere caused byincreased energy use and poor land use management. The choices might be represented by thegame against nature shown in Figure 4. CO2 pollution is CO2 pollution causes a countered by healthy downward spiral in natural oceans critical natural resourcesYou - spend You "wasted" your You suffered only minormoney to reduce money damage and lived through theCO2 output worst of global degradationYou - spend the You didnt waste your Your population crashes, yourmoney increasing money and you have a economy is wrecked,industrial growth bigger economy with Hollywood is underwater and more TVs to sell. theres nothing good on TV. Figure 4: The "game against nature" modified to show how dealing with CO2 pollution might be the best strategy. Many people would rationally choose the strategy that results in the least bad outcome, the "maximin" solution.ReferencesMeadows et al. 1992John RueterJuly 22, 2003What are the household appliances that contribute to global warming?A good rule of thumb is that household appliances consume electricity and therefore contributeto global warming in proportion to the amount of heat they produce, because the production ofheat is what usually requires the most energy. If you put your hand over the back of a televisionset, you will feel the heat rising from it as a byproduct of what the appliance does.So, electric heaters and oil or gas heaters contribute most considerably to global warming, as dohot water systems. Air conditioners are also culprits, but surprisingly reverse cycle airconditioning is somewhat better than electric heaters because it uses the heat pump effect, ratherthan simply generating heat. So, minimize your use of heaters and wear a jumper with the heaterat a low setting. Better still, use a reverse cycle air conditioner if you have one. Close internaldoors so that you do not have to heat or cool unoccupied rooms. Consider installing a roof-topsolar hot water system.Refrigerators are another culprit because they operate twenty four hours a day. When buying anew refrigerator, look for its energy rating and try to choose a refrigerator with a higher
  6. 6. efficiency rating. Turn second refrigerators off when they are not really needed.Use cold water in washing machines and try to wash clothes only when you have a full load.Dish washers are a wonderful convenience, but they use a lot of electricity, and they use thesame amount of electricity every time you use them, whether full or not. So, try to use them onlyonce a day.A hidden source of electricity wastage is in appliances left in standby mode. I would not turn mymicrowave oven off at the wall when not in use, partly because I rely on the clock and partlybecause much of the convenience would be lost, but consider turning other appliances off at thewall.Incandescent light globes work by heating a wire filament until it glows white hot, so they areobviously very heavy users of electricity. These should be replaced by modern high-efficiencylights that use a fraction of the electricity and therefore contribute only a fraction of the carbonemissions that lead to global warming.How do electrical appliances have an affect on global warming?Manufacturing them generally involves plastics made from fossil fuels, which will eventuallylead to increased atmospheric CO2.The manufacturing process generally involves the use of fossil fuels (to mine metals, transportraw materials, and run machines/equipment used to manufacture the final product)Fossil fuels (usually gasoline/diesel) are most likely used to transport the appliances to the pointof sale.If your electricity comes from coal or other fossil fuel sources, using the appliance involvesincreasing the power companys use of fossil fuels.Burning or otherwise using fossil fuels increases atmospheric CO2, which causes globalwarming.Preventive Measures for Global WarmingAs global temperatures rise, global warming is an increasing concern. The current level ofcarbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than it has been at any point in history, according toNASA, and the rise in global temperatures is moving at a faster rate than any point in the past1,300 years. (See References 1) Scientific organizations, including NASA and the NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agree that human behaviors and activities area primary cause of the warming trend. (See References 2) To mitigate the existing damage andprevent global warming from accelerating, you can take steps to reduce emissions associatedwith your behaviors and lifestyle.Reduce Energy UseThe energy you use at home and work contributes to increased levels of carbon dioxide; usually,fossil fuels are burned to produce and transport the energy, releasing greenhouse gases into the
  7. 7. atmosphere. By reducing your energy use, you can reduce your personal carbon footprint. Thefirst thing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends is changing out standard lightbulbs for compact fluorescent or LED lights, which use up to 75 percent less energy and lastlonger. You can also upgrade heating and cooling systems and insulate your home properly tomake sure your home is not wasting energy. To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, buy greenpower, which is produced from renewable sources like solar or wind. (See References 5)Update Buying HabitsThe way you shop and the products you buy can contribute to global warming: the materialssourcing, manufacturing, transportation and disposal all have the potential to cause emissionsand pollutants to be released into the air. The EPA recommends buying Energy Star-certifiedproducts, which are designed to be efficient and last longer. When you can, buy used productsand items with recycled content and minimal packaging. (See References 7) When it comes timeto throw away items, try to recycle them or donate them to another source so that they dont endup in a landfill. Be mindful of food waste and try to compost leftover food scraps. Although foodwaste decomposes quickly, when this takes place unattended in a landfill the process releasesmethane, a greenhouse gas. Incineration of biodegradable materials also releases pollutants.Change Transportation HabitsTransportation --- in particular, car travel --- is responsible for about 25 percent of energy use inthe U.S., according to the EPA, and also puts chemicals and pollutants into the air. To reduceyour emissions, change your driving habits. The easiest way to cut carbon emissions is to driveless: carpool to work, take public transportation, walk or ride a bike. Consider telecommuting towork; the EPA says that working at home even one day per week can significantly reduce yourcarbon footprint if you are a car commuter. Keep your car maintained so that it runs efficiently.Turn off your car instead of idling, and dont drive aggressively, as abrupt acceleration anddriving at high speeds burns up fuel. (See References 6)Stop DeforestationDeforestation is a major contributor to global warming. When large expanses of forest are cut orburned, carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere. Because trees alsotake carbon dioxide from the air, cutting down large numbers of trees causes carbon dioxidelevels to rise even further. (See References 3) Although much of the major deforestation is takingplace in tropical areas, you can take action to help prevent further loss. Support politicians whochampion reforestation projects, donate to organizations that promote foreign forest managementand look for wood products that have the FSC-US Forest Management Standard certification toensure that your buying behaviors are not contributing to deforestation. (See References 4)
  8. 8. Climate change: How do we know?This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent directmeasurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution.(Source: NOAA) Resources The following are the key sources of data and information contained on this page:• IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers• IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Technical Summary• NOAA PaleoclimatologyThe Earths climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been sevencycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago markingthe beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes areattributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.
  9. 9. The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is"Scientific evidence for very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented inwarming of the climate the past 1,300 years.1system is unequivocal." - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeEarth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture,collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. Studyingthese climate data collected over many years reveal the signals of a changing climate.Certain facts about Earths climate are not in dispute: • The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many JPL-designed instruments, such as AIRS. Increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response. • Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in solar output, in the Earth’s orbit, and in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically- speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.3The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling: Sea level rise Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.4Republic of Maldives: Vulnerable to sealevel rise Global temperature rise All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880. 5 Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. 6 Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase. 7
  10. 10. Warming oceans The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.8 Shrinking ice sheets The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASAs Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.Flowing meltwater from the Greenland icesheet Declining Arctic sea ice Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. 9Visualization of the 2007 Arctic sea iceminimum
  11. 11. Glacial retreat Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.10The disappearing snowcap of MountKilimanjaro, from space. Extreme events The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.11 Ocean acidification Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.12,13 This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.14,15Global Climate Change IndicatorsNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNational Climatic Data CenterMany lines of scientific evidence show the Earths climate is changing. This page presents thelatest information from several independent measures of observed climate change that illustratean overwhelmingly compelling story of a planet that is undergoing global warming. It is worthnoting that increasing global temperature is only one element of observed global climate change.Precipitation patterns are also changing; storms and other extremes are changing as well.How do we know the Earths climate is warming?
  12. 12. Thousands of land and ocean temperature measurements are recorded each day around the globe.This includes measurements from climate reference stations, weather stations, ships, buoys andautonomous gliders in the oceans. These surface measurements are also supplemented withsatellite measurements. These measurements are processed, examined for random and systematicerrors, and then finally combined to produce a time series of global average temperature change.A number of agencies around the world have produced datasets of global-scale changes insurface temperature using different techniques to process the data and remove measurementerrors that could lead to false interpretations of temperature trends. The warming trend that isapparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change is alsoconfirmed by other independent observations, such as the melting of mountain glaciers on everycontinent, reductions in the extent of snow cover, earlier blooming of plants in spring, a shorterice season on lakes and rivers, ocean heat content, reduced arctic sea ice, and rising sea levels.The Global Surface Temperature is RisingGlobal annual average temperature measured over land and oceans. Red bars indicatetemperatures above and blue bars indicate temperatures below the 1901-2000 averagetemperature. The black line shows atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in parts per million.Global average temperature is one of the most-cited indicators of global climate change, andshows an increase of approximately 1.4°F since the early 20th Century. The global surfacetemperature is based on air temperature data over land and sea-surface temperatures observedfrom ships, buoys and satellites. There is a clear long-term global warming trend, while eachindividual year does not always show a temperature increase relative to the previous year, andsome years show greater changes than others. These year-to-year fluctuations in temperature aredue to natural processes, such as the effects of El Ninos, La Ninas, and the eruption of largevolcanoes. Notably, the 20 warmest years have all occurred since 1981, and the 10 warmest haveall occurred in the past 12 years.U.S. Surface Temperature is also Rising
  13. 13. Annual surface temperatures for the contiguous U.S. compared to the 20th Century (1901-2000)average. Calculated from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN version 2). Moreinformation: U.S. Surface Temperature Data, USHCN v2.Surface temperatures averaged across the U.S. have also risen. While the U.S. temperaturemakes up only part of the global temperature, the rise over a large area is not inconsistent withexpectations in a warming planet. Because the U.S. is just a fraction of the planet, it is subject tomore year-to-year variability than the planet as a whole. This is evident in the U.S. temperaturetrace.Sea Level is RisingAnnual averages of global sea level. Red: sea-level since 1870; Blue: tide gauge data; Black:based on satellite observations. The inset shows global mean sea level rise since 1993 - a periodover which sea level rise has accelerated. More information: Coastal Sensitivity to Sea LevelRise (USGCRP) and Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis.Global mean sea level has been rising at an average rate of approximately 1.7 mm/year over thepast 100 years (measured from tide gauge observations), which is significantly larger than therate averaged over the last several thousand years. Since 1993, global sea level has risen at anaccelerating rate of around 3.5 mm/year. Much of the sea level rise to date is a result ofincreasing heat of the ocean causing it to expand. It is expected that melting land ice (e.g. fromGreenland and mountain glaciers) will play a more significant role in contributing to future sealevel rise.Global Upper Ocean Heat Content is Rising
  14. 14. Time series of seasonal (red dots) and annual average (black line) of global upper ocean heatcontent for the 0-700m layer since 1955. More information: BAMS State of the Climate in 2009.While ocean heat content varies significantly from place to place and from year-to-year (as aresult of changing ocean currents and natural variability), there is a strong trend during the periodof reliable measurements. Increasing heat content in the ocean is also consistent with sea levelrise, which is occurring mostly as a result of thermal expansion of the ocean water as it warms.Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover is RetreatingAverage of monthly snow cover extent anomalies over Northern Hemisphere lands (includingGreenland) since Nov 1966. Right: Seasonal snow cover extent over Northern Hemisphere landssince winter 1966-67. Calculated from NOAA snow maps. From BAMS State of the Climate in2009 report.Northern Hemisphere average annual snow cover has declined in recent decades. This pattern isconsistent with warmer global temperatures. Some of the largest declines have been observed inthe spring and summer months.Glacier Volume is Shrinking
  15. 15. Cumulative decline (in cubic miles) in glacier ice worldwide. More information: Global ClimateChange Impacts in the U.S.Warming temperatures lead to the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. The total volume of glacierson Earth is declining sharply. Glaciers have been retreating worldwide for at least the lastcentury; the rate of retreat has increased in the past decade. Only a few glaciers are actuallyadvancing (in locations that were well below freezing, and where increased precipitation hasoutpaced melting). The progressive disappearance of glaciers has implications not only for arising global sea level, but also for water supplies in certain regions of Asia and South America.U.S. Climate Extremes are Increasing Enlarge above graph. Annual Climate Extremes Index (CEI) value for the contiguous UnitedStates. Larger numbers indicate more acive climate extremes for a year. More information: CEI.One way climate changes can be assessed is by measuring the frequency of events considered"extreme" (among the most rare of temperature, precipitation and storm intensity values). TheClimate Extremes Index (CEI) value for the contiguous United States is an objective way todetermine whether extreme events are on the rise. The figure to the left shows the the number ofextreme climate events (those which place among the most unusual of the historical record) hasbeen rising over the last four decades.How do we know humans are the primary cause of the warming?A large body of evidence supports the conclusion that human activity is the primary driver ofrecent warming. This evidence has accumulated over several decades, and from hundreds ofstudies. The first line of evidence is our basic physical understanding of how greenhouse gasestrap heat, how the climate system responds to increases in greenhouse gases, and how otherhuman and natural factors influence climate. The second line of evidence is from indirectestimates of climate changes over the last 1,000 to 2,000 years. These estimates are oftenobtained from living things and their remains (like tree rings and corals) which provide a naturalarchive of climate variations. These indicators show that the recent temperature rise is clearlyunusual in at least the last 1,000 years. The third line of evidence is based on comparisons ofactual climate with computer models of how we expect climate to behave under certain humaninfluences. For example, when climate models are run with historical increases in greenhousegases, they show gradual warming of the Earth and ocean surface, increases in ocean heatcontent, a rise in global sea level, and general retreat of sea ice and snow cover. These and otheraspects of modeled climate change are in agreement with observations.Climate Model Indications and the Observed Climate
  16. 16. Simulated global temperature in experiments that include human influences (pink line), andmodel experiments that included only natural factors (blue line). The black line is observedtemperature change.Global climate models clearly show the effect of human-induced changes on globaltemperatures. The blue band shows how global temperatures would have changed due to naturalforces only (without human influence). The pink band shows model projections of the effects ofhuman and natural forces combined. The black line shows actual observed global averagetemperatures. The close match between the black line and the pink band indicates that observedwarming over the last half-century cannot be explained by natural factors alone, and is insteadcaused primarily by human factors.800,000 Year Record of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) ConcentrationsCarbon dioxide concentration (parts per million) for the last 800,000 years, measured fromtrapped bubbles of air in an Antarctic ice core. The 2008 observed value is from the Mauna LoaObservatory in Hawaii and projections are based upon future emission scenarios. Moreinformation on the data can be found in the Climate Change Impacts on the U.S. report.Over the last 800,000 years, natural factors have caused the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)concentration to vary within a range of about 170 to 300 parts per million (ppm). Theconcentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by roughly 35 percent since the start of theindustrial revolution. Globally, over the past several decades, about 80 percent of human-inducedCO2 emissions came from the burning of fossil fuels, while about 20 percent resulted fromdeforestation and associated agricultural practices. In the absence of strong control measures,emissions projected for this century would result in the CO2 concentration increasing to a levelthat is roughly 2 to 3 times the highest level occurring over the glacial-interglacial era that spansthe last 800,000 or more years.
  17. 17. Energy from the Sun Has Not IncreasedGlobal surface temperature (top, blue) and the Suns energy received at the top of Earthsatmosphere (red, bottom). Solar energy has been measured by satellites since 1978.Climate Change BasicsClimate change is happeningOur Earth is warming. Earths average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century,and is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in theaverage temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts inclimate and weather.The evidence is clear. Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by changes inweather and climate. Many places have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods,droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. The planets oceansand glaciers have also experienced some big changes - oceans are warming and becoming moreacidic, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. As these and other changes become morepronounced in the coming decades, they will likely present challenges to our society and ourenvironment.Top of Page
  18. 18. Humans are largely responsible for recent climate changeOver the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and othergreenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burningfossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agriculturalpractices also emit gases into the atmosphere.Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causingit to warm. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect and is natural and necessary tosupport life on Earth. However, the buildup of greenhouse gases can change Earths climate andresult in dangerous effects to human health and welfare and to ecosystems.The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmospherein the near future and for years to come.Top of PageClimate change affects everyoneLearn More • The Signs of Climate Change in the United States • Climate Change Facts: Answers to Common Questions • Multimedia GalleryOur lives are connected to the climate. Human societies have adapted to the relatively stableclimate we have enjoyed since the last ice age which ended several thousand years ago. Awarming climate will bring changes that can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power andtransportation systems, the natural environment, and even our own health and safety.Some changes to the climate are unavoidable. Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere fornearly a century, so Earth will continue to warm in the coming decades. The warmer it gets, thegreater the risk for more severe changes to the climate and Earths system. Although its difficultto predict the exact impacts of climate change, whats clear is that the climate we are accustomedto is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future.We can reduce the risks we will face from climate change. By making choices that reducegreenhouse gas pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, we canreduce risks from climate change. Our decisions today will shape the world our children andgrandchildren will live in.Top of PageWe can make a difference
  19. 19. You can take action. You can take steps at home, on the road, and in your office to reducegreenhouse gas emissions and the risks associated with climate change. Many of these steps cansave you money; some, such as walking or biking to work can even improve your health! Youcan also get involved on a local or state level to support energy efficiency, clean energyprograms, or other climate programs.Calculate your carbon footprint and find ways to reduce your emissions through simple everydayactions.Personal Greenhouse Gas Emissions CalculatorEPA and other federal agencies are taking action. EPA is working to protect the health andwelfare of Americans through common sense measures to reduce greenhouse gas pollution andto help communities prepare for climate change.Climate ChangeAt HomeWhat You Can Do At HomeRelated Links • ENERGY STAR • EPAs Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle • EPAs WaterSense program • EPAs GreenScapes program • EPAs Household Emissions CalculatorPrintable Version: What You Can Do at Home (PDF) (1 pg., 216 KB, About PDF)Did You Know?Flex Fuel Vehicles are specially-designed to run on either traditional gasoline or a blend of 85%ethanol and 15% gasoline known as "E-85." E-85 reduces GHG emissions by 20%. FFVs areavailable to consumers in a range of models at no extra cost.Making a few small changes in your home and yard can reduce greenhouse gases and save youmoney. Explore our list of 10 simple steps you can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
  20. 20. 1. Change five lightsReplace your five most frequently used light fixtures or the lightbulbs in them with ENERGYSTAR® qualified products and you will help the environment while saving $70 a year on energybills. ENERGY STAR lighting provides bright, warm light; generates 75% less heat; uses about75% less energy than standard lighting; and lasts from 10 to 50 times longer.2. Look for ENERGY STARWhen buying new products for your home, look for EPAs ENERGY STAR label to help youmake the most energy-efficient decision. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on more than60 kinds of products, including appliances, lighting, heating and cooling equipment, electronics,and office equipment. Over their lifetime, products in your home that have earned the ENERGYSTAR label can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 130,000 pounds and save you$11,000 on energy bills.3. Heat and cool smartlyHeating and cooling accounts for almost half your energy bill--about $1,000 a year! There is alot you can do to drive down this cost. Simple steps like changing air filters regularly, properlyusing a programmable thermostat, and having your heating and cooling equipment maintainedannually by a licensed contractor can save energy and increase comfort, while helping to protectthe environment. Depending on where you live, you can cut your annual energy bill by morethan $200 by replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR-qualifiedequipment.4. Seal and insulate your homeReduce air leaks and stop drafts by using caulk, weather stripping, and insulation to seal yourhomes envelope and add more insulation to your attic to block out heat and cold. Aknowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costsand significantly enhance home comfort with comprehensive sealing and insulating measures.5. Reduce, reuse, recycleReducing, reusing, and recycling in your home helps conserve energy and reduces pollution andgreenhouse gas emissions from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal. If there is arecycling program in your community, recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper, andother goods. Also, composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage that yousend to landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Visit EPAs Individual WAste ReductionModel (iWARM) to learn about the energy benefits of recycling, rather than landfilling, commonwaste products.6. Use water efficientlyIt takes lots of energy to pump, treat, and heat water, so saving water reduces greenhouse gasemissions. Saving water around the home is simple. Three percent of the nations energy is usedto pump and treat water so conserving water conserves energy that reduces greenhouse gaspollution. Reduce the amount of waste you generate and the water you consume wheneverpossible. Pursue simple water-saving actions such as not letting the water run while shaving orbrushing teeth and save money while conserving water by using products with the WaterSenselabel. Did you know a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day? Repair all toilet andfaucet leaks right away. Running your dishwasher only with a full load can save 100 pounds ofcarbon dioxide and $40 per year. Be smart when irrigating your lawn or landscape. Only waterwhen needed, and do it during the coolest part of the day; early morning is best. See EPAsWaterSense site for more water saving tips.
  21. 21. 7. Be green in your yardComposting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage that you send to landfillsand reduces greenhouse gas emissions. EPAs GreenScapes program provides tips on how toimprove your lawn or garden while also helping the environment.8. Purchase green powerPower your home by purchasing green power. Green power is environmentally friendlyelectricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun. There aretwo ways to use green power: You can buy green power, or you can modify your house togenerate your own green power. Buying green power is easy. It offers a number ofenvironmental and economic benefits over conventional electricity, including lower greenhousegas emissions, and it helps increase clean energy supply. There are a number of steps you cantake to create a greener home , including installing solar panels andresearching incentives for renewable energy in your state .9. Calculate your households carbon footprintUse EPAs Household Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator to estimate your householdgreenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy use, transportation, and waste disposal. This toolhelps you understand where your emissions come from and identify ways to reduce them.10. Spread the wordTell family and friends that energy efficiency is good for their homes and good for theenvironment because it lowers greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Tell five people andtogether we can help our homes help us all.Is global warming going to destroy earth?Best AnswerIt wont destroy the earth, but it could certainly end civilization as we know it, that is if we dontseriously decrease the CO2 being released into the atmosphere and stop deforestation.A:yes because there are going to be alot of problems with the earth.A:NO! The Earth is currently very cold. We have polar ice caps which is quite unusual for theEarth. For most of geologic time the Earth has not had ice caps. (The Earth is currently very coldbecause of weathering of the mountains - the planet is about as mountainous as it has ever been.)A:Technically speaking, the Earth is in an ice age, and it has been for 30 million years or so.Currently we are in an interglacial. The ice ebbs and flows to and from the poles according to aninstability in the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. The ice retreated about 12,000 years ago andwill start advancing in the near future (2000 - 4000 years time). The glacial periods last for
  22. 22. 120,000 years or so.Excess carbon dioxide is blamed for the global warming crisis we may experience in the nearfuture. However, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about as low as it hasever been (over the whole of geologic time). If we enhance the carbon dioxide concentration wewill just return the planets atmosphere to a state it was in over 100 million years ago. As weknow, the planet was not dead then.Excess carbon dioxide is not stable in the Earths atmosphere. It dissolves in water vapor, falls asacidic rain, and ends up in the oceans. There it is used by some plankton species to make shells.Ultimately it ends up as chalk and limestone. It will take some 25000 for all the excess carbondioxide to rain out. Then it will be like global warming had never happened.A:The problem about global warming is not about harming the planet, but rather about destroyinghuman civilization. We are a species which evolved in a cold world. We cannot survive easily ina hot world. For example, wheat will only grow well in temperate climates and most big citiesare on the coast. This means in a hot world, food will be become scarcer and there will besignificant human migration.When will Global Warming destroy earth?and will it be quick or slow and painful?Best Answer - Chosen by Asker2050 looks like the point where even the blindest anti-environmentalist will notice some kind ofchange going for the rest of us it will be very obvious within the next 2100it wont be a fun planet to live is always going to be gradual with huge Katrina like disasters along the has startedalready and will continue for a long time despite even the most drastic cuts of emissions....itseems like the tipping point will be passed by 2100 if not 2050 or earlier.....Other Answers (10) • sse Never!!! No such thing!!! Dont be brainwashed by CNN! o 5 years ago o Report Abuse • The Voice of Reason Never o 5 years ago o Report Abuse • thor When the sun goes nova in a couple billion years. Until then there will be both difficult and easy times for life to survive on this planet.
  23. 23. o 5 years ago o Report Abuse o 1 person rated this as good• grizzie The earth will still be here--itll just be a much less hospitable place for a large number of its current species (including humans) to live. A lot of them wont make it. o 5 years ago o Report Abuse o 2 people rated this as good• James It wont. Global warming is a natural cycle, and the earth will cool again Source(s):……,2933,1925………………………… o 5 years ago o Report Abuse o 3 people rated this as good• gerafalo... Global warming will not destroy the Earth. At worst the oceans will rise 2 feet. Source(s): The IPCC report o 5 years ago o Report Abuse• Just wonderin The earth even by global warming experts accounts has only warmed approx. 1 degree over the last 100 years. With the change of technology over that period it is entirely possible that the 1 degree of change can be attributed to accuracy of measurement rather than a real change. Also by global warming experts accounts, the world has already survived at least one ice age and the earth was not destroyed, so I suppose it is more a matter of what you mean by destroyed. All global warming doomsday scenarios are based on computer models. Computer models are based on human input. Therefore I suppose the destruction of the earth will occur whenever the inventor of the internet (Al Gore) tells it to.
  24. 24. Source(s): Just wishing common sense was more common. o 5 years ago o Report Abuse o 2 people rated this as good • fyzer Well, as the sun heats up about 10% every billion years and will end as a red giant before dissipating as a nova in about 4-5 billion years, its an issue I wouldnt be too concerned about. As for the current hysteria,dont worry about it, its just that, hysteria. o 5 years ago o Report Abuse o 2 people rated this as good • Ingela It will never "destroy earth" but it can destroy a whole lot of life on it if we dont act powerful enough to stop it. I continue to be optimistic about the future. Its never too late to do something about it, but for every month that the world dont take more steps in the right direction, moving away from deforestation and the burning of fossil fuel the future looks more and more grim for many. Not later than by mid-century I would guess that everyone on earth will be rather personally affected from the consequences of it, no matter where you live. So, in a human life perspective the changes is rather slow and gradual, but in the perspective of our planet, they are explosive!Resolved QuestionShow me another »How long will it take for global warming to destroy the earth? • 2 years ago • Report AbuseasgspifsBest Answer - Chosen by VotersIts not the destruction of Earth via GW that is a concern, it is the degradation of the environmentin which we live, to the point that it will be difficult for us to continue to survive, that is aconcern.Not to sound selfish, but I dont care that much about the Earth - it will be just fine for another 5
  25. 25. billion years or so - its the environment that I live in and that my grand children will live in that Icare more about.Other Answers (6) • SpartanC... Well, in 500 million to 900 million years, we could see a boil-off due to increasing solar output accelerating the CO2 cycle, resulting in the extinction of animal life. In another billion years after that, all surface water will have likely disappeared. Note that this is natural warming due to the Suns life cycle. Anthropogenic global warming in the modern timescale stands to be more of an inconvenience (for us, perhaps a major one), rather than an end to the world. o 2 years ago o Report Abuse 0% 0 Votes o 2 people rated this as good • TheRockM... The earth will not be destroyed, the atmosphere will change causing widespread extinction to living species which have adapted to the present chemical composition of the atmosphere. therefore climate change will only affect the CLIMATE not the whole planet. The destruction of the earth is as unknown as is its formation. o 2 years ago o Report Abuse 0% 0 Votes • jonal What do you mean by destroy the Earth? Our planet was once a big ball of hot rock, much hotter than it is now. It had vast amounts of CO2, sulphur, noxious gases of many kinds, and a lot of water
  26. 26. eventually. Out of that came an Earth we think of as normal because its the one we live on now and we relate various measurements of bits of it to that supposed normal condition of the Earth. Actually, what it is now is just how its turned out so far after four thousand five hundred million years just as Mars is what it is now, or Mercury or any planet. During that time it got hit by a massive object which threw up enough material to make the Moon plus what fell back onto the Earth ( and for a while the Earth had rings like Saturn) and by another millions of years later which still leaves a mark now in the Yucatan peninsular and wiped out half of all life on Earth including most of the dinosaurs as a result not only of the impact but of the dark days following it of thick clouds of water and dust and incessant rain which may have lasted for months or years.without stopping and would have led to massive flooding over most of the Earths land areas. It had ice ages and lots of them. It had warm periods and lots of them.It had an Antarctic continent with no ice at all. That was normal then, each in its own time. Venus isnt destroyed either. Its about the same size as the Earth and the same age and has a surface temperature high enough to melt lead because its thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide and sulphuric acid produces a massive greenhouse effect and the planet is closer to the Sun than we are so it gets more heat from the Sun than we get The thick atmosphere also reflects light brilliantly like big white cumulus clouds on a sunny day on Earth which is one reason Venus appears so bright to us in the sky. All we see is the brilliant light reflected from its atmosphere which is even thicker and denser than clouds over the Earth. The other reason is its relative closeness to us. At its closest to us its our nearest neighbour apart from the Moon. Being a hot volcanic planet with a dense acidic atmosphere hasnt destroyed it. Its just going along nicely being Venus and not some other planet. Now put global warming into it all. Not much is it but plenty enough to make millions out of in grants and research money. The goodie scientists ...the honest ones...were never fooled in the first place. The big worry is not destroying the Earth but destroying so much of its valuable resources by digging up rainforest and overfishing the sea and the various other bits of environmental disasters. Get those sorted and the Earth and its inhabitants including tens of thousands of species of animals and plants will be fine. o Edited 2 years ago o Report Abuse 0% 0 Votes• Jason Colter
  27. 27. Never...Destroy us? Who knows? lol but man wont "destroy the earth" its easy to kill each other off, harder to destroy a planet...unless we build a death ray hahaha Human beings havent been here too long in the earths history. Were a blink of the earths eye. If were gone tommorrow, the earth will live on and she wont miss us. o 2 years ago o Report Abuse 0% 0 Votes o 1 person rated this as good • lare global warming is the necessary pre-cursor to ice ages, it does not escalate indefinitely. in the past, ice age cycles have not destroyed people. o 2 years ago o Report Abuse 0% 0 Votes • Al never, but the climate will progressively bring stronger storms, higher sea levels. The earth would survive even without an atmosphere, we would not of course. o 2 years agoSources:
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