Global Warming as a Social Problem Term Paper

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Global Warming as a Social Problem

The reality of the global warming has been underlined by numerous studies and reports in recent years. However there is a disparity between the way that the reality of global warming is envisioned and socially received and perceived. This is largely due to the interacting forces of the media and the public in the construction of the sociological and cultural themes and models that intervene between the reality of the situation and its perception.

However, the perception and the assimilation of a major world event such as global warming or climate change has emerged in recent years from the area of conjecture and into the arena of common knowledge and accepted understanding. Very recently the almost unanimous statements by a convention of the world's scientists has changed the situation with regard to the general perception of global warming; leaving no doubt about the hard fact of climate change and that human beings are the" most likely" cause of this situation through the inadequate control of emissions into the atmosphere.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Global Warming as a Social Problem Assignment

Notwithstanding these facts there is still a certain amount of doubt and a disparity between 'fact' and societal and consumer perceptions of this crisis. In this regard the interaction between the media and media consumers has played a pivotal part in the way that global warming has been comprehended and perceived. The recent media coverage of the convention of scientists has certainly served to raise public awareness and understanding of the problem to new level. Through this interaction between the media and the public, especially in terms of the expanded communications possibilities of the Internet, new terms and views about global warming are taking root in the public consciousness. For example the concept of a "carbon footprint " has very rapidly become part of popular culture and many ordinary people are aware of the importance and significance of this term in relation to the overall threat that global warming poses for the world as a whole. In other words, media awareness and the interaction with the public has become one of the best and most promising methods of making and "constructing" a more adequate awareness of the threat of climate changes, and hopefully of their translation into action that may help to reduce the increasing amount of carbon dioxide levels. The only real hope, as many scientists and commentators sate, for the long-term future of the human race is that this environmental awareness be dramatically increased.

Despite these changes in attitude that media -drive scientific thought has achieved, there is still a gap and a disparity in many area between the reality and the perceived construction of global warming. This poses the question of how potentially disastrous events like climate change is manipulated and disseminated via the media. Many theorists raise questions as to the reality or objective assessments of disaster. This paper will discuss the way that media producers and consumers are involved in activities that form cultural belief structures that shape the belief structures of the public relating to climate warming. In this discussion of the way that media shapes and interacts with other societal structure and forces to construct social as well as environmental reality

It will also be necessary to discuss the important aspects that form the background to the discussion of global warming. Therefore the paper will include a discussion of the impact that climate change has and can have as well as the methods and modes suggested to curtail global warming and possible future scenarios that might occur.

2. Impact of Global Warming

Global warming, as scientists have stated is "most likely " caused by human beings through the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions that has create what is termed as the "greenhouse" effect. The present state of affairs, with regard to the IPCC Fourth Assessment, is summarized in the following quotation.

After assessing decades of climate data recorded everywhere from the depths of the oceans to tens of miles above Earth's surface, leading scientists from around the world have reported major advances in our understanding of climate change. Released in February 2007 -- six years after the prior assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report's Working Group I Summary for Policymakers synthesizes current scientific understanding of global warming and projects future climate change using the most comprehensive set of well-established global climate models.

Findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change Science)

The findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC are stark and shocking and have already impacted on contemporary social consciousness. The important aspect that needs to be emphasized is that, unlike previous reports and assertions about climate change, the present report by modern scientists have achieved a sense of legitimacy and finality about the present situating. There seems to be, in effect, less possibility that these findings are speculative or questionable.

The findings are severe and rigorous in their view that the impact of climate change is potentially life - threatening and could result in the demise of human civilization if it is allowed to continue unchecked.

These gloomy findings and dire predictions are not the offerings of a gaggle of fringe scientists with an addiction to the film Apocalypse Now. Rather, these forecasts are put forth by the IPCC, the largest, most reputable peer-reviewed body of climate-change scientists in history. (Boykoff and Boykoff)

The impact of global warming has already been experienced in many parts of the world. One of the most serious consequences and risks associated with climate change and global warming is the potential for severe increases in the sea levels. This will have a devastating effect of countries as well as economies in areas that are near to the coast. As one report states:

At present some 46 million people live in areas at risk of flooding due to storm surges. Scientists estimate that a 50cm rise in sea level would increase this number to 92 million and a one-metre rise would put 118 million in peril. The figures are based on current population density and present levels of sea defence measures.

Special Report: Impact of global warming may be severe and wide-ranging)

An example given of the devastating effects of an increase in the ocean levels is that if the oceans increase by only one meter this would mean that a country like Egypt would lose one percent of land area and the Netherlands would lose as much as six percent of its arable land. This figure increases to over seventeen percent in Bangladesh; while as much as eighty percent of the Majuro Atoll in the Pacific Marshall would be beneath the sea. (Special Report: Impact of global warming may be severe and wide-ranging) the consequences in terms of the loss of food production alone will be devastating and would have far-reaching repercussions that would extend well beyond these regions.

Therefore when one considers the impact of global warming one must also consider the interactive and interconnected consequences of an event such as the increase in water levels. As mentioned, crop production would be negatively impacted and this in turn would have other concomitant results. This is especially the case with the possible reduction of crop productivity as a rest of global warming and will have the greatest effect in arid and semi-arid areas. Sub-Saharan Africa will be greatly affected by an increase in global temperature as will South East Asia and tropical areas of Latin America. There are many associated consequences that can be related to the affect of temperature increase on crops and food; for example the fact that "Climate change could also alter market conditions and the range of agricultural pests." (Special Report: Impact of global warming may be severe and wide-ranging)

Related to the above is the increased risk of the spread of disease and illness as a result of global warming.

Extensions of the geographical range and season for some organisms could result in increases of diseases like malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever..." (Special Report: Impact of global warming may be severe and wide-ranging).

Furthermore it has been stated by experts that if the temperature should increase between three to five degrees Celsius, this could result in an increase in the incidence of malaria in regions of the world of up to sixty percent, with as many of eighty million new cases a year. (Special Report: Impact of global warming may be severe and wide-ranging)

One could expand on the above to list with many other consequences of global warming. For instance, another aspect that has been mentioned in many recent studies is the issue of pollution. Not only is this a cause of further global warming but pollution often leads to respiratory disease and asthma that can be expected to increase as global warming continues.

Much has also been written about the way that ecosystems are being damaged and disrupted by increasing temperatures. The danger to environmental ecosystem is possibly… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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