There’s no question that the Earth is getting hotter-and fast, but the real questions are: How much of the warming is our fault, and are we willing to slow the meltdown by cutting down on our massive usage of fossil fuels?
Nobody can tell if global warming is entirely our fault, but they can prove that we are certainly adding excess amounts of greenhouse gases, which is causing the process to speed up rapidly. If we were to cut out most of our usage with fossil fuels and turn them to renewable resources, the whole process wouldn’t be half as problematic.
Obviously, everyone has their own opinions, and people such as industrialists, believe global warming is entirely natural.
One factory owner told us that, “Scientists have dismissed claims that we can halt global warming by drastically cutting down our consumption of fossil fuels. New evidence has shown that the main cause of global warming is in fact the sun. The temperature rise recently blamed on fossil fuels, is mainly due to an increase in the sun’s energy output… An increase of just 0.2% in solar output has the same effect as doubling the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
Although this could be true, as we are emitting more carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide etc. the extra heat from the sun would not be able to penetrate the added amounts of greenhouse gases, which will lead to the earth’s surface warming up.
The picture on the left shows the Earth when the greenhouse effect hasn’t ‘gone wild’. The heat hits the Earth and some is absorbed, but the majority reflects out of the atmosphere and in to space.
The picture on the right shows the Earth when our greenhouse gases have been emitted. Most of the radiated heat gets either absorbed by the water on Earth, or it bounces off Earth’s surface, but is trapped in the thickened atmosphere.
* Turning your central heating down by just 2ï¿½c in your home could not only help slow down global warming, but it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide by 300kg a year.
* If you clean your filters in your air conditioning, you could save 350pounds of carbon dioxide form being emitted every year.
* If you turn your T.V off instead of leaving it on standby, you could save 40% of the energy used with your television.
* Change your older models of fridges or freezers for a newer one. Old fridges give off CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), which are major contributors to climate change.
* If you leave your windows open all day, and the temperature outside is less than 10ï¿½c, in a year it will use up over 1tonne of carbon dioxide.
* Take a shower instead of a bath. If you don’t use a power shower, you could save over 4 times the amount of energy taken for a bath.
* Planting just one tree would absorb over one tonne of carbon dioxide in its life. And because one acre of forestry is being cut down every second in the world, it would be a good investment to plant your own tree.
* The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to the plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community.
* If you shared lifts to work just 2 times per week, you would save over 1590 pounds of carbon dioxide between you every year.
* This can increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10% due to wind resistance and the extra weight.
* If 1% of car owners had their car checked regularly, 1billion pounds of CO2 every year!
Doing all these would save you over ï¿½2500 EVERY YEAR in your household!
What is causing global warmng?
The main causes of global warming today are, deforestation, greenhouse gases being emitted, factories, aerosols, and there are too many motor vehicles on the road.
As you can see the majority of CO2 emitted is from power, transport and industry, which could easily be reduced by a lot.
The second largest cause of global warming is land use, and if we could all recycle just half of our waste, the amount of greenhouse gases given off would dramatically decrease.
Al Gore has emphasised this in his film and book, where he has told people what the effects of global warming are. He explained, ‘what changed us in the U.S with hurricane Katrina was a feeling that we have entered a period of consequences’. His website shows that the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes have doubled in the last 30 years. He makes some interesting statements but, many people believe that hurricanes have nothing to do with global warming. If this is true, we don’t know.
Britain’s sea levels are all ready rising, but what will happen if they rise much more?
This is what the earth currently looks like.
This will be earth
With 150m rise
View of globe in 2007 Look at the centre of
Africa. It is nearly
Under water. This
May happen by 2080!
This is what the earth will look like
When Sea levels rise by 6 metres.
With sea levels like this, millions
Of people across the world could
Die, and have their houses
The red line indicates land that will
Be lost under water.
It does not look much, but that could
Be all the beaches and many houses
On the coasts, that will disappear.
Stopping Global warming is a worldwide issue.
In July 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an agreement to become partners in fighting global warming, and to address people about the dangers of climate change.
Gov. Schwarzenegger said, “California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming”. He was getting across, that even though the majority of America is refusing to sign agreements to stop emitting as much CO2 etc, as the governor of California, he will fight to get the concentration of greenhouse gases in the air, down by a great amount.
In 1996 countries such as India emitted much less carbon dioxide than USA, but they are still emitting around 800 million tonnes of CO2 every year. This is due to the increasing amount of industry in the LEDCs (less economically developed countries), but countries such as Britain and USA are finding it hard to ask them to slow down, when they became MEDCs (more economically developed countries) purely because of their industry.
If the Indians and Japanese had to slow down their usage of factories etc. it would be a colossal loss in the economic side of the countries.
There is 1 new factory opened every 10 seconds around the world!
How do the sea levels rise if the weather is getting warmer?
As we all know, the world’s sea levels are rising quickly, but if the weather is getting warmer, how?
The answer is that when the sun hits the water, firstly the ice caps are melting. They are melting into water and making the sea levels rise. Although these ice caps are disappearing, this wouldn’t cause the sea levels to raise more than a few millimetres.
The real problem is that when the sun hits the water in the north or south pole, most of the radiated heat gets reflected of the icebergs. When those icebergs have melted, they will usually refreeze in the night, but now the weather is getting warmer, they cannot, and they are permanently melted. More of the sea is now exposed to the sun, and when the sun is hitting the seas surface, it is absorbed and it causes the sea to expand.
With les icebergs, in the poles, the faster the sea levels will rise.
This diagram shows where the temperature of the earth’s sea water is highest. It is mainly between the tropic of Capricorn and the tropic of Cancer, where the temperatures are highest. This means that the sea levels in countries in central and North Africa and South Asia will rise much faster than countries like USA and UK, even though they are one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world.
Doesn’t Everyone want to stop Global Warming?
After all the talk and proof of global warming happening fast, some people will
Still deny the reality of it.
They believe it is entirely the sun’s fault as it is giving off more energy.
They do have a point, because if there were no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the earth would be 15ï¿½c colder.
Global Warming could also be slowed down locally!
You could also help stop global warming by being more energy efficient around your home and in your work places.
Local meetings are often in the town hall or libraries, and what’s more, you could go to the council meetings and start e petition to use more environmentally friendly products in your area.
We interviewed a variety of people to get their thoughts on global warming.
We spoke to a leading scientist and he quoted, “In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today — more serious even than the threat of terrorism.”
The manager of a large factory says, “Even if it is human’s fault, global warming is going to happen whether we pollute or not. It’s better to get it out of the way than to eave it for future generations to sort out.” Although this is a valid opinion, he is in denial that his actions, could well be contributing to global warming.
This farmer had mixed feelings. “There are good and bad points for me. The weather will be warmer but there will be more rain, giving my grass lots of chance for growing. But if the weather gets very warm, diseases such as blue tongue will be coming from eastern Europe, and my cows and sheep may die.
In the early 1900s, there was a great increase in factories as there were many coal and oil fields founded in Britain. With all these fossil fuels being burned, the amount of CO2 in the air increased. It actually increased by only 10 parts per million (ppm).
Now if you look between the 1940s and 2000, the global atmospheric concentration of CO2 increases from 290 ppm to over 370 ppm.
This tells us that during the industrial revolution, not nearly as much CO2 was being produced as there is now.
All this pollution still isn’t half as bad as what is going on in Britain today.
If we keep it going at this rate, who knows what earth will be like in another 1000 years!
All The Talk About Slowing Down Global Warming, But How?
There are many ways to live sustainably, from using renewable resources, to turning your heating down 2ï¿½c.
Here are a few clean, renewable ways to live. On the other hand, there are some negative points.
Source + Sides – Sides
Wind Power Easy to build..Easy to convert Causes fatigue and head
to electricity..Cheap. aches..Loud.
Tidal Power Tide comes twice a day.. Expensive.. Hard for
Electricity to get from
Water to land.
Solar Power Sun gives off lots of energy.. Earth only facing sun for
Easy to catch the energy.. 12 hrs a day..Sometimes
As you can see, although there are many positive sides to renewable resources, there are many negative points. Although these are possible ideas for slowing global warming, there are many simpler ways such as stopping deforestation or slowing down on the amount of greenhouse gases we are emitting.
Problems with Deforestation
There is nothing wrong with deforestation, as long as we replace the trees that we cut down.
That’s the problem. Many people make a living from deforestation, by either using the pulp to produce paper, or using the rare wood for furniture etc. They don’t care about the environment, they just want income.
Millions of different species are becoming endangered and even extinct through the loss of their habitats in the rainforests every year.
Another problem is that when you cut down trees, and don’t replant them, they are not able to absorb the CO2 in the air, and this leads to excess carbon dioxide getting trapped in the earth’s atmosphere.
Look at the great amount of deforestation taking place in the Amazon Rainforest EVERY YEAR!
Between 1996 and 2001, it has been kept relatively low, but there has been a rocket in the last few years.
There is now an equivalent of 1 acre (1 full size football pitch) of trees being cut down every SECOND across the world!
There is no doubt that the ice-caps are melting very fast in many places, and this is because the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is greatly increasing.
Ice reduction is really dangerous for the animals such as penguins and polar bears, and their habitats are vanishing.
They are now becoming very hungry too, because they would usually hunt seals on the surface of the ice, but now the ice is melting, the seals are staying in the water for longer.
SEVERAL BEARS HAVE BEEN FOUND DEAD BECAUSE OF STARVATION AND THEY HAVE DROWNED SEARCHING FOR FOOD!
THIS COULD BE OUR FAULT.
Polar bear cubs are also being affected, even before they reach their first year. In the Beaufort sea, Alaska, in the 1980’s, 64% of cubs would live past their 1st year. Now only 43% are making it.
Kassie Siegel, an environmentalist explained, “We’ve observed massive melting of the sea ice in the Arctic in recent years, and they can’t survive without it,”
These two polar bears are stranded on a melting block of ice, which is very small and has no food around it.
The bears would have to swim to find a seal and then they would not be able to get on the ice again.
This picture was taken with thermal camera, which shows how much heat is being wasted.
As you can see with the middle house, there is a very high percentage of heat loss through just the ceiling and the roof of the house.
If they had installed insulation for their loft, the amount of heat being wasted could have reduced by up to 50%.
There are plenty of ways to stop wasting so much energy, but not many people will take action. Here are a few simple ways so you can do your bit.
If you are only going on a short journey, walk or ride your bicycle, because for every gallon of petrol you burn, 20 lbs of CO2 are being let off in the atmosphere.
Change your bulbs to energy efficient ones. With normal bulbs, only 10% is used as light. The other 90% of the energy is wasted as heat. With the energy efficient bulbs they will last up to 12 times longer.
Turn your T.V off by the switch, because when it is on standby, it uses 80% of the energy used when you are watching it.
Global warming affects many different features of life on Earth. There will be winners and losers, even within a single region. But globally the losses are expected to far outweigh the benefits.
The regions that will be most severely affected are often the regions that emit the least greenhouse gases. This is one of the challenges that policy-makers face in finding fair international responses to the problem. There are many serious impacts of this:
People most at risk of famine live in agriculturally isolated, arid or semi-arid regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. African agriculture was already unable to keep pace with population growth during the last decades of the 20th century, and climate models generally predict that mid-continental summer soil moisture will tend to be lower with global warming.
Because plants require CO2, rising levels may actually help plant growth. However, the increased plant growth requires adequate water supply and other fertilization, such as nitrates. Experiments in which crops are grown in CO2-rich air show that the CO2 fertilization effect could become small after a few years.
2. Health and disease
The impacts of global warming will be felt across the globe. These are a few of the many examples of the impacts of climate changes on health and disease.
Cold winter weather reduces the spread of infectious diseases by killing infectious organisms and carrier species, such as mosquitoes. Warmer, wetter weather could increase the spread of malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever. The possible increase in flooding and damage to water and sewage infrastructure can further encourage the spread of disease.
Increased Air Pollution
Three out of four of the world’s highest-density cities are in rapidly developing countries, where vehicle pollution is high. In Central Europe alone, 21,000 deaths are tied to air pollution each year. The concentration of photochemical pollutants, such as ozone, tends to increase with warmer temperatures. Ozone damages lung tissue and is especially harmful to people with asthma and other lung conditions. Air pollution in high-density cities can be a health hazard to individuals with asthma. Photochemical pollutants tend to increase with warmer temperatures.
What Is The Kyoto Protocol?
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the international Framework Convention on Climate Change with the objective of reducing Greenhouse gases that cause climate change. It was agreed on 11 December 1997 at the 3rd Conference of the Parties intending to participate to the treaty when they met in Kyoto, and entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of November 2007, 175 parties have joined the protocol. Of these, 36 developed countries are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels specified for each of them in the treaty, with three more countries.
How Does It Work?
The Protocol requires developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the Treaty. These targets must be met within a five-year time frame between 2008 and 2012, and add up to a total cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 5% against the baseline of 1990. Review and enforcement of these commitments are carried out by United Nations-based bodies. The Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” This has two main reasons. Firstly, those countries can more easily pay the cost of cutting emissions. Secondly, developed countries have historically contributed more to the problem by emitting larger amounts of greenhouse gases per person than in developing countries.
What Will It Lead To?
The Kyoto Protocol is generally seen as an important first step towards a truly global emission reduction regime that will stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level which will avoid dangerous climate change. As a result of the Protocol, governments have already put, and are continuing to put legislation and policies in place to meet their commitments; a carbon market has been created; and more and more businesses are making the investment decisions needed for a climate-friendly future. The Protocol provides the essential architecture for any new international agreement or set of agreements on climate change. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. By then, a new international framework needs to have been negotiated which can deliver the emission reductions the IPCC tells us are needed.
Just like the Kyoto Protocol, a meeting was held in Rio de Janeiro called the Rio Earth Summit.
In 1992, more than 100 heads of state met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the first international Earth Summit convened to address urgent problems of environmental protection and socio-economic development. The assembled leaders signed the Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, endorsed the Rio Declaration and the Forest Principles, and adopted Agenda 21, a 300 page plan for achieving sustainable development in the 21st century.
The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created to monitor and report the Earth Summit agreements. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session. This special session of the UN General Assembly took stock of how well countries, international organizations and sectors of civil society have responded to the challenge of the Earth Summit.
La Nina is an abnormal cooling of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
It is taking place right now, and should be carrying through until the summer of 2008. if this forecast is true, then the earth’s temperature will be the same as in 1998 which will start questions about the theory of global warming.
Scientist Michel Jarraud said that,
“When you look at climate change you should not look at any particular year, you should look at trends over a pretty long period and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming.”
Global warming has been put ‘into reverse’ but will soon begin to rise again, when a warming over the Pacific Ocean will come across, and cause the temperature to once again rise.
This means that even though global warming has slowed down, this year it will still have risen in the last 30 years by a large amount.
Michel Jarraud also agrees that global warming is definitely happening.
“La Nina is part of what we call ‘variability’. There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years, but what is important for climate change is that the trend is up.”
So don’t take this as to say global warming isn’t happening, because it most probably is.
Still make all the difference you can, by recycling waste products, and planting a tree etc.
La Nina El Nino
Although there is all the evidence of the earth rapidly warming up, and the sea levels rising, there are actually many good points for global warming!
* Warmer weather on Britain’s coasts could attract many tourists from around the world and bring much more money to the country.
* More chance for the grass to grow in farmer’s fields, giving the cows and sheep etc. more chance to produce milk.
* There is more chance for children and teenagers to play outside, instead of them being in the house watching television.
* Any future ice ages, which could wipe out mankind, would be stopped by the warmer weather.
* Cold winters have killed more people than warm summers, so having a warmer summer is much better.
* Longer growing seasons for arable farmers which would help them grow wheat and maize for a longer period of time in the summer.
* You would save lots of money on heating bills.
* Sea gets warmer, and more tropical marine life would come to the usually cold parts of the world.
The World Weekly(c) Written & Edited by Connaugh Jones