Environmental Science and Ethics: Global Warming
Environmental Science and Ethics: Global Warming
Global Warming can be defined as the continuous rising of temperature of the globe. This phenomenon is brought about by the greenhouse gases that rise into the atmosphere. The gases are trapped within the atmosphere by the sun’s energy. The build up of these gases had caused the globe to warm-up. National Resource Defence Council had noted that that over the 50 years the average global temperature has increased in a very fast rate and according to scientists, this would continue still in the future. It has been further analyzed that average temperature in the United States would increase 3 to 9 degrees higher at the end of the century.
Future predictions from the Environmental Protection Agency of America reveal that the world would experience increasingly hot summers and intense thunderstorms. As stated above, the cause of Global Warming is the greenhouse gases. According to the website, timeforchange. com, the major natural greenhouse gases are water vapour Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Ozone. When sunlight reaches the earth’s atmosphere, it is absorbed and it warms the earth. Most of the heat is enclosed in the atmosphere at a longer time than the sunlight. This in turn creates the warming effect around the globe.
The greenhouse gases acts like a reflector of heat radiation to the Earth’s atmosphere. Investigation of experts show that the higher the concentration of greenhouse gases, the higher would be the heat reflected to the Earth’s atmosphere. The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) shows that Carbon Dioxide is one of the major contributors of the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere which causes around 9 to 26%. Coal burning power plants are stated as the largest source of Carbon Dioxide in the United States. Carbon Dioxide produced every year is 2.
5 billion tons every year. Automobiles are the second largest source which produces 1. 5 billion tons every year. Based on statistics from NRDC, the largest source of global warming pollution is the United States. Creating a ratio and proportion examination, Americans are 4 percent of the world’s population. However, the United States contributes 25% of the Carbon Dioxide pollution in the atmosphere. Comparing numbers, 4% of the people in the globe produce a quarter of the pollutants. This only shows that control is necessary in this particular area.
Further investigating the phenomenon, there are four major effects of Global Warming. These are climate pattern changes, health effects, warming water and ecosystem disruption. Average warmer temperatures rises as a result, the frequency of heat waves rises. The probability of having drought and wildfire also increases. The warmer temperature results to a higher rate of evaporation during the seasons of summer and fall. As evidence, there has been a recorded drought in the years 1999 to 2002. This has been noted as one of the widespread droughts in the last 40 years.
Another is that the Firefighting expenditures have consistently increased by $1 billion per year. Heated climates cause heat waves and the heat waves result in heat related deaths. In the year 2003, an estimate of 35,000 lives were claimed by heat waves in Europe. It can be further noted that the temperature had reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature had not changed for two weeks. Aside from the heat waves, the heat had also caused increased in weed growth wherein the pollen triggers allergies and causes asthma. Mosquitoes can further survive because of the increase in temperature.
Mosquitoes carryng dengue viruses and Malaria can survive in elevations as high as 7,200 feet in Colombia. The warming of water had caused more powerful and dangerous hurricanes according to the NRDC. As explained by the council, warmer water in the oceans drives more energy into tropical storms. This in turn causes the storms to become more destructive and intense. As evidence, the number of storms within the category of 4 and 5 had increased in the last 35 years. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season had shown a record of 27 storms where 15 of the storms had become hurricanes.
Another is Hurricane Katrina that had happened in the year 2005. The melting of glaciers and ice thaw is also an effect of the warming water. Ski Resorts in the Alps as per Cline (2005) had all increased elevations and some ski resorts should not be opened because of the line of snow reliability had increased. Further elevation of snow is needed in order to operate a ski resort. The Ecosystem shifts and some of the species die. As a result of the warmer temperature, some of the species in the ecosystem die because the species cannot adopt to the warmer climate.
As per NRDC, there are more than one million species that would be extinct in the year 2050 because of global warming. The most possible ecosystems that would be affected are thouse in the Alps, the tropical mountains and the mangrove forests. The warmer temperature and rise in the sea level would not be able to support the ecosystems in the near future. There had been several solutions that had been several solutions that had been enumerated by the National Resource Defense Council. These are to save energy using appliances that has the energy star level on it.
By being able to save energy, this may have an effect in the energy produced by the coal burning power plants. Another possible solution is the modification of vehicles which are the second largest contributor of the greenhouse gases. The fuel burning models of to-date would be modified by the fuel cell technology cars that would be introduced in the next twenty years. This does not only concern vehicles but also aircrafts. There has been a study from the NRDC that the airline industry seeks information on algae-based fuel and biobutanol, which can be made from sugar, beets, corn, wheat and straw.
Last solution that can be noted in the report of the NRDC is the burying of coal underground. The United States is looking at future prospects of converting coal into a clear burning gas and capturing Carbon Dioxide. The Carbon Dioxide would then be buried underground to prevent it from being released to the atmosphere. Looking at the effects of the global warming to the environment, it is only right to have laws and further investigate the matter. However, there are some who use this global phenomenon as a means to gain fame, money, grants and chances for a better life.
Driessen (2007) had shown the different angles that can be illustrated because of the global warming phenomenon. The main topic of his article shows that the issue of global warming had caused alarm however it had also helped produced financial and political incentives. It has been shown in the article that the some scientists had used the study of global warming to improve their chances of getting research grants and foundations in companies, foundations and the government.
Politicians gain credentials because they had put in interest in global warming. They had put their pork barrels into projects that would promote ethical planetary protection. Driessen (2007) had stressed that corporate responsibility was promoted by some politicians. There are several actions that were supposed to be negated but instead are praised by the people because the consequences of actions that had been taken by the politicians are not shown at present. The effects of their actions can only be seen in the long run.
The politicians had cemented their relationships with the environmentalists because of the environmental protection projects that they had attributed in lieu of global warming. Another group that had benefited from the global warming phenomenon are the environmentalists. Driessen (2007) had taken note of the manipulation of the environmental activists that had led them to use the global warming situation to raise funds. It had become a strategy for these groups to have control over a global resource through the use of laws, treaties, regulation and pressure campaigns.
Environmental Defense of the government had blamed the warming of the environment to the situation brought about by the increasing cases of disease such as malaria. Looking at this angle closely, the environmental defense could have made preventive measures like fumigation in order to kill the mosquitoes that cause these diseases instead of blaming the climate. There are also some companies that may use the situation to further advertise their product which shows a self-interest in the business.
According to an issue in New York Times by Revkin last 2005, the Bush Administration had made several notations on the notes about the climate changes. It was shown in the article that several officials in the government had manipulated the data about the climate because of the fact that America has been showing a very large contribution in the global warming phenomenon. In order to save face, the government had tried to change the readings in the climate. Thus, there were several incidents that showed that these were covered up by the government officials in the white house.
Ethically speaking, as inhabitants of the Earth, the people must concentrate on solving the problem of global warming and not on focusing on things that are just for show. Some may show that they are doing a particular thing to save the planet but if the deed is analyzed more closely, it was being done in order to benefit on what they can get out of the people who would believe on their actions. Global Warming is a very serious topic and it needs every person’s cooperation in order to put things in order.
Being able to create projects and research that help investigate global warming is not enough. What is important in the issue of Global Warming is the actions that each and every one would do to prevent further damage of the phenomenon to the environment.
REFERENCES Revkin, A. (2005). Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming. New York Times. 8 June 2005. Retrieved last January 15, 2008 from http://www. nytimes. com/2005/06/08/politics/08climate. html? pagewanted=1&_r=1 Driessen, P. (2007) Global Warming, Ethics, Pork and Profits. Canada Free Press.
27 September 2007. Retrieved last January 15, 2008 from http://www. canadafreepress. com/2007/driessen020707. htm Time for Change (2007). Cause and Effect of Global Warming. Retrieved last January 16, 2007 from http://timeforchange. org/cause-and-effect-for-global-warming National Resource Defense Council. (2007). Global Warming Basics. NRDC: The Earth’s Best Defense. 9 February 2007. Retrieved last January 17, 2008 from http://www. nrdc. org/globalWarming/f101. asp National Resource Defense Council. (2007). Solving Global Warming it can be done.
NRDC: The Earth’s Best Defense. 9 February 2007. Retrieved last January 17, 2008 from http://www. nrdc. org/globalWarming/solutions/default. asp National Resource Defense Council. (2007). Consequences of Global Warming. NRDC: The Earth’s Best Defense. 9 February 2007. Retrieved last January 17, 2008 from http://www. nrdc. org/globalWarming/fcons. asp Environmental Protection Agency. (2002). Global Warming: Cause and Effects. Retrieved last January 15, 2008 from http://chronicle. augusta. com/images/headlines/080402/Global_Warming. jpg
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 20 December 2016
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