Global Warming is the gradual warming of the earth. Over the past 110 years, the average temperature of the earth has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the hottest period in the last 400 years.
The three main causes of Global Warming are the Release of Harmful Greenhouse Gases, Deforestation and the denial by political parties to accept that global warming is mostly man made, and therefore can be prevented.
Green House Gases are gases that are able to absorb and emit heat and radiation into the atmosphere. There are thousands of ways that humans emit green house gases, but the most common are through the use of fossil fuels in factories and cars, which emit dangerous amounts of Carbon Dioxide. Carbon Dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas and is also the most dangerous because of it’s high concentration, which means it emits more heat, in total, than any other Green House Gas. According to national Geographic, yearly emissions of all Green House Gases have increased by more than 20% in the past 20 years. This is said to be the main cause for the increase in average temperature by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past century. Temperatures are projected to rise another degree by 2030, meaning the rate of temperature increase is also rapidly rising.
Green House Gas emissions are mainly an economic cause of global warming due to the high demand for companies to make goods cheaply and quickly in factories
Deforestation is another important cause of global warming. Deforestation is the removal of trees from an area, causing the destruction of forests. It is mainly an economic cause because it usually takes place at the hands of businesses in need of wood and materials for products, but is also a social cause because forests are also cleared to make room for towns or roads for transportation. One of the reasons why deforestation is so dangerous is because it requires the burning of large quantities of fossil fuels, releasing green house gases. But the most severe impact of deforestation is that it removes forests that would otherwise store carbon dioxide, instead allowing it to be released into the atmosphere.
A study done by a group of Oxford students known as the Global Canopy Program shows that deforestation accounts for 25% of global emissions of Green House Gases. At the same time, Transport and Industry account for 14 percent each. This is relevant because it means that not only is Deforestation one of the leading causes of Global Warming, but also that the three main sources of Green House Gases are economy based- meaning that they were caused by us.
That brings me to the third main cause of Global Warming, which is the denial by political parties to accept that global warming is occurring and can be prevented. According to a poll done by Gallup, only 30% of Republicans believe that Global warming is already occurring, compared to 74% of democrats. Additionally, 67% of Republicans surveyed claim that seriousness toward Global Warming is exaggerated, compared to only 26% of Democrats. This is important because it is very difficult for different governments to regulate environment related matters, with only one major political party willing to acknowledge the existence of global warming.
There are many extremely serious effects of Global Warming, but three of the most important are Massive crop failures, Rising sea levels and Potential habitat changes and extinctions of species.
Due to the increased temperatures caused by rising levels of Greenhouse Gases, it is predicted that shifting rainfall patterns will begin over all parts of the world, resulting in failed crops. According to National Geographic, certain regions in Southern Africa and Asia are expected to rise as much as 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2030, which could result in up to a 30% loss in corn production and a 15% loss in wheat production, which would have devastating effects on these already impoverished areas. This could result in extremely drastic effects on the people relying on the food as well as the economy.
Due to the rise in temperature, glaciers and ice sheets have begun to melt rapidly, spewing into oceans and causing sea levels to rise faster than ever before. Scientists had originally theorized that that glaciers would melt slowly over the course of hundreds of years, but this issue has proven to be more serious than they had ever thought because as of right now sea levels are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches by the end of the century. This means that Global warming is occurring much more rapidly than anyone had previously anticipated, and the effects could be drastic since about 10% of the worlds population- that’s about 600 million people- live in low lying areas in danger of being flooded if sea levels were to rise.
The last important effect of global warming is the potential extinction of species. Rising global temperatures have already begun threatening many animals’ habitats, leading to their extinction. Polar bears are one of many species that have already begun to die out due to warmer climates. Just 15 years ago 65% of cubs reached 12 months of age, and only 42% of cubs reach that age today. The same goes for turtles- a creature which has existed for over 110 million years- which has many different species, all of which are listed as threatened or endangered under the endangered species act, which is a law that was passed in 1973 in order to protect certain species from extinction.
There are tons of small things that everyone can do to help stop global warming. And that begins with our daily energy consumption. Lighting can make up to 25% of the average home’s electricity usage, so by switching to fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs you’ll be decreasing your energy use and will also save about 10 dollars per light bulb on your energy bill over the course of a year. Another small solution is to recycle. In 2009 only 28 percent of plastic bottles were recycled. Its so important to recycle because 66% of energy is saved when new plastic products are produced from recycled materials instead of raw materials- which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Another small step is to use other forms of energy. There are tons of different renewable energy sources that are becoming more widely available, such as solar, wind, biomass and tidal, and unlike fossil fuels they will not run out and don’t emit greenhouse gases. In 2006 alone, the use of 93 billion liters of biofuels was able to replace about 5% of the world’s gasoline production. This effect could be even more significant if more people were to switch to biofuels and other forms of alternate energy, but as of right now only 18% of electricity generation worldwide is provided by renewable energy sources. Though I think that this solution could be really helpful because it is extremely easy and effective, the negative side of this is that it can only be effective in the long run if more people begin doing it.
A number of acts have been passed to limit business’ effect on the environment, including the carbon tax, which was passed in 1992 in order to limit Green House Gas emissions from fossil fuels taxing the burning of fossil fuels in proportion to their carbon content. In spite of what a huge step this was at the time, it is clearly not working because Carbon emissions are still increasing each year. States are trying to solve this currently by suing the nations top five largest public utilities, which make up about 10 percent of U.S. carbon emissions annually. The problem, however, is that the supreme court is currently questioning whether these states have the right to do this, saying that it’s the Environmental Protection Agency’s responsibility to regulate such emissions. Yet just this year many republicans have begun to make a push to strip the EPA of it’s rule-making authority on greenhouse gases. Because of this, I think that one of the most important solutions for reducing Green House Gas emissions is to make sure that the EPA maintains it’s ability to do it’s job by not taking away it’s rule-making authority, otherwise this issue will go nowhere as no one will have the power to make a change.
Global Warming By Hayley Nusbaum
Basic Facts <ul><li>Gradual warming of the Earth. </li></ul><ul><li>Increase of 1.4 degrees Farenheit over the past 110 years. </li></ul>
Main Causes <ul><li>Release of Green House Gases </li></ul><ul><li>Deforestation </li></ul><ul><li>Reluctance of political parties to take action </li></ul>
Green House Gases <ul><li>Emission of Fossil fuels from Factories and cars </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon Dioxide most common </li></ul><ul><li>Yearly emissions rapidly increasing </li></ul>
Green House Gases <ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jxi-OlkmxZ4 </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly Economic Cause </li></ul>
Deforestation <ul><li>Destruction of Forests </li></ul><ul><li>Economic and Social </li></ul><ul><li>Requires Fossil Fuels </li></ul>
Deforestation <ul><li>Accounts for 25% of Global Emissions of GHG. </li></ul>
Political Parties <ul><li>30% of Republicans- 74% of Democrats </li></ul>
Main Effects <ul><li>Massive crop failures </li></ul><ul><li>Rising sea levels </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Habitat changes/ Extinction of species </li></ul>
Crop Failures <ul><li>Shifting rainfall patterns lead to crop failures </li></ul><ul><li>Could begin within 20 years </li></ul><ul><li>-30% in corn production by 2030 </li></ul>
Rising Sea Levels <ul><li>Rising temperatures causing glaciers to melt </li></ul><ul><li>7-23 inches by the end of the century </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqeRJJIOF1M&feature=related </li></ul>
Extinction of Species <ul><li>Rising temperatures threatening certain habitats </li></ul><ul><li>Polar bears </li></ul><ul><li>Endangered Species Act </li></ul>
Solution 1 <ul><li>Small Steps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fluorescent bulbs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recycle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use other forms of energy </li></ul></ul>
Solution 2 <ul><li>Carbon Tax and other laws </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Protection Agency </li></ul>