People are inflicting major damage to the Earth's environment, and if we don't do anything to stop the destruction soon, the results could be devastating. Most people know about global warming and think it may be a serious problem in the future. What most people don't understand is that global warming is happening now, and we are already feeling some of its destructive power. Because of the dangerous effects of global warming, alternative energy sources need to be aggressively pursued. Finding and utilizing alternative energy sources may be the only way to combat the increase of global warming.
"Scientists agree that the main reason for global warming is the depletion of the ozone layer surrounding the Earth due to increased levels of carbon dioxide and the increased release of greenhouse gas emissions." Dr. Robert Watson from The Alliance of Concerned Scientists also adds, "These atmospheric concentrations of emissions are directly linked to human activities." Fossil fuel emissions from gasoline and oil account for 52% of greenhouse gas emissions while coal burning energy plants and coal burning factories account for another 44% of emissions released (Samuelson 31). Americans especially are adding to global warming woes being energy hogs' driving gas-guzzling SUVs and cars, and being careless with energy draining appliances in their homes. Deforestization in the US and other countries also adds to the growing problem by taking away the largest source of CO2 filters. Millions of trees are harvested each year due to increased demand for their byproducts, and because of this, our environment suffers (Kenworthy 2). The United States accounts for over 51% of the energy used yearly through out the world. From 2000 - 2004 there was a 100% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in all established nations, and there seems to be no slowing down in the future with a projected 110% energy increase by 2010. At this rate scientists agree the world will be facing an energy crisis by 2020 if new energy sources aren't found (McQuinn).
The results of global warming are undeniably negative for the human race. Over the past ten years, the average surface temperature of earth has risen five degrees. Even though five degrees doesn't seem like a major change, it has caused a disruption in the Earth's fragile ecosystem (Watson 3). This increase has caused the melting of the polar ice caps and glaciers, which has caused the sea level to rise by a reported inch and a half so far. If the temperature continues to rise, coastal areas could soon become flooded. Large partitions of New York City, New Orleans, and other cities on or near the coast could be found under water in the near future (Watson 4). The disruption of the ecosystem has also been attributed to extreme weather changes. The world is experiencing warmer and more frequent heat waves, more extreme floods, longer and more devastating droughts, more frequent wild fires, more tornadoes, and many more hurricanes than ever before. The occurrence of forest fires in California has risen 15% in the past 3 years. The Western plains region is experiencing its longest reported drought in the past 200 years. The Gulf Coast has experienced a 47% increase in hurricanes in the past two years alone (Samuelson 32). Lives and properties are lost due to extreme storms, and scientists believe they will only get worse as global warming continues.
Alternative energy sources may be the only answer to our growing world energy crisis. In the past century, humanity has made many great strides in the development of new energy solutions. One of the most utilized clean energy sources is nuclear energy because of its impressive efficiency. The past couple of years, there have been some concerns about nuclear energy plants and their safety. Chernobyl is still in the minds of many as more nuclear power plants are being built, but new safety technology and...