Global Warming: Climate Change Is Happening Now

1100 words - 4 pages

I believe the world is being faced with a serious issue of global climate change due to the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process in the Earth's atmosphere that warms the planet. Without the greenhouse effect, on average, the Earth's surface would be about 60oF colder. The greenhouse effect occurs when visible light from the sun passes through the atmosphere and is absorbed by the Earth's surface. Some of that energy is then sent back to the atmosphere as heat. However, greenhouse gases trap that heat, which would otherwise be released into space, raising the temperature of the atmosphere and the Earth's surface. Increases in the amount of greenhouse gases, due to human activities, intensify the heat trapped by the atmosphere and as a result, cause global warming and climate change. Consequently, human behaviors including industrial processes, fossil fuel combustion, and changes in land use, such as deforestation, cause emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which can be blamed for the increasingly warmer temperatures.

People enhance the greenhouse effect primarily by burning fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas. These fuels are stored carbon, formed millions of years ago from organic matter. When they are burned, that carbon returns to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide, which is the biggest contributor to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Each year, fossil fuel use adds an estimated 5.5 gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are released into the atmosphere through naturally and anthropogenicly; while CFC-12, HCFC-22, perfluoromethane, sulfur hexafluoride occur only as a result of industrial processes (human activity). Thus, the rising amount of CFC-12, HCFC-22, perfluoromethane, and sulfur hexafluoride is proof that people's actions result in the global climate change. Continuation of these human activities will cause additional warming throughout the 21st century, along with a global increase of 2.5ºF to 10.4ºF by 2100. However, warming of the United States is expected to be even higher.

Although some people continue to ignore the severity of this problem, it will bring serious consequences if plans of prevention are not taken into action. The problem with global warming is that it will cause additional sea-level rise that will gradually inundate coastal areas, changes in precipitation patterns, increased risk of droughts and floods, threats to biodiversity, and a number of potential challenges for public health. To protect ourselves and the globe from the harmful consequences of climate change, we must dramatically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. To do this, we have to completely change the way we daily function and run our global economy. We need to avoid the use of unrestrained fossil fuels and take up more efficient and renewable sources of energy. For example, instead of...

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