There are few issues as contentious in modern society as global warming. Scientists almost universally agree that man-made global warming is a very real thing, but getting the political and economic will to make necessary changes is incredibly difficult. This research paper explores the ways in which we know that global warming occurs, and some practical steps that states can take in order to reduce the environmental impact of their economic activity.
The danger of CO2 production
Global warming has a direct effect on humans and the environment, so government policy lawmakers and scientists are responsible for creating solutions that will lower our Earth’s temperature. Essentially, our population’s lifestyle and natural elements contribute to the Earth’s pollution and are thus responsible for an increase in greenhouse emissions. Considering each of these origins, researchers and our government engage in numerous debates as they explore ways in which we can collectively address the Earth’s climate change.
Natural and anthropogenic elements affect our climate, and the rising temperatures of the Earth’s atmosphere are responsible for growing sea levels and severe weather patterns. Some scientists suspect natural elements such as solar flares contribute to the Earth’s pollution (Kesba, Mihoubi, & Hebbouche, 2012). Because the sun is a planet in itself, it undergoes weather changes that often lead to its own storms.
Thus, scientists suspect the radiation from the solar flares directly affects the Earth’s temperature. However, critics suggest that solar flares have little to do with global warming. On the other hand, Kesba, Mihoubi, and Hebbouche (2012) have noted anthropogenic elements are caused by humans and are
“a direct or indirect dissemination in the environment of pollutants” (p. 669).
On a daily basis, our everyday activities such as driving, disposing of waste, and heating our homes add to our pollution. Essentially, we have no control over natural phenomena such as the solar flares, but we are in control of our activities, so human habits are directly responsible for global warming.
Conclusive evidence for global warming
We can be certain that global warming is taking place based on the following three elements: 1) In 2012, hurricane Sandy was reported by various news stations to be one of the deadliest storms in our history because of its coverage and speeds; 2) Many states across America have noted that their summers have been growing hotter over years (a result of drastic climate change); and 3) The ices in Antarctica and Greenland have been melting at an alarming rate.
Therefore, based on the influx of severe weather, higher temperatures, and icecaps melting it is apparent that global warming is taking place. Firstly, while certain regions are used to extreme weather conditions, hurricane Sandy was unusually devastating, so there was “likely a connection with the storm track of Sandy and the record loss of Arctic Sea ice this year” (Mulvaney, 2013). In addition, temperatures have increased across the world. Mulvaney (2013) has reported,
“Averaged over all land and ocean surfaces, global mean temperatures have increased by approximately 1.33 degrees Fahrenheit (0.74 degrees Celsius) over the past century” (no pag.). In response to the higher temperatures, Mulvaney (2013) asserted “the Greenland ice sheet vanishes has been halved – reduced by 10,000 years – in just a decade” (no. pag.) and Antarctic Peninsulas’ ice shelves are melting “at a rate more than ten times greater than 600 years ago” (no pag.). Subsequently, all three elements are visible evidence of global warming.
International solutions to climate change
While some critics suggest we are too late, policy makers and scientists have suggested possible mitigation strategies for global warming. As one mitigation strategy, carbon sequestration will potentially decrease the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. For example, we could convert existing farms to forests or wetlands. In the case of land sequestration, the trees could trap the harmful carbon dioxide.
However, land sequestration would take away farmlands that we use to grow essential crops. Therefore, we would have to balance our need for production with sequestration. It seems that water sequestration would be a more viable approach because it is a natural device for trapping carbon dioxide. On the other hand, the aquatic life would suffer, so scientists must take into consideration how to eliminate the negative effects. Some, like Bill Gates, have suggested a socialist approach is the way to go.
In addition to carbon sequestration, another possible strategy would be to develop “clean coal” technologies as well as other forms of clean energy (like wind power). The World Nuclear Association (2013) described clean coal as “economically competitive despite the cost of achieving low, and eventually ‘near-zero’ emissions” (no pag.). Basically, because we use coal as fuel, it is a major factor in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In addition, it is an economically sound measure because this would rely on new factories that would replace the older coal powered stations (The World Nuclear Association, 2013, no pag.). With that in mind, “clean coal” would decrease our dependence on natural resources such as the oceans, so it appears to be the best solution based on the long term.
The Kyoto Protocol – An international effort
In order to stabilize our global climate, developing countries and industrialized countries should take part in the Kyoto Protocol. In the past, policy makers and scientists only regarded industrialized countries such as the United States and large European nations as the largest contributors to global warming. However, it has been found that developing countries are actually responsible as well. While we consider China as a developing country in spite of its population, it is the “first in coal consumption and the number two nation in carbon dioxide emissions” (Braasch, n.d. no pag.).
Thus, this particular nation should be held to stricter standards based on the Kyoto Protocol. Essentially, global warming is a global crisis, so each country should be responsible for using clean coal and carbon sequestration in order to decrease global warming’s impact. Efforts like the Kyoto Protocol and Paris climate talks are just one of the few steps that need to be taken in order to help protect our planet.
In sum, scientists and policy makers have a direct impact on the future of global warming, but it takes human cooperation. Our lifestyles are our habits, and while it is difficult to embrace change, it is for the betterment of our society as a whole. Our Earth has survived many natural catastrophes over the years with its own resources, but it needs human help in order to survive. Fundamentally, if we lose our Earth, we lose our resources and, ultimately, our home.
Kesba, O. K., Mihoubi, M. K., & Hebbouche, A. (2012). Climate change and environmental impact caused by anthropogenic. Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering B, (1934-8932), 668-672.
Mulvaney, K. (2013, April 22). 10 signs climate change Is already happening. Discovery News. Retrieved from http://news.discovery.com/earth/global-warming/10-signs-climate-change-is-already-happening-130422.htm
World Nuclear Association. (2013, April). “Clean coal” technologies, carbon capture & sequestration. World Nuclear Association. Retrieved from http://world-nuclear.org/information-library/energy-and-the-environment/clean-coal-technologies.aspx