The greenhouse effect and global warming are issues that are talked about by geologists all the time. The greenhouse effect is a natural process that keeps the earth at temperatures that are livable. Energy from the sun warms the earth when its heat rays are absorbed by greenhouse gasses and become trapped in the atmosphere. Some of the most common greenhouse gasses are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane. If there were no greenhouse gasses, very few rays would be absorbed and the earth would be extremely cold. When too many rays are absorbed, the earth's atmosphere warms, leading to global warming. Global warming can lead to many problems that affect the environment in which we live. In order to talk about global warming, we must first learn what causes the greenhouse effect. A lot of the rays from the sun are absorbed by water vapor that is naturally in our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is also a big absorber of the sun's heat rays. Humans can cause a lot of carbon dioxide to be released. Every time we burn fossil fuels, we release more carbon dioxide. Emissions from cars also increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the more rays from the sun are absorbed. This will cause the atmosphere and the earth's temperature to warm. The warming of the earth will cause the oceans to become warmer. When they heat up, more water is evaporated, causing more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere. Once this process starts, it is extremely hard to control. An environmental effect of global warming is the fact that higher temperatures will lead to a change in the water cycle. Some places may experience more rain. Warmer temperatures will cause a greater amount of evaporation from lakes, rivers, and oceans. In some areas this could be good, and in others it could be considered bad. In France, the mountain regions could be harmed, but at the same time the farming regions could be helped or hurt. Too much rain is bad for some crops and could cause more flooding. Certain areas will actually get less rain, which would lead to more droughts and have a negative impact on crops. More rain will also force plant life to adjust. Forests and plant life migrate naturally, but scientists say that global warming would cause them to migrate at a much faster rate. The Environmental Media Services Organization has found that the greenhouse effect could drive global temperatures up as much as 6 degrees by the year 2100, an increase in heat comparable to the 10 degree warming that ended the last ice age. If a ten-degree warming was the factor that ended the ice age, imagine what another warming by about that same amount could do. Scientists believe that a warming of only 6 degrees would cause glaciers to melt at a high rate. This would cause an increase in the level of the oceans. In turn, global warming disturbs patterns of the circulation of seawater. Cold water moves along the sea floor towards the equator and warm water around the equator moves toward the poles across the surface of the ocean. It is known as thermohaline circulation. The temperature of the water also affects fish, one of France's main natural resources. During the summer when the water is warm, they have a higher metabolic rate and are in more shallow water, making it easier for fishing. As stated earlier, the warming of the oceans will increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and will make global warming a bigger problem. There are other ways that this happens too. As the weather becomes warmer, more stuff on the ground will be decomposed. Scientists have found that "gas hydrates worldwide hold a total of 10,000 billion metric tons of carbon, twice the amount contained in all the known coal, gas, and oil reserves on the land13". "When temperatures increase, frozen soil will melt and release gas hydrates, and hydrates from ocean sediment will also break down. Because of this, more methane and carbon will be released into the atmosphere, making the greenhouse effect even stronger." This will damage our environment even more. France and global warming combating
Understanding of the threat to the climate due to the rising emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, has led the French government to take on a policy of controlling the emissions of greenhouse gases, as a protective method. France currently is joined in 3 International Government Organizations (IGO's). They are part of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. France also has 4 institutions working towards the national implementation of Agenda 21 from the 1992 Earth Summit. In June of 1993, the President of France created the Council for the Rights of Future Generations, which is composed of nine people of differing backgrounds. The council deals with problems relating to the integration of environmental programs into public domain in order to come together and reach the objectives agreed upon at the Earth Summit Conference in Rio. The French Commission for Sustainable Development is made up of 15 members from the political, economic, and scientific communities; has the task of providing the direction of France's environmental development. The Interministerial Committee for Environment takes programs related to the environment and examines the government's reason for those environmental policies. The Commission on the Environment was created under France's XI Plan for 1994 through 1998 to watch over domestic environmental issues. France has four areas to concentrate on as part of the Agenda 21 agreement. Firstly, they must reduce lead exposures; in 1992, only 33% of the gasoline used in France was unleaded. Secondly, they must clean up their freshwater resources; there are three main freshwater problems that are facing France, the amount of pollution of rivers, the age of a large part of the water distribution network, and bad extensions of wastewater networks. Over 40% of France's water treatment plants are over 40 years old and leads to nearly 25% of water being corrupted. The Right to Water Law was amended in 1992. It is aimed at satisfying water users and preserving the surrounding environment. Third, France introduced a new Law on Wastes in 1992. This law reduces the production of waste, limits the transport of waste, and to inform the public the dangers of hazardous waste. The law also introduced large penalties such as 500,000 Francs for violating this law. Lastly, they want to protect their natural rivers. The Helpe Mineure, the Seine, the Loire, and the Etang de Berre are Frances largest natural rivers and France is spending billions on preserving these natural wonders.
Recently, the French government released a 10-year climate change plan that discusses the new carbon tax on industrial energy consumers. The plan is made up of nearly 100 emission reduction methods and is designed to meet France's Kyoto Treaty agreement. By doing so would bring emissions levels back down 5%, similar to levels from 1990. One big part of this plan is an energy tax, which would require companies to pay about $30 per ton of carbon produced. In ten years the tax is predicted to be about $75 per ton. The plan also calls for increased state support of electricity production from renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric or solar power. The plan exempts energy-demanding businesses from the carbon tax to allow for the development of controlled reductions.
www.pirg.org/enviro/global_w/fact.htm- 4 quotes