Global Warming Essay

August 19, 2017 | Author: Dickson | Category: Global Warming, Greenhouse Gas, Greenhouse Effect, Exhaust Gas, Carbon Dioxide
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Essay on Global Warming causes...




INSTRUCTOR: QUIN AWUOR Date of submission: 20.07.2015


Introduction to Global Warming…………………………………………………...1 Causes of Global Warming Carbon dioxide…………………………………………………………………...3 Deforestation……………………………………………………………………..4 Methane…………………………………………………………………………..5 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………7 References………………………………………………………………………….8

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INTRODUCTION Global Warming is a term for the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system and its related effects (Global warming, 2015). The Earth is getting hotter and hotter. In order understand what Global Warming is, you first must understand what greenhouse effect is. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) trap heat in the atmosphere. This trapped heat keeps the earth warm in order for us to survive. The Earth gets energy from the sun in the form of sunlight. Some of the energy from the sun is absorbed by Earth and heats up. The Earth cools down by giving off a different form of energy called Infrared Radiation. This Infrared Radiation is again absorbed by the GHGs making the Earth’s surface warmer (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2014).

"The green house effect" by ZooFari - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The diagram above illustrates the Greenhouse Effect.

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Due to some natural and human causes there has been excess GHGs accumulating in the atmosphere gradually increasing the Earth’s temperature. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, ozone, and water vapor are the most common GHGs causing Global Warming. Over the last few years there has been a significant increase in temperature all over the world. Scientists were more than 95 percent certain that most of global warming is caused by increasing concentrations of








(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2014). The year 2014 was ranked as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists (NASA, 2015). “This is the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades. While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Director Gavin Schmidt (NASA, 2015). Global Warming is a serious threat and measures should be taken immediately to reduce its effects.

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CAUSES OF GLOBAL WARMING Carbon dioxide Let me start by discussing the causes of Global Warming. One of the prime reasons for Global warming is the increased emission of Carbon Dioxide (CO 2) into the atmosphere. CO 2 is mainly produced from burning of fossil fuels like Coal to produce electricity. Increasing addiction to technology has caused a magnificent rise in the demand for electricity. Everyday new gadgets are invented and flooded into the market increasing the requirement for electricity. “The combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity is the largest single source of CO 2 emissions in the nation, accounting for about 37% of total U.S. CO 2 emissions and 31% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2013” (United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2015). Another reason for the increased emission of CO 2 is due to the burning of gasoline for transportation. Increasing population means there is an increasing demand for the production of motor vehicles which in turn causes a rise in demand for gasoline. “The combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel to transport people and goods is the second largest source of CO 2 emissions, accounting for about 31% of total U.S. CO 2 emissions and 26% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2013” (EPA, 2015).

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Retrieved from Pie chart shows CO2 emissions by use. 37 percent is electricity, 31 percent is transportation, 15 percent is industry, 10 percent is residential and commercial, and 6 percent is other (non-fossil fuel combustion). Deforestation On the other hand Deforestation is another major reason for excess GHGs accumulating in the atmosphere. 31 percent of the total land area on Earth is covered by forests (World Wildlife Fund for nature [WWF], 2015). Deforestation comes in many forms, including Commercial logging, clearance for agriculture, roads and railways, forest fires, mining and drilling, fuel wood collection and clearance for living space. Due to Deforestation forests of 36 football field’s equivalent are destroyed every minute (WWF, 2015). Forests play a huge role in reducing climate change since they act as carbon sinks- they absorb CO2 (GHG) in the atmosphere and convert it into Oxygen through the process of Respiration. In the Amazon around 17 percent of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. It is estimated that more than 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide are released to the atmosphere due to deforestation, mainly the cutting and burning of forests, every year (WWF, 2015). Illegal Logging is the harvest, transportation, purchase or sale of timber in violation of laws. Illegal logging is the prime reason for Deforestation. This destruction threatens some of the world’s most famous and valuable forests, including rainforests in the Amazon, Congo Basin, Indonesia and the forests of the Russian Far East (WWF, 2015). Just like coal and gasoline, GHGs are released into the atmosphere when wood in burnt for fuel and heat. Most of the illegal removal of timer from the forests is used for fuel and heat. A Forest fire is another way deforestation could occur. Forest fires have a devastating effect on forests. Forest fires can be both Natural and human caused. Other than lightning, humanrelated activities are the main cause for wildfires. Unattended or out-of-control campfires and discarded burning cigarettes are some of the examples of human-related activities that cause wildfires. In the year 2014, 44.8 percent of the wildfires were due to human activities while 55.2 percent of the wildfires were due to Lightning (British Columbia Wildfire Service [BC], 2014). Slash-and-burn is an agricultural technique that involves cutting and burning of plants and trees Page | 4

in forests to create fields (Slash-and-burn, 2015). The resulting layer of ash provides the soil with high nutrients to fertilize crops. However, the resulting fertile soil will only remain fertile for a couple of years after which all nutrients will be used up. Farmers will then abandon that piece of degraded land and acquire a new plot by clearing more forests therefore causing massive deforestation. Methane Industry Methane emissions play an important role in global climate change. Natural gas and petroleum systems are responsible for 29 percent of the total global methane emissions (EPA, 2015). Methane's lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than carbon dioxide (CO 2), but Methane (CH4) is more efficient at trapping the sun’s radiation than CO 2. CH4 is emitted into the earth’s atmosphere during the production, processing, storage, transmission, and distribution of natural gas and petroleum. Methane is also extensively produced by the livestock industry worldwide. Livestock such as cattle, buffalo and sheep produce large amounts of methane as their normal digestive process (enteric fermentation). Methane is also produced from manure that is stored in anaerobic conditions such as pits and tanks. Methane emissions from enteric fermentation and manure management represent 25.9 percent and 9.6 percent of total CH4 emissions from anthropogenic activities, respectively (EPA, 2015). Another important source of methane is landfill sites. Landfill sites are dumped with our everyday organic waste and as every time new garbage comes in, it is dumped over the existing garbage that was already there. The organic garbage gets trapped in anaerobic conditions and therefore provides excellent conditions for methane production. Even if the landfill site is closed down, the garbage which was buried will continue producing methane into the atmosphere. Methane emissions from landfills represent 18 percent of the total CH 4 emissions from anthropogenic activities (EPA, 2015).

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Retrieved from Pie chart shows CH4 emissions by use. 29 percent is from Natural gas and Petroleum Systems, 26 percent is from Enteric Fermentation, 18 percent is from Landfills, 10 percent is from Coal Mining, 10 percent is from Manure Management and 8 percent is from other sources.

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CONCLUSION Global warming has been a serious threat to humanity and measures should be taken immediately to prevent further damage to our only home. Like the famous quote by Audrey Hepburn, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!”, global warming can be made to come to a stop but it starts with you and me. Though you might feel like your lifestyle is insignificant compared to things like oil extraction or vehicle emissions, the choices we make in our day-to-day life- how we get around, what we eat, how we live- play a major role in slowing climate change. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to help do your part in the fight against global warming. One of the easiest things one can do to fight global warming to replace all your light bulbs into fluorescent bulbs which consume minimal electricity compared to traditional bulbs. Turn off the lights when you don’t need them. You can as well reduce general electricity usage by unplugging your electronics completely instead of switching them off since most electronics still consume electricity when they are switched off. When buying electronics, purchase electronics that has ENERGY STAR® ratings, an international standard for energy-efficient consumer products, typically utilize a minimum of 20 % less energy. Plants are our new lifesavers therefore plant trees that will provide shade and soak up carbon from the atmosphere instead of ornamental trees. Walking or cycling instead of driving can play a huge role in reducing the global CO2 emissions and it can also get you into better shape! If driving cannot be avoided then purchase a fuel-efficient car or use public transport where possible. Modify your diet to include less meat so that methane and carbon dioxide emissions from livestock can be reduced. The most important contribution to prevent global warming is to educate people about global warming and its causes and effects. Teach people on how an individual can contribute their part to fight global warming. Global warming is irreversible but not unstoppable!

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References British Columbia Wildfire Service. (2014). Fire Averages. Retrieved from

Environmental Protection Agency. (2014). The Greenhouse Effect. Retrieved from

Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Overview of Greenhouse Gases. Retrieved from

Global warming. (2015). Retrieved July 12, 2015, from Wikipedia:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2014). Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Retrieved from NASA. (2015). NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record [Press release]. Retrieved from in-modernrecord Slash-and-burn. (2015). Retrieved July 12, 2015, from Wikipedia:

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United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Greenhouse Gases. Retrieved from

Overview of

World Wildlife Fund for nature. (2015). Deforestation. Retrieved from

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