In 1995 a popular science fiction movie called Water World, starring Kevin Costner came out. The plot of this movie is based on a distant future where the polar Ice caps have melted, and the sea level has risen hundreds of meters covering all the continents and humanity Is forced to live on abandoned ships and floating fortresses scavenging for supplies. Of course, this was only a science fiction movie, and In 1995 the idea of the polar ice caps melting was too far for society to believe that it would anytime soon happen.
Nowadays with all this technological advances and equipment we are able to determine that that distant future may not be so distant at all. The Earth is warming and it affects us all. Take this spring for example. In early March of this year we have experienced record-breaking temperatures. Temperatures that have reached low eighties, temperatures that are normally seen in Chicago during the summer months. Global warming Is the theory that causes an increase In the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans motivated by the greenhouse effect caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases.
Global arming not only affects the temperature, but also affects the global rainfall, cloud covers and all other elements of the atmospheric system. Burning oil, coal and natural gas has caused Increased carbon dioxide In the atmosphere and produces the resulting increase in temperature. This phenomenon can cause drastic changes to our planet and one of them will be the melting of the polar ice caps. Temperatures will continue to ascend if greenhouse gases emissions continue. Therefore new energy sources must be explored and developed in order to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The Earth’s temperatures are rising drastically, which would make it difficult for the world’s ecosystems to adapt at such rapid rate. Global warming is associated with climate change that can have anthropogenic causes. The main effect that causes global warming Is the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse effect Is a phenomenon referred to the absorption of sunlight or solar radiation and emission of Infrared radiation by atmospheric gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO). This process warms the planet’s lower atmosphere and surface. This theory was proposed by Joseph Fourier in 1824 and was first investigated inattentively by Savant Awareness in 1896.
The natural greenhouse effect stabilizes the Earth’s climate and is not a matter to be included in the global warming debate. However, without this natural greenhouse effect, temperatures would drop to an average by approximately fifty-four degrees Fahrenheit, with such changes, the oceans would freeze and life as we know it would be impossible. For this effect to occur, it takes these greenhouse gases, but in suitable proportions. What worries climate scientists is the high disproportion of in this ratio, resulting in an increase in temperature due to heat trapped in the lower atmosphere.
The natural greenhouse effect Is necessary for life on Earth to continue to be sustained, what we need to reduce Is the extra gases emitted. The natural greenhouse effect gases have an average temperature of fifty-nine degrees Fahrenheit. The greenhouse gases are mainly composed by water vapor, which cause between thirty and seventy percent of methane (CHI) causes four to nine percent, and ozone (03) is responsible for three to seven percent. Clouds also affect the radiation balance, but are composed of liquid water or ice and have different effects on the radiation from water vapor. Since the
Industrial Revolution, human activity has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leading to an increased of carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide. The concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have increased by thirty-six percent and 148 percent respectively since 1750. These levels are much higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice caps. The burning of fossil fuels has produced more than three-quarters of the increase of carbon dioxide attributed by human activity in the last twenty years.
The more we use fossil fuels to power our lives, the harder it will be to save our environment, which might lead to the end of the human race (Summary of Policymakers 2). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (EPIC) states that, most of the observed increases in average global temperature since the mid-twentieth century, is most likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GOGH) concentrations. This is known as the anthropogenic theory, and it predicts that global warming will continue if the emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase.
At last report with rejections presented by EPIC climate models, indicate that it is likely that global surface temperature have increased from 1. 1 to 6. 4 degrees Celsius (2. 0 to 11. 5 degrees Fahrenheit) during the twentieth first century (Summary of Policymakers 10). The remainder of this increase is due primarily to changes in land use, particularly deforestation. Forests are a vital factor to climate regulation, which convert the carbon dioxide produced by our vehicles, machinery and other means. If, in addition to producing more carbon dioxide, we destroy more forests, we are making a fatal investment.
A natural way of regulating the atmospheric temperature are forests, they also help by getting rid of excess greenhouse gases. By using forests to regulate the temperature naturally we will reduced our need for air conditioning up to thirty percent, this will also reduce the total of fossil fuels burned to produce electricity. Our best allies in countering the greenhouse effect are trees. Trees perform a combination of duties aside from removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing excess carbon in their wood and overall lowering the atmospheric temperature in the surrounding areas.
Research has shown that a single mature tree moves carbon dioxide at a rate of forty-eight pounds a year. This means that a mature tree can release enough oxygen to support two human beings. Furthermore a healthy mature tree can store about thirteen pounds of carbon annually, that’s about 2. 6 tons per acre each year. In a year an acre of trees can absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide produced by driving a car 26,000 miles. An estimate of carbon dioxide emitted per vehicle mile is between 0. 88 lbs. CO per mile to 1. 06 lbs. CO per mile. Therefore, a car driven 26,000 miles will emit between 22,880 lbs. F CO and 27,647 lbs. Of CO. That being said, one acre of mature trees in a well- populated area such as, Brooklyn, New York can compensate for automobile fuel usage equivalent to driving a car between 7,200 and 8,700 miles (The Colorado Tree Coalition). If deforestation continues, we are not only destroying the most important able to remove the high content of greenhouse gases of the atmosphere at the same rate these gases are being produced. Trees are our best allies, by releasing oxygen in the atmosphere, capturing carbon dioxide, and preventing global pollution.
One of the most critical questions facing climate scientists today is how vulnerable are the gigantic ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica to increasing temperatures? An unyielding amount of ice is stored on those two landmasses, plus as that ice melts and flows into the oceans, global sea levels rise, if tomorrow all the ice on Greenland melts, it would raise global sea levels by more than twenty feet. Hundreds of the densely populated coastal cities like New Orleans, Miami and New York will be soon under water (Walsh).
According to John War of the University of Colorado in Boulder and his colleagues, in a study put together, found that the declining size of glaciers and ice caps were pushing up sea levels by 1. Millimeters (0. 06 inches) a year. In correlation with a 1. 2 to 1. 8 mm range from other studies, some of which forecast sea levels could rise as much as two meters (6. 56 feet) by 2100. Relevant data show that sea levels have already risen on average about eighteen centimeters since 1900, and the accelerating rate of global warming will escalate the pace of the expansion of the oceans.
Scientists mention that the increase of the volume of the seas level is threatening coastlines from Vietnam to Florida and forcing low-lying megabits to build defenses around their coast. Meanwhile the annual increase might seem small, he rate of sea level rise is expected to grow. However scientists have struggled to perfect estimates particularly for the uncertainty concerning the future pace of global warming, in other words growth trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions and the rate at which ice caps will melt (Bogart).
If the ice caps continue to melt at the rate they currently are, the sea levels will not only increase in volume resulting in several cities under water, but also at the same time, several ecosystems will be altered causing several species to perish. Some climate scientists’ say the rise is ore likely to be between one and two meters equivalent to 3. 28 to 6. 56 feet. They point out to accelerating melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets over the past two decades, both contain enough water to raise global sea levels by about 198 feet.
Research has shown that all eleven years in the 21st century so far, including 2012, rank among the thirteen warmest in the 132-year temperature record (Bogart). The degrading of the polar ice caps is not only caused by the emission of toxic gases and deforestation, but also the high demand and the high dependency of fossil fuel and nuclear power. Energy sources that provide electricity and heating for our homes especially during cold temperatures, as well powering our transportation and machinery means. Means that make our lives much easier than few centuries ago.
The primary source of energy used internationally today is fossil fuel. Fossil fuels include oil, coal and natural gas. The burning of these sources of energy emits large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year raising a lot of concern in climate scientist. Crude oil accounts for thirty-six percent of the fossil fuel used globally. Producing the majority of items used daily by the world’s population, such as gasoline to power our means of transportation. As of Mar 24, 2012, a barrel of crude oil is priced at $106. 87 at the New York Mercantile exchange.
Only forty-three percent of it is used for gasoline, another five percent is used for twenty-eight percent that is left makes up plastic, cosmetics, soaps, nylon clothing, and varnishes among many other product. These are products that have been around for a long time and we have grown accustomed to their uses, if we can find and alternative way of making these products it will greatly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions they produce globally (Gilles 347). An additional energy source that causes the planet’s temperature to rise is nuclear power.
Nuclear power accounts for six percent of the world’s energy and fourteen percent of the world’s electricity. Although nuclear reactors emit water vapor into the atmosphere, this originates extreme climate changes such as heat waves in the areas near by as well as creating large clouds that retains a portion of sunlight radiation. Alternative and renewable sources of energy that would keep up with our demand for energy and at the same time will not harm the environment are hydrogen fuel and solar power.
Windmills ND hydrophone are currently being used, but these two sources of power are very limited. Due to the fact that water dams can only be built near waterfalls and windmills would perform best in the Midwest where the wind current is typically stronger. Hydrogen is one of the great hopes to replace oil as fuel. Hydrogen is very abundant in or oceans and other bodies water. We could say that we would have infinite fuel usage because the conversion of hydrogen into water and the decomposition of water into hydrogen.
Advantages of hydrogen fuel are that there is no carbon dioxide production, nor any other toxic gas, but only water. The burning hydrogen would eliminate most of the air pollution caused by burning of fossil fuels and could greatly reduce the threat of global warming. Nuclear power could be discontinued and the efficiency of a hydrogen engine far exceeds the performance of a modern gasoline engine (Garcia). Solar power is energy obtained by capturing the light and heat emitted by the sun. It is safe to say that it does not pollute the environment and that it’s capture is direct and easy to maintain.
The solar radiation that reaches the earth can be exploited by means of heat, which occurs through absorption of radiation, for example, optical devices and others. It is a so-called renewable energy, particularly the group known as clean energy or green energy. The ability of the sun to heat objects that are exposed to its rays is a fact of life. This effect occurs when solar electromagnetic radiation strikes an object and part of this radiation is converted into heat causing a temperature to rise in the object exposed.
Currently there are several systems that use the heat energy provided by the sun. In all the principles remain the same, raising the temperature of a substance with such heat to achieve a certain effect, heating water, air or the generation of a movement hat can be transformed into electricity. Solar power as of today is being utilized, but not at a large enough scale to provide electricity for everyone. Although few people have opted into solar power by investing in solar panels which have the advantage of not relying in major companies for their electrical means (Garcia).
There are theories that are being explored and Ego-engineering being one of them. This theory is thought to re-engineer that planet into helping itself. If this theory were proven true it would greatly help in removing the excess of greenhouse gases and heat retained in earth. Ego-engineering being only a concept or somewhat new branch of knowledge, the theory of ego-engineering is not yet clear, and is therefore not is usually taken in the direction of the proposals of purposely manipulating the effects of global warming and emissions of greenhouse gases.
Several scientists have considered ego-engineering is defined as the options that involve large-scale engineering of our environment to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry. Some ego-engineering techniques are based on carbon removal. These techniques try to reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere erectly. These include direct methods for example, the capture of carbon dioxide from the air, and indirect methods are such the iron fertilization of the ocean.
Examples of proposed solar radiation management techniques include the production of stratospheric sulfur aerosols, enhancing the reflectivity of clouds at the same time reducing the amount of solar radiation retained by them. Most techniques have at least some side effects. To date, no project of ego-engineering at a large-scale has been carried out. These projects are currently under experimentation, that being he case there still a long way before we actually see results (Technological and Economic Potential 4). There are experts that disbelieve the theory of global warming.
One of these experts is Dry. Tim Ball from the climatology department at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. Dry. Ball states that he does not believe that human carbon dioxide is causing the global warming. Professor Nor Shaved of the Institute of Physics at Jerusalem University alleges that the theory falls apart, as there have been periods of time when the earth has had ten times the carbon dioxide levels than the ones we have today. Ball agrees that indeed humans produce carbon dioxide, not only by respiration but also by the use of planes, factories, and vehicles.
However these proportions are substantially small compare to what volcanoes release while erupting. Even when vegetation falls to the ground causes a higher amount of carbon dioxide. The major producers are the oceans, the hotter the oceans, the more carbon dioxide produced, and the colder, more carbon dioxide is absorbed. In fact there are scientists who say that none of the major climate changes of the last thousand years can be explained by carbon dioxide. According to the Global warming theory, continually tells us that the climate around the world is changing, but the Earth’s climate has always been changing.
During the fourteenth century was a period of cooling, and in the Middle Ages, a period of heat (The great global warming swindle). These are only two of many experts that disagree with the theory of global warming. The evidence they both presented backed up by their research shows to be credible. It is true that a volcano emits large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, nevertheless a volcano does not erupt everyday, therefore it cannot emit sieve amounts of greenhouse gases compare to the amounts that humans produce daily.
Every human being, whether conscious or not, interacts with the environment daily, making decisions again and again. It sometimes may seem insignificant if I throw wrapping paper onto the street or in the trash can, fix the exhaust of the car or not. The truth is that we do not have to be environmental experts to validate either theory. Within forty to fifty years we will know for sure, the stakes are very high, and I prefer to take all appropriate measures such as whether lobar warming exists, before it is too late.
Finally, I wish to say that it is not too late to our planet, even without the possibility to continue living. However, we can reverse this fate by educating ourselves and educating our children, from an early age, making them knowledgeable of the consequences of the extreme usage of fossil fuels and other pollutants. By this we can provide advance solutions for global warming, owing to the fact that future generations will know for sure of the outcomes. I hope that my modest contribution to contribute something to solve the questions posed at he beginning of this essay.
Do you really know what global warming is, its importance and the threat it poses to all species of life on our planet? If so I feel satisfied and happy to be part of the solution rather than the problem, reiterating my thoughts and belief that the responsibility lies with each one of us, here and now. The environment will be grateful towards humanity for any effort we can provide, whether we die or Just evolve. Every small or big effort will be worth it, wherever it comes from, we all live in the same house, have the same problem, one world.