Global Warming: What Causes It, and Can We Stop It?

I believe that the vast majority of global warming is caused by humans, but there are certainly natural happenings that contribute to global warming as well. I also believe that there are steps and processes we can take as human beings in order to improve and prevent global warming but they will not get done for one reason or another. In this paper, I will explain why and how global warming is due to human activity, some actions we can do to prevent global warming from worsening, and why I think those actions will be taken by a slim amount of people while the majority of humans will not take them.

When it comes to global warming and the on-going debate over it, the thing we all need to agree on before moving forward is that the Earth’s temperature is rising, and we are causing it to do so. While that is certainly not the whole story, the predictions of future catastrophic disasters just don’t add up either. According to an article written in The Washington Post, “we have to discover the middle ground, where we can have a sensible conversation ” (Lombard, 2007, Para. 3). As humans, we need to own up and accept the fact that we are contributing to the increase in the Earth’s temperature.

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But on the contrary, we need to make sure that we are not over-exaggerating the issue and take the right steps to come up with a reasonable solution. Human actions and activity contributing to the Earth’s climate change is not omitting that just started happening. Humans have been adding to the Earth s climate change for thousands of years. We have become more and more sure of this over the last decade. In 2001 , the International panel on Climate Change (EPIC) suggested it was likely that mankind’s activities were causing observed climate change.

This would signify a probability between 66 percent and 90 percent. However, in 2007, the EPIC concluded that they were at least 90 percent certain that human emissions of greenhouse gases are warming the planet’s surface; not natural variation (Human Activities Principal Cause of Global Warming, 2007, Para. ). This conclusion proves how evident it is that human activity contributes to global warming. Not only are we often times unaware that we’re contributing to the Earth ‘s climate change, but we are also unaware Of how frequently we are doing so.

For example, “dams, deforestation, and arbitration can alter water cycles and wind patterns, occasionally triggering droughts or even creating deserts” (Socio, 2009, Para. 8). Creating dams, cutting down trees, and urbanize are things done on a daily basis here in the world, but the effects that they have on the Earth’s environment, both short term and long term, are often put on he back burner while partaking in these actions. Even though it is known that these actions do contribute to global warming, it has not yet been determined just how much of the warming can be attributed to human activity (Stevens, 1995, Para. 0). The exact numbers and measurements would be extremely hard if not impossible to ever determine and the attempt to do so is unlikely. The main human-related contribution to global warming and the rise in climate temperatures is the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There are many things that we do that result in carbon dioxide being emitted onto the atmosphere. Just a few examples include, but are not limited to, driving a car, running a lawn mower, having our house heated by a furnace, cutting down and burning trees, and creating products in factory buildings.

Some scientists are calling these actions selfish and believe that these selfish acts of “warming up your vehicle for ten minutes or driving two miles to work every day” are affecting our world more and more every day (We Have to Take Action on Global Warming, 2006, Para. 2). Out of all of the activities and “selfish acts” performed by mankind that contribute to global warming, senior Laotians of the EPIC have conceded that the burning of fossil fuels is most likely the sole contributor (Human Activities Principal Cause of Global Warming, 2007, Para. 2).

Although we have determined that many of our actions on a day-to-day basis contribute to global warming, if we are not made aware of the consequences, then we will be unlikely to want to change our ways. One thing I think that is important to know and important to make people aware of is how our daily activities not only contribute to the Earth’s rising temperatures, but what that could mean for us as a planet in the long run. We know that, obviously, if we continue our way of living, the temperature will continue to rise. Actually, it is predicted to continuously rise for hundreds and hundreds of years (Rosenthal, 2007, Para. ). But, what else do the rising temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions mean for us and our planet in the long run? Members of the EPIC believe that just a few possibilities include heat waves increasing in frequency and severity, increased tropical storm activity, and erratic weather problems (Human Activities Principal Cause of Global Warming, 2007, Para. 7). If we, as humans, are made aware of what old happen with the increasing temperatures on our planet, we may be more willing to change our ways in order to help prevent these temperature changes.

One reason that we may not be aware of how our actions contribute to rising planet temperatures is because we aren’t made aware of them by the media, by politicians, or by respected figures in our society. When George W. Bush was president, there was not a climate status report released at all during his eight years in office. It was just in 2009 that the federal court “forced the administration to release a draft climate report” (Time for Action on Global Climate Change, 2009, Para. ).

If our government is attempting to hide the fact that global warming is in issue, since that is what it seems as though President Bush was trying to do, then how are we supposed to know that we need to fix it, let alone how to fix it? Now that global warming is becoming a popular discussion and well-known issue, actions to solve and prevent the problem are becoming more and more evident. Even though I would say it’s fairly obvious to notice and observe that the majority of global warming is certainly caused by mankind ‘s actions, others would disagree.

Some people believe that human activities have a miniscule effect on the Earth’s climate change and that natural variations cause the majority of our planet’s heating surface. In fact, according to an article published by the International Herald Tribune, it is said that “the global climate change in the last 50 years could be explained by natural variation rather than man-made influences, particularly the burning of fossil fuels” (Rosenthal, 2007, Para. 1). While some of the global warming is most likely due to natural variations, it is naive to believe humans’ actions have no affect on our climate’s climbing temperatures.

Whereas human activities being a contributor to rising temperatures has en proven, some of the natural variation explanations have not. According to Environmental Defense, a nonprofit organization, “some possible natural explanations include increased output from the sun, increased absorption of the sun’s heat due to a change in the Earth’s reflectivity, or a change in the internal climate system that transfers heat to the atmosphere” (What Is Really Causing Global Warming? 2009, Para. 6). Although these may seem as logical explanations, scientists have failed to prove any of them to be true. After exhausting all efforts to validate these possible sources Of natural variations, he claim that “emissions from tailpipes, smokestacks, and now factory- farmed animals, which release methane” is actually what is responsible for the rising temperatures, continues to be more and more validated (What Is Really Causing Global Warming? 2009, Para. 7). Even after multiple studies, there are still people out there who refuse to believe that human actions contribute to global warming and continue to believe that it is a completely natural process. Some of these people and scientists think that the media is construing our society’s view of what causes Earth’s climbing temperatures and is leaving out arts about the natural deviations that could be causing the climate changes.

In fact, one scientists goes as far as to say, ‘Any thinking person can view the massive size of the globe, its vast oceans, its huge uninhabited land masses and then compare the composite human city and industrial concentrations and realize that all man’s industrial output is fairly miniscule compared with the earth’s total atmosphere” (Global Warming: Irrational Assumptions and Speculations as Dogma, 2007, Para. 7). This idea of thinking suggests that are actions of burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide are basically armless to the atmosphere because the Earth is so big, and we are so small.

There are also scientists and people who believe the humans contributing to global warming is a myth. One group of scientists claims that “a Gallup poll found that only 1 7 percent of the members of the Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society think warming of the planet is occurring as a result of greenhouse gas emissions” (Jury, 1 997, Para. 4). These poll results would suggest that the majority of the members of these societies believe that the planet is warming due to something other than greenhouse gas emissions.

However, because of this poll, “more than 100 noted scientists, including the former president of the National Academy of Sciences, signed a letter declaring that costly actions to reduce greenhouse gases are not justified by the best available evidence” (Jury, 1997, Para. 4). Even though the people that signed this letter are convinced to pass on actions to reduce greenhouse gases because of a poll done by those who don’t believe human actions contribute significantly to the increase in temperatures, they are not the only ones who believe the actions that need to be taken to reduce greenhouse gases are not worth the high cost.

There are certainly processes that can be put into place in order to reduce greenhouse gases and prevent the climate’s temperature from increasing at the rate it is. However, the price tag that comes with these processes is seen by the majority of people as too high and therefore, the processes are unjustifiable most of the time. For example, “the typical cost of cutting a ton of carbon dioxide is approximately $20. Yet, according to a wealth of scientific literature, the damage from a ton of carbon in the atmosphere is about $2.

Spending $20 to do $2 worth of good is not smart policy” (Lombard, 2007, Para. 15). To some, this solution Of cutting back on carbon dioxide emissions may seem worth it; to most, it does not. Two other solutions that have been suggested, but then rejected because of cost are: lowering the globe’s temperatures (with solar reflection mirrors and sending mirrors into orbit) and creating clouds with sea water in order to create rain (Socio, 2009).

While these two suggestions may seem like good ideas, they are both extremely expensive and come with results that are not worth the cost. One thing that I think we need to keep in mind as we try to determine what solution is and is not worth the cost is the fact that there are cost likely other, more pressing issues, that will cause more damage to our environment and our society aside from global warming. While cost is a main reason that many of these solutions have not been put into place and acted further upon, it is not the only reason.

Another reason why many believe that humans are incapable Of solving and preventing global warming is because we simply don’t care enough. We don’t see our government, our politicians, our role models, our religious leaders, the influential people of our communities, our friends and family making any changes, so we wonder why we should. The lack of leadership, especially from higher up figures in society such as celebrities and politicians causes a lack of enthusiasm among the rest of society, and therefore, humans are less motivated to want to help.

Even though certain countries and governments have “committed to reduce their countries’ emissions by 50 to 85 percent below 2000 levels by 2050,” it is highly doubtful that it will happen, as we have heard these promises and commitments made before (Turk and Bunsen, 201 1, Chi. 7. 2). Governments have promised numerous times to lower their countries’ emissions and not only have failed to reduce them, but to have increased them instead.

We, as humans, also believe that the amount we contribute to global warming and the Earth’s rising temperatures does not compare to how others contribute and if we were to change our ways, the difference it would make on the planet would be miniscule. According to an article published in the Irish Times, “people either reason that the small actions they are taking as individuals will not Worsen the situation significantly, Or else rationalize that if they don’t take the destructive action, someone else will” (Diamond, 2007, Para. ). More times than not, this is true; which is why many people are not ND will not get on board with the changes needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere. If we could get the majority of our human population on board with a solution and get more and more people willing to help out, then some of the solutions proposed by scientists and government officials could certainly work. The first and foremost way to get people motivated and willing to help is to educate them.

If humans are unaware of the problems they are causing and unaware of how their actions can fix those problems, then chances are they won’t be willing to help. But, “if the public is informed how to help fight lobar warming, then they can all do their part” (We Have to Take Action on Global Warming, 2006, Para. 13). This is not a change that can happen overnight with a couple of people; it is a change that will take many years with thousands and millions of peoples’ efforts. With that being said, the biggest way that most believe mankind can help prevent rising climate changes is to cut back drastically on carbon dioxide emissions.

However, this is not an easy solution and would cost the world trillions of dollars. This solution would equate to “spending an awful lot to achieve very little” (Lombard, 2007, Para. 5). Instead of constantly focusing on cutting back on carbon dioxide emissions, we need to be more open minded and think of other solutions that are cheaper. For example, “at a much lower cost, urban designers and politicians could lower temperatures more effectively by planting trees, adding water features and reducing the amount of asphalt in at-risk cities” (Lombard, 2007, Para. ). Some estimations of these types of solutions have shown that such actions may reduce the peak temperatures in cities by more than 20 degrees F-Rinehart (Lombard, 2007, Para. 8). Solutions like these seem much more feasible, doable, and seasonable. Overall, I think we can all agree that global warming and our planet’s rising temperature is a problem and a problem that needs to be fixed or prevented. Believe that rising temperatures is, for the most part, caused by human activity and has been caused by human activity for a number of years now.

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