Thesis: Climate Change Everything Changes in This Era

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Climate Change

Everything changes in this era of rapid technological developments. More and better machineries are being developed to ease our everyday chores, but also to make our leisure time more pleasurable. Then, with globalization and market liberalization, organizations based their growth on the benefits of several countries' comparative advantage, most commonly cheaper resources. Customers now have a wide palette of products and services from which to choose those that best suit their needs. This advancement in all domains has not however been without side effects. The most important negative impact has been felt by our natural environment.

Some examples of the toll excessive industrialization has had upon the environment include: large corporations dump their waste in inadequate conditions and pollute the surrounding waters and natural habitats leading to the death of the plants, fish and animals in the region; the less educated and less responsible consumers dump their waste in nature (plastics materials are the most common waste with a disastrous effect upon nature); oil and gas drillers have drained the reserves near to the ground and now have to drill at larger depths -- this requires the usage of chemicals to break the rocks and these chemicals pollute the land and the water; finally, the increasing income per capita and the growth of the automobile industry have generated a massive number of cars, which consume gasoline and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- these greenhouse gases are the principal determinant of global warming -- the final effect of all these changes.

2. Climate Change

Generically, climate change stands for a process in which the Earth's temperature conditions suffer severe modifications, to lead to normally unexpected results. The process can expand to even thousands of years and the most relevant example is given by the transition from the glacial periods to the movement of the ice to the poles or their melting. At those stages, climate change was generated by causes such as changes in the Earth's orbit, changes in the intensity with which the sun would heat and light the Earth, volcanic eruptions which generate change trough their emission of carbon dioxide and aerosols into the atmosphere.

Another cause, however generally associated with the contemporaneous era, was the emission of greenhouse gases. These would be released into the atmosphere when changes occurred in the Earth's temperature. To better understand, higher temperatures mean that the oceans release carbon dioxide which increases the concentration of the greenhouse gases. On the other hand, cooler periods imply that the oceans attract higher levels of carbon dioxide, leading to a reduced concentration of the greenhouse gases. During glacial periods for instance, high levels of carbon dioxide have been observed, whereas these levels were significantly lower during warmer periods. The final cause of past climate changes revolves around modifications in ocean currents, which occur when modifications occur in the Earth's temperature. Oceans can impact Climate Change as they distribute heat across the globe (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

In more recent times, the main causes of climate change have been intensified through the actions of humanity. Following the Industrial Revolution, massive modifications occurred in natural habitats due to increased climate change. However, given that some of these changes are natural, it is rather difficult to assess the percentage of climate change that is actually due to natural conditions and which can be attributed to human actions alone. Still, despite this, fact remains that climate change has been revealed in recent times through modifications in atmosphere conditions, temperature, precipitations and storms, and fourth, sea levels.

Changes in atmosphere occurred due to increased levels of greenhouse gases, aerosols and radiative forcing that were released through intensified human actions in the industrial era, such as deforestations or the burning of fossil fuels. These materialized in increased concentrations of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading as such to a tendency of growth in temperatures. The most damaging greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The aerosols include the sulfate aerosols, black carbon and other aerosols associated with mass burning.

Changes in temperature occur on all of Earth's spheres, from the surface to the stratosphere up to 14 miles. Throughout the past three decades, an average growth of 1° F. has been observed; the Earth is heating at a rate of 0.32°F per decade, or 3.2°F per century. Additionally, the eight warmest years have been registered after 1998, with the hottest one being 2005 (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

Then, as temperature increases, so do the precipitations, as rising temperatures lead to rising evaporations, which in the end materialize in higher levels of precipitations. Changes in storms are extremely difficult to assess and analyses have revealed no significant modifications throughout the past century. Finally, in terms of sea levels, an increase of 4.8-8.8 inches has been observed throughout the course of the past century. This is associated with increased temperatures in both atmosphere as well as oceans, leading to an expansion of the oceans and the meting of the glaciers. In the United States for instance, sea levels increased by 0.08-0.12 inches per year (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

Given that the global population maintains its current levels of pollution and the level of greenhouse gases remains constant, it is highly probable that the these greenhouse gases will be found in increased concentrations within the atmosphere. This in turn will generate increasing temperatures, modifications in terms of precipitations and storms and increases in sea levels. The future of climate change will however depend on several forces, the most relevant of them being the strategies relative to greenhouse gases (will they be reduced, maintained or increased?), the strength of the relationship between greenhouse gases and aerosols and the features of climate and finally, the degree of climate change due to natural phenomena (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

3. Global Warming

Today, climate change is represented by global warming. The concept is a highly complex one, and it has captured the undivided attention of the environmentalist literature. What has to be noted, is that despite the differences in the words used, most definition of global warming state the same things. One of the most relevant examples of definitions to global warming is offered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency -- "Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns."

The causes of global warming are often assimilated with man made activities, but a closer look is required for a more comprehensive analysis. In this line of thoughts, the Natural Resources Defense Council explains the causes of global warming in the simplest and most concise and comprehensive manner: carbon dioxide and other polluting air enters the Earth's atmosphere to create a blanket of heat which generates increasing temperatures throughout the entire globe. In the United States for instance, the main two sources of greenhouse gases which lead to global warming are the coal-burning industry (with 2.5 billion of carbon dioxide released every year) and the automobile industry, with an average 1.5 billion carbon dioxide released per year.

Rather naive, there are still those who consider global warming a make-believe phenomenon. The most prominent disclaimers of global warming include the Global Climate Coalition, the George Marshall Institute, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, the Science and Environmental Policy Project, the Greening Earth Society (arguing that increased levels of carbon dioxide are beneficial for humanity), or the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009). Greenpeace has for instance intensified their efforts in fighting the damaging effects generated by ExxonMobil, but the endeavor is extremely challenging as the oil company invests millions of dollars each year to convince the public that global warming is make-believe. Also, ExxonMobil has sabotaged numerous international attempts to stop global warming as they prioritized profits over the planet's future health. Third, the oil company, which was a primary sponsor in George W. Bush's campaign for presidency, promoted the idea that renewable energy is also a chimera. Finally, with annual profits of more than $12 billion for 2000, ExxonMobil is the largest oil company in the world and if anyone can impact (for positive or negative) global warming, that someone is ExxonMobil (Greenpeace U.S.A.).

Yet, the evidence in detriment of the statements forwarded by the global warming skeptical institutions is clear and revolves basically around the effects so far felt by the Earth. In 2002 for instance, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon registered the worst wildlife season of all times. During the same period, massive droughts were seen in Montana, Colorado and Kansas, while floods caused severe damages in Texas, Montana and North Dakota. Then, looking at the snow levels, these decreased by 60% relative to their 1950 levels. The actual temperatures have direct impacts upon the humans as well, mostly affecting the elderly and the sick population. In this order of ideas, in 2003 alone, more than 20,000… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Climate Change Everything Changes in This Era.  (2009, March 31).  Retrieved May 27, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/climate-change-everything-changes-era/1882

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