Global Warming

by 036 Yurika on July 7, 2014 - 3:42am

There have been many articles about the subject “climate change” and we learn it in school, but at present, there has been hardly any change in the way we behave in our daily lives. Politicians have one discussion after another, however hardly any action is made. In the following, I would like to write about what Global Warming is, what the future looks like if we don’t change anything and finally, what we can do to help reduce factors leading to Global Warming.

 

Global Warming is called the process that warms the Earth over its average temperature of 0.8°C due to the heat from the sun being held back by greenhouse gases and increased occurrence of the positive feedback (naturally occurring cycle that was influenced by humans). When the sunlight reaches the Earth, 30% of it is reflected back to space due to the atmosphere, clouds or the Earth’s surface. 70% is absorbed by the Earth and some of it is released into the atmosphere, the green-house gases absorb energy and slow down or prevent the energy from going back into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are gases like Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), water vapor (H2O), ozone (O3) and many other chemicals. They are naturally part of our atmosphere, however, due to burning fossil fuels over the last decades the amount of these chemicals has increased in our atmosphere causing the energy being spread into all directions, warming the surface of the Earth and lower atmosphere. For an example, every year humans emit 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The changing of the chemicals in the atmosphere also leads to the positive feedback increasing and it is feared that it won’t be controllable in future. Positive feedback is called several natural processes influencing each other building a cycle. For an example due to the increased temperatures, the ice on the ocean is melting and therefore less white surface reflects the sunlight. The increased blue surface absorbs more energy, which results in the oceans getting warmer and following that more ice melting. Apart from all this scientific process, there is the more important question: “What does that mean to our lives in the future?”

 

It is said that a rise of 2°C is dangerous, but still safe. However, according to David Roberts in his 15min explanation, 2°C is already critical. The temperature rise now is a response to what was emitted into the air 50-100 years ago. So, David Roberts estimates that even if we would stop emitting fossil fuels into the atmosphere tomorrow, we would still be over 3°C in the future. In 2009, scientists were making an estimation about what the situation would look like when the temperature had risen 4°C. It would be the highest temperature in 30 million years, sea levels would rise by 3-6 feet, over 40% of the inhabited land would be in drought, resulting in hundreds of millions refugees and half of all known species would be extinct. Scientists estimate that if we do not decline the global climate emissions rapidly over a period of 5-10 years, in 2300, the temperature might have risen by 12°C, which would mean, we would die from the heat by just stepping outside. As the politicians are struggling with their own interests: What can one person do to help decreasing the Global warming?

 

There are light bulbs and other devices that have an Energy star on them meaning they are environmentally friendly. It is also suggested to recycle paper, cans etc. and to sort out garbage that can be used for compost. Garbage has a great influence on the Global Warming. We can use green power like solar panels and reduce the amount of water we are using every day, as the pumping also uses a lot of energy. And finally, we should inform one another about Global Warming, as many people are too lazy or have no time to inform themselves about it.

 

I hope, the politicians will soon agree on what action they want to take. I was shocked, how bad it can get, if we carry on like this. I was too lazy to inform myself properly, so I will do what is in my power to help decreasing the green house chemicals in the atmosphere.

 

References: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html

                 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7ktYbVwr90

About the author

Hello!
My name is Yurika. I am half Japanese and half Swiss. 5 years ago I moved with my mother to Japan. I am living now in Shioya, near Kobe (1hour from Osaka, situated at the ocean.)
I am a first year student at Kansai University of International Studies.