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Global Warming Is Here This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina is a wake-up call. It is a call for every American to pay attention to the destruction we risk by allowing human-induced climate change to continue. It is impossible to prove that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming, or even that human activities made the storm more severe. However, a paper by meteorologist Kerry Emanuel, published in the scholarly journal Nature, reports that the force of dangerous hurricanes has increased by 50 percent during the last 50 years. It also reports that a global warming-induced rise in temperature near the ocean’s surface has probably contributed to this increase in dangerous storms, and thus to property damage, human anguish and death.

On August 30, the Los Angeles Times summed up the view of many scientists who agree that if the frequency of hurricanes does not decrease in the next few years, then we will be fairly certain that humans, and not natural storm cycles, are at the root of the problem. I believe there is at least a chance that by reducing U.S. reliance on fossil fuels for energy, we can prevent future tragedies like Hurricane Katrina. Let the change begin now.

There are many ways to reduce the volume of greenhouse gas emissions. My family drives the most fuel-efficient car we can afford, but I prefer to take public transportation whenever possible. My family buys locally grown food instead of produce that was transported thousands of miles on fuel-burning vehicles. We also replaced our incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescents. This last might sound like a trivial move, but the Union of Concerned Scientists reports that if every household in the United States replaced one incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent, it would have the same effect on U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions as removing 7.5 million cars from the roads. Now think if every household replaced not just one but all of their incandescent bulbs!

The United States, with just five percent of the world’s population, is responsible for close to one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, yet our country is doing far less than most European nations to combat global warming. We don’t have to sacrifice our lifestyles; Europeans enjoy the same high standards of living as Americans. So what are we waiting for? It is time to act.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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adey said...
Sept. 13, 2009 at 11:39 am
nice article, helps me a lot since so far ive been writing about global warming too, for a local newspaper
 
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