Global Warming: What Causes It, and Can We Stop It?

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Global warming has been a controversial discussion over recent years. Many people argue that it is a problem, while others argue that it's a hoax. Some people believe that humans are the main source of the problem, and others believe that it is a natural process, and humans are only contributing minutely to it. Despite all of the disagreements and debating over why, how much, or how come, one thing that we can all agree on is that the Earth's climate is changing. What do I think? I believe that the vast majority of global warming is caused by humans, but there are certainly natural happenings that contribute to global warming as well. I also believe that there are steps and processes we can take as human beings in order to improve and prevent global warming but they will not get done for one reason or another. In this paper, I will explain why and how global warming is due to human activity, some actions we can do to prevent global warming from worsening, and why I think those actions will be taken by a slim amount of people while the majority of humans will not take them.

When it comes to global warming and the on-going debate over it, the thing we all need to agree on before moving forward is that the Earth's temperature is rising, and we are causing it to do so. While that is certainly not the whole story, the predictions of future catastrophic disasters just don't add up either. According to an article written in The Washington Post, "we have to discover the middle ground, where we can have a sensible conversation" (Lomborg, 2007, para. 3). As humans, we need to own up and accept the fact that we are contributing to the increase in the Earth's temperature. But on the contrary, we need to make sure that we are not over-exaggerating the issue and take the right steps to come up with a reasonable solution.

Human actions and activity contributing to the Earth's climate change is not something that just started happening. Humans have been adding to the Earth's climate change for thousands of years. We have become more and more sure of this over the last decade. In 2001, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested it was likely that mankind's activities were causing observed climate change. This would signify a probability between 66 percent and 90 percent. However, in 2007, the IPCC concluded that they were at least 90 percent certain that human emissions of greenhouse gases are warming the planet's surface; not natural variation (Human Activities Principal Cause of Global Warming, 2007, para. 6). This conclusion proves how evident it is that human activity contributes to global warming.

Not only are we often times unaware that we're contributing to the Earth's climate change, but we are also unaware of how frequently we are doing so. For example, "dams, deforestation, and urbanization can alter water cycles and wind patterns, occasionally triggering droughts or even creating deserts" (Cascio, 2009, para. 8). Creating dams, cutting down trees, and urbanizing are things done on a daily basis here in the world, but the effects that they have on the Earth's environment, both short term and long term, are often put on the back burner while partaking in these actions. Even though it is known that these actions do contribute to global warming, it has not yet been determined just how much of the warming can be attributed to human activity (Stevens, 1995, para. 10). The exact numbers and measurements would be extremely hard if not impossible to ever determine and the attempt to do so is unlikely.

The main human-related contribution to global warming and the rise in climate temperatures is the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There are many things that we do that result in carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. Just a few examples include, but are not limited to, driving a car, running a lawn mower, having our house heated by a furnace, cutting down and burning trees, and creating...
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