Global Heat: The Death of Earth

January 15, 2009

I, like most scientist, believe that global warming is an imminent threat to life on Earth. When predicting the effects of global warming on the Earth over the next century, we must take two scenarios into consideration. First: What will the Earth’s conditions be like if people do nothing? Second: What will the Earth’s conditions be like if people act? Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic about the outcome of either scenario.

Global warming is often called “climate change” because the atmosphere warms due to green house gas emissions, traps heat inside, forcing the Earth to cool. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common emission that makes Earth warmer. It is often released by factory pollution or burning fossil fuels. Trees absorb CO2, but the rainforest is being obliterated. Eleven of the twelve hottest years on record since the invention of the thermometer were between 1995 and 2006. In 650,000 years, CO2 levels never exceeded 300 parts per million (ppm), today we are at 380 ppm. Some scientists speculate that in 91 years (2100) we will be over 500 ppm.

Let’s imagine society as a whole does nothing to stop global warming. Those who don’t believe in global warming often cite that the Earth has only gotten about one degree hotter in the past 60 years and that the atmosphere has sustained severe climate changes in the past such as “The Little Ice Age” of the 17th and 18th centuries that froze the River Thames, the cooling of the Earth during the Jurassic Period, and the warmer climate of Europe during the Middle Ages. This is very distressing to some environmental advocates because regardless of the seemingly slight change in degrees the adverse effects of global warming are very obvious.

The orangutan, polar bear, and tiger are threatened and I predict more animals will become endangered in the next century as a direct result of global warming, and danger to their environments and food sources. Glaciers will melt all over the world causing water levels and temperatures to rise, and more frequent hurricanes and tsunamis. Kilimanjaro has less and less snow on its summit every year, soon it will have none. Shorelines and coastal lands will go under water. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina will be common. Precipitation will be disastrous as some places flood and others drought. We’ve already seen the tsunamis and tornados of Asia and the droughts of Africa. Seasons will deform, birds will hatch before their food, starve, and die. Property rates will skyrocket as people move inland to escape the perilous water. New diseases develop in an eco-system at war with itself and diseased living conditions persist. Like crabs in a barrel, people will scrapple to survive creating a breeding ground for social unrest, marshall law, and starvation when flood waters consume agricultural fields. Worldwide, many of this is already taking place as people continue to die.

Now, let’s imagine that people get on board to save the Earth’s thinning atmosphere. Thanks to celebrity environmental advocates such as former Vice President Al Gore for his global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth and Noah Wyle with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for bringing awareness to the public. The more concerned generated on this issue, the better the chance for positive change.

In order for the world to improve, legislation need to ban the manufacture of products we know harm the Earth. We know aerosol cans, gas burning vehicles, and other items damage the ozone, so they shouldn’t be made. Give incentives to live eco-friendly. Tax breaks for those committed to using alternative fuels, renewable solar and wind powered energy, abstaining from aerosol cans, car pooling, using eco-friendly cars, restoring forests, and recycling. Years ago, Al Gore suggested a CO2 tax for companies harming the ozone. Implement a pollution tax to discourage people from polluting. The best thing we can do is try to make the damage as little as possible. These are some of the best solutions available.

I hope and believe the global warming situation will improve eventually, but only if mankind effects change. It took much damage for us to effect the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, but not too much that cannot be undone. However, perhaps it is just too difficult to get everyone to unite on anything. I’m not sure if enough people care to make the drastic changes needed to get it back on track so future generations can enjoy Earth as we’ve known it.

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2 Responses to “Global Heat: The Death of Earth”

  1. MaiLady Says:

    Reuters just reported that Antarctica is getting warmer and huge shelves of ice are breaking off. http://green.yahoo.com/news/nm/20090121/sc_nm/us_antarctica_warming.html

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