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Should Politicians Change Policies In Light Of Climate Change

1824 words - 7 pages

Should politicians plan ahead for the potential changes in the future on the basis of what is already known about the nature of our climate?The Earth's climate is constantly changing. In this essay I will be discussing whether different scenarios predicted for our future climate should be prepared for by politicians on local, national and international scales. There is much debate over whether the global phenomenon known as global warming is happening, whether it caused by anthropogenic activities, what the impacts could be and what courses of action should be taken. View points differ between countries, international institutions and individuals. For example Gerhaerd Schroder, Chancellor of Germany, vowed in 1995 to reduce Germany's carbon emissions by 21% by 2008 and had managed to cut emissions by 13% by 1999 (www.adenauer.spb.ru/files/publics/55/Germany Update) In contrast President George Bush rejected the Kyoto agreement for the USA, stating that it was "fundamentally flawed" (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20 01/06/20010611-2.html) and does not entirely accept evidence that anthropogenic activity is causing climate change, "we do not know how much effect natural fluctuations in climate may have had on warming. We do not know how much our climate could, or will change in the future"(11/06/01). In developing and newly industrializing countries the evidence of future climate change is accepted but no policies are enforced to decrease greenhouse gases or protective measures implemented because they don't want to damage their developing economy.According to data collected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change global annual mean temperatures have risen gradually since 1911. Observations taken by Wigley et al in 1997 showed "an overall warming trend of about 0.5 C degrees, with marked shorter time scale variability from year to year". The pattern recognized here gave evidence not only for global warming but also for an accelerating trend of warming. As well a meteorological measurements we can also see evidence of climate change from physical changes such as that written in seventeenth century diarist Pepys work detailing the occurrence of "Frost Fairs" on the river Thames in London, indicating that the weather was cold enough to freeze the Thames (http://www.pepysd iary.com/archive). Many measurements have also been conducted out on glaciers. Warwick and Oerleman(1990) noticed a correlation in their samples of a global temperature increase of 0.5 C accompanied by a global retreat of continental glaciers such as the Nigardsbreen in Norway.An argument for the implication of new preventative measures against global warming would be the possible increase in rising sea levels due to expansion of the water and an excess in freshwater input from continental glaciers. According to Warrick and Rahman (1992) a sea level rise of just 1 metre per century results in the loss of 100km squared of wetlands per year. Much of the wetlands lost...

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