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Throughout Earth’s history climate has changed up and down. As of currently the Earth has been heating up a lot more than it did centuries ago. Things are changing so fast. One of the main reasons for this is human activity on Earth since the mid-20th century. Peoples ways of living are damaging, life’s support system. The main reason climates are increasing is because of burning fossil fuels entering into the atmosphere and trapping the sun’s energy which is causing global warming. To understand what is global warming and the causes of it, this essay will analyze different literature sources.
In Amanda MacMillan’s article “Global Warming 101,” she talks about how the states are burning fossil fuels and are breaking records for the number of CO2 people are putting up into the sky. By reading this, people can see fossil fuels are being caused by humans using things in their everyday lives.
In the book written by Cheryl Silver called One Future, One Earth: Our Changing Global Environment, talks about how “atmosphere, land, water and human activity” are playing a key in causing global warming it’s one thing humans are producing which is causing global warming are fossil fuels. The fossil fuels being used by humans are gasoline, diesel, and natural gases. But there are some skeptics saying that climate change is not entirely being caused by human activity. One example is in P.A Kalinichenko’s article “Greenhouse Effect” where he talks about how “the rise of the temperature is most likely caused by natural climatic fluctuations” Most people thought truly believe humans are the reason that global warming is happening and not due to ordinary phenomenons, because the Earth’s temperature has never risen this high before and for most they do not believe that this is caused by natural fluctuations. If these climate changes keep happening the world could see some major catastrophes happen. In Clay Naff’s Article “Humanity’s Last Stand” he talks about how global warming will cause “warming of the polar ice caps” and they will forever be gone. By these ice caps melting this will cause “a majority of the world’s coastal cities to be flooded”.
Also in Tim Flannery’s book The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change, he talks about Earth’s future and how if humans keep affecting the Earth like this that humans may not have much longer on this planet and that people need to find ways to help the Earth instead of hurting it. Which leads to the next topic to talk about and that is solutions we can use to help fight the cause for global warming. In Matt Briggs’ English documentary “Deep Green” he talks about some amazing findings and technology mankind has created and solutions that will help the fight in global warming. Global Warming is damaging our Earth and its main contributor is mankind. There are fossil fuels polluting mankind’s planet that is causing global warming and there are many things such as ice caps melting, floodings and superstorms that could affect the Earth terrible if we do not use the technology and solutions we have found to help stop global warming.
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere has always been somewhat of a greenhouse, as it captures the Sun’s heat. The atmosphere does this to provide enjoyable weather for the Earth’s eminence life forms such as humans. But for the past few centuries temperatures have been rising. This rise is due to the amount of the sun’s energy being trapped in the atmosphere due to CO2 gases that are being put up there by humans. The amount of CO2 humans are putting into the atmosphere is roughly around “thirty gigatons,” this number is still “climbing at a 4 percent annual rate”. The “twenty-first century would see a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere”. That’s an awful thing to hear when we talk about our futures and with that level going up that means more warming throughout the planet.
There are some people that are skeptics though and believe that global warming and climate change are not a real concern. But these claims are very hard to defend as there is so much data being produced from the tests on the planet and in space showing temperatures rising like they never have before. In 2015 alone they marked it as “the hottest year on record” as the average temperature climbed to a critical 2 C. So yes there is global warming happening and it has been going on since the beginning of the 19th century. Just in the United States alone, mankind is burning nearly “two billion tons of CO2 every year”. The man-made pollution is trapping as much energy in a span of twenty-four hours as we are released in an explosion caused by a nuclear bomb. The biggest producers of CO2 are definitely coal-burning power plants that produce energy for homes. So even though people may think they are not doing anything in the cause of global warming, but everything you use in your house from lights to television and other home electronics is getting its energy from these plants and so you are helping them burn more fossil fuels by using their power. this fact amazing reading how anyone could be causing global warming just from using things in my everyday life, and how by me somewhat helping the fossil fuels be burned into the sky I could be a cause of some weather activities that are happening now that could affect our planet in the future very badly.
With the Earth’s rising temperature this is just helping fuel “hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes”. Also, the Earth’s oceans are heating which is terrible for arctic and polar ice caps as they could soon be gone forever and melted into the ocean. The Antarctic glaciers have “ been losing about 134 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002” With the ice melting into the ocean that could mean ocean levels could rise up nearly “ five or six feet to inundate New York and other great cities of the world” along the coasts.
Also with the oceans heating up that could cause the water evaporating into the sky to create superstorms they could end up being like the 2012 Sandy hurricane, and if that happens scientist say the sizes of the new “superstorms could be triple or quadruple” the size of Sandy and could happen on given day out of nowhere. These storms and floods could cause tens of thousands of deaths around the world. With massive hurricanes being produced in the oceans from the warm temperatures that could cause to be a dangerous threat to humans pushing many people inland from the flooding and the storm itself. Not only will flooding or super storms happen but also “forests, farms, cities will face troublesome new pests, and heavy downpour” (MacMillan). With new pests coming in that means trying to find new ways to kill them off which could be harmful to not only humans but also livestock which humans feed off of. If we lost agriculture lands that could prove to be just another harmful effect of what global warming could do for us.
Just these factors alone could destroy agriculture and could cause animal species to go extinct. As in Elizabeth Kolbert’s non-fiction book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History she talks about animal extinction. She explains how most people believe global warming is only affecting the animals in the poles, but it is also posing a threat to animals in tropical areas such as eastern Peru. In chapter eight of Kolbert’s novel, she investigates the forest and the trees of Peru with ecologist Miles Silman. Silman states that “global warming will have a more significant impact on tropical environments than any other.” With an enormous amount of plant and animal life in the tropics that means more of a variety of species that have a chance of being extinct. Silman has counted nearly 1,335 distinct tree species in Central America, “roughly fifty times as many as in all of Canada’s boreal forest”.
With this massive life of trees that means more room for animal species to live and produce more. With global warming coming into effect through this is causing the tree life to push more north and that means the animal life will follow. This is not good as animal life will be affected by moving and will hurt their ways of living and could also affect humans as we will need to get rid of all these animals as there will be nowhere for mankind to live and produce human needs. So not only is life in the poles being affected but life in the tropics is being hurt which could lead to humans having to get rid of animals to keep our needs alive forcing the probability of a chance of more extinction.
So with all of the effects, humans are causing to the planet Earth you would think there would be solutions we are using to help the fight in global warming. Well the thing is there are ways to help the fight in global warming but humans are just not using them because so many people today do not think global warming is that bad of a thing. In today’s society, there are so many different ways to help the fight against global warming and there are some people and places that are using these skills and they are working today to help stop global warming.
One of the big ones is using energy efficiency tactics. “Energy efficiency is seen as the cheapest, cleanest, and fastest resource there is in the fight against global warming”.
Every time people use the energy we burn carbon, and every time we burn carbon we heat up the atmosphere. One of the big energy burning appliances we use is light bulbs. Lights alone make up for ten to fifteen percent of the electric load. There are well designed compact fluorescent lights and they are three times more efficient than regular lights. Also, there are LED lights that are nine times more efficient and can last up to twenty more years than normal light. Just think humans can save ten to fifteen percent more of the electric load at home or at work just by changing a light bulb in one afternoon.
There are also appliances called vampire electronics. Vampire electronics are appliances that have standby lights and are always on and represent five to ten percent of the electric load used in the United States. The average American is said to have around eighteen of these vampire electronics in their households. So one way to fix this problem is to just pull the plug on them or install a power bar that has a switch to turn them off.
Climate protection is not costly it’s actually profitable. It is much cheaper to save fuel than it is to burn fuel. One expert on energy efficiency from the film “Deep Green” is Amory Loving of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Loving’s says “the institutes best customers for re-engineering efficiency has been the Pentagon and Walmart.” The Pentagon is conserving energy to keep troops safe and saving money on energy with the goal of cooling the planet.
One of the biggest users of energy efficiency is actually California and their programs have kept energy use per capita “flat for thirty years while the rest of the United States on average went up by at least fifty percent” (Briggs). Say if all the United States used electricity as productively as the top ten countries do after you adjust for differences of climate and the shape of their economies than about ⅝ of the coal production in the country would not be needed anymore which would also reduce the carbon being burned into the atmosphere. One place they are really using the energy efficient tactic well is China. China is spending seven to eight times as much GDP (gross domestic product) as the United States is on green technology. As a country, China is increasing energy efficiency faster than the U.S.’s best states. They are removing thousands-old inefficient coal plants and replacing them with green plants. So just think if all of the United States and the rest of the world cut back on energy and started going green, mankind could get rid of coal plants and cut back the burning of coal which are affecting the atmosphere and causing global warming.
Can other lifestyle choices be factors of global warming like transportation? Yes, lifestyles are hard to changes but once you do they will never go back, so another solution we can use is the change of how we move from place to place. Vehicles and other transportation methods like airplanes and boats are causing twenty percent of the carbon humans are putting into the atmosphere. “Air travel is the worst as a single flight across the United States produces over two tons of CO2”. Energy security, climate change, and the ever-present concern around tailpipe emissions is really what is driving the unprecedented development of sustainable alternatives. One way we can cut back on transportation use is by working from home, walking to work or play, and riding bicycles which all burn zero-carbon energy. Another alternative to using transportation is by using hybrid or electric cars. “We really need to do to oil what at the end of the 19th century was done to salt” and that is to use new ways so we can get rid of it.
If we use electricity as a transportation fuel it will be a massive investment and may take years to fully develop, but once this happens there will be no turning back and CO2 levels will drop massively. Mankind can achieve up to as much as 1 billion-ton reduction of CO2 just in the United States alone from the various forms of electric transportation that can be manufactured. The thing is though we will never get rid of liquid fuel because even though a plug-in hybrid is ninety percent electric, that other ten percent is liquid fuel that will give you the flexibility so in case your energy runs out you still have some fuel to get to your destination. This is what hybrid means duel fuel (gas and electricity).
At Edison Tech Center in New York, they have very extensive testing facilities and evolution programs on batteries that are and will be used in electric cars. In the batteries they are testing they are producing up to 3,300 cycles. A cycle is a charge and a discharge, that’s one cycle. That is the equivalent of 150,000 vehicle miles. That means that one of these batteries can literally travel up to 150,000 miles until it dies. That’s so much gas and oil that is not needed that can help in not producing CO2. “Almost all of the major automotive companies today have declared that they are working on either a battery electric car or a plug-in hybrid car”.
So that means the batteries are ready and the cars are soon to be coming in faster and affordable, so are people ready to change? In Briggs’ documentary, he states that “the dirtiest day in the electric cars’ life is the day that people drive it off the showroom floor because the grid will always get cleaner after people stop using liquid fuel and start using batteries.
So all in all, as seen from the essay, climate protection and energy efficiency are up to mankind now. We can see what is happening to the planet and how we are damaging it with temperatures increasing, and we also have an idea of what can happen to the planet if we do not fix the problem of global warming such as cities flooding, super storms destroying states and plant and animal life becoming extinct one day. No one in their right mind wants this. So why don’t we use the tools we have discovered and start saving energy like avoiding planes and cars and work from home or telecommunicate from work to avoid these transportation ways. Also things as simple as changing a light bulb and using a LED bulb which can reduce the energy being used that affect the atmosphere. If we use these ideas and solutions we have not only will it save people lots of money but it will also save the plant we call home from increasing in temperature and destroying people, homes and other life we have on this planet. So let’s go green and save Earth from global warming.
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