The Problem Of Global Warming

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.

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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
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)

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