GLOBAL WARMING 2 Global Warming: A Closer Look at the Past, Present and the Future Thesis Statement: Global Warming should not be taken as a political issue but as a moral challenge facing our global civilization. I. Government Actions on Global Warming A. United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol 1. Many Countries ratified the Policy 2. Some still have Problems after Adapting to the Protocol B. U. S. Bills and Acts 1. Climate Stewardship Act 2. Use of Thorium as Energy Source a. No danger of melt-down b. Minimal Radioactive Waste c. Burns Plutonium waste and Gains Additional Energy d. Not suitable for production of weapon grade materials e. Greater Conversion of Energy compared to Coal f. Can cover World’s Needs for thousands of years II. Global Warming is Launched A. Destruction of our Environment 1. Rising Ocean Levels a. Tuvalu is the First Victim of the Rising Ocean Levels b. Half of Bangladesh’s Riceland would be destroyed c. U.S. will lose 36,000 square kilometers of land 3 2. Land Degradation a. Degradation Causes b. What happens today as land degrades 3. Greenhouse Gas Emissions a. Pollution b. Rising Temperature i. Oceans Would Boil ii. Rocks Would Sublimate B. Health Risks and Diseases 1. Heat Diseases 2. Disease Carriers C. Catastrophic Weather 1. Earlier Spring Arrival 2. Change in Plant and Animal Population 3. Coral Reef Bleaching 4. Heavy Rains and Snows 5. Droughts and Fires 4 Governments’ Actions Governments will not adopt the said limitations to help save our environment because it will be a great factor that will lead technology down. But some politicians want to show some understanding in the said matter. The Kyoto Protocol is a procedure from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to cope with the effects of temperature increase and to collectively take countries to reduce global warming. 84 countries had signed to the treaty (Resources). However, carbon dioxide emissions were not reduced by up to about 25 percent since 1990 and many did not adopt the policy for it causes so much hassle. Some estimated that Europe will exceed by 15 percent and Japan by 20 percent (Samuelson). Some U.S. politicians also tried in helping or “doing something”. There had been a global warming bill -- the Climate Stewardship Act by Senator John McCain and Senator Joe Lieberman. This bill was passed to have a higher guarantee on lessening the greenhouse gas emissions which are causing global warming. But President Bush said that it should be called voluntary pollution reductions (Network). Some of these politicians is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. They pledged to reduce their greenhouse emissions (Samuelson). And from a late news release, Professor Egil Lillestol, a professor at the Institute of Physics and Technology at the University of Bergen said that a Thorium based nuclear reactor can give much energy than coal but does not have hazardous effects. It produces minimal radioactive wastes and is safer than uranium. There’s no danger of a melt-down like the Chernobyl reactor. Thorium can burn Plutonium waste from traditional nuclear reactors and gain additional energy output. It is 5 not suitable for the production of weapon grade materials. It has a greater conversion of energy for one kilogram of Thorium is equal to four thousand tons of coal. It turns out that our total Thorium reserves could cover the world’s energy in the next thousand years. Lastly, Norway has 180,000 tons of Thorium and that is why Professor Egil Lillestol pursues his chance to build a nuclear reactor based on Thorium there (Williams). Global Warming is a big argument and has become a moral crusade. It is a problem for technology and responsiveness. The inconvenient truth is that if we do not act faster there will be no more hope left. Global Warming is launched Oceans rise due to the rapid melting of the massive sheets of icebergs that are in the Arctic. There is an estimate of six feet of rise in oceans over the next 100 years. In Tuvalu, a tiny island country midway between Hawaii and Australia in the Pacific, people left their homeland because water rose and the country could not be lived on anymore. The island experienced lowland flooding which affected its drinking water and production. The nine islands which are making up the country are being eaten by coastal erosion and had destructive storms due to the higher temperature of the raising sea level. The inhabitants were rejected by Australia, and now, Tuvalu’s 11, 000 citizens are waiting for neighbor New Zealand’s, response to their request. The World Bank cited in a map in year 2000 that half of Bangladesh’s Riceland will be torn because of a 1 meter rise and the Bangladeshis will be forced to leave their land. This 1 meter rise would also affect India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and China. In the United States, about 36,000 square kilometers of land will be lost because this 1 meter rise means a retreat in coastline by 1,500 meters, or nearly a mile (Weis). 6 Land degradation is caused by shortage of land due to increased population, poor land use, insecure land tenure, inappropriate land management practices, poverty, and the rising ocean levels. Some poor families have no choice but to clear forests, cultivate steep slopes, overgraze rangelands, make unbalanced fertilizer applications, and a lot move to urban areas making them addition to pollution and congestion. This leads to lower production on used land. We will have to give higher inputs to maintain our crop yields and incomes from farms. The efforts made are by farmers, national governments, and international agencies to meet the standards that we need (Department). Another problem on the growing population is the greenhouse gas emissions. There is a probable 42 percent increase in population from 6.4 billion people to 9.1 billion and if the total energy consumption rate will be the same, the greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide will also have a 42 percent increase from year 2003 to 2050. This is excluding the societies that will be richer and will add to the pollution unless we stop them to develop and stay on low pollution contribution. But in reality, all will have economic growth and a doubled, or higher greenhouse effect will be as result (Samuelson). Evidence show that rising in the earth’s temperature and change in climate is because of the build up of the greenhouse gases. We cannot control transportation. The largest source of human made greenhouse gas is from fossil fuel combustion inside our vehicles. The farther we travel and the more fuels we use, we emit large amounts of greenhouse gases. It is more efficient and helpful if we can travel more with the use of lesser fuel than usual (Agency). If the boiling point of water is achieved due to the rising temperature, oceans would begin to convert to water vapor and it will increase the effectiveness of heat trapping and therefore accelerate the greenhouse effect. As this 7 continues, temperature tends to rise thus resulting to faster ocean evaporation. This is called a ‘positive feedback loop’ that continues but resulting with greater damage. This will not stop until bodies of water are gone and all of it will be in the atmosphere and the highest temperature will be felt. In the same time while waters dry up, sublimations occurs. High temperature drives the carbon dioxide from rocks into the atmosphere. It would accelerate the heating simultaneously accelerating the rate in which other rocks release their carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Everything happens at the same time and goes faster and faster ("A Runaway Greenhouse Effect?"). Heat stroke is the primary disease resulted from the drastic change in the climatic conditions. It is an increase in body temperature or hyperthermia that exceeds 41°C or 104°F. Its simple conditions are heat cramps and heat exhaustion. Unhealthy people like obese and malnourished are more prone to heat strokes, also infants, children, and elderly (Ltd.). Warmer temperature makes mosquitoes more active that they can spread diseases like malaria and dengue faster at a higher rate. Studies show that there had been sudden outbreaks on lands where temperature have risen. But there are no vector-borne diseases historically in that vicinity (Epstein). The temperature rise also triggered the spread of hantavirus by mice and recorded outbreaks in the U.S. (asbl/vzw). “Smoking Gun”, these are the super powerful hurricanes caused by warmer ocean temperature. The number of category events 4 and 5 has jumped sharply since 1970. The human activities are adding to the pollution and catastrophic shifts in weather patterns (Warming.org). In most cases today, spring is experienced in advance. Plants bloom and leaf early dates. Animals lay eggs, spawn and migrate too early than usual. These balances among species may cause bad problems in the future. Reaction in the warmer 8 temperature of living things increase. Plants and animals moves to higher latitudes and elevations. Some has already started to shift changes to cope with the environment. Some may lead to extinction if warming occurs faster. Corals that are exposed to warmer than normal by only 2 to 3°F or 1.1 to 1.6°C can result to bleaching - which is the loss of microscopic algae and color in corals. Flooding and damages are expected to fall due to more precipitation especially during winter. A worldwide increase in precipitation is brought about a warmer climate which would eventually be the cause of heavy downpours and snowstorms. A change in the climate can increase the risk of flooding. In the U.S alone, increase in rainfall has majorly gone up starting from the year 1910. Other countries that have increased rainfall include Japan, Russia, China and Australia. Droughts are expected to become more frequent as a result of the temperature boost. Wildfires are more likely to occur in continuous drought. Pest infestations and disease are rampant during this time. Moisture from lands evaporates faster so global precipitation rises. Drying is shown frequently in the Northern Hemisphere. These factors increase precipitation than temperature. The slash and burn method is an example of the practices that can instigate large fires during incessant droughts (asbl/vzw). 9 Refecences Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection. "Greenhouse Gas Emissions." asbl/vzw, GreenFacts. " Scientific Facts on Climate Change and Global Warming". 2007. April 27 2007. <http://www.greenfacts.org/studies/climate_change/l_2/global_warming_9.htm#1 >. Department, Agriculture. " The Conservation of Lands in Asia and the Pacific." (1995). Ltd., Medindia Health Network Pvt. "General Info About Heat Stroke." (2007). Network, North Carolina Action. "Stop Global Warming". 2003. (October 02). <http://actionnetwork.org/NC_Action_Network/alert- description.html?alert_id=2004792>. Resources, Dept of the Environment and Water. "Kyoto Protocol." (2007). "A Runaway Greenhouse Effect?" April 26, 2007. <http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/venus/greenhouse.html>. Samuelson, Robert J. "Global Warming's Real Inconvenient Truth." (2006). Warming.org, Stop Global. "Stop Global Warming". 2007. April 26, 2007. <http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_learnmore.asp>. Weis, Peter H. "Tuvalu - First Victim of Rising Ocean Levels." (2006). Williams, Robyn. "The Case for Nuclear Power." (2006).
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