Making Reparations through Grassroots Efforts

Topics: Global warming, Carbon dioxide, Greenhouse gas Pages: 6 (1923 words) Published: February 9, 2014

Making Reparations through Grassroots Efforts
As a public policymaker, I am writing this paper to define global warming and explain some its key causes and problems. I will also list primary stakeholders under causes and problems, and then offer three alternatives to deal with climate change. Each alternative will be evaluated using four ethical reasoning methods to determine their efficacy. The paper will then close with my conclusions and final recommendation.

The world’s rapid population growth and rising standards of living are beyond the Earth’s carrying capacity. The planet has a finite amount of natural resources, which are being rapidly depleted at an unsustainable rate. Earth is responding with a breakdown in its ability to regulate its own temperature. The world’s population as a whole must deal with the Earth’s rising temperatures, also known as global warming or climate change. This phenomenon is caused by increased concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by human activity.

The top causes of increased carbon emissions are the burning of fossil fuels, rapid deforestation, and increasing beef production. The problems associated with climate change: melting ice caps, extreme weather changes, and loss of species are just a handful of the many problems that exist. If Earth becomes over-polluted and drained of its resources there may not be a future for the human race. The Earth is a shared common that is used by all, thus it needs to be taken care of by all. Any solutions or alternatives will involve multiple stakeholders and can include ideas such as a shift to wind or solar power, technological innovation, and changes in consumption.

The number one cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), which release excessive amounts of carbon into the air. This then increases greenhouse gases, which leads to the warming of the planet. Studies have shown that diesel engines, wildfires, and cookstoves are the leading producers of carbon. Wildfires and cookstoves are most attributable to underdeveloped nations, which still burn fires as a heat source, as well as for cooking. The stakeholders in this situation are poor families from underdeveloped nations who misuse natural resources for survival. Other major stakeholders are people who are dependent on cars, planes, trains or any form of transportation that burns fossil fuels. Also worth mentioning is the rapid industrialization of developing nations (e.g. China, India, and Brazil), which rely heavily on coal for fuel. These nations’ stakeholders include their governments, miners, industrial leaders, and laborers. All are benefiting from their industrial revolutions, but are not thinking about the environmental havoc they are reaping upon the planet.

Another cause of climate change is deforestation, which occurs when trees are cut down, but not replaced. Trees and plant life act as sponges absorbing and removing carbon from the air. They also provide shade and ground coverage, which helps to regulate planet temperatures. Additionally, when forests are cleared they also happen to release carbon dioxide, thus creating an adverse affect on the environment. Deforestation happens for numerous reasons, but two of the more prominent ones are that families are dependent on trees as a fuel source and that large-scale agribusinesses clear the land for farming or grazing purposes. The families who are burning wood for fuel are the same ones contributing to deforestation. Many businesses (e.g. Coca Cola, Walmart, Unilever) have taken a vested interest in keeping the forests standing, and will not buy raw materials that require the destruction of a forest. This is in line with environmentalists who claim trees are more valuable standing than cut. The large-scale clearing of forests for cash crops or cattle grazing is an increasing problem due to the world’s demands for a larger food...
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