Global warming has certainly been a highly controversial topic over the years. As many scientist, researchers, and other climate change specialists have studied more about the topic, the more the discussions have switched over to what methods could hinder the process. Global warming is a long-term examination of the Earth’s climate system and how its average temperature has risen. The cause of these temperature rises are due to many things, but humans are the main reason. Climate change is affecting the public, people’s health, and the climate all over the world and individuals need to acknowledge the issue in order to come up with an effective solution before it is too late.
Even though global warming has just recently been getting more attention by researchers over the past few years, this has been an ongoing issue since the mid 1800s. Scientists have known for centuries that Earth’s climate has alternated from hot to cold throughout history. There were many researchers and scientists who theorized about global warming.
According to the article written by Jennifer Weeks, Serbian geophysicist, Milutin Milankovic computed the different shifts in temperature and developed his own theory of glacial periods, also known as Milankovic cycles. It was not until the late 1800s that someone finally thought of the idea that humans may have been involved in causing climate change. Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist, was the first to theorize this.
In 1896, Arrhenius presented how CO2 and water vapor were two greenhouse gases that were capable of trapping heat in the atmosphere and that humans were increasing CO2 emissions by burning fossil fuels (Weeks).
By this time, it was not thought that global warming was an issue, most viewed it as a benefit for agricultural reasons because it would mean prolonged growing seasons. However, after more studies were observed, it was found by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess that the ocean had been absorbing most of the human-made CO2, according to Jennifer Weeks’ article. As time has continued and technology has improved, new methods for researching Earth’s climate change from past years have advanced.
Some examples of these methods would include analyzing air bubbles in sheets of ice (Weeks), looking at sediments from lakes or oceans, and looking at tree rings for a certain area (Nunez). Using these methods and conducting numerous studies, scientists can see that since the Industrial Revolution, accumulating amounts of greenhouse gases are being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. In fact, “…the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880” (World Of Change: Global Temperatures). This difference in temperature may not seem like much; however, the smallest change in global temperature has more risk than one may think. Already, it has caused consequences such as extreme weather conditions, deaths of people, and extinction of species.
Many disbelievers have looked to snow or cold weather to disprove global warming; however, such misinformation as this causes doubt and misleads and confuses the public. Yes, cold weather still occurs in winter and at higher altitudes year-round, but the Earth overall is still gradually warming. There is still snow and cold weather due to the “…Earth’s seasons, ocean patterns, upper winds, Arctic sea ice, and the shifting shape of the jet stream” (It’S Cold And My Car Is Buried In Snow. Is Global Warming Really Happening?). These conditions are just short-term events and do not compare to the conditions of long-term trends of global warming. Global warming is a hazardous issue that influences the entire world and already serious consequences are having negative influences on the public, individuals health, different species, and weather conditions. As shown in many studies, some of the current consequences that are occurring include sea levels rising, glaciers melting, flooding, heavier storms, extinction of species, and death of people (mostly children and elders due to heat waves).
The repercussions that global warming will cause, if not managed soon, will lead to more damaging, costly, and permanent consequences. All the current results of global warming will continue to escalate as the temperature gradually rises. According to the article, “Global Warming”, “…climate change makes heat waves more intense and more frequent…This worsening heat poses serious health risks, especially for the very young and elderly”. Also, because heat waves and higher temperatures are escalating, this is causing the amount of wildfires and droughts to increase as well. Each result of climate change is causing a “domino effect”. For example, since water absorbs most of the human-made CO2, that is causing the oceans to heat up, which causes many species, such as coral, to react differently. According to Julie Miller, if coral is exposed to warmer waters, this can cause the coral to expel an algae called zooxanthellae, which causes the coral to turn white. This is called coral bleaching. Although, coral can survive short-term bleaching events, long-term bleaching has already started the process of extinction of coral reefs all over the world. This will then affect different species because it will alter many marine animals habitats.
As shown, global warming does not just affect people and that is why a solution needs to be found and the longer we ignore this issue, the more costly it will become. According to the newspaper article, “The Costs of Climate Change”, “Citigroup estimates unchecked climate change will cost more than $40 trillion by 2060.” Already, billions of dollars are being spent on solving the issue and over the years it will continue to get more expensive and out of control. Meanwhile, more jobs may open up while searching for the solution. “Roughly 3.2 million Americans work in wind, solar, energy efficiency and other clean-energy jobs…” (The Costs of Climate Change). Therefore, investing in finding a solution for climate change, will boost economic growth as well.
An urgent short-term solution for this critical issue is to stop deforestation. Deforestation is the removal of trees from forests or tropical rainforests. “Tropical deforestation accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s heat-trapping emissions” (Global Warming). Deforestation is a leading factor that is responsible for human-made CO2 emissions. This issue needs a short-term solution to help balance out the carbon being emitted. By reducing deforestation, global warming emissions will gradually get much lower. Also, individuals can take action for a short-term solution by reducing their personal carbon emissions. Both stopping deforestation and cutting down personal carbon emissions will slow the process of global warming all together and will give a temporary solution while officials, experts, and other elected leaders begin the process of finding a long-term solution.
A big picture solution for climate change is crucial. Global warming is not an easy issue to solve. Many plans to solve global warming have been discussed and not just one solution will solve all the damage that has been done. It will take many solutions and according to the article, “Global Warming Solutions”, some solutions include boosting energy efficiency, greening transportation, eliminating fossil fuel electricity, creating new low-carbon/ zero-carbon technologies, and regulating forests and agriculture. However, one specific solution could be placed while the above solutions are also being put into action.
This long-term solution is Cap and Trade. Cap and trade is a system designed to decrease the amount of carbon emissions and pollution that is in the atmosphere. Like all things, there are pros and cons to this solution. Positives for putting a cap and trade into action includes the fact that it encourages businesses and individuals to use alternative resources as opposed to fossil fuels. For example, solar power. Anyhow, according to Tejvan Pettinger, other positives for a cap and trade are it would make individuals pay extra for carbon emissions and it would save money being spent on carbon pollution, which could then be put back into removing carbon pollution that is currently in the atmosphere. Although there are great reasons for a cap and trade to be put in place, there are also negatives.
Some negatives include the fact that it may discourage investments and economic growth, it would be difficult to regulate, it is unsure how much should be taxed, and businesses could shift their productions to other countries that do not have a carbon tax (Pettinger). The government would be responsible for setting this tax and would be responsible for regulating it. Also, individuals would need time to adapt to this type of solution, but at the same time that would be the case for any other solution that was changing people’s everyday behaviors in order to help the environment. If a firm violates the tax, the government would also set the penalties accordingly for going over the carbon tax cap limit or polluting in secret.
Global warming is a crucial issue that should be taken seriously. It is caused by many factors, but the main one is human-made CO2 emission. In the past, it was not seen as such a serious problem. Scientists and researchers did not believe it would escalate so quickly. Also, many people did not believe it was a real concept because plenty of information was incorrectly told by uninformed individuals. Since the issue has gotten so bad, due to little concern or involvement on the reduction process, it is necessary that critical measurements are taken to solve this problem. Otherwise, not only will people suffer, but ecosystems, species, and the economic and environmental aspects will also undergo harm. Solving this issue will take a lot of time, money, and trial and error, but it will be beneficial in the long run. We depend on the planet so much for resources and other factors, but now the planet is depending on us to make a difference.