What is global warming?
Weather and climate are two completely different terms. Weather is the condition over a short period of time such as rain or snow, whereas climate is how the atmosphere acts over a long period of time. Global warming, also known as climate change, is a rise in the earth’s average temperature caused by human activities and natural causes. Global warming is mainly caused by carbon dioxide and other pollutants that get released into the atmosphere which cause the greenhouse effect. The rise of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has increased by 47 percent since the industrial revolution in the 1700s. The largest causes of these pollutants in the United States are the burning of fossil fuels and the emissions coming from automobiles. Burning fossil fuels for electricity, such as coal, generates about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year in the United States. Emissions from transportation vehicles is the second largest source of pollution in this country, producing about 1.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. Human activity all over the world currently produces about 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year.
How does global warming affect us and our planet?
Rising sea levels
Global warming generates a rise in sea levels which are predicted to rise 7 to 31 inches from now to the year 2100. This is due to thermal expansion and melting glaciers. Rising sea levels are a threat to coastal and low lying areas including Florida and San Francisco Bay in the United States, island nations, and other places around the world.
Melting glaciers are a threat to the population of animals that live on this planet. The rapid change to the land and sea that animals inhabit are causing many animals to go endangered and extinct. This is because they are not able to adapt quickly enough to their changing environment. Studies show that the most wildlife extinctions have occurred in the last 114 years which corresponds with the rise in pollution and global temperature.
Climate change is the cause of extreme weather such as more severe hurricanes, floods, heat waves, and droughts. The severe drought that occurred 2 years ago in California was intensified 15 to 12 percent by global warming. The drought in California was the state’s worst water shortage in 1200 years. There has been an increase in hurricanes and the severity of them since the 1980s due to climate change. The development of hurricanes is influenced by the increase in sea surface temperature. An example of a severe hurricane due to climate change was the category 5 hurricane Katrina that occurred in 2005 and took 1836 lives.
We want to take big step and stop the use of nonrenewable resources and use the renewable resources that this world offers us everyday. The nonrenewable resources that we use are fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal. Almost 80 percent of the energy in the United States comes from the use of these fossil fuels. We need to make a change to the way we produce our energy because the burning of fossil fuels produces about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide in our country every year. We also need to stop the use of the automobiles that generate 1.7 tons of carbon dioxide each year. We would replace all factories and power plants that use fossil fuels with renewable energy sources that use water, solar, and wind power. We also wants to push for the sale of only hybrid cars which have a low impact on the environment. Hybrid cars use an internal combustion engine and electric battery system that reduce emissions. More charging ports will be stationed in every city around the country in order to charge the hybrid cars. Roads will also be made more friendly for those who walk and bicycle to encourage people travel by foot or bike rather than car. Sidewalks will be expanded and bridges will be built over busy streets to make it easier to travel on foot or bike.