This memo serves as an informative and analytical document discussing globalizations largest threat - global warming. I will address the following issues:
• What is global warming and how is it being caused?
• Who is contributing to its advancement?
• The threats and consequences of global warming
• Recommendations we can do to slow global warming
Global Warming and It’s Cause
Global warming could have started as early as the 1860’s due to the Industrial Revolution that began after the Civil War. This was a time of invention and creation; where man made machine and machine changed society. Not only did the machine change society, but it also changed the atmospheric gases – more specifically, greenhouse gases.
Greenhouse gases consist of carbon dioxide - known to cause the greatest amount of global warming - methane gas, ozone, and nitrous oxide. These four greenhouse gases act as a blanket over the surface of the earth. As the sun hits the earth’s surface, the heat is reflected back towards the sun. The heat is then contained by the greenhouse gas blanket and warms the earth. Without this blanket, we would live in a very cold world.
This atmospheric balance the earth provides is currently being tested by man. What happens when we expel our own greenhouse gases? The ‘blanket’ thickens and it traps in more heat. This extra heat upon the earth’s surface is known as global warming. Therefore, global warming can be defined as the effect that increased greenhouse gases have on the earth’s atmosphere.
The increase of greenhouse gases are the result of two economical factors: the burning of fossil fuels for energy, and deforestation for industrialization. The first factor contributes to the majority of the expelled greenhouse gases - that is:
The Burning of Fossil Fuels
As globalization spreads and increases industry, it also increases the deposit of polluting gases into the atmosphere. One such gas is carbon dioxide. The release of CO2 is more specifically caused from the burning of oil, coal, and gas. These three natural fuels, which are used in manufacturing and industrial growth, have constituted roughly 75% of human generated CO2 emissions expelled into the atmosphere during the past 20 years (IPCC WGI).
Here is a graph supporting the increases of CO2:
Indicators of the human influence on the atmosphere during the Industrial era
(IPCC Chart 1)
As you can see, this graph stops in the year 2000. Assuming there was an energy increase in the past 6 years by rapidly developing nations such as China and India, along with developed nations consistent energy use, we can also assume the CO2 concentration has continued its vertical climb.
The destruction or clearing (as some companies might put it) of the worlds’ forests are due in most part to agricultural needs and industrialization. Why scientistists agree that this practice is detrimental to the enviroment can be summed up in two ways:
1. trees act like sponges that suck in carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen 2. when trees are burned, they release the stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, adding to the pollution
Hence, the more trees that are burned, the less carbon dioxide gets harbored.
According to Greenpeace, “Thirty percent of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere over the past 150 years is thought to come from deforestation, but this is a small amount compared to what is still stored in forests. The Canadian and Russian boreal forests alone hold 40 percent of the world's carbon stocks” (Greenpeace Science).
In other areas of the world, carbon stocks are not being contained, but continually released through deforestation. Global Forest Watch, an independent oprganization that provides current information on forest development stated: “In 2002, about 47% of the Brazilian Amazon was under some type of human pressure; recent...
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