Thanks so much! I need the A, because I am at like 90% in the class. I guess she knows anyway, because I am a debate nerd, which inherently means I have knowlage about lots of random stuff. The real reason for the topic choice was that there is a rumor that there will be a global warming topic again soon. It is supposed to be just questions, and a research plan. She told us that. I already know the awnsers to those though. Here is part 3 now. I have never written anything that long before.
Over the past 50 years the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history, and though temperatures naturally fluctuate, the ten years with the highest temperature have all occurred since 1990. The Earth is within 1°C of its warmest period in the past 400,000 years. The primary reason for this is global warming. Experts say that inaction could cause U.S temperatures to raise 3-9 degrees by the end of the century. (NDRC) NASA scientist James Hansen forecast that this would eliminate up to half the species on Earth and would melt polar ice caps. This would cause ocean levels to rise, submerging Florida, most of Louisiana and much of the East Coast. (Gardner A.P) Global warming could also be responsible for extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes, becoming more frequent and vicious. Changes in rainfall patterns could be responsible for an increase in drought, as well as the flooding predicted by Hansen. (NASA) This leads me to believe that the human species is self deprecating in its use of fossil fuels, because the consequences of global warming are horrendous, and it is chiefly human activity that is responsible. Global warming is caused by human activity that is enhancing the greenhouse effect, and has dire consequences, such as melting the ice caps, making hurricanes more frequent and destructive, detriment to crop yields, and drought.
To fully comprehend the effects of global warming, you must first understand what it is, and its causes. Global warming is the increase in the Earth's average temperature. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and deforestation have caused an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere to increase drastically, in recent years. (EPA) Greenhouse gasses prevent heat from leaving the atmosphere, and escaping into space. In the past, greenhouse gasses have kept the planet's surface at an ideal temperature for life on Earth. However, as these gasses grow more prevalent in our atmosphere, the Earth's temperature increases. This is caused by human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and gas.
A large percentage of this burning occurs in automobiles, in factories, and in electric power plants that provide energy, that we need for our society to function. The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. (NASA) Coal-burning power plants, in the U.S alone, produce 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution every year, and automobiles in the U.S, create nearly 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. (NDRC) This is inherently a problem, because our society is so dependent on these fossil fuels. Trees and other plants remove carbon dioxide, from the air during photosynthesis, a natural process that they use to create food. Thus, deforestation is also responsible for the buildup of carbon dioxide, because when we eliminate trees, we allow the carbon dioxide that they would have used to escape into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. (NASA) I did not originally realize that a simple temperature increase could be such a colossal problem, but due to how rapidly the temperature is increasing, and the ramifications of the temperature increase that scientists have predicted, our society cannot deny this problem any longer.
Global warming has led to a rapid and destructive temperature increase. The ten years with the highest temperature have all occurred since 1990, and Earth is within 1°C of its warmest period in the past 400,000 years. (NDRC) This illustrates the issues that I have previously acknowledged. It is only in recent years that human use of fossil fuels, and human population has grown so rapidly. This presents a clear association with a temperature increase. With such a rampant increase, one can begin to observe the effects of global warming. Hasen, a NASA scientist, predicts that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, the warming this century will approach 5°F, and that such a change would eliminate up to half the species on Earth, and melt polar ice caps. (Gardner A.P) Warning signs have already appeared. In Greenland, ice is melting twice as fast as it was five years ago, with 53 cu. Mi. draining away into the sea in 2005. A cubic mile of water is roughly five times the amount the Los Angeles uses annually. (Kluger) The ramifications of that amount of water being released are daunting. When water is released in such large amounts, shorelines are deluged. USA Today writes: "By some estimates, the entire Greenland ice sheet would be enough to raise global sea levels 23 ft., swallowing up large parts of coastal Florida and most of Bangladesh." I can therefore assume that since these areas are threatened by global warming, and we are already witnessing their degradation, that without action this catastrophe could become a grim reality. Another issue presented by the melting of ice caps, is what scientists call the "feedback loop". (Kluger) This is the premise that ice caps, act as reflectors to the suns heat waves, and thus helping keep the Earth cool. As they melt, the Earth absorbs even more sunlight, and thus grows ever warmer, hastening further melting. (Sloan)
It is obvious that we ought to consider ice caps for the survival of the human race, since the melting of ice caps, causes horrific consequences. The melting of the ice caps would cause ocean levels to rise enough to overwhelm Florida, and much of the East Coast. (Gardner A.P) Rising sea levels are already affecting some. In Jakarta, Indonesia, there are currently 100-200 floods a year. Areas of the city are sinking, and even the airport might be under sea level by 2050. (Huffington Post) Even small rises in sea level can lead to catastrophic flooding such as recent floods in India. NPR writes: "A half-inch of vertical sea level rise translates to about three feet of land lost on a sandy open coast... And even a slightly higher sea level can cause more dramatic tides in deltas and estuaries."
The IPCC forecasts that a warming ocean will lead to a rise in the power of hurricanes. (NPR) CCSP reports found that there has been a substantial increase in the frequency of huricanes, and their power, since 1970. The CCSP writes: "It is likely that the annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes in the North Atlantic have increased over the past 100 years, a time in which Atlantic sea surface temperatures also increased." They deterred that human induced increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, contributed to this data. The CCSP continues "Over the past 50 years there has been a strong statistical connection between tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures and Atlantic hurricane activity ...This evidence suggests a human contribution to recent hurricane activity." Their reports also suggest the horrific impacts of Katrina, are an example of "one manifestation of climate change." Therefore we can assume that global warming is responsible for an increase in not only the frequency but the destructive power of hurricanes, and for that reason alone is a force to be reckoned with. For this reason alone, I believe that the government must acknowledge this crisis. Our society has born witness to the horrors of Katrina, and we cannot afford to lose more innocent lives, due to our inability to act. The government is obligated to protect its citizens, and therefore, in my opinion, inaction is a serious violation of the social contract.
Unfortunately, these are not the only ramifications of inaction. Global warming also leads to reducing crop yields. An Environment America study concurs that rising temperatures will reduce corn yields, by 3 percent, compared to projected yields without further global warming. The study states that the U.S will lose $1.4 billion in corn revenue alone. A 2008 government report, suggests that other crops could similarly suffer. (Tankersley)
The Chicago Tribune writes: "The estimates of revenue loss are tied to expected increases in temperature and carbon dioxide levels that could be reached within the next few decades if steps are not taken quickly to cut the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere." This is not including projected detriment due to flooding, and storm increase, and drought. Our society needs food to function, and thus we cannot survive with lower crop yields. The population is constantly growing, and the world is already struggling to meet the needs of the hungry, and therefore we cannot, allow global warming to persist, if it affects our ability to produce food.
Drought is another product of global warming. According to a study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the amount of land area suffering from drought has more than doubled from the 1970's, when the amount of land was at about 10-15% to the early 2000's, when it has become about 30%. Some of this has occurred in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. NCAR concluded global warming to be a major factor in the increase in drought. The study attributes the changes to rising temperatures, rather than to a lack of rain, or snowfall. Dai writes: "Global climate models predict increased drying over most land areas during their warm season, as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases increase," "Our analyses suggest that this drying may have already begun." (UCAR) This is an inherent problem, because drought is damaging to crop yields, as well as regular temperature increase. Drought also presents a problem in water management. An IPPC study in 2007's models concluded that the Southwestern U.S and parts of northern Mexico could become as arid as the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930s. They also attribute these changes to global warming. (Minard) Peter Baines of Melbourne University found that rainfall over roughly the past 15 years has been steadily diminishing, and that global warming was 37% percent responsible for the decline. (Fogarty) This presents a similar issue to the lower crop yields, because water is a basic necessity for life, and I therefore believe, that this issue alone constitutes a response to global warming.
I can therefore conclude the global warming is incredibly dangerous, to the welfare of our society. When humans use resources, without paying attention to the ramifications, the Earth becomes warmer, thus leading to the melting of the ice caps. This leads to further negative impacts, such as increasing flooding, the power and frequency of hurricanes, drought, and general detriment to crop yields. We depend upon water, and fertile land, to sustain our agricultural systems, which in turn the rest of our society depends on. Without these basic necessities, our society could not function, and this issue therefore ought to be a paramount consideration in the political world. The ice caps, and the general temperature of our planet is essential, because when temperature increases so rapidly as it is currently, drought, reductions to crop yield, flooding, and hurricanes, are all side effects. Society witnessed the devastation imposed by Katrina, and is watching the degradation of the ice caps in Greenland. Therefore it is imperative that our society takes climate change into account, even before other issues. The Earth can live without humans, but humans cannot live without the Earth.