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Global Warming Essay

2365 words - 10 pages

The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Growing up I heard this phrase in folktales as a “wolf cry”-- a cry that is so ridiculous that nobody would believe it. Now that global warming is a major environmental issue, the saying doesn’t sound so out of place. Most people might say: what is global warming? That’s the question that was running through my mind when I first heard we were watching a documentary on it in my class. The film is Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and it is about the causes of global warming and what it is doing to our planet. Being an environmentally involved citizen and growing up with conservative Republicans as parents, I was torn between not really liking ...view middle of the document...

This is called the greenhouse effect.

This entrapped CO2 is causing glaciers all around the world to melt, creating heat waves on the earth, increasing ocean temperatures, precipitation, and droughts, shifting seasons, and melting ice caps. The issue of heat waves really caught my attention, as they will increase and be unbearable for people to live in. In 2003, for example, there was a heat wave in Europe that reached over 120 degrees and killed 35,000 Europeans (Gore 2006). Ocean temperatures and increased precipitation will cause horrific storms such as hurricanes, typhoons, tornados, and stronger wind and rain storms. Gore claims that we’ve already seen this in the past couple of years with hurricanes like Katrina; in the past ten years the U.S. had an all time record for tornadoes in 2004 and Japan had an all time record for typhoons another year. Studies also show that ice caps have diminished at an unbelievable rate of 40% in the past 40 years! This melting is suspected to raise sea levels by around 80 feet which would flood major cities like San Francisco, Manhattan, Beijing, Shanghai, India, and more, displacing and killing hundreds and millions of people (Gore, 2006). Imagine the effects of Hurricane Katrina times one hundred. Shifted seasons and environmental changes will lead to the extinction of animals. In the film Gore stated that scientists were reporting polar bears drowning because of their inability to swim from iceberg to iceberg due to the melting. The rapid increase in climate change also shows increases in the spread of diseases such as malaria because of the increase in disease spreading insects (Martens, 79).

When researching the causes of global warming, I found a website called timeforchange.org. The website was created by Anne Christine Peterson and Jurg Rohrer, who are looking to spread their knowledge of environmental technology to promote change to make our world a better place. This website supplied all sorts of information about what is causing global warming and increased levels of CO2 emissions. Here I learned that the greenhouse gases that are causing this warming are water vapor, carbon monoxide (CO2), ozone, and methane with the leading source being carbon monoxide, and the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for 72% of the greenhouse gas emissions. One study from Gore’s film that confirms this statistic was a study in Antarctica where scientists were able to track the world’s CO2 and temperature levels back 650,000 years. They found that now we are way above what the levels have ever been and they estimated the levels to go off the charts in the next 50 years. The charts provided on timeforchange.org under the section called “CO2: The Major Cause of Global Warming” showed the CO2 levels almost tripling in increases just from 1990 to 2005 along with the increased temperatures, hence the warming of the planet. These emissions aren’t just slowly hurting us: it’s happening fast. Both “Time...

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