Global Warming/ The Problem Of Global Warming term paper 10127

Global Warming term papers
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The Problem of Global Warming

First discovered at the turn of the century by the Swedish scientist Arrhenius, global warming was initially thought to only cause increased greenhouse gases from coal combustion emissions. It wasn’t until fifty years later that the real causes and effects of global warming would be discovered. A British scientist by the name of Calendar correlated the 10% increase of atmospheric Carbon Dioxide between 1850 and 1940 with the observed warming of northern Europe and North America, which began in the 1880's. As for the cause of global warming, scientists generally believe that both the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide. Human activities such as the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas contribute heavily to global warming. Other major causes include deforestation, methane gas emissions, and the release of nitrous oxide chemicals into the atmosphere. The gasses are released primarily by rice cultivation, cattle and livestock populations, gas pipelines, and landfills. Deforestation is a big problem as far as global warming because trees remove Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere, but release large quantities when burned. Methane gas emissions contribute because they are trapped in the earth’s atmosphere and reflect light, which is usually released in a clean, healthy atmosphere. The energy burned to run cars and trucks, heat homes and businesses, and power factories is responsible for about eighty percent of society's carbon dioxide emissions, about twenty-five percent of U.S. methane emissions, and about twenty percent of global nitrous oxide emissions.

The evidence of global warming has been a care and concern of many over the past couple of decades. Along with this increase in the global heat index, predicted to occur within the next half century are dangerously high levels of pollution and added water in global waters, increased pestilence and disease, large quantities of killed fish due to polluted waters, and the entire depletion of many global ecosystems. Although it seems far off for us, the ecological and economic impact on future generations could be catastrophic. Plant respiration and the decomposition of such organic matter release more than ten times the Carbon Dioxide than is released by human activities. The earth is only equipped to deal with the Carbon Dioxide that is a result of photosynthesis, and any amount left gets recirculated in the atmosphere and collects, which has led to the destruction of the Ozone layer of the atmosphere. What has changed in the last few hundred years is the additional release of carbon dioxide by human activities. Global warming will also have a drastic impact on the fish population and other aquatic species in two senses. Oceans and lakes around the world may become too warm for the fish that currently inhabit those areas, and at the same time warmer temperatures may also enable fish in cold waters to grow more rapidly. Adding to that effect, the pollution in the water as a result of lowered oxygen levels and lower water levels overall to wash out the pollutants. The result of these two detrimental impacts is the eventual population drop and possible extinction of many aquatic species. And if the drastic temperature fluctuation in the water doesn’t devastate the fish population, the pollution content will. Salinity levels in the oceans are expected to drop to alarming levels, as is average water level. This should be among the top concerns of global governments, but they feel that since it does not impact human life directly, it is not as important.

A major question on the minds of top governmental officials around the world is if the problem is on a large enough scale to be considered a national security problem. According to top researchers, the answer is yes. Global warming is predicted to change climates so drastically that future storms will be less frequent, but much more severe, costly, and devastating to those that are hit. A current example can be seen in the wake of Hurricane Floyd where hundreds of thousands of livestock were killed by floods and are now decomposing out in the open. As a result, widespread disease and infestations are predicted to occur and possibly run rampant through the eastern seaboard. This means an increase in the number of deaths and overall cost of the disaster, which happened to be the most powerful hurricane on modern record. Further research on the area’s weather patterns where the hurricane occurred, showed a prodigious increase of atmospheric pressure and climate in comparison to previous hurricane seasons. Putting two and two together, one can assume that these are the preliminary effects of global warming and that they will only intensify with time. The cost of these hurricanes is almost as severe as the tangible damage itself. A significant increase in annual natural disaster cost jumped from an average of $1.8 billion in the eighties to over $10 billion in the nineties. Along with those costs just to the U.S., economies that heavily rely upon tourism as a means of financial support such as the Caribbean, have experienced heavy loses averaging around $12 billion per year as a result of shifting weather patterns due to global warming. As for measures taken in the interest of national security, the Clinton Administration is actively engaging the private sector, states, and localities in partnerships based on a win-win philosophy and aimed at addressing the challenge of global warming while, at the same time, strengthening the economy.At the global level, countries around the world have expressed a firm commitment to strengthening international responses to the risks of climate change. The U.S. is working to strengthen international action and broaden participation under the auspices of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

I am in complete agreement with the statement,” Threats to global life systems such as global warming, ozone depletion, and the loss of forests, are just as important to the future of humankind as the threat of a nuclear catastrophe.” I say this because a nuclear accident is nothing in comparison to global warming on a time scale. We have had numerous nuclear accidents such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Russia, and countless others both at sea and in the air. In the wake of all those catastrophes, a satisfactory clean-up has resulted. That is the difference between a nuclear accident and global warming, an accident can be fixed, a long term change in a force that was here long before us cannot simply be fixed. Global warming will only cease if all production and pollution is halted and the atmosphere is able to recover naturally. In the age of industry and production, that will never happen. True, our global societies have made efforts to reduce pollution, make production methods more efficient, and attempt to clean up whatever messes are made.

Concluding, global societies went tool long without caring for it to have a drastic impact today. Global warming is already on course to have a devastating impact on human life on earth, as we know it. Premature efforts of earth’s preservation such as recycling and reducing consumption, have proven to be productive but not as impactful as initially hoped. The only way that global warming can be held at bay is everyone on the planet stopped using polluting products, producing waste, and overconsuming earth’s natural resources. But since that is almost impossible, global warming is something that we as a people are going to have to learn how to deal with because the problem will only garner with time. New and more efficient programs need to be developed as well as alternate methods of energy production because the methods now are not efficient enough to be able to cut pollution and waste by a significant amount. Possibly over time, such changes can be made and goals achieved so that we can live in a cleaner, healthier world.

Bibliography

Works Cited

Cowie, J. (1998). Climate and Human Change: Disaster or Opportunity? New York: Parthenon Publishing

Fleagle, R.G. (1994) Global Environment Change Westport: Praeger Publishing

World Wide Fund for Nature homepage. Articles written by WWF staff and AP (updated October 13, 1999: site visited October 13, 1999, (Http://www.Panda.org)]

United States Environmental Protection Agency homepage. Written by EPA staff [updated April 21, 1998: visited October 12, 1999, (Http://www.epa.gov)]

Word Count: 1315

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