Climate Change Paper
Climate Change Paper
Climate change has been a controversial topic over the last twenty years and its prevalence in today’s society has made it a household term. In fact, scientists are not only certain climate change is a fact and is currently taking place, but are 95% sure it is caused by human action (Bennett, 2012). Scientists theorize that human actions, like the burning of fossil fuels, have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and as a result, have exacerbated the greenhouse effect which in turn has led to higher temperatures. These higher temperatures will have major and devastating effects on the planet and the living organisms that inhabit it. Global climate change is a dynamic and complex issue that is no longer an idea, but a reality. The awareness of climate change has grown year over year and has led to international policy and collaboration. As the effects of climate change became more of a reality, treaties and policies were voted and put into action on global scale, like the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol was an agreement between countries to protect the depleting ozone layer and to stem the greenhouse effect caused by the emission of chemical substances like chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. Scientists theorizes that chemicals like CFCs and carbon dioxide released through human behavior or actions is majorly contributing to global climate change. These behaviors negatively affect the different ecosystems of the world and can contribute to a rise in sea level, famine, extreme weather and drought. The Earth has gone through many periods of warming and cooling temperatures, but none that have lasted as long as the current warming the Earth is experiencing today. Human behaviors and actions have contributed to climate change since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution or when James Watt perfected the steam engine in the late 1780’s “and, inadvertently, changed the history of Earth” (Kolbert, 2005). Global climate change is the result of increasing the greenhouse effect. The energy projected from the sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere. The plants, soil, and other objects on the earth’s surface absorb parts of the energy projected by the sun. Other parts of the energy projected by the sun, is reflected back into the atmosphere, some is trapped by the atmosphere and is absorbed by particular gases and is used to heat the earth’s surface (The Greenhouse Effect, 2012). If these particulate gases, or greenhouse gases, increase, the world will get warmer and therefore, contribute to global climate change. The increase of greenhouse gases is primarily caused by human behaviors. The climate is changing and becoming warmer, mainly due to human actions such as burning fossil fuels. Common greenhouse gases emitted by burning fossil fuels are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These chemicals trap more heat into the atmosphere than the earth can absorb and process. Fossil fuel is burned during energy production, burning of fuel in cars and airplanes, and industrial manufacturing. Carbon dioxide is one of the biggest chemical contributors to global warming and climate change. The burning of fossil fuel is adding more and more carbon into the atmosphere faster than the earth’s natural processes can remove it (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2013). The human population is increasing year over year and therefore so will the burning of fossil fuels. Increasing amounts of emissions, especially carbon dioxide, due to human activities will contribute climate change and the consequences that will accompany it.
The impacts of global climate change are not limited to an increase in global temperature but can be seen in changing weather patterns, less snowpack, warmer ocean temperatures, and more droughts. Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide is causing the acidification of the ocean (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,...