Past Present And Future Of Global Warming Environmental Sciences Essay
Global warming is progressing, and the possible outcome for the future of humans, plants, and animals is not clear. Climate change is a problem that is affecting people and the environment. Climate change is the direct result of global warming. Climate change affects all: people, plants, and animals. We as people need to display and teach the next generation the choices we all have, to live cleaner, healthier, and longer by keeping our environment and atmosphere clean. Global warming is unquestionably an moral issue, and we must face it as such. That means asking hard questions about responsibility, accountability, and the differences between actions; whether political, economic, or personal..
Greenhouse gases are an important part of life, however the growing concentrate of these gases are causing our life to become extinct. The burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, and the removal of trees over the past 200 years, has caused heat-trapping “greenhouse gases” to increase in our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and other air pollution that is collecting in the atmosphere, like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun’s heat and causing the planet to warm up. Greenhouse gases prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere into space, much like the purpose of the glass panels that construct a greenhouse. Solving global warming will improve our lives by cleaning up air pollution while investing in clean energy, green jobs and smart energy solutions that get the U.S. economy moving again. In our world today, and the technology that is evolving, we all have choices to act ethically. As of today, we have the capability of creating smart cars aiding us to save money on fuel and by building energy efficient homes and offices we are saving money on electric and heating, and by creating better communities and transportation networks that are nonpolluting we are saving our air.
All human beings need to work together to reduce the emission of toxic gases that are killing our atmosphere.
The prospect that humanity will find it harder to grow enough food for the 9 billion humans who are likely to be alive in fifty years' time ought perhaps more than any other prediction to cause developed and developing countries alike to seek strenuously to reduce their production of greenhouse gases in order to mitigate the likelihood of dangerous climate change (Northcott, 2007).
Greenhouse gases are an important part to life as we know it, because they keep the planet's surface warmer than it otherwise would be. However, as these gases continue to increase in our atmosphere, the Earth’s temperature is climbing to all time highs. Human activities are the cause of the changing composition of the atmosphere, and that increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases will change the planet's climate. They are still not certain by how much the climate will change, the speed of the change, or the end results of the effects. Countries in the North, especially the United States, are some of the biggest carbon dioxide polluters, but the burden of disease resulting from climate change is likely to be felt by the world's poorest people, mostly in the South. Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you. (Chinese Ancient Ought).
The United States make up just 4 percent of the world's population. The U.S. produces 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning. It is the largest of any country. The United States releases more carbon dioxide than China, India and Japan, combined. (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2010). More than half the energy-related emissions come from large stationary sources such as power plants, while about a third comes from transportation. Industrial processes, agriculture, forestry, other land use, and waste management are also contributors in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The latest greenhouse gas inventory shows that in 2008 the U.S. emitted slightly less than 7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases, a million metric tons of CO2 equivalents (MMTCO2e) is roughly equal to the annual GHG emissions of an average U.S. power plant (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2010).
According to NOAA and NASA data, the Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 1.2 to 1.4ºF in the last 100 years (2010). The eight warmest years on record (since 1850) have all occurred since 1998, with the warmest year being 2005. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2010). “If greenhouse gases continue to increase, climate models predict that the average temperature at the Earth's surface could increase from 3.2 to 7.2ºF above 1990 levels by the end of this century” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2010).
Man induced global warming is not just hurting the human culture. The result of climate change affects innocent animals and agriculture as well. Sea ice is decreasing, sea levels are rising, and the growth of essential food for sea life creatures is diminishing throughout the Arctic range due to climate change. Increasing global temperatures are expected to disrupt ecosystems, pushing to extinction those species that cannot adapt. The first comprehensive assessment of the extinction risk from global warming found that more than 1 million species could be obliterated by 2050 if the current trajectory continues. Recent studies indicate that with the frequency increasing creating heat stress causing droughts and floods having a negative effect on crop production and livestock. This is especially the case for life sectors at low latitudes. Climate inconsistency and increases the risk of fires, pest and pathogen outbreak, producing a negative effect on our food and forest. Climate change is a problem that is affecting people and the environment. Climate change affects all: people, plants, and animals. Human health can be affected directly and indirectly by climate change through extreme periods of heat and cold, storms, and climate-sensitive diseases such as malaria, and smog episodes.
Most agricultural impact studies have measured the effects of one or two aspects of climate change on a particular farming activity. However, only few have considered the full set of predictable shifts and their impact on agricultural production across the country. An increase in average temperature can lengthen the growing season in regions with a relatively cool spring and fall. In regions where summer heat already limits production of crops, the temperature increase can unfavorably affect the crops production also increase soil evaporation rates, and increase the chances of severe droughts.
Changes in rainfall can affect soil erosion rates and soil moisture, both of which are important for crop production. The IPCC predicts that precipitation will increase in higher latitudes, and decrease in most subtropical land regions; some by as much as 20 percent. While regional precipitation will vary, the number of extreme precipitation events is predicted to increase. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, driven by emissions from human activities, can act as a fertilizer and enhance the growth of some crops such as wheat, rice and soybeans. Carbon dioxide can be one of a number of limiting factors that, when increased, can enhance crop growth. Other limiting factors include water and nutrient availability. While it is expected that carbon dioxide fertilization will help the production of some crops, other characteristics of climate change, temperature and precipitation changes, may prevent any beneficial carbon dioxide fertilization effect.
Higher levels of ground level ozone limit the growth of crops. Since ozone levels in the lower atmosphere are shaped by both emissions and temperature, climate change will most likely increase ozone concentrations. Such changes may offset any beneficial production effects that result from elevated carbon dioxide levels. Changes in the frequency and severity of heat waves, drought, floods and hurricanes, remain a key uncertainty in future climate change. Such changes are expected by global climate models, but regional changes and the potential effects on agriculture are more difficult to forecast.
The Federal government has established voluntary and incentive programs to reduce emissions and has created other programs to promote climate technology and science. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plays a significant role in helping the Federal government reduce greenhouse gas emissions and greenhouse gas intensity.
“Greater energy efficiency and new technologies hold promise for reducing greenhouse gases.”(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2010) Scientists are trying to acquire a better understanding for future climate change and how the effects will vary by region. Climate change is already occurring, recorded changes are sea level rise, shrinking glaciers, changes in the range and distribution of plants and animals, trees blooming earlier, lengthening of growing seasons, ice on rivers and lakes freezing later and breaking up earlier. Another question being studied is how will societies and the environment become accustomed to or survive with climate change.
Scientists in the U.S. believe most areas will continue to warm, and some will warm more than others. It is difficult to determine the regions that will become wetter or drier. Scientists expect increased precipitation and evaporations, and drier soil in the middle parts of the country; Alaska and Northern regions expect to experience the most warming. Current rates of sea-level rise are expected to increase as a result both of thermal growth of the oceans and melting of most mountain glaciers and partial melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Consequences of this melting include the loss of coastal wetlands and barrier islands, and a greater risk of flooding in coastal communities. Low-lying areas, such as the coastal region along the Gulf of Mexico and estuaries (section of a river meeting the sea) like the Chesapeake Bay, are especially vulnerable. Arctic sea ice level set an all-time record low in September 2007, with almost half a million square miles less ice than the previous record set in September 2005, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (2010). Over the past 3 decades, more than a million square miles of perennial sea ice -- an area the size of Norway, Denmark and Sweden combined -- has disappeared (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2010).
We as humans sharing this planet need to share in the responsibility of keeping it healthy, we all have choices to choose. The government has and is still keeping it possible for us to act ethically and save our environment. Technologies exist today, making cleaner running cars that burn less gas, modernize power plants and generate electricity from sources that are nonpolluting. Other acts that are simple and easy to demonstrate are: changing the light bulbs in home or office to energy efficient light bulbs, properly inflating tires, cut down energy use by having heating and cooling devices serviced annually, also seal and insulate your home. Until we find a solution for global warming we need to make widespread knowledge. It will not go away if people believe that it does not exist. We are the cause of global warming so we must take action against it. If it is ignored than the effects could be horrifying for all. Decisions, of course, are not matters of science, but of ethics. To decide, we consider the harms and benefits of our actions, understanding in this case that our actions will restrict the choices of our young: carbon dioxide lasts a long time in the atmosphere, climate change takes a long time to occur, and loss of species diversity is permanent on human time scales.