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The Globe is Losing its Cool

The globe is warming up and losing its cool temperature. Some scientists believe that it is an eventual natural phenomenon while others contradict by saying it is a result of man’s abuse of his environment. Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide and methane, otherwise known as greenhouse cases, form a layer in the planet’s atmosphere and traps the heat within. When the heat cannot escape the atmosphere, the resulting climate increases in warmth and the weather, as well as man’s survival, is affected. Global warming has devastating consequences not only to man but the rest of the 30 million other living creatures on earth.

High temperatures can thaw the arctic tundra and glaciers which will result to the release of more methane into the atmosphere. It can also cause floods which may render some places on earth extinct. The warmth will also make the sea surface hotter which will result to more hurricanes. Climate changes can also be fatal to other living creatures and increase the number of endangered species. With the ecological balance disturbed, even man’s own survival is at risk. Global Warming – Non-living Factors Climate Changes Cycle. Some scientists believe that the earth is simply undergoing a climate change cycle that occurs every 1,800 years.

They believe that the orbital alignment of the earth and its moon with reference to the sun results to changes in the movement of ocean waters. This results to an increase in the ocean’s temperature and affects the climate. Based on this theory, the earth will continue to increase its temperature until the year 2350 before it returns again to the normal cool man currently enjoys. The Arctic Tundra and its Methane Content. Methane is considered to be one of the more dangerous greenhouse gases. Large amounts of it can be found under the earth’s surface.

Scientists reveal that the arctic tundra is naturally thawing. According to this theory, when the arctic tundra melts, a substantial amount of methane is released. However, researchers believe that this is caused by the natural geothermal heat from the earth’s core. The heat increases the temperature of the ocean waters and results to the thawing of the tundra. Because of this heat, the ocean waters slowly decrease their absorption of carbon dioxide. This has serious implications because the ocean accommodates carbon dioxide fifty times more than the atmosphere.

With a slow decrease in absorption, the carbon dioxide that will accumulate in the atmosphere will increase faster. With the heat trapped within, the oceans will still get even warmer and the cycle continues. Global Warming – Living Factors Carbon Dioxide and Pollution.. Man and all animals emit carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas. To balance out the carbon dioxide emissions, plants process the gas until it becomes oxygen that enables all other living creatures to survive. Some scientists have approximated how much carbon dioxide is being released by all living creatures.

According to the study based on the figures from The Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, carbon emissions from the earth’s population has increased seven fold since pre-industrial times and is predicted to further go up in the 21st century (Prairie and Duarte, 2007, p. 215). Man’s inventions are also adding carbon emissions. Fossil fuel, from which petroleum is processed, is a great factor in carbon and methane emissions.

Fossil fuel needs to be dug up from underground. Its uncovering releases more methane into the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuel that enables movement of many automobiles results to carbon dioxide emissions. Based on the statistics of the Natural Resources Defense Council (2007), cars are the second largest source of carbon emissions that result to 1. 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere annually. Also according to the NRDC, coal burning from many factories are highly increasing carbon emission rates on earth. Population Increase.

An increase in the world’s population not only contributes to an increase in carbon dioxide emission but also destroys the ecological balance that could have helped process the gas into oxygen. With man’s population growing, more natural forests are being cut down to provide better living conditions. Trees are being chopped for furniture and construction materials. Agricultural farms are also taking over forest lands. With modernization comes urbanization which increases the use of carbon-emitting equipment like vehicles. Denudation of Forests. As man continues to use raw land for his own development, more forests continue to be denuded.

Rainforests are a great ecological resource not only because it is home to many creatures but because its emissions can affect climate. According to Al Gore from his book, The Shadow Our Future Throws, forests are very essential in keeping the earth’s temperature down. “When I was flying over the Amazon rain forest in a small plane, I was struck by what happened immediately after a thunderstorm moved across an area of the forest: as soon as the rain stopped, clouds of moisture began to rise from the trees to form new rain clouds that moved west, driven by the wind, where they provided the water for new rain falling out of new thunderstorms.

An interruption of this natural process can have a magnified impact. … And when the overarching canopy of leaves is removed, the sudden warming of the forest floor leads to the release of huge quantities of methane and CO2, as a kind of biochemical “burning” takes place. (p. 51) Economic Policies. Current global economic policies are forcing Underdeveloped Countries like Brazil and Indonesia to denude their forests in return for profit they can use to pay international debt. Many Third World Countries are highly indebted to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The only way these countries can pay is by producing products from their natural resources. This leads to rampant abuse of whatever can be turned into cash. International agreements usually favor the richer countries and encourage pillage of the Third World’s natural environment. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for example, has led to a worsening of Mexico’s environmental health. Before NAFTA, the country had many environmental policies in place to protect its natural resources.

However, in 1994, Mexico suffered an economic crisis that led to the lax implementation of these policies in favor of profits. By 2002, the costs of environmental depletion and amounted to $ 65,934 Million while the expenses made to recover the lost resources was only $ 3,473 which leads to the conclusion that only 53 percent of the used natural resources were recovered (Ningu, Jacome, Silva Gomez and Aviles, 2006, p. 7). Current Sustainability Strategies and Solutions Initiatives to know the effects of industrial greenhouse gas emissions started way back in 1979 during the World Climate Conference in Geneva.

By 1988, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) made different studies and concluded that carbon dioxide emissions were indeed directly affecting global warming. Since then, by 1992, the UN has exerted efforts to make its members agree on how to lower carbon emissions from their own lands and this resulted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The member nations who signed this agreement were supposed to make create their own programs and policies to bring back their carbon emission levels to its rate of 1990 by the end of the year 2000.

However, these were considered only voluntary instead of formal binding agreements. When it became apparent that the goal established would not be achieved just by mere voluntary agreements, the countries decided to establish legally binding policies that member nations have to follow. This resulted to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The agreements were made that industrialized countries would lend their clean development mechanism technology to underdeveloped countries while doing their best to achieve the seven percent below year 1990 carbon emission level. However, even when the U.

S. signified its agreement, the Kyoto Protocol was not ratified by its senate. Because it deemed the agreement as too costly for the US economy, the Bush Administration preferred to propose it own climate change initiative through voluntary reductions in emissions, tax credits, and more research for energy technologies. (The Environmental Literacy Council, 2008) With the U. S. leading in polluting the environment but lacking in cooperation as to managing the situation, it seems that the current state of our environment shall even be worse in the next coming years.

How To Reach Sustainability Global warming is a planetary issue that affects the whole earth and not just whatever territory each government belongs to. Serious steps and sacrifices need to be made for anything like the Kyoto Protocol to succeed. Some of these are for international financial institutions to grant enough amnesty to indebted developing countries, force implementation of Kyoto Protocol, further research on how to clean carbon emissions and hasten reproduction of the forests, and further education for the upcoming generation.

Countries like Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines are already limping from the effects of economic policies resulting from their indebtedness to different international institutions. The denudation of forests and other natural resources have already created natural disasters like flash floods and landslides that have claimed many lives. However, with the current economies of underdeveloped countries, these have no other choice but to continue ravaging their environment to pay up their debts.

If the financial institutions would grant amnesty to these countries, they would better be able to create and implement costly but effective programs to protect their habitats. Amnesty grants can also help these nations allot more funds for the education of their people which can lead to better discoveries on how to maintain the environment. Further education can also boost the intellectual levels of the natives of these countries so that they can instead earn revenue from the labor market instead of the natural resources.

The US government must also be forced to implement the Kyoto Protocol. If people would lobby against the US for not being true to the goals of Kyoto, there might be a chance, small as it may be, that the senate would ratify the agreement. Putting more emphasis on education and research can also help people become aware of how the environment is being sabotaged by industrialization. More intellectuals inventing electric cars and other less-polluting devices can truly help save the environment one step at a time. Stricter policies on forestry must also be implemented.

Every tree cut must be replaced with a certain number of new seedlings to ensure that what has been taken is replaced. Since the denudation of many forests have already reached alarming levels, tree planting and research on how to hasten plant growth would also be needed. The suggestions mentioned above are almost impossible to achieve without the cooperation of big countries. If governments were allowed to decide on these issues, the environment shall continue to be set aside for profits. According to environmentalist, David Suzuki:

“global economics is ultimately destructive because it is fatally flawed: it externalizes the natural capital and services that keep us alive while glorifying human inventiveness as if it allows us to escape finite limits and manage our biophysical surroundings; it assumes that endless growth is possible and necessary and represents progress; it does not value long-term social and ecological sustainability; it rejects caring, cooperation, and sharing as irrational while promoting selfishness; and it cannot incorporate the reality of spiritual needs. ” (p.

93) People have to force their governments to act quickly in saving the earth. A strong collective voice will be the only way that governments will take the risk of lessening economic gains in favor of the planet. Each person on this planet has the ability to help the environment in every way he or she can. If each individual will simply understand the problem and force governments and financial institutions to stop looking at the money and foresee man’s chances of survival in the next centuries, then maybe there is still hope in really saving the earth.

Reference List Gore, A. (2006). The Shadow Our Future Throws. New York: Rodale. Pp. 36 – 55. Natural Resources Defense Council. (2007). Issues: Global Warming. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from http://www. nrdc. org/globalWarming/f101. asp Ningu, J. K. , Jacome, J. T. , Silva Gomez, S. E. and Aviles, R. P. (2006). The Effects of North America Free Trade Agreement on Mexican Environmental Policy (1994-2004). American Journal of Environmental Sciences Vol.

2(1). Pp. 5-8. Praire, Y. T. and Duarte, C. M. (2007). Direct and Indirect Metabolic CO2 Release by Humanity. Biogeosciences, Vol. 4, pp. 215 – 217. The Environmental Literacy Council. (2008). Kyoto Protocol. Retrieved March 11, 2008, from http://www. enviroliteracy. org/article. php/278. html Suzuki, D. (2003). Hubris of Global Economics, Economics and Politics. The Suzuki Reader. Vancouver:Greystone. .

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