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"AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH" Directions: Respond to each question beneath the question (don't delete the questions, and use non- bold font for your responses to enable quick identification of questions / answers). Format your file neatly, and conserve paper (don't leave lots of spaces between typed lines). We will discuss the answers to any questions that you did not fully understand in class. In addition to obtaining information from the movie and class discussion, your textbook is an excellent resource (Miller, Chapter #21). This assignment is due in class on _____. Note: Don't go overboard - a few sentences for each question is fine. 1. What are greenhouse gases and what processes produce them? 2. How do greenhouse gases cause global warming? 3. Scientists have measured atmospheric CO2 concentration from 1958 to today. Why does the line go up and down each year? What has been the trend in global atmospheric CO2 concentration over the past 50 years since scientists started directly measuring it? 4. What is the relationship between global atmospheric CO2 concentrations and mean global atmospheric temperature over the past 600,000 years? Gore says this is like the fit of South American and African continents; explain what he means by this. 5. Explain the evidence that suggests that the warming period we are in is not just part of a "natural cyclical phenomenon". 6. Explain the following effects of global warming (already occurring and predicted). Be sure to include each of the bulleted items in your explanation of impacts, but please delete the non-bold text before printing your assignment. A. Melting of floating sea ice & impacts * Minimal sea level change * Polar bear populations (and others) * Acceleration of global warming due to changes in sunlight reflection & absorption B. Melting of land-based ice in the Arctic and Greenland and Antarctic & impacts * Sea level change & coastal communities (current evacuation of some low-lying Pacific Islands, future impacts on U.S. coastline) * Describe ocean circulation and what drives it. How might the melting of the Greenland ice shelf affect ocean circulation? Why might the slowing or shutdown of the Gulf Stream cause an ice age in Northern Europe? C. Melting and disappearance of mountaintop glaciers and snow & impacts * Aesthetics & tourism (Glacier National Park, other notable snow-capped mountains) * Species dependent upon cold mountaintop habitat * Water supplies for cities & irrigation derived from meltwater D. Melting of permafrost & impacts * Decomposition of organic matter & greenhouse gas release * Collapse of buildings, roads, trees established on permafrost E. Spread of pests & disease * Malaria & other mosquito-spread diseases * Pine borer beetle & northern coniferous forests F. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns & impacts * More frequent and more severe droughts and floods * More frequent and more severe hurricanes (possibly) * Disruption in agricultural production (due to changes in climate) * Overall impact on biodiversity: Disruption of ecosystems and species adapted to current conditions & unable to adapt to the unusually rapid change in environmental conditions (plants, migratory birds, etc) 7. What is the Montreal Protocol? What global problem was it designed to address? Has it succeeded? 8. What is a cap and trade system? What problem has this system been used to address? How could it be used to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases? 9. What is the Kyoto Protocol and when was it drawn up? When was it signed and by whom? 10. Which industries in the U.S. have lobbied against Kyoto as well as against improved efficiency standards? Why? 11. Why did Gore bring up the death of his sister from lung cancer? How did he relate that story to the global warming situation? 12. The Bush administration says that cutting our greenhouse gas emissions to comply with the Kyoto Protocol would be too costly and that it penalizes the United States and other rich countries unfairly. How would you respond to this objection? 13. What is energy efficiency and how can it reduce global warming? List some specific examples of available energy-efficient products. 14. How can biofuels help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming? What other sources of energy can be substituted for fossil fuels? 15. What does "carbon neutral" mean? 16. In a typed paragraph, respond to the following questions (erase them before printing your file): * Did watching "An Inconvenient Truth" impact the way that you think about the causes and effects of global warming? * Are you likely to make any changes in your life (or recommend that your family make any changes) to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that you are personally responsible for? If so, what, and why? If not, why not? * Do you think that "An Inconvenient Truth" was an effective documentary? Explain.
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