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Geoengineering And The Global Climate Crisis

1943 words - 8 pages

Does one ever think of the potential catastrophic harm they’re causing by turning on the lights or by using their cars? Don’t we want a world where our grandchildren and great grandchildren can live safety and comfortably? At the rate were going this will not be possible; we’ve added more than 1.4 trillion tones of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in just two hundred years, and its messing up our planet (Siegel 1).

The use of fossil fuels has greatly increased the amount of atmospheric and oceanic CO2 to a point where it’s ruining the natural flow of the world; the earth’s temperature is rising. As a result, the polar ice caps are melting causing the seas to rise. With only a 1 meter increase in sea level the United States alone could lose over 10,000 square miles of land, and thousands of houses will be destroyed. The effects will be just as prominent around the world: many islands will become submerged, 17% of Bangladesh will be underwater, and tens of thousands of people will be displaced (“Global Warming” 3).

Not only will this be catastrophic for the humans, but animal and plant life will suffer too (“Global Warming” 4, 10, Than 1-4). The oceans will become more polluted and warmer which will cause fish along with coral reefs will die (“Global Warming” 4). The heat will bring animals to extinction; their migration patterns will be altered, change their diet, and force them to live in different locations in order to find a suitable climate (Than 1). Additionally, the warming will hurt the crop production. Crops have a very specific range of temperatures they should grow in order to maximize their yield, and if the earth is going to be above the temperature then crop yield will suffer. Projections for the year 2050 show that our crop productions could drop by 18-28% (Chameides 1) at the current rate of global warming which translates into a decrease of 360 million bushels of just wheat in the US alone (worc.org/userfiles/WORCproductionfactsheet.pdf). If the loss is so large for just one product in one country, think about how it will affect the global market for all crops?

Geoengineering, taking deliberate actions to help counteract the effects of global warming in order to help sustain our environment, seems like something out of a movie. From the proposals to create a massive sun shield and fly it into space, to raise massive armies of phytoplankton to absorb the CO2 and sink it to the bottom of the sea. Scott Barrett, a professor of natural resource sciences, and author of two books about the environment agrees with Michael MacCracken, chief scientist for the science institute in D.C., that the need is real, and geoengineering is the only probable solution to our global warming problem (Barrett 1-2, MacCracken 235). We cannot rely on changing to a solely renewable energy dependant world, because that will take too long and currently don’t have the technology available. Another unreasonable solution is to stop using fossil...

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