Global ProblematiqueCLIMATE CHANGE By: Kelly Jo Kokaisel
GLOBAL WARMING What is it? Global warming is an increase in the average temperature of Earths near- surface air and water. According to a Report in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), surface temperatures increased 1.33+°F over the 20th century. Most of the increase is said to be caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, resulting from human activity such as burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Are we causing it? We do have documented evidence that ice caps are melting. We have evidence that carbon dioxide levels, temperatures, and sea-levels are rising. And we have evidence that this is effecting our and animal habitats. What we do not have binding evidence on yet, is if it is part of a natural cycle or if we are causing it, or if we can change it. I think one thing is for sure, if we take less, make less, use less, and waste less, it certainly cannot hurt.
WHAT WE SEE Despite this, what we do understand is that: There has been a near 30% reduction in arctic ice coverage from 1980 to 2005. Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere has risen 35% since 1800. The average global temperature has risen 1 degree in the last 30 years. Sea levels have risen 4-10 inches over the last 100 years. These numbers coincide with the American Industrial Revolution.
WHAT WE BELIEVEAccording to some studies, nearly 3 times as many scientists believe that humans are causing Global Warming, versus those who believe it is part of the Earth’s natural cycle. Some of those who disagree say that Global Warming is being caused by the sun’s magnetic field and it’s own natural ‘heartbeat’ and cycle.Regardless, most of them agree that we are nearing a tipping point in which the Earth as we know it will change dramatically and irreversibly. 3 processes are currently being studied to track this tipping point: The bleaching of Coral Reefs The melting of polar ice caps And the alteration of the thermohaline circulation
HOW COULD WE BE EFFECTING GLOBALWARMING? Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas we worry about the most. It is the most concentrated in the atmosphere, and it can persist for over 100 years once emitted. Burning fossil fuels for energy is the primary source of greenhouse gases. The production of man-made gases has been growing at a faster and faster rate. Feedback loops of these cycles create exponential momentum that contributes even greater to global warming.
THE SOURCES OF GREENHOUSE GASES There are thought to be three primary contributors to rising greenhouse gas concentrations from humans. Burning of fossil fuels for energy. Accelerating removal of the earths natural carbon storage through the destruction of forests and vegetative land for habitat, grazing, and agriculture for livestock production. The third is the release of man-made greenhouse gases through manufacturing processes.
WHAT IS BEING DONE TO CONTROL GLOBALWARMING?Since the late 1980s, nearly every nation on the earth has been participating in a plan to reduce the production and level of global greenhouse gases. These nations are participating through programs such as the Kyoto Protocol, which sets deadlines for emissions reductions.
HOW DO WE CONTRIBUTE INDIVIDUALLY TOGLOBAL WARMING?Consumers produce Carbon Dioxide, directly and indirectly. When we consume energy derived from fossil fuels, the generation of the energy (gas, heat, light) produces greenhouse gases. All remaining energy consumed results in indirect greenhouse gas emissions. When we buy a new product, visit an air-conditioned store or eat an avocado that has traveled a long distance, we produce indirect carbon dioxide emissions.US households account for over 6 X as much carbon dioxide emissions than the remainder of the world per year, on average.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?There are 4 basic ways that you can begin to make a change NOW:Reduce - energy use and purchases of new products.Reuse - as much of everything as you can. Using things for a long time reduces carbon dioxide contributions.Recycle - paper, plastic, and metal.Purchase personal carbon offsets - when you can’t reduce your emissions.
MAKE CHANGES TODAY AND HELP RESTORE AHEALTHY PLANET