In recent years global warming has received a lot of attention from the science community and elsewhere. Al Gore brought the issue of global warming to the masses with his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Though the greenhouse effect plays a vital role in sustaining Earth’s temperature, past a certain point it becomes dangerous to Earth (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia). The mission of this essay is to see if global warming is a threat to society, and to discover what causes global warming, how we can combat the increase of global warming, and the effects of global warming economically and environmentally. Also, the question on why some scientists do not believe the world should not be alarmed will be answered.
Some may question if global warming is really an issue we should place our attention on. Global warming is a large issue that everyone has to think about. Derrick Jackson of The Boston Globe says that “Climate change is anticipated to alter the frequency, timing, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events” (Jackson). It is an issue we should all spend time thinking about because it affects everyone. Jackson is right; climate change is worsening weather events that affect us all. In Montana’s Glacier National Park the number of glaciers has dropped to less than thirty, and also they have decreased in size (Clemmitt). Also, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has had an eighty percent decrease since 1912 of snow that covers the mountain top. It is not just an issue because the environment is changing but because evidence has found that human-induced warming is increasing fast. The human-caused warming is hard to predict, and most importantly it can cause potentially dangerous changes to the environment (Clemmitt).
Even the world's sea and ocean levels have been rising at a reported rate of one to two millimeters per year (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 778). Those one to two millimeters per year have the possibility to cause erosions on the sandy beaches (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 778). The higher sea levels will also increase tide levels, storm surges, and the entrance of salt water into coastal estuaries and groundwater supplies (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 778). The increase of salinity in coastal estuaries puts the ecosystem in danger of collapsing. With the increase of salinity all the organisms that reside as well as plants will be forced to familiarize themselves quickly in order to survive, or move further from where the ocean and the fresh water meet. Global warming does not discriminate. It also affects what is not visually present like the organisms that reside there. The changes to the ocean do not only affect the organisms it affects people too because the ocean is a resource used by all for sea food.
Global warming can be combated with everyone doing their part to reduce greenhouse gases and by recycling. Recycling is an easy way for everyone to participate in positive manner. Some simple things people can do are print or photocopy work on both sides of the paper, buy Nalgene bottles to drink water from instead of expensive water bottles that do not get recycled, and switch all the light bulbs in their home from old fashion ones to new energy saving bulbs. Recycling is not just a positive thing for the environment, but also to the people who do it because they can receive five cents for every empty can they recycle. They save money when they print on both sides of the paper. When they buy energy saving bulbs their electricity bill is lessened and they have to change the bulbs less often. Even the purchase of a new car like the Toyota Prius can help the environment; the Prius is an energy efficient car. Not only are the consumers spending less on gasoline they are decreasing America’s dependency of foreign oil and decreasing the emission gases emitted by vehicles.
In 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was initiated as “first worldwide diplomatic” attempts to lessen the usage of fossil fuels (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 782). The main goal was to gather all industrialized nations to partake in the efforts to reduce the participating countries emissions of greenhouse gases. Each country would have a goal set aside to achieve (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 782). With the reduction of emissions the main objective was to lower the emissions to the level they were in 1990 between 2008 and 2012 (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 782). Sadly, the United States which is large contributor to greenhouse gases is no longer ratified under the Bush administration (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 782). Though, the Kyoto Protocol can help in the subsidizing of global warming it alone can not be the only action taken to reduce global warming. Every inhabitant of Earth should partake in some form of action to reduce global warming.
With ocean levels increasing people who reside on the coast will be forced to move inland (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 779). With their displacement already crowded areas will become more crowded and it will affect the housing market. It has the potential to affect the housing market because the amount of houses will relatively stay the same, but the amount of people will increase. The rise in the ocean's temperature is causing a "coral reef holocaust" (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 779). Though, it only makes up less than one percent of the oceans it is home to about more than one third of the ocean's inhabitants (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 779). With the death of coral reefs the shorelines will be more susceptible to erosion because coral reefs act like "breakwaters that, if healthy, can repair themselves" (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 779). The only way we can stop the destruction of coral reef is by decreasing global warming which in turn will let water temperature drop allowing the reefs to recover (Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia, 779). With the reduction of global warming the preservation of coral reefs will start and not only will the coral reefs be preserved, but also, the organisms that reside their, and shorelines.
Global warming is like a ripple effect. The environment changes negatively which then causes negative effects in the economy of certain places. In New Hampshire a tourist attraction is skiing in the winter months. With the increase of temperature the skiing season decreases thus decreasing revenue. Of, course they can make manmade snow, but that increases their investment. It is said that the ski season has been decreased by twenty percent (Clemmitt). Not only does the temperature increase reduce the skiing season, it also decreases the sales in skiing equipment like clothing and skis. Also, the temperature increase can also affect other tourist attractions for New Hampshire like the changing foliage. Outside of the United States, human-caused global warming has already started to make other governments notice that it is an issue.
Global warming is putting the Earth in danger by forcing some species of animals to migrate sooner and closer to the Earth’s poles, and different animals to move futher up mountain tops because of the rising temperatures (Clemmitt). With animals migrating sooner and further there is a large possibility that there will be a large scale extinction of certain species that can not adapt fast enough (Clemmitt). Not only are the certain species (animals and plants) fighting environmental woes they still have to fight humans on modernization that limits them from migrating (Clemmitt). According to Mario Molina, a professor of earth science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, moderate warming will have “both positive and negative impacts”, but after a certain point the negatives will outweigh the positives of warming for most nations, their residents and biological systems (Clemmitt).
Though evidence shows that global warming has a large possibility to cause destruction there are some scientists who do not believe that global warming is a pressing issue we should address. The majority of scientists like, Stephen Schneider, believe in the certainty of destruction caused by global warming because in the past year technologies like that of computer models and satellite data have improved (Clemmitt). Some of the effects of global warming are starting to be evident. For example, the top ten hottest years have occurred in the past one hundred years, with 2005 taking the number one spot for the hottest year (Guggenheim). Other effects are melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and rising ocean temperatures (Guggenheim). While some scientists believe global warming is a definite threat others people like Senator James Inhofe a Republican from Oklahoma believes that the topic of global warming is a hoax that “environmental extremist exploit” for the sole purpose of fundraising (Clemmitt). Jeffrey Salmon, a non believer of global warming, compares predicting the catastrophic future caused by global warming to predicting the weather in few days in advance(Global Warming: Opposing Viewpoints, 24). Salmon says, predicting what might happen is a “hit or miss”, especially since it is said that Earth’s temperature is only expected to only increase by a “few tenths a degree per decade” (Global Warming: Opposing Viewpoints, 24). Though his reasoning is very appropriate global warming is something that should not be tossed aside because it may or may not occur. He also argues that there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that greenhouse gases produced my humans is the cause of the Earth’s warming (Global Warming: Opposing Viewpoints, 25). Most importantly, he questions the credibility of computer models on predicting the possible climate change (Global Warming: Opposing Viewpoints, 26).
If global warming continues to increase, it has the ability to cause “catastrophic consequences” (Clemmitt). It is evident from the environmental changes that global warming is an important issue that everyone should be concerned with. Global warming causes an economical decrease, especially in tourism revenue. Though global warming has the potential to cause dramatic changes there still is a hope for the environment with the aid from the human race by recycling and being more environmentally aware. With the earth being in danger of flooding from rising sea level, and rising of ocean temperature I hope people open their eyes to what can happen to the place we call home. Even though some scientists believe that global warming is not an issue of importance, the research and the noticeable changes in the Earth are evidence enough that everyone should partake in decreasing global warming to avoid the catastrophic consequences.
Guggenheim, Davis, dir. An Inconvenient Truth a Global Warming. Paramount, 2006.
An Inconvenient Truth is a reliable source because former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. He warns the public on how the temperature is rising and the devastating effects it is causes and will cause. In his presentation he uses research conducted by different scientist and uses his own personal journey to the North Pole to convey this very important topic. He also uses graphs in predicting the increases in temperature of time, as well as the rising sea level; and pictures taken from satellites to show how drastically the Earth has changed in about sixty years, and he uses pictures of glaciers that also were taken about sixty years ago to show how the dramatically it’s size has decreased . I personally have chosen this documentary as an overview of global warming in general.
Clemmit, Marcia. (2006, January 27). Climate change. CQ Researcher. 27 Jan. 2007. CQ Researcher Press. Annenberg Library, Pine Manor College. 30 Oct. 2007.
The author, Marcia Clemmit proposes the question of having to instate tougher actions in order to combat the increasing temperature. Throughout her report she quotes Sen. James Inhofe a Republican from Oklahoma who is the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Mario Molina a professor at Mass. Institute of Technology. Clemmitt also quotes others who oppose the idea that global warming is impacting Earth like Marlo Lewis who believes “there is no scientific cause for alarm” because the world is going to change for the bad and the good. I believe she is a creditable source because she talks about both opposing views.
“Global Warming.” Social Issues in America: An Encyclopedia. 2008 ed.
The encyclopedia, Social Issues in America is a good source because they give an unbiased opinion on global warming. They go in depth into different areas of global warming like forest fires and global warming, and the warming seas. The encyclopedia gives the hard facts pertaining to the topic without inundating a person with someone else’s opinions. They use information gathered from legit research findings. Also, they are not trying to persuade one to take a side, but inform people.
Greenhaven Press. Global Warming: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, Inc, 1997
In Global Warming: Opposing Viewpoints contains essay arguing for both sides of the environmental controversy. One writer will argue for the reduction of carbon emissions while another writer will argue against the reduction. For every negative effect of global warming there is a rebuttal essay saying that scientist are exaggerating the truth. The book is unbiased because it offers readers to read both sides of the issue like, is the theory of global warming scientifically credible or not. My main objective in using this book is to get both sides of the issue to help me take a stance on the issue at hand.
Jackson, Derrick Z. “The climate change censor.” Boston Globe. 30 Oct. 2007. 31 Oct. 2007.
Columnist, Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe writes on how the White House has
ignored another document on global warming presented to them by Julie Gerberding the
director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his article Jackson quotes
the Washington Post, a reputable popular newspaper. I feel as though the article is
creditable because the author works for the Boston Globe and he quoted Julie
Posted on Tue, April 1, 2008
by Mabel Rodriguez, Sophomore, Pine Manor College filed under