a. Analysis of the Problem
1. History of the Problem
Some scientist's have been concerned since 1896 about what might happen if there were 5.5 billion tons carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. In 1961 a British scientist did an experiment showing that the carbon in the air was absorbing some of the sun's radiation. Afterward a Swedish scientist, Suante Arrhenius, found out if the radiation of the sun was trapped in the carbon dioxide the temperature of the earth would increase by 1-2 degrees. In 1988 James Hanson, a respected scientist, told the U.S. Congress "the greenhouse effect is occurring now and it's changing global climate."(1989 Koral). After the 1900's people started making factories and started using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and aluminum. It was the industrial revolution and overpopulation of humans that was the cause of the environmental problems that we have today.
2. Human Activity Causing the Problem
The reason our Earth is getting hotter is that human activities are emitting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The radiation from the sun gets trapped in the bag of carbon dioxide that surrounds our earth.
One main reason for the problem of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are coal, oil and natural gases. We use these fuels to run factories, power plants, cars, trucks, buses, air conditioning and etc. The people of the earth are putting 5.5 billion tons of carbon, in the form of carbon dioxide in the air every year! Seventy five percent of this is fossil fuels.
3. Impact Causing Global Change
For many years, scientists have been predicting that our disregard for Mother Nature would make the climatic temperature of this Earth to increase greatly. There have been arguments that the whole idea of Global Warming is a hoax, that the temperature cycle is just experiencing an upward trend and will eventually come back down. Now, however, we are starting to see the evidence of our behavior.
Remember the great heat wave in Chicago? That could have been a consequence of global warming. Nearly a hundred people died, and the city's economy came to a standstill. A much more tragic but less known heat wave smashed into India, causing upward of 600 deaths.
Global Warming doesn't only increase temperatures in hot areas. It also decreases temperatures in cold areas. An example of this has been the cold spell that struck the midwest. In Montana, temperatures plummeted to 30 degrees below and stayed there. The coldest weather ever recorded plagued our country's heart for over three weeks, and still hasn't returned to normal. A related incident has been the blizzards of the east coast. Some places in New York State got over twenty feet of snow.
On a Native Island, where native tribes live, if the sea level rises three fourths of a meter then half of the island will sink. This will happen in many different islands around the world and if the water keeps on rising as it is, then farming land near the seashores will be flooded and the crops will be destroyed.
Like California and other states, we are adding CO2 and changing the earth's weather. Some places are getting too little water which causes a drought and other places get too much water which causes a flood.
In California, there was an almost permanent drought during the eighties. This was gone in the nick of time by the great rainstorms of 1995. We also experienced a frightening cold spell in 1992.
The Road Ahead
With all these obvious scourges plaguing us now, it seems that things cannot get any worse. However, the current droughts, floods, and storms are just the tip of the iceberg. If the greenhouse effect continues unabated, then the inhabitants of Planet Earth have some surprises in store.
Scientists estimate that the global temperature will rise between 5 and 9 degrees by the middle of the 21st century, accompanied by a sea-level rise of one to...