Should Society Act Now to Forestall Global Warming?
Instructor Eric Gaskill
January 30, 2011
Global warming is not a new concept; we attribute this to “greenhouse gas” emissions. We see the effects of greenhouse gases on the environment as each year passes. It is assumed that the Earth will continue to warm as time goes on. Do we need to do something about this now or should we do nothing? There are issues to be considered including, “If we do something about it, who will pay for the changes, and by changing things will we create more problems?” Some people are ready to address these issues now and others are arguing that it may be best to do nothing, according to how much cost will be incurred in finding solutions. We will look at opinions from experts in an attempt to reach a conclusion, although I personally feel the world will benefit by slowing down our use of fossil fuels, enacting an increase in reusing everything we can in order to eliminate waste and clean up our environment in response to so many years ignoring a potential problem.
Global warming is a threat now and will continue to worsen. Scientists have known for more than a century that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” (including water vapor, methane and chlorofluorocarbons) prevent heat from escaping the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the industrial age, it has been concluded that fossil fuels have provided power for these operations, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Further calculations indicate that as the climate continues to warm, more carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere by human population and the use of fuel emissions released. (2) As a result, soil will become dry, more forest fires will occur, plant pests will increasingly multiply, and seabed’s methane will be released, creating a “runaway greenhouse effect.” (2) As predicted by Jeremy Legget in “Global Warming: The Worst Case,” polar ice caps may melt, raising the sea level enough to allow further contamination of the Earth.
The ongoing disruption of the Earth’s climate by man-made” greenhouse gases” is already well beyond dangerous. According to John Eades:
Over the last several decades, data on temperature, etc. have been collected by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) from 17,000 identical land weather stations and 10 meteorological satellites, as well as from many research ships on data gathering cruises. Overall, the change in the 20th century is +0.85K. There have been constant periods in 1910 and 1940-1970.
According to Eades, this increase in such a short time frame, as compared to the 4.5K peak-to-peak swings between ice ages and interglacial periods, warrants some sort of explanation. He works to calculate the difference in temperature change including anthropogenic effects as well as the constancy of temperature during the 1910’s and the period from 1940-1970, in order to make a reasonable estimate of future temperatures and other climatic features. He uses the Black Body concept to determine absorption and emission of radiation to explain the relationship of the Earth to the Sun. He states the Sun is the Black Body absorber and the Earth is a reflective power. He further calculates the mean equilibrium temperature of the Earth by using a formula to explain how anthropogenic properties affect the temperature change (in essence, non-natural “greenhouse gases emissions”). He states that, “Were there no GHG’s the atmosphere would be perfectly transparent, the surface would remain at the mean temperature and we would simultaneously freeze and starve to death.” The purpose of the study shows a difference between the mean temperature of the Earth and what is calculated by adding the presence of GHG’s in the atmosphere since the Industrial Age. Mr. Eades hypothesizes that increased use of fossil fuels will lead to atmospheric demise. (2)...
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