SCI 207 Dependence of Man on the Environment
Instructor: Valencia Coty
November 19, 2012
Is global warming due to human actions? Can the human race take action to stop global warming?
Introduction Thesis Statement:
Yes, human actions are definitely a factor in global warming. The fact that there have been natural cycles of climate change since earth's formation, in past and recent centuries humans have influenced global climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases. The actions that humans should take to stop global warming are to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit human effect on the climate cycle.
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Most scientists and their studies also agree that human actions, especially the burning of oil and fossil fuels, are contributing to global warming. However there is much debate over to what extent human actions are causing global warming. Some scientists and politicians believe that a warming trend is occurring, however, they are convinced that it is still mostly a natural trend. In contrast many scientific studies on climate change show that human actions are definitely a factor in global warming and may be significant whether minor or not, as the human factor even if small could be enough to cause irreversible changes in earth's climate and natural climate change cycle.
Global climate change and the current global warming trend affect all living things on our planet, including animals, plants, and humans. “Some of the possible consequences of global warming are heat waves, water shortages, rising sea levels, loss of beaches and marshes. Many scientific studies have shown that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming. Greenhouse gases are necessary for keeping the planet habitable, however too much can cause the planet to become too warm for human inhabitation” (Wasiak, 2007).
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According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Most of observed warming over last 50 years is likely due to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activities. Evidence from air bubbles in ice core samples has allowed scientists to determine the composition of the atmosphere and infer climatic changes over the past several millennia. By comparing the past atmosphere composition with the present composition there has been substantial increase in greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide over the last century” (Synthesis Report 31). The evidence from ice core samples also shows a correlation between past global warming and an increase in greenhouse gases, thus like today's global warming, the ancient warming was caused by massive releases of carbon-bearing greenhouse gases. In the past the increase in greenhouse gases was due to natural processes such as volcanic eruptions. In contrast, the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution is mostly caused by human actions, such as the burning of fossil fuels and oil, as well as land use changes.
As greenhouse gases are important for trapping some of the sun's heat and making our planet inhabitable, too much greenhouse gases could eventually cause the planet to be much less habitable for humans, plants, and animals.
Because some greenhouses gases, such as carbon dioxide, have long lives in the atmosphere, it is important to limit greenhouse gas emissions soon before it is too late, as even with a stabilization of low emissions the effects of greenhouse gases already in our atmosphere will continue to cause global warming for at least another century. Many scientists believe that the increased emissions of greenhouse gases by humans are a factor in global warming, however they are uncertain to what extent the current trend is a natural climate change process. “This uncertainty has been...