One of the controversial issues in the United States in particular and in the world in general is global warming. A polemic has been going on whether the concept of global warming is real or not, and some believe that the phenomenon is caused by human activities while other denies that assertion. Whether we believe in it or not, global warming is now a well known concept in our society. Encyclopedia Britannica states that global warming is “an increase in the global average surface temperature resulting from an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide, methane, and certain other trace gases in the atmosphere.
” In a simple version, the planet temperature is rising due to chemical reactions occurring in the nature. Is this assertion true? And what are the factors that favor the happening of chemical reactions? Although the Earth’s temperature increase is a natural phenomenon, several other catalyzers participate to speed up the natural reaction, including human activity. According to Global Warming Newspaper Archives, tens of thousands years ago, the Earth was covered by a layer of ice, and that time was called the “Ice Age.
” As the planet temperature began to rise, the whole layer of ice disappeared giving place to the “Little Ice Age” characterized by extreme cold and harsh conditions in poles and in uplands. The French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptist Joseph Fourier was the first to introduce the concept of global warming in 1824 when he noticed that the planet temperature was increasing. Fourier brought up the “Greenhouse effect” theory which explains how “carbon dioxide traps heat in the Earths atmosphere” (Global Warming Newspaper Archives).
In 1950, Guy Stewart Callendar the British engineer supported the “greenhouse effect” and warned about the seriousness of global warming which led to the beginning of the environmental activism. Several predictions on the future of the Earth came up pushing the United Nations to hold an environmental conference in 1992 where countries were asked to engage themselves to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Since the effects of the 1992 Conference weren’t significant, the United Nations created the Kyoto Protocol the first international commitment to fight against global warming.
125 countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but the United States the world largest greenhouse gases producer never signed for the global climate treaty. Global warming is a well understood concept because it is a reality. The change of the average weather condition of the planet in a long period of time is a strong indicator of the global warming phenomenon. This change usually concerns the temperature in particular, sea level, and natural phenomena in the second place.
In the American Meteorological Society Bulletin, an Arctic sea ice extend average chart shows that from 1961 to 1990, for July-September and April-June, the ice extend has decreased. These periods correspond to the hottest period of the year. However, for October to December and January-March, the ice extend did not change even tough it had been subject of fluctuation over the years. The decreased of ice extend in the two first time period proves that the ice in the Arctic sea is melting. Scientifically, a material change is state from solid to liquid if it is exposed to an increase of ambient temperature.
Another chart from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report shows the global average temperature of -0. 3 degree Celsius in 1850 and 14. 5 degree Celsius in 2000; the global average sea level of -125 millimeters in 1870 and 55 millimeters in 2000. The same chart also shows the decrease of Northern hemisphere snow cover from 37 million of kilometer square in 1925 to 35 million of kilometer square in 2000. These results clearly shows that the world is warmer than before, pole ice is melting, and sea level is going up shrinking at the same time the area of the living ground.
Global warming is a reality daily noticeable. After recognizing the existence of global warming, many people believe that human activities are the main cause of the whole situation. According to MacMillan Social Science Library global warming is characterized by the fact that “certain gases trap heat from the sun in the earths atmosphere through a process known as the greenhouse effect which occurs naturally. ” The greenhouse effect is a cyclic process that allows the Earth to stay warm and livable for beings when occurring naturally.
It becomes a problem when human activities such as burning of hydrocarbons, use of chemical fertilizers, and decomposition of certain waste material pollute the atmosphere and increased the volume of greenhouse gases. Since the industrialization era started, human had been producing waste, and gases through his factories. The emission of gases is more observable in industrialized countries. Gases liberated in the atmosphere by the industries participate in the greenhouse gases scenario. The most known greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and water vapor.
The carbon dioxide is known as a gas that absorbs infrared radiation. An increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to more energy absorption and accompany with an increase in planet’s temperature. According to the article “How Global Warming”, The World Watch Institute affirms that the world carbon dioxide emissions have increased from 1 billion tons in 1900 to 7 billion tons in 1995. The result of that is the increase of the Earth temperature from 14. 5 degrees Celsius in 1860 to 15. 3 degrees Celsius in 1985.
Nitrous oxide produces by fertilizers and methane gas result of waste decomposition have the same energy absorbing quality as the carbon dioxide. Although humans don’t produce a huge amount of nitrous oxide, methane gas is abundantly produced on Earth. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a chart in page 15 of the report presents the increased of the methane emissions from 750 ppb in 1900 to 1750 ppb in 2000 (“Climate Change 2007”). These indicators significantly accredit the fact that mankind activities gravely impact the global warming effect.
Some people don’t believe that global warming is real. The skeptics of global warming say that the increase of the world temperature as an argument in favor of pro global warming is a fallacy, because global warming is a natural phenomenon. So, global warming is not an environmental problem. The fact that scientists don’t have a consensus on global warming issue entertains the polemic. “The IPCC report is not evidence of a scientific consensus on global warming” (“Global Warming is Not a Serious Threat”).
The Heartland Institute a con global warming organization says that “NASA released a study in October 2007 demonstrating that the recent decline in Arctic sea ice is due to unusual localized wind patterns rather than global warming ” (Taylor). It means that the predictions and results on the gravity of global warming are not true because an official report of the NASA contradicts former assertion. Heartland Institute even affirms that “The December 2005 issue of Journal of Glaciology reports that the Greenland ice sheet is growing rather than shrinking” (Taylor).
For con global warming, the topic is still a theory; it is not a fact yet because scientific research shows the contradiction on the subject. Global warming is not caused by human activities. Environmentalists have exaggerated the dangers of fossil fuels use predicting the “apocalypse. ” Global warming advocates utilize the topic for political reasons. In the United Kingdom, Al Gore “An Inconvenient Truth” is banned from school projection without disclaimer because of misleading and factual errors contain in the film. The British High Court believes that the film is too partisan and political.
Jonathan Adler in False Apocalypse says that “William Gray of Colorado State University, one of the foremost hurricane experts in the world, insists that any increase in hurricane activity during the last few years is the result of natural variability, not human-induced climate change. ” Those who believe that hurricanes are the result of global warming can learn that human activities have nothing to do with what happened in New Orleans, in Florida or in Texas. Natural disasters occurring in these days are not related to global warming; instead, they are inexplicable and remain a mystery since their causes are natural.
Most of the scientific predictive effects of global warming did not occur. For instance, in 1995, Robert Shope, a virologist and director of Yale University Arbovirus Research Unit predicted an epidemical spread of yellow fever and cholera in North America due to temperature risings (Taubes). This disaster never happened even though the world temperature has risen. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveals that human activities are the cause of an excessive amount of greenhouse gases release in the atmosphere; instead, Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, researchers from the George C.
Marshall Institute say that “Most of the warming of the last 100 years has natural causes as its explanation. ` This is another board of researchers which confirms that the heating of the blue planet is not due to human activities, but by natural phenomena. President Bill Clinton says, “The overwhelming balance of evidence and scientific opinion is that it is no longer a theory but now a fact that global warming is for real. ` Base on different arguments from pro and con global warming “theory”, one can understand that pro global warming arguments weigh than con’s opinions.
The fact that global warming skeptics acknowledge the existence of global warming is an important sign of the reality of the problem. Their arguments to prove that global warming does not exist are not convincing, and moreover they are based on refutation of pro global warming ideas. Global warming advocates clearly explain the correlation between the Earth’s temperature increase and human being actions. Before the industrial era, the world was less polluted than it is now. Emission of gases and decomposition of waste gravely pollute the atmosphere.
The result of it is hotter summers, lesser snow in winters, and sometimes unpredictable weather especially here in the Metropolitan Area. Furthermore, car engine emission and inspection procedures have been put in place in order to reduce pollution which indicates that the government is aware of the fact that global warming is caused by human activities. The green seal logo is now given to business organizations that respect and practice waste recycling. This demarche shows the overwhelming concern for human’s survival in a planet in danger.
Global warming is real for global warming advocates, and it is a misleading notion for con global warming advocates. Arguments from both sides of the aisle lead to a convincing opinion from global warming advocates. The world is confronted to a major menace called global warming; it is a global warning for humanity to consider the danger of the phenomenon and to get ready to fight it by reducing our waste, recycling in a daily basis, and to come up with an appropriate energy consuming policy that will help to keep our world safer and livable for future generations.
Courtney from Study Moose
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