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Global Warming Report

Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Thats the question young Billy asked himself one excruciatingly hot day. The air was thick with humidity and the sweat poured off him like the rain of a heavy spring downpour as he delivered his mid-day papers in his hometown of Seattle. Normally, he would not have thought twice about this kind of heat. Normally, it isnt 90 degrees in April. This isnt a far-fetched idea cooked up by a lone scientist pouring over minute data. This could be a reality. The cause of this problem is global warming.

The long-term burning of fossil fuels is at the forefront of the issue of global warming. Does the burning of fossil fuels cause global warming? Is global warming bad for the earth? Is there a way to produce energy thats safer for the earth? Most say yes, but a select few say no. Global warming is real and is causing the earth to become hotter. Should we be sweating global warming? Not really. Global warming isnt as dangerous as people think it is, its actually beneficial in some areas.

Global warming will lead to longer growing seasons, increased rainfall, and is widely preferred over global cooling, which was thought to be a problem about a quarter century ago (Milloy). This is what the National Academy of Sciences published in after the Kyoto Treaty in 1997. World leaders gathered in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 to consider a world treaty restricting emissions of ”greenhouse gases,” chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2), that are thought to cause ”global warming”, severe increases in Earth’s atmospheric and surface temperatures, with disastrous environmental consequences.

Predictions of global warming are based on computer climate modeling, a branch of science still in its infancy. The empirical evidence actual measurements of Earths temperature show no man-made warming trend. Indeed, over the past two decades, when CO2 levels have been at their highest, global average temperatures have actually cooled slightly. To be sure, CO2 levels have increased substantially since the Industrial Revolution, and are expected to continue doing so. It is reasonable to believe that humans have been responsible for much of this increase.

But the effect on the environment is likely to be benign. Greenhouse gases cause plant life, and the animal life that depends upon it, to thrive. What mankind is doing is liberating carbon from beneath the Earth’s surface and putting it into the atmosphere, where it is available for conversion into living organisms. On the surface, global warming might look like it is actually going to benefit the earths atmosphere. The increases rise in rainfall will promote growth and will cause arid areas to be able to grow plant life, which is ever so important in this constantly growing world of ours.

These all point to global warming as a good thing. It is not. Scientists have calculated that evaporation will increase as the climate warms, which will increase average global precipitation. But, the moisture is likely to decline in many regions, and intense rainstorms are likely to become more frequent. Sea level is likely to rise two feet along most of the U. S. coast. Also, the polar ice caps will melt, contributing to the rise of sea levels and flooding low-lying coastal areas of the world, completely covering cities such as New Orleans.

In the United States, approximately 6. 6 tons of greenhouse gases are emitted per person every year. Emissions per person have increased about 3. 4% between 1990 and 1997 (Elliot 26). Most of these emissions, about 82%, are from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and power our cars. The remaining emissions are from methane from wastes in our landfills, raising livestock, natural gas pipelines, and coal, as well as from industrial chemicals and other sources. Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, which contain varying amounts of hydrogen and carbon.

All fossil fuels create carbon dioxide when burnt, but some produce more than others. Coal has a high carbon content and then burnt produces mainly carbon dioxide and heat. Coal, unfortunately, is the largest fossil fuel being consumed today. Coal corporations take the resources and run, leaving the area to cope with the results however it may (Lockard 150). The result of the industrial revolution have meant that global mean surface temperatures have increased 0. 5-1. 0F since the late 19thcentury. The 20th century’s 10 warmest years all occurred in the last 15 years of the century.

Of these, 1998 was the warmest year on record. The snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere and floating ice in the Arctic Ocean has decreased. Globally, sea level has risen 4-8 inches over the past century. Worldwide precipitation over land has increased by about one percent. The frequency of extreme rainfall events has increased throughout much of the United States. Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are likely to accelerate the rate of climate change. Scientists expect the earths temperature to rise 1-4. 5F (0. 6-2. 5C) in the next fifty years, and 2. 2-10F (1. 4-5. C) in the next century (Elliot 28).

While most scientists will agree that burning fossil fuels is bad for the earth, not every scientist can agree on safer alternatives to these reliable yet depleting resources. There are several options that remain. One of the most debated is nuclear power. World-wide, countries like France, Japan, China, and Korea remain optimistic about nuclear power, while the rest of the world has claimed it to be a failure or too risky (Elliot 29). Economics has also been a problem. During the mid-70s energy crisis, nuclear power failed to meet up to expectation.

Also, many believe it to be too dangerous because of incidents such as Chernobyl and the Three Mile Island caused from nuclear accidents. In the year 2000, at best, nuclear power contributed about 7 percent of the worlds primary energy (Elliot 30). Long-term questions about nuclear power remain unclear. Nuclear fusion remains a long-term possibility, but remains untested commercially. Ever since the early 1970s, research on solar power and other forms of renewable energy has increased and led to large-scale usage around the world. By 1995, there were around 4. igawatts of wind turbine generating capacity in place around the world (Elliot 31).

Renewable energy encompasses forms of energy such as sunlight, wind, waves, and tides and can never be used up, unlike fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The World Energy Council has suggested that, given the necessary support, renewables could supply up to 30 percent of world energy by the year 2020 and perhaps 50 percent by the year 2100 (Elliot 32). Although safer for the environment, renewables are costly in the beginning and are out of the reach of many poor countries financial capabilities. Global warming is a hot issue, to say the least.

It is causing the earth to reach unsafe levels in which we might all someday be affected by. The topic remains a large one for debate among the scientific community, but no matter what the latest theory, we must change our ways. We must decrease our use of fossil fuels and increase our use of renewables if we want to make it as a civilization for many years to come. This is something we must do. This is a world issue that must be addressed be all. If its 90 in Seattle in April, just try to imagine the heat in July where you live. Is it hot in here, or is it just me? Yes, its hot in here.

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