Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Hope Carpenter
Last updated: August 27, 2019
“Average temperatures on Earth have increased at a rate far faster than can be explained by natural climate changes”(“Issues”3). Climate change is a serious and dangerous phenomenon that puts the lives of future generations in societies hands. In fact, 97% of scientists say global warming is happening now and that it is a serious problem that only gets worse if people do not change their ways of living. (“Issues”2) Global warming is a result of greenhouse gases allowing sun heat come in, but little heat to escape and as a result, Earth becomes hotter. Greenhouse gases are natural and others are produced because of humans.
Water vapor is the main greenhouse gas being released into the atmosphere. This is a result of the population increase on Earth because the more people, the more water vapor they can release through heat. While some research suggests that climate change is just a hoax and that it should not be worried about to great extent, research suggests that greenhouse gases are increasing the temperature of Earth and humans need to prevent the over using of greenhouse gases to protect our environment for future generations.Climate is weather conditions including temperature, humidity, wind, and rainfall in an area over a long period of time. The difference between weather and climate is that weather is the temperature, precipitation, and wind measured on a day-to-day basis, compared to climate which is over a long period of time. Furthermore, climate varies based off of ocean currents, heat energy, winds, and moisture in the air. The heat received from the sun is based on the distance the Earth is from the sun.
Some of the heat received from the sun is absorbed and kept into the atmosphere while some of the energy is reflected back into space. Heat kept into the Earth’s atmosphere is what keeps living organisms such as plants and humans, alive and able to live because without the trapping of heat, Earth would be too cold for have any life. The trapping of heat into the atmosphere is known as the greenhouse effect which is essential in keeping organisms alive, but also responsible for the drastic increase in temperatures. Additionally, “Earth’s surface would be about 33 degrees celsius cooler without it, so it keeps Earth habitable” (“Climate” 1). The problem with the climate is that it is changing drastically because of the increase in greenhouse gases. Gases released up into the atmosphere block heat from leaving and reflect the heat back down to Earth causing the temperatures to increase year to year.
Greenhouse gases include, water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and aerosols. The gases absorb the infrared radiation from the sun and re-radiate back down towards Earth. Water vapor is a positive feedback loop in that the more the temperature is rising because of the increase of greenhouse gases, the higher the possibility of precipitation which leads to more water evaporating and allowing more water vapor to rise into the atmosphere. Furthermore, “the positive feedback from water vapor approximately doubles the sensitivity of climate due to human activities” (“Climate 3”).Water vapor is also the most abundant which is why water vapor is a huge threat and reason to the increase of greenhouse gases. Another example of positive feedback loop is that polar ice sheets or permafrost, melting releasing methane into the atmosphere warming up the planet and this ends up melting more ice because of the increased temperatures, ultimately releasing more methane.
The production of water vapor and carbon dioxide gas have always been created naturally through events such as a volcano eruption, but in recent decades with the increase in population size and with new technology, humans have played a large factor in the increase in greenhouse gases. (Issues 2) Water vapor can be released by the natural event of precipitation and through the increased amount of roads because the water vapor cannot be absorbed by the cement because of the fact that roads are impermeable surfaces, so it is instead raised into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is produced through volcanic eruptions, but mostly from fossil fuels. As the population of Earth is increasing and therefore more people are driving cars, the more fossil fuels are used for gasoline and the more CO2 released into the atmosphere.
Another gas that is a threat to the increase of greenhouse gases is methane. Methane can be produced from decomposition of wastes in landfills, agriculture, and manure management with livestock. CH4 is also created by humans as a result of extracting fossil fuels from Earth. Nitrous oxide is created through the process of nitrification and denitrification which is then released into the atmosphere. N2O is also created non-naturally through agriculture, fossil fuel combustion, wastewater management, and industrial processes such as manufacturing, increase the amount of N2O in the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is dangerous for the environment in that it is very destructive towards the ozone layer and ultimately causing more harmful ultraviolet rays to reach humans as a result of the ozone being depleted.
Humans release aerosol which is composed of compressed carbon mainly found in old spray cans. Aerosol was banned because of the destruction of the ozone layer and because of the huge contribution in the adding greenhouse gases. The increase of all of these gases have proven that the majority of greenhouse gases are a result of humans and large organizations such as the EPA, which stands for Environmental Protection Agency, try to reduce the amount of gases humans release into the atmosphere to prevent this drastic increase in temperature. Furthermore, the EPA’s goal is to protect human and environmental health. This agency addresses environmental issues such as climate change, and a solution on how to conquer the issue. Their main solution to lowering the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide humans are producing.
To reduce large amounts of CO2, the EPA created the, Clean Power Plan, which is meant to decrease emissions from power plants which are large sources of carbon dioxide. (“Clean”1) The EPA uses advanced technology to better understand the health of the environment and to diagnose what causes the supply of greenhouse gases to increase. With this knowledge, they find solutions to lower the amount of gases released and how humans should adapt to these changes. The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges the dangers of climate change internationally to prevent countries like China from releasing so much pollution and CO2 into the atmosphere. In fact, “human activities currently release over 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year” (“Climate change” 6). Taking this kind of action, is beneficial for preventing causing further damage to the climate.
On the other hand, Scott Pruitt and other public figures have disagreed with the idea of climate change being a problem. Scott Pruitt, the current leader of the EPA, has previously attempted to sue the EPA at least 14 times in pursuit of protecting his own financial status by protecting his partnerships with oil and coal companies. (“President” 1) With this being said, the delay of climate change action immediately, might be the consequence of greed of Pruitt.
Besides the benefits of preserving his partnerships with coal and oil companies to insure he does not lose money, solving the large amounts of greenhouse gases emitted is far more important than ones bank account and their deals with companies. Another public figure who does not agree with climate change, is United States president, Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a prime example of one that does not believe in climate change.
As a matter of fact, “President Trump, has called global warming a hoax…and this past week announced that he would take the nation out of the Paris climate accord, which was to bind the globe in an effort to halt the planet’s warming” (“Davenport” 1).
Trump claims he does not believe in climate change and this is why he pulled out of the agreement, but there is economical value in widthdrawling. By leaving the Paris Agreement, more jobs can be produced through coal mining and through mining for fossil fuels which helps the economy by allowing more people to have jobs. With this being said, even though he is in disbelief of climate change occuring, Trump mainly cares about the amount of money that he can profit from he uses the claim that climate change is fake as an excuse to not put forth any action to reduce the using of coal and other greenhouse gases. Despite the current status of leaders addressing climate change, participating in helping reduce the amount of greenhouse gases would more beneficial than to avoid the problem.
Benefits on reducing the amount of greenhouse gases include, protecting environments and preventing extreme weather, but humans are to blame for these benefits not happening. In fact, “better than 95% probability that human produced greenhouse gases (CO2, Methane) have causes much of the observed increase in the Earth’s temperature in the past 50 years” (“Blanket” 4). As the population on Earth continues to rise, the amount of greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere rise as well and this is undoubtedly a correlation. Humans are using more fossil fuels used for vehicles and for agriculture which releases carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the CO2 found in the atmosphere is a specific type that is not found naturally so this is without a doubt a result of humans.
Although most scientists say human activity is primarily the reason for climate change, other people still consider the climate to be warming up naturally or that climate change is not real at all. Besides the group of people that think climate change is not real at all, there is still a group of people claiming that climate change is real, but by natural events and not humans. As an example, some people claim that global warming is because of the sun’s heat and not because of human activities. This is incorrect because although we receive heat from the sun, if the heat was not trapped and redirected back down to Earth, the average temperature on Earth would be around 0 degrees fahrenheit so the sun is not what is increasing the temperature of Earth. Another point of why climate change is a result of natural events is that most of the carbon dioxide is re-absrobed by oceans and all vegetation. Although oceans and plant life do absorb carbon dioxide, the amount produced by humans is far to great to be all absorbed and as a result, excess amounts of CO2 rise into the atmosphere.
While some research suggests that climate change is fake and that it should not be worried about to great extent, research clearly suggests that greenhouse gases are increasing the temperature of Earth and humans are responsible for lowering the amount of greenhouse gases produced before it reaches the point of no return. Without a doubt, climate change has been a problem for the past decade and is direct result of humans releasing great amounts of greenhouse gases. In fact, “the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved” (“Gillis”1). In order to protect the environment, humans need to use less fossil fuels and find better alternatives to vehicles such as bikes.
Although some people believe that the large increase in temperature over the past decade is natural through processes such as volcano eruptions releasing carbon dioxide, human activity is the main producer of greenhouse gases into the environment and this needs to come to an end before it is too late to fix.