Global Warming

May 7, 2010
By
Global warming is
not as horrific as eve-
ryone makes it out to
be. We can handle the
effects; we are hu-
mans, after all. Be-
sides, it is a natural
process. It will settle
down sooner or later.
Global warming means
nicer weather, right?
Wrong.
Seven billion tons of
carbon dioxide is
pumped into our
Earth's atmosphere
every year and that
number is increasing.
At this rate of burning
of fossil fuels, the cli-
mate change will bring
extreme hardships
including disruption of
delicate ecosystems,
economic downfalls,
and much global hu-
man suffering, espe-
cially for future gen-
erations. Global
warming is a serious
problem we are facing
today.
How Did We Get Here?
Energy from the sun’s
light rays shine on the
Earth every day. Earth’s
surface absorbs the en-
ergy and heat needed.
Then, it radiates the ex-
cess back up through the
atmosphere and out into
space. Normally.
Carbon dioxide is one
of the fossil fuels that,
when burned and con-
verted from its liquid form
to a gas, rises up to Earth’s
atmosphere. This build-up
of greenhouse gasses in the
atmosphere traps the
sunlight that would usually
escape back into the uni-
verse. Instead, it bounces
back down to earth,
gradually warming the
globe, hence the name.
Another factor of global
warming: the demolition
of rainforests. During pho-
tosynthesis, plants take in
carbon dioxide and give
off oxygen as its byprod-
uct, therefore reducing
the amount of CO2 in the
Tropical rainforests
barely cover 6% of the
Earth’s land, yet, they pro-
duce 40% of the earth’s
oxygen (Environmental
Defense Fund 1). This,
paired with fossil fuel
emissions, is a major con-
tributor to global warm-
ing.
Geography:
Between 1961 and 1997, 890
cubic miles of fresh-water ice
melted into the salty ocean.
This has and will have a major
effect on the fragile oceanic
ecosystems, particularly in the
north and south poles. The
warming surface waters of the
Eastern Pacific, 3-4 degrees F,
has caused 70% of the popula-
tion of zooplankton to die off
(Lankford 3). This, in turn,
jeopardizes the lives of many
other species of fish and sea-
birds. It acts as a snowball ef-
fect which will eventually lead
to human beings.
In 1999, the mid-Atlantic and
Northeastern United States
experienced one of the worst
droughts in history (Darrin 45).
In 2001, a summer heat wave
consumed 270 lives in northern
US. Earth has had the hottest
11 years in its history since
1980 (Kowalski 54). These
conditions caused massive
fires that took one million
acres of land in Nevada. Hurri-
cane Floyd, which was the size
of Texas, was caused by
warming Atlantic surface wa-
ters (Singer 2). The second
largest ice sheet in the world,
in Greenland, is melting at an
unbelievable rate of up to
three feet per year (Singer 3).
The government of Tegua, an
island in the Pacific Ocean,
evacuated more than 2,000
residents whose homes and
lives were threatened my the
sea-level rise (Environmental
Defense Fund 2). There are
many more extreme scenarios
happening across the globe
presently.
Economics:
In 1990, the average insur-
ance losses caused by extreme
weather conditions jumped
from a mere $2 million to $12
million (Kowalski 32).
Health:
Even the health status of
common people is being af-
fected by this catastrophe.
One of the immediate effects
is the malnutrition of popula-
tions whose dependence rests
upon their now flooded or
dried out land.
Signs of Change past/present
“As best as can
be determined,
the world is now
warmer than it
has been at any
point in the last
two millennia,
and, if current
trends continue,
by the end of the
century it will
likely be hotter
than at any point
in the last two
million years.”
(Kolbert)
Page 2
Also, the increasing tem-
perature is increasing disease
susceptibility and health prob-
lems. These weather changes
are increasing the risks for
heat stroke, cardiovascular,
and respiratory illnesses
(Singer 2).
The Skeptics
The world is looking at
food shortages, floods,
droughts, highly conta-
gious epidemics, and ex-
treme weather (Singer 2).
"The significance of the
association between pre-
cipitation and the disease
is amplified when you
consider the effects of
global climate change,
which predict a major
increase in precipitation
in parts of the united
stated," said Jonathan
Patz of the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of
Public Health (Kowalski
40).
By 2060, the IPCC
expects the average
global water level to rise
anywhere between 4-36
inches. This will intensify
coastal storms, flooding,
and erosion, which are
already current problems.
About half of the world's
population lives within 38
miles of the low-lying
oceanic shoreline. Such a
drastic sea level rise
would put about 90 mil-
lion people at risk
(Darrin 23).
In addition, the warm-
ing temperatures increase
evaporation of water,
which, according to
Earth’s water cycle, in-
creases condensation,
therefore increases precipi-
tation. Jonathan Patz of the
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg
School of Public Health
comments; “The signifi-
cance of the association
between precipitation and
disease is amplified when
you consider the effects of
global climate change,
which predict a major in-
crease in precipitation in
parts of the United
States" (Kowalski 40). Dis-
ease is not the only future
issue scientists are predict-
ing. The massive rain show-
ers will throw off the natu-
ral balance of countless
ecosystems. Rain also in-
creases survival of insect
larvae. Some of these in-
sects are poisonous and
may carry diseases from
their prey’s blood to their
next victim (Nagel 26).
“As more and more people
understand what’s at stake,
they become a part of the
solution. They share both
in the challenges and op-
portunities presented by
the climate crisis.”
The world is looking at
food shortages, floods,
droughts, highly contagious
epidemics, and extreme
weather.


Future Life on Earth
“People tend to
focus on the here
and now. The
problem is that,
once global
warming is
something that
most people can
feel in the course
of their daily lives,
it will be too late to
prevent much
larger, potentially
catastrophic
changes”
(Carter)
Page 3
Scientists have proven
that the recent human-
caused release of CO2
into the atmosphere is
the largest in the past
hundreds of thousands of
years (Kowalski 46).
True, the Earth does go
through a natural heating
and cooling cycle, but
never at this rate and
never this drastic. A
natural amount of CO2
ranges anywhere be-
tween 180-300 parts per
million (ppm). Currently,
CO2 emissions have
reached a stunning 380
ppm. This is 25% higher
than usual and has set
the record for the high-
est levels in the past
650,000 years (Singer 3).

(New Scientist)
Rising global temperature averages.
would cost less than $20
annually (Environmental De-
fense 2).
What can you do? Any-
thing you can to reduce
your daily carbon emissions.
In your home, heating and
lighting are two of the big-
gest carbon dioxide produc-
ers. The average American
emits 11.44 tons of CO2
each year (Environmental
Defense Fund). Six of those
tons are released though
their home. Turning off elec-
tronics when not in use,
running dishwashers only
when full, switching to eco-
friendly light bulbs, and ad-
justing your thermostat a
few degrees will not only
make a big difference to the
environment, but also on
your utility bill. An additional
four of those tons are pro-
duced by your car. Schedul-
ing regular tune-ups, chang-
ing your car’s air filter, and
making sure to keep your
tires properly inflated are
good choices to make. An-
other effective act: spreading
the word. Let someone
know how they can do their
part. Give advice or some
good tips on how they can
The largest contributor
to global warming is the
burning of fossil fuels.
Whether it be massive fac-
tories, trains, airplanes, or
yourself, way too much car-
bon dioxide is pumped out
into the world. If those poi-
sonous energy sources
could be used more effi-
ciently or altered to give off
less waste, then that would
be a good start.
The next big step: clean
energy. The potential energy
supplied to us right here on
Earth is unimaginable. Wind,
hydroelectric, nuclear, geo-
thermal, and solar energy is
available at our fingertips, if
only more of the population
of the world cared about
their home’s future.
“MYTH: Even if global
warming is a problem, ad-
dressing it will hurt Ameri-
can industry and workers.
FACT: A well designed trad-
ing program will harness
American ingenuity to de-
crease heat-trapping pollu-
tion cost-effectively, jump-
starting a new carbon econ-
omy (Environmental De-
fense Fund 1).” A study con-
ducted by the Massachu-
setts Institute of Technol-
ogy, MIT, showed that a
modest change in lifestyle
for the average American
The Solution to Global Warming
“People tend to
focus on the
here and now.
The problem is
that, once global
warming is
something that
most people can
feel in the
course of their
daily lives, it will
be too late to
prevent much
larger, poten-
tially catastro-
phic changes.”
(Kolbert)
Although you may not
think so, these small changes
have a large effect. If we all
work together, we can make
a difference on our world’s
future.





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