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Global WarmingScientists, politicians, journalists, your neighbors today it seems that everyone is talking about global warming, but what is global warming? Well to understand what global warming is one has to understand what the greenhouse effect is. Earth receives energy from the sun in the form of short-wave radiation. About one-third of this incoming radiation is reflected back to space; the atmosphere absorbs the remainder, but oceans and lands absorb most of the radiation.
The earths surface becomes warm and as a result and emits long-wave radiation. The greenhouses gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, and nitrous oxide) trap and re-emit some of this long-wave radiation. This process is called the greenhouse effect, which causes the Earth to warm to an average temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit.1Global warming is the increase of the Earths average temperature, but what does global warming mean to us? It means a soggier, sicker, hungrier, and poorer world. As the plant warms the ice in the Arctic and in Greenland start to melt, causing sea levels to rise. Since warm water takes up more space than cold water, that means bad news, because a huge number of people live near the coasts, especially in tropical Asia. We are already seeing examples of direct effects of global warming (figure 1.1). The third hottest summer ever across North America was in 1988 and by the time it was done, corn and soybean yields had fallen by a quarter to a third. If the temperature stays hot enough for a week or two, corn cant pollinate and rice yields start to drop. The world already struggles to produce enough grain for a growing population, global warming is just going to make the situation worse. Global warming is damaging the welfare of the Earths environment and that its putting all of us in danger.2 What causes global warming? Many scientists agree that the increase of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is because of human activities. Most of the greenhouse gases that come from human activity are because of the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), deforestation and agricultural practices; beginning from the pre-Industrial Revolution.
Carbon dioxide has gone up by about 30% (see figure 1.2), methane by more than a factor of two, and nitrous oxide by about 15%. The concentrations of greenhouses gases are higher now than at any other time period during the last 420,000 years. In addition, the combustion of fossil fuels has also caused the concentrations of sulfate aerosols to increase, which warms the atmosphere and trends to cool the atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere.3 Although, there are many scientists in agreement that global warming is a growing problem for everyone. There are people who disagree with this observation. For example, James K. Glassman argues that there is no credible evidence that global warming is imminent. He takes issues with a report on climate change prepared by the National Assessment Synthesis Team of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Glassman considers the reports dim predictions of global warmings impact on the United States to be further evidence of the political gamesmanship surrounding the global warming debate. Glassman is a trustee of the Reason Foundation, A libertarian public policy research organization.4 There is an overwhelming of facts that support the evidence of global warming. Even with all these facts people are still going to deny it. Looking at all facts I have seen it is clear to me that global warming is damaging the welfare of the Earths environment and that its putting all of us in danger and we need to move in direction to try to reduce it, before it becomes too late.The most sensible approach to prevent the worst effects of global warming would be to cut carbon dioxide emissions. How can we cut carbon dioxide emissions one way is by using less energy, than we would produce less carbon dioxide. We could also move towards renewable/alternative forms of energy like biomass or solar energy. Another possibility to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is by growing new forests. In the end a combination of improved energy efficiency and alternative energy are the solutions to global warming.