Climate Change - Global Warming Essay Example
SGI1B02_20122 Climate Change and Society With English Writing Requirements (by Janet Elizabeth NICHOL; Man Sing WONG;) Second Draft Submission Assignment Title: WHAT IS NEEDED TO MANAGE GLOBLE WARMING | Student Name:| YangTianfang| | Student ID:| 12131087d| | Group ID:| EWT008| | Date:| April 12, 13| Based on a series of scientific theories and evidence, it seems fair to say that nowadays environmental issues are essential for people to acknowledge and consider, not just scientists and policy makers but also ordinary citizens.
As a result, some knowledge, values and attitudes are necessary for managing the problems of climate change in the 21st century - Climate Change introduction | For instance, history and evidence of climate change, reasons and factors triggering it, impacts and consequences brought by it, and what’s needed to deal with it are main aspects people need to consider. KNOWLEDGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE The weather and climate are two different issues that are similar but easy to be misunderstood. Weather is a phenomenon that people can experience in a short time whilst climate is a long time issue.
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Climate is usually described in terms of the mean and variability of temperature, precipitation and wind over a period of time, ranging from months to millions of years, and it could also be considered as an engine that uses heat energy to keep the atmosphere and ocean moving, and to keep life on earth continuing. Climate change nowadays has aroused widespread concern. Our current situation is that our planet as a whole system is now taking in more energy than it radiates, which has caused an imbalance. As the higher levels of atmosphere radiate some of the surplus heat down, all the lower levels near the surface warm up.
Then the imbalance has to continue until the high levels get hot enough to radiate out as much energy as the planet is receiving, which is known as the ‘Green House Effect’. Some people believe that the surface of the earth will be at saturation, and the temperature of the earth won’t be continually rising-the “saturation argument” against global warming; however, others believe that the earth surface can’t reach saturation since plants can absorb CO2. As Marslin (2008) pointed out, “people will be surprised to know that about half of all our carbon emissions are absorbed by the natural carbon cycle and do not end up in the atmosphere. Secondly, the absorption in the so-called unsaturated higher levels of atmosphere is the crucial factor determining whether there will be an increase in temperature or not. Evidence of climate change is as follows. It can be seen in the mean of occurrence probability of extreme weather because the mean of occurrence probability of extreme weather has moved to the direction of more hot weather, while there has been less extreme cold weather in contrast in recent decades.
From high-resolution climate records showing glacier length, tree rings, sediment cores and historical records, the average temperature of the previous period of the 20th century has been relatively stable; however, after the Industrial Revolution, the global warming phenomenon began to appear, especially in the last 10 years. The average temperature in 1900 increased by 0. 7 Celsius. Mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets both have reflection on elevated temperatures, as they are melting at a faster speed. Lakes are increasing in size and number meanwhile ice is losing rapidly.
Above are all testaments that a massive global climate change is occurring. The factors causing climate changes are known as climate forcing. As Maslin(2009) mentioned, scientists drilled down into the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to get the greenhouse gases, and by examining the oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in the ice core, they drew a conclusion that when CO2 and CH4 increase, the temperature will increase and vice versa. So the temperature of our atmosphere will rise if levels of green house gases continue to rise.
Some natural climate forcing factors are as follow: the earth’s orbit’s changes, the volcanic ash’s sheltering off the sunlight, the El Nino conditions’ effects, and the sunspots’ appearance and changes. But human driven factors are supposed to be the main reason why climate is changing since the global temperature increases rapidly in recent decades, and increases more at night than in the daytime, and temperature is increasing more incredibly in high latitudes than in low latitudes, besides the earth’s temperature is rising at an accelerating pace.
Perhaps the following information could be reminders to those who regard climate change as an insignificant matter. First, biotic and abiotic are dependent, which means once the natural environment is destroyed, animals, including human beings, plants, and microorganism would have nowhere to live. Second, our climate system is a huge and complex system, which means a little change could cause a series of variations or fluctuations. If they’re overlooked, disasters could happen. A changing climate leads to changes of extreme weather and climate events, and it can result in unprecedented ones.
So we should be prepared to adapt to it. VALUES and ATTITUDES: Because of the worries about climate change, the United Nations Environmental Panel and World Meteorological Organization established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1998. And since the IPCC use consensus data conservatively, the estimates of climate change are more likely trustful. Based on carbon emission scenarios of the next 100 years, the IPCC 2007 reports showed people all over the world that it would be1. 1 to 6. degrees centigrade warmer by 2100. (Marslin,2009) And as a result of the climate system’s non-linear feature, there would be tipping points when climate change happens, especially considering potential surprises caused by human behaviors in the global climate system. There were examples of failing to cope with climate changes as lack of preparation in the history. In terms of Mayan civilization, since it did not recognize its vulnerability to long-term water shortages, then Mayans disappeared as climate changed.
Nowadays the main issue of climate change is global warming, which would be a great threat to human beings. According to Marslin(2008), both Greenland and the Western Antarctica ice sheet will melt and it will cause sea level rising by 13 meters. What that means is one-third of the world’s population living within 60 miles of a shoreline would be displaced and 13 of the world’s 20 largest cities located on a coast would disappear. Billions of people would have to move, and a mass migration would inevitably happen.
Cutting emissions significantly is the most logical approach to the global warming problem. It’s said that if we convert our global economy to low-carbon now, it may cost us only 1-2 percentage of what we earn; however, it could cost us up to 20 percent of everything the world earns in the future to deal with a warming world. And to prevent the deaths of tens of millions of people and the increase in human misery is also another aim and responsibility for us human beings.
To get a global agreement to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, the Kyoto Protocol was drawn up on 13 December 1997, which stated the general principles for a worldwide treaty on cutting greenhouse emissions. Some countries like UK changed their emissions while there are some countries continuing to increase their emissions. On 23 July 2001, the Kyoto Protocol was ratified and signed in Bonn, making it a legal treaty. While the USA producing about one-quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide pollution did not sign the Kyoto Protocol under the leadership of President Bush.
The treaty does not include developing countries such as China and India, concerning those developing countries need to develop and they will produce a lot of pollution. During the rest of the 21st century, “most of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions will be from the developing world”, as said by Marslin(2008), and the global demand for fossil fuels is so strong. China, as an example, is opening a new coal-fired power station every four days. But we need to do is not to complain but to develop alternative, renewable, or clean energy.
The EU has made it a law for all member countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions and an entire of 500 million dollars new funds a year has been delivered to help developing countries to face and cope climate change and develop new clean technologies. There are contenders’ values on the international climate talks. China belongs to the Group of 77(G-77), and this group has mentioned their concern that reducing emissions would block the development of poor countries, and carbon trading must be allowed as a way of boosting income to developing countries.
Another example is the Alliance of Small Island States(AOSIS) ,whose countries appear to be most in danger from the impacts of global warming. The group AOSIS “has been to achieve the tightest control on global emissions. ”(Marslin,2008) Countries try to reduce the speed of climate change, by reducing the consumption of fossil energy, and accelerate the use of alternative energy sources such as wind energy, solar energy, bio-energy and nuclear energy, etc.
But according to Thompson(2012), the effort is still very slight because of the energy we produce 60% ?? still relies on the burning of fossil energy, and there is no signal indications that our consumption is reducing. Also, the population in developing countries is inflexible to handle but it’s the immense problem since the burning fossil fuel is still the main resource people use to supply electricity so that measures should be found or the climate change wouldn’t be settled down.
International political solutions should include developing countries, Marslin(2008) suggested the international carbon trading to help individuals, business, industry, and countries reduce emissions and make money at the same time, which can also stimulate the global economy. Since as poor developing countries growing, they can be able to consider buying low-carbon technology from richer countries. And the good result is, they will also be able to cope with climate changes if they are inevitable. And the funding for developing cheap and clean energy production is needed.
CO2 emissions are partly caused by global traffic, and this proportion is increasing, so attitudes of people are to be improved. Publics should make some steps in their daily life, such as riding bicycles or have some car-pool partners to share small number of cars if possible, and try to take public traffic like metro and public bus more often to decrease the use of private cars, etc. In addition, government should make the urban transport system more effective, such as supporting the procedure of efficient electric and hybrid vehicles, and reducing air transport, because kerosene is also declining.
The US spent a lot of money on wars, but why not put them into developing technology for a zero-carbon world? (Marslin,2008) While, there are UN-certified programs in developing countries to make significant greenhouse gas savings, called the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) . And CDM increased energy efficiency. What’s more, the innovation of technology in daily life by using new clear energy is recommended. The use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and LED lights could be considered adaptable to save energy.
Governments especially in developed countries need to promote people an efficient and environmentally friendly home life style, so as to meet a good future of the earth. As Houghton, J (2009) thought, the careful relationship between humans and the world around us needs to be balanced and harmonious and every generation of human beings is required to leave the Earth “in a better state, or at least in as good a state as they found it”. Basically speaking, the choices for people are simple.
But what one should think over is whether human beings should be serious about it, which means be serious of the value and attitudes they hold and do something in daily life, or just let it happen. References: Houghton, J. , 2009. Global Warming: the complete briefing. 4th edition, Cambridge University press, UK. , 283p. Marslin, M. (2008) Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction’ ( 2nd edition),(Oxford, OUP: 2008,176 pp. : ISBN 978-0-19-954824-8; ? 7. 99 RRP Thompson, L. (2012). Climate Change: Evidence and our Choices Retrieved from: http://www. wem. org. cn/news/view. asp? id=1199&cataid=16