The Political and Social Impact of Global Warming

Topics: Global warming, Climate change, Greenhouse gas Pages: 7 (2242 words) Published: January 3, 2011
Chapter 1
Situation Analysis
Global warming, also known as the green house effect is a topic that has received much attention in recent years; yet our climate change is not a recent problem. It has been morphing over many years. What is increasing is the rate of change; it is accelerating due to the growth of the human population. The growth of our population has increased our use of fuel, land, and manufacturing. All of these are increasing emissions into our atmosphere that increases global warming. Global warming begins when sunlight reaches Earth. The clouds, atmospheric particles, reflective ground surfaces and ocean surface then reflected about 30 percent of it back into space, while the remaining is absorbed by oceans, lands and air. This in turn heats the planet’s surface and atmosphere, making life possible. As Earth warmed up, this solar energy is radiated by thermal radiation or infrared heat, traveling directly out to space, thus cooling the Earth. However, some of the outgoing radiation is re-absorbed by carbon dioxide, water vapor and other gases in the atmosphere and is radiated back to Earth’s surface; these gases are known as greenhouse gases due to their heat-trapping capacity. This re-absorption process is naturally good; the Earth’s average surface temperature would be very cold if not for the greenhouse gases. The problem begins when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were artificially raised by humankind at an ever-increasing rate since the past 250 years. As of 2004, over 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide was pumped out per year; natural carbon sinks such as forests and the ocean absorbed some of this, while the rest accumulated in the atmosphere. Millions of pounds of methane are produced in landfills and agricultural decomposition of biomass and animal manure. Nitrous oxide is released into the atmosphere by nitrogen-based fertilizers and other soil management practices. Once released, these greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for decades or longer. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon dioxide and methane levels have increased by 35 and 148 percent since the 1750 industrial revolution. Pale climate readings taken from ice cores and fossil records dating back to 650 000 years show that both gases are at their highest levels. Thermal radiation is obstructed further by the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, resulting in what is known as enhanced global warming. As the world continues to consume ever more fossil fuel energy, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise, and with them Earth’s temperature. The IPCC estimates that based on plausible emission scenarios, average surface temperatures could increase between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century. Continued warming at current rates poses serious consequences. Low-lying coastal regions, with dense population, are especially vulnerable to climate shifts, with the poorer countries and small island nations having the hardest time adapting. It has been projected that by 2080, 13 to 88 million people around the world would lose their home to floods.

B. Statement of the Problem
Global warming is affecting many parts of the world. Global warming makes the sea rise, and when the sea rises, the water covers many low land islands. This is a big problem for many of the plants, animals, and people on islands. The water covers the plants and causes some of them to die. When they die, the animals lose a source of food, along with their habitat. Although animals have a better ability to adapt to what happens than plants do, they may die also. When the plants and animals die, people lose two sources of food, plant food and animal food. They may also lose their homes. As a result, they would also have to leave the area or die. This would be called a break in the food chain, or a chain reaction, one thing happening that leads to another and so on. The...
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