Global Climate Change Essay
According to an article by the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC), the United States emits more greenhouses gases per person then any country in the world - Global Climate Change Essay introduction. Although greenhouse gases occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere, humans have rapidly increased the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in it. All the excess carbon dioxide has caused a gradual increase of the earth’s temperature, which we call global warming. Scientists believe global warming is most likely caused by human. Although many people think global warming is not real, I believe global warming is the most important issue facing the world. The burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are the main causes for global warming. The effects of these could have a devastating effect on earth. Effects like the spread of disease, drought, extreme weather patterns, and even the extinction of animals. There are many changes we can make to combat global warming like using alternative fuel sources like nuclear, solar, and hydrogen.
Greenhouses gasses that warm the earth’s surface are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane. When light from the sun reaches earth, it is reflected back into the earth’s atmosphere as infrared radiation. Once infrared radiation is reflected back into the atmosphere, greenhouse gases absorb the radiation and reflect it back to earth, thus causing what we know as the greenhouse effect. Without the green house effect many of the species on earth would not exist. Although the greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon, humans have intensified its effect by burning fossil fuels and deforestation.
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According to an article from the Britannica online encyclopedia since the beginning of the industrial revolution the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 30 percent. The burning of oil accounts for almost half of the carbon emissions from fossil fuels; the rest comes from the burning of coal and natural gas (oil change international 2009). As stated on the EPA website, the generation of electricity accounts for over 40% of the CO2 we emit into the atmosphere. The second most emission of CO2 comes from the transportation sector. This is mainly due to the fact that nearly all vehicles exclusively use petroleum based products as an energy source, these include gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Automobiles account for nearly 75% of the CO2 emission in the transportation sector. Emerging technologies such as the hybrid car which uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery as an energy source could reduce the amount of CO2 that is emitted into the atmosphere by the transportation sector.
Deforestation is the clearing of rain forest for human use. The clearing of forests are used to produce wood products, croplands, and grazing land for cattle. Deforestation is typically done by a method called the slash and burn method. During the slash and burn method, trees are cut down and set on fire. The ash from the trees is then used to fertilize the soil. The reason deforestation has a profound effect on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, is because trees produce large amounts of oxygen. In order for the trees to produce oxygen they must consume carbon dioxide. Deforestation has a devastating effect on earth, because not only can the trees not absorb the extra CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels, but the burning of the rain forest also emits large amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. According to the EPA, forest fires emit CO2 at a faster rate than the burning of fossil fuels.
Melting glaciers and rising sea levels are some of the consequences of global warming.
According to an article by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), arctic summers could be ice-free by the year 2040, and seal levels could rise by as much as 23 inches by the year 2100. NASA has also observed a rapid melting rate of the polar ice caps. If current trends continue, this could have a catastrophic effect on the world. One of the main consequences this could have is the flooding of coastal communities due to rising sea levels. This could have a great impact on the United States because states like Louisianan, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina are susceptible to flooding. The melting of the icebergs will also affect food production. Warm weather will have a negative effect on farmers who rely on freezing temperatures to grow winter crops, like wheat. We are already seeing the effects of the melting icecaps, global seal levels have risen by an astonishing 4 inches in the past century.
Sadly global warming has also had a profound effect on wildlife. If current trends continue many species will become endangered or even worse, extinct. Many animals do no hibernate the same amount of time they used to. Also many animals such as the polar bear, are not as healthy as they were a mere 20 years ago. Global warming has also caused some species to migrate toward colder climates, thus causing a heavier competition for food. The temperature change also causes some species to have more of a certain gender offspring, due to the warmer weather. Melting ice, rising sea levels, and drought are all causes of global warming and they are adversely impacting wildlife.
Global warming will also greatly impact the human population. A major effect will be devastating heat waves that will negatively impact the elderly. According to an article by the NRDC global warming has doubled the likelihood of intense heat waves. Air quality will also suffer due to the heat waves. Another effect global warming will have on us, is the spread of disease. This is because disease carrying insects will be able to survive in places they once could not have survived. An interesting fact is that poisonous plants produce more potent toxins when it is warmer. For instance in Savannah, GA poison ivy plants have grown 10 times denser and have produced more potent irritants. Another negative impact global warming could have on humans is a greater risk of asthma due to rising temperatures.
According to an article by the environment news service, scientist discovered that drought could double by the year 2100 because of global warming. This will have a terrible effect on farmers that depend on rainfall to make a living. It will also threaten millions of people would wide. According to British scientist severe drought will affect 40 percent of the earth’s land up from 8 percent. Already the lack of clean water kills as many as 1.6 million people every year. The countries most affected by drought will be developing third world countries, such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America
Although burning of fossil fuels has been our main way of getting energy, there are many alternatives. One alternative is using hydrogen to power automobiles instead of using gasoline.
Hydrogen fuels combines hydrogen and oxygen to power cars electronically. This method of fuel only produces water as an exhaust which is not harmful to the environment. Although critics of this fuel sources say the infrastructure need to provide this type of fuel would be too expensive, it is clearly needed if we want to combat global warming.
Another alternative fuel source is nuclear energy. Nuclear reactors produce electricity by harnessing the energy released when the atoms of certain elements are split (facts on file news service 2000). Nuclear energy is environmentally safe because it does not emit any harmful pollutants into the air. Most experts predict that we will exhaust our supply of fossil fuels within a few hundred years, while it would take billions of years to exhaust our natural supply of uranium. Although the use of nuclear power has many advantages it also has many drawbacks. When nuclear fuel is recycled it creates a byproduct known as plutonium, which can be used be build nuclear weapons. Many lawmakers fear that allowing the recycling of uranium would make it extremely difficult to control the world supplies of plutonium, which if in the wrong hands could have a catastrophic consequence.
In conclusion it is clear that global warming is a very important issue facing the world today. The fossil fuels we burn contribute heavily to the greenhouse gases we send into the earth’s atmosphere, which in turn heats up the earth. Deforestation is another heavy contributor to global warming, mainly due to the slash and burn methods used by people around the world. All this has a profound effect on the world from the near extension of animals to the devastating weather patterns it creates. Global warming will also continue to increase negative the effect it has on humans, from flooding of coastal regions to the spread of disease caused by insects. Although the United States is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases we have found many alternative fuel sources to combat global warming, such as nuclear, hydrogen and solar energy, as we hope to lessen our impact on the earth’s climate.
Global climate change Essay
The virago Rainforest is one of the richest countries on Earth biodiversity wise and possesses many endemics species of zoology and vegetation - Global climate change Essay introduction. The Amazon besides plays an human population has grown, and demands in soya beans, cowss and wood as increased over clip, the Amazon rain forest has been selected for deforestation. Recent concerns have arisen over the last decennaries stressing the jobs deforestation causes particularly biologically. This job has been farther underlined as concerns over planetary clime alteration have arisen. The Amazon wood is the greatest tropical wood in size as it covers an country over seven million square kilometers and is found in 10 states of South America.
Motivations of deforestation, rates, history
Most of the Amazon Basin ( & gt ; 70 % ) is found in Brazil ; hence most of our survey will concentrate on the Brazilian Amazon. Get downing in the late 1950 ‘s, for the intent of developing the Western and northern parts of Brazil many new roads were constructed which constituted a direct entree to the Amazon tropical wood. The building of these paths along with other inducements ( such as cowss ranching, hydro electric undertaking, timber extraction ) was aimed at spread outing development and incorporating the whole district into the state ‘s economic system. The plan was successful as people moved along these big main roads ; for illustration 2 million people moved along the Belem-Brasilia in the first 20 old ages of its building. The colony along the major main roads and within the Amazon wood was extremely unorganised which led to long term unnoticed deforestation.
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Overtime the rates of deforestation have increased from the 1970 ‘s to the 2003-2004 and since so have decreased. The extremum in 2002-2004 was the highest rate of wood glade for a three twelvemonth period: 52 670 km? were cleared. The 2008-2009 country cleared totalizes for 7008 km? .
The literature seems to hold on the motivations for deforestation although the importance of little husbandmans in the procedure is debated. ( K.R Birby, P. Fearnside ) . The motivations for deforestation are multiple: contrarily to common belief, the biggest ground behind glade in cowss ranching secondly, is little husbandman development so, logging, and late soya bean and palm oil plantations have led to deforestation. The ground behind this hierarchy and cattle ranching as being the figure one ground behind wood glade is due to multiple province inducements. These inducements made cowss ranching one of the few profitable merchandise to lift in the Amazon. Under the Brazilian jurisprudence, uncluttering the land in order to put in grazing land is characterised as “effective” . ( K.R Kirby ) . Cattle ranching is one of the most popular usage of land in the Amazon as it is non a labour intensive occupation, by merchandises can be used ( such as milk ) , and it is produces offspring. Compared to harvests, the chief advantage of cowss ranching is that cowss ranching are independent of upwind conditions.
Small husbandmans besides play an of import function in the glade of the land as they apply slash and burn method in order to make fertile land to turn their harvests on. As husbandmans need for more land, they continuously increase their belongings. K.R Kirby has calculated that on norm a little husbandman clears 1 hour angle of forest per twelvemonth. Furthermore, tropical dirts are non fertile and fail at the long term production of harvests, therefore after 2-3 old ages the land is unserviceable and new land has to be slashed and burned.
Today as agricultural funding has been more readily available in the Amazon compared to other parts in Brazil, soybeans husbandmans are forcing to the North. As the monetary value for soya bean has increased, it has become one of the most profitable harvests to works in the Amazon. A big portion of the soya bean production is used for export ( as foreign currency ) hence greatly encouraged by the province which even plans on constructing new roads and substructure in order to spread out the production.
Although non loosely mentioned in the literature, it is of import to besides underscore the logging activities undergoing in the Amazon. JA Foley et Al reference that the logging has late been recognized as one major beginning of land alteration in the Amazon. Although selective logging is relatively non as ecologically destructive as cattle graze or grazing land, it has been shown that logging destroyed the same sum of wood as the country cleared for other activities. Indeed, selective logging leaves behind a fraction of the natural wood and allows some natural regeneration ; non wholly destructing the ecosystem.
The glade of 1000s of km? of land is non at any cost. The Amazon is one the universe ‘s richest zone in footings of biodiversity and figure of endemic species. Bing one of the largest woods in the universe the tropical Amazon forest constitutes an of import C sink for the unity of the planet. Scientists have become cognizant of the importance of conserving the forest because of the legion ecosystem services it provides.
It is hard to understand and quantify the ecosystem services provided by an ecosystem. As Fearnside explains, it is complicated to set a value on an ecosystem service. An obvious manner of ciphering the value of the ecosystem is utilizing the net income of the good produced in the given country. This method does non take into history the hereafter harm that could happen due to the maltreatment of the ecosystem. Indeed we taking the illustration of wood glade, we can utilize the value of the good which will be produced on the country cleared but on a big graduated table that value does non take into history the home ground devastation of species. Often times we put a monetary value on ecosystem services in order to stress the urgency of taking preservation actions, seting mulcts on illegal land used.
Based on the literature there are many ecosystem services provided by the Amazon rain forest. Namely the most of import ecosystem services are carbon sequestering, H2O flow of the Amazon River, air circulation forms, the spread of H2O borne disease, fires, invasion by alien species and most significantly, and biodiversity loss.
The glade of Amazon might act upon the hydrological government of the country because the forest regulates the measure of H2O fluxing into the river every bit good as the alimentary content. The measure of H2O additions greatly overall because there is no interception by workss taking to much more surface overflow and less infiltration in the dirt. Indeed it has been observed in the Tocantins river basin, the alterations during the 30 old ages period ( 1960-1990 ) in land screen have led to an approximative 25 % addition in the river discharge during the same period although there were no alterations in the precipitation government. Over the long term, scientists are disquieted that the vaporization budget will alter so much as to alter planetary forms of air circulation.
Vector-borne diseases addition due to the loss of flora and due to an addition in the figure of mosquitoes ( which are common vectors of diseases ) . Forested countries allow for more control of the disease though population control of septic animate beings, their hosts and intermediate disease vector. In South America, the most of import disease transmitted by mosquitoes is malaria. A survey in Peru has shown that Anopheles darling mosquito species are more susceptible to seize with teething as the land screen decreases. The survey found that when the country is deforestated by more than 20 % , mosquitoes have a inclination to seize with teeth more than in forested countries. The ground for this addition is due to the penchant of mosquitoes to engender in countries with bush or grasslands. ( A.M. Vittor )
One of the most dramatic effects on deforestation is the loss of biodiversity. No documents genuinely estimated the loss of biodiversity due to deforestation. But based on the literature we can gauge the figure of species potentially targeted by deforestation. The Brazilian Amazon is classified as one of the five megadiversity states by the WWF ( World Wild Fund ) ( P.Fearnside ) . Brazil has over 50000 angiosperm works species, over 400 species of mammals, over 1500 species of birds, over 500 species of amphibious vehicles, over 400 species of butterfly and over 70 species of reptilians. Deforestation can take to alterations in biodiversity ‘s ecological niches, habitat atomization, or even invasion of alien species.
A major concern has arisen amongst ecologists due to the menace of deforestation on biodiversity hot spots. Indeed it has been observed in some instances that biodiversity hotpsots overlap the “deforestation hotpsots” . These latter are countries where deforestation occurs all of a sudden, locally and greatly pushed by demographic factors. The danger for the ecosystems when these two hot spots overlap is the extended loss of home ground for the zoology and vegetation. Indeed, deforestation hot spots lead to much home ground atomization as many reapers carry on their activity without much cognition on the ecosystem and the deductions of disforesting ( Etter et al 2006 ) . Furthermore, it has been proven that a threshold exists for a species to last. Speciess need adequate country in order to reproduce and scrounge without it a population can non prolong and is determined to snuff out. Much of the deforestation tendencies are non managed and really self-generated, taking to spots of deforested land and frequently times the minimal threshold is surpassed endangering the endurance of many coevalss. As underlined in Etter et al. , no important surveies have been consolidated in order to better understand the imbrication of deforestation and biodiversity hot spots ; proposing more informations to be collected. Indeed without informations at that place can non be any consensus on the conversation policies to protect the Amazon ‘s ecosystem. Another paper besides suggests the thought that better stock lists should be complied in order to understand the wood ‘s composing and to better pull off the country based on the species ‘ autoecology. Furthermore the paper underlines the importance of thorough and precise informations entries with indistinguishable quantification measurings. These factors are all really of import in the stock list procedure in order to construct believable dataset on which policy shapers can trust upon ( Biscaia de Lacerda 2010 ) .
Deforestation in the context of Global Climate Change
A major concern of the twenty-first century is the addition of C dioxide in the ambiance and the effects on the universe ‘s biomes. The function of the Amazon forest in the planetary C rhythm is storage of organic C in the dirt or in workss. The procedure through which workss take in CO2 is photosynthesis hive awaying it afterwards in the biomass under the signifier of foliages, subdivisions, roots, flowers and other structural tree constituents. The devastation of the Amazon makes it an emitter of C instead than a sink. Indeed because of land screen alterations, C is no longer stored. Per Se, C is non emitted from the forest instead C is non taken up by the trees any longer ensuing in a net excess of CO2 degrees in the ambiance. Furthermore the necessary machinery used for deforestation every bit good as the byproducts of wood and the processing of trees in mills besides contribute to increased degrees of C dioxide in the ambiance.
Some surveies have tried to understand the alterations which would happen if CO2 degrees increased and deforestated countries kept increasing. The result consequences in many effects linked to alterations in surface reflective power, leaf country index, and surface raggedness and texture ( Intensifying ) . In the survey, the CO2 degrees were doubled, increasing the CO2 concentration to 660 ppm. The IPCC ‘s projection on CO2 degrees project that 660 ppm will be reached by the terminal of the century under the least terrible scenario: A1B which predicts: “A future universe of really rapid economic growing, low population growing and rapid debut of new and more efficient engineering. Major underlying subjects are economic and cultural convergence and capacity edifice, with a significant decrease in regional differences in per capita income. In this universe, people pursue personal wealth instead than environmental quality.” ( IPCC – hypertext transfer protocol: //www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_co2.html ) . The exclusive consequence of duplicating CO2 concentration in the atmosphere consequences in a 2.6 T°C addition in temperature, addition in precipitation by 9.0 millimeters per month, and increase in -the net longwave radiation at the landsurface by 4.5 W m-? later increasing the surface evapotranspiration. There is non a great difference for all the factors when analyzing the present deforestation clime with the hereafter warmed clime combined with deforestation, straight indicating to the fact that deforestation is the chief beginning of deregulating in the clime ( Figure 2 ) . Indeed most alterations due to increased CO2 degrees are felt in the mid-high latitudes.