Research Paper: Climate Change -- Cause

Pages: 4 (1470 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Weather  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] NASA research shows "certain facts" that are not in dispute because with available science data, the current warming trends show the "big picture": a) "…scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal"; and b) the "heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide…" and increased levels of "…greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response"; c) sea levels are rising (and have risen 6.7 inches in the last century); d) the ten warmest years on record have occurred "…in the past 12 years"; e) the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctic are losing mass (Greenland lost up to 60 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005); f) glaciers "…are retreating almost everywhere around the world," in Africa, the Himalayas, Alaska, the Andes, the Rockies, and the Alps; and g) the acidity of surface ocean water "…has increased by about 30%" since the Industrial Revolution (NASA).

Two Current Mitigation Strategies

The first strategy to be covered is related to cars and trucks and getting the industry to build cars that go farther on a gallon of gas. Every gallon of gasoline burned by driving a vehicle creates 20 pounds of CO2, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Hence, a typical vehicle being driven for a year in the U.S. produces "…roughly 5 to 9 tons of CO2" annually. So an American trying to help reduce greenhouse gases can buy a car that gets good fuel economy, or alternatively, he or she can buy an electric car or take the bus and leave the car at home.

The second strategy is to institute a carbon tax. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader explains that a carbon tax would "…place a fee on polluters that emit GHGs (greenhouse gases) such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (Nader, 2013). Coal-fired plants, refineries, and chemical plants would pay a tax; Nader suggests a tax of $50 "per metric ton of CO2 equivalents" which could bring as much as $340 billion annually to the federal treasury.

Policy Changes to Stabilize Global Climate Change

Since there are currently no federal standards that seek to reduce the carbon pollution from power plants, a new policy must be created (to set reasonable standards) because power plants (notably coal-fired plants) produce nearly 40% of all American greenhouse gas pollution (The White House). This process will be politically controversial because the energy companies spend millions of dollars on lobbying Congress and in addition, there are still "global warming deniers" in Congress who are fighting any policy that seeks to reduce the nation's carbon footprint. I would also put great pressure on the auto industry to produce affordable vehicles that emit a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions that they currently emit. The big energy companies that scrape the tops of mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia for coal will spend extraordinary amounts of money fighting every policy that seeks to reduce the carbon emissions from coal-fired plants. But the environmentally smart policies must be pushed through if the U.S. is going to take responsibility for reducing its enormous contribution to the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

In conclusion, there is no question at all that the planet is heating up. The evidence is overwhelming notwithstanding the doubters and deniers that are in Congress and elsewhere. Steps must be taken to at least slow climate change down. New policies must be put in place and the voters must elect responsible candidates who have the courage to stand up to the big energy companies.

Works Cited

Institute of Physics. (2013). Study reveals scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.

Retrieved September 1, 2013, from http://www.iop.org.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Climate Change 2007: Working Group I:

The Physical Science Basis. Retrieved September 1, 2013, from http://www.ipcc.ch.

Merriam-Webster (2013). Anthropogenic. Retrieved September 1, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com.

Nader, R. (2013). The best solution for climate change is a carbon tax. Reuters. Retrieved September 1, 2013, from http://blogs.reuters.com.

NASA. (2012). Climate Change: Evidence. Retrieved September 1, 2013, from http://climate.nasa.gov.

NASA. (2011). Global Climate Change / A blanket around the Earth. Retrieved September 1,

2013, from http://climate.nasa.gov.

Rahmstorf, S. (2007).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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