Global Warming-Possible Courses of Individual Action
What is a Greenhouse? A greenhouse is a building that gardeners use so that they can grow plants during all seasons of the year. The key to a greenhouse is that is allows sunlight in but then traps that energy inside of the building. The glass windows are designed so that the excess heat and light from the sun cant escape. The planet Earth is like a giant greenhouse and the atmosphere around our Earth is like the windows on a traditional greenhouse. This is great because it keeps our planet warm but it also has the potential to be very bad if to much heat is capture by the atmosphere around our planet.
The Planet Venus The planet Venus has an atmosphere just like we have here on Earth. The only difference is they have a lot more greenhouse gases in their atmosphere because of the large amount of volcanic activity they have on the planet. The average temperature on Venus is 864 degrees Fahrenheit. So where do greenhouse gasses come from?
Hottest Years on Record 2010 2005 1998 2003 2002 2006 2009 2007 2004 2012 These are the hottest years in the last 200 years. (National Weather Services, 2009)
Global Warming Humans are the Cause 2,500 scientists from 130 countries filed a collective report on climate change at its core was the idea that humans were the cause of climate change. Industrialization, deforestation, and pollution have greatly increased atmospheric concentrations of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, all greenhouse gases that help trap heat near Earth's surface. Humans are pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere much faster than plants and oceans can absorb it. These gases persist in the atmosphere for years, meaning that even if such emissions were eliminated today, it would not immediately stop global warming.
Ocean Levels on the Rise From 1900-2000 the temperature of the Earth went up by an average of 1-1.5 degrees. This caused oceans to rise by a half of a foot. This doesnt sound to bad. Heres the problem the rate of temperature increase is going up faster. Most of the hottest years on records where in the late 90s. What happens if the temperature goes up by 7-10 degrees as scientists estimate it might? At this current rate most of New York City would be covered by 2-3 feet of water by the year 2100 Population of New York City 8.5 Million People
The Good-Benefits of Global Warming The Bring on the Heat Attitude Harsh Utah Winters could use a little heat Global Warming and Cooling are natural cyclical events.
Vegetation Influx Increasing greenhouse levels may boost production of wheat, fruits, rice, and soybeans. Producing up to a 25% increase in overall seed weight. (Curtis, 2002 National Geographic News)
Rainforest Vegetation Increase Owing to the added sunshine, photosynthesis has been rampant, the Amazons increased growth rate has accounted for 42% of the global vegetation in recent years. (Schimel, 2003 National Geographic News) Australia, India, and southern Africa have experienced increased plant production over the past several decades. (Schimel, 2003 National Geographic News)
Economic Downfall Economically speaking a serious address of global warming would require billions of dollars. Global warming solutions would likely cause an increase in unemployment, so by not accepting global warming as a viable threat it saves tax payers money.
Messing with the Environment Tinkering with the Earths climate could have unforeseen problems. (Example of the cheese loving king and the mice) (Weaver, 2006 Climate Scientist) In the book, a cheese-loving kings castle is infested with mice. So the king brings in cats to get rid of the mice. Then the castles overrun with cats, so he brings in dogs to get rid of them, then lions to get rid of the dogs, elephants to get rid of the lions, and finally, mice to get rid of the elephants
Unknown Effects of Possible Solutions Mankind has already harmed Earths climate inadvertently, so its foolish to think that people can now fix it with a few drastic measures. (Trenberth, 2006 National Center for Atmospheric Research)
The Bad-Detriments of Global Warming Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia, average temperatures have increased as much as 3 to 4 degrees (Celsius) in the past 50 years, nearly twice the global average. Temperatures are projected to rise 5 to 7 degrees (Celsius) in the next 100 years. The rising temperatures are likely to cause the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet which could raise the worldwide sea level by 23 feet as early as 2099. (Artic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004) Sea Turtles Effected by Global Warming Sea Turtles Effected by Global Warming
Land Based Ice Melting If half of Greenland and half of the West Antarctica ice sheet broke up and melted then the water globally would be raised by 20 feet or more. Imagine the world-wide impact that having millions of refugees displaced would have. (Hurricane Katrina displaced hundreds of thousands) The polar ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting 3 times faster then they were in 1990. (USA Today 2012) Arctic Ice is rapidly disappearing an the Arctic could have its first ice free summer by the year 2040. (National Geographic)
Greenland Melting Tony Blairs scientific advisor has stated The recent melting of Greenlands Ice Sheet is so severe that the maps of the world will have to be re-drawn. If Greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked the areas of New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Belgium, Calcutta, Netherlands, Beijing and Miami (just to name a few) could easily go the way of the fabled City of Atlantis.
European-Ice Age Thermo-Haline circulation is driven by differences in density of sea water. Historically this circulation brings warm, salty water to the North Atlantic, where it is cooled and sinks. This newly formed cooler sea water is then exported southward. This ocean circulation pattern which brings warm water northward and ships cold water south is thought to be responsible for the warming of Northern Europe by several degrees. If you stop this process by the addition of melting fresh water you stop the conveyor that brings warm water north and subsequently there would be a cooling of Northern Europe. (Peterson, 2004 University of Colorado)
On the left is a photograph of Muir Glacier taken on August 13 th, 1941. On the right, a photograph from the same vantage point taken on August 31 st, 2004. Between 1941 and 2004 the glacier has retreated 7 miles and thinned by more then 800 meters. Ocean water has now filled the valley where Muir Glacier was once located.
Gigantic Species Decline Possible By 2050, rising temperatures exacerbated by human-induced belches of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could send more then a million of Earths land- dwelling plants and animals down the road to extinction. (Roach, 2004 National Geographic News)
Climate Change Endangers Common Species About 50 percent of plants and 1/3 of animals are likely to vanish from half of the places they are now found by 2080. This would lead to local extinctions of species. In many cases these shifts are likely to cause extinctions as warming temperatures force animals and plants to move to points beyond which they cannot go. The losses are likely to be particularly severe in Central and South America, Australia, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. (Rachel Warren-Climate Change Researcher 2013)
The Bad-Detriments of Global Warming Review Increased Melting of land based ice causing entire cities to be flooded European Ice Age Plant and Animal Extinction up to 1 million species. Increasing Ocean Temperatures produce larger and more destructive hurricanes. Obviously most of these detriments are based upon scientific conjecture and based upon a worse case scenario but the data should be alarming.
The Ugly-The Publicized and Political View of Global Warming
Medias Influence Peer Reviewed Scientific Articles Reviewed-928 Percent of those articles which questioned the source of global warming and conjectured that it was not caused by human activity 0% Articles in the Popular Press regarding global warming-636 Percent of those articles which questioned the source of global warming and conjectured that it was not caused by human activity 53% (Science Magazine, 2006)
Changes in Global Warming could effect Global Economics Policy changes and switching to renewable resources could cause un-employment rates to rise It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. -Upton Sinclair
Political Quotes on Global Warming Global Warming is too serious for the world any longer to ignore its danger or split into opposing factions on it. (Tony Blair, 2005) Some of the scientists, I believe, havent they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming? Theres a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think its best to have the full accounting, full understanding of whats taking place. (George W. Bush, 2000) Two thousand scientists, in a hundred countries, engaged in the most elaborate, well organized scientific collaboration in the history of humankind, have produced long-since a consensus that we will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming. (Al Gore, 2005)
Kyoto Protocol The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol now covers more than 160 countries globally The protocol outlined that countries that ratified it would reduce their greenhouse emissions by an average of 5.2% below their 1990 levels The objective of the protocol is the stabilization of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
United States after Kyoto Rejection Much of the responsibility for controlling greenhouse emissions has fallen upon communities and states rather then a national policy. Hundreds of towns, cities, and communities in the United States have at the local level committed to uphold the Kyoto Protocol. Global warming its causes and effects are sure to be a controversial, yet important topic for the upcoming presidential election.
Energy Source and Emissions are Important Topics Locally as Well
Logan City-No More Coal Logan City Mayor Randy Watts reaction after council members rejected a bill that would authorize the use of more coal power plants. Now its a crapshoot. We dont even have the cards. Were waiting for someone to hand us the dice and roll them. The council doesnt have to sit through the rigors of running a city. I think its irresponsible to fully move into the realm of the unknown. Possible sources of power discussed were geothermal, wind, solar, and hydroelectric.
Logans Current Sources for Power 52.5 % Coal (Most of Utah gets as much as eighty four percent of their energy from coal) 5.2 % Natural Gas.8% Wind 21.9 % Hydro-electricity 19.7% Other (Pool power purchased through contracts) (Herald Journal, 2007)
Scientific Consensus The future is by in large in our hands we can choose between a modest warming and a radical warming. (Michael Oppenheimer, 2006 Princeton University Instructor) I think that the greatest tragedy in the world would be to realize that we have enough intellect and enough technology to save ourselves from a killer asteroid but not enough intellect to save ourselves from ourselves. (Neil Tyson, 2006 American Museum of Natural History)
……..Scientific Consensus Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical, and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problems…… -Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow (Science August 2004)
What can we do individually? Change a light: Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Drive Less: Walk, bike, carpool or take metro transit more often. Youll save one pound of carbon dioxide for every mile you dont drive. Recycle More: You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by recycling just half of your household waste. Check Your Tires: Keeping your tires inflated properly can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Use Less Hot Water: It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Use less hot water by installing a low-flow showerhead (350 pounds of CO2 saved per year and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year)
What can we do individually? Avoid Products with a lot of Packaging: You can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide if you cut down your garbage by 10% Adjust your thermostat: Moving your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer could save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year Plant a Tree: A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime Turn off Electronic Devices: Simply turning off your television, DVD player, stereo, and computer when youre not using them will save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Be part of the Solution: Learn more about global warming and help educate your friends and family. (Solutions provided in part by http://www.climatecrisis.net)http://www.climatecrisis.net
Stephen Hawkings View We have to reverse global warming urgently if we still can. The earth is in much more danger from human action then from natural disasters. This is not a prediction of doom but a wake up call. We have to recognize the dangers and control them. I am an optimist and I believe we can.
Dilemma Question: What course of action if any should the United States now take with regards to global warming? Furthermore should this course of action be handled at the national or state level? Carbon Footprint Global Warming Whats the Worst that could Happen? Global Warming Whats the Worst that could Happen?