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Global Warming from rotting organic waste in landfills, and it is released from certain animals

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I INTRODUCTION especially cows, as a byproduct of digestion. Since the beginning of the
Global Warming, increase in the average temperature of the atmosphere, Industrial Revolution in the mid- 1700s, the amount of methane in the
oceans, and landmasses of atmosphere has more than doubled.
Earth. The planet has warmed (and cooled) many times during the 4.65 billion Nitrous oxide is a powerful insulating gas released primarily by burning fossil
years of its history. At fuels and by plowing farm soils. Nitrous oxide traps about 300 times more heat
present Earth appears to be facing a rapid warming, which most scientists than does the same amount of carbon dioxide. The concentration of nitrous
believe results, at least in part, from human activities. The chief cause of this oxide in the atmosphere has increased 17 percent over preindustrial levels. In
warming is thought to be the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and addition, greenhouse gases are produced in many manufacturing processes.
natural gas, which releases into the atmosphere carbon dioxide and other Perfluorinated compounds result from the smelting of aluminum.
substances known as greenhouse gases. As the atmosphere becomes richer Hydrofluorocarbons form during the manufacture of many products, including
in these gases, it becomes a better insulator, retaining more of the heat the foams used in insulation, furniture, and car seats. Refrigerators built in
provided to the planet by the Sun. The average surface temperature of Earth is some developing nations still use chlorofluorocarbons as coolants. In addition
about 15°C (59°F). Over the last century, this average has risen by about 0.6 to their ability to retain atmospheric heat, some of these synthetic chemicals
Celsius degree (1 Fahrenheit degree). Scientists predict further warming of 1.4 also destroy Earth’s high-altitude ozone layer, the protective layer of gases that
to 5.8 Celsius degrees (2.5 to 10.4 Fahrenheit degrees) by the year 2100. This shields Earth from damaging ultraviolet radiation. For most of the 20th century
temperature rise is expected to melt polar ice caps and glaciers as well as these chemicals have been accumulating in the atmosphere at unprecedented
warm the oceans, all of which will expand ocean volume and raise sea level by rates. But since 1995, in response to regulations enforced by the Montréal
an estimated 9 to 100 cm (4 to 40 in), flooding some coastal regions and even Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its amendments,
entire islands. Some regions in warmer climates will receive more rainfall than the atmospheric concentrations of many of these gases are either increasing
before, but soils will dry out faster between storms. This soil desiccation may more slowly or decreasing. Scientists are growing concerned about other
damage food crops, disrupting food supplies in some parts of the world. Plant gases produced from manufacturing processes that pose an environmental
and animal species will shift their ranges toward the poles or to higher risk. In 2000 scientists identified a substantial rise in atmospheric
elevations seeking cooler temperatures, and species that cannot do so may concentrations of a newly identified synthetic compound called trifluoromethyl
become extinct. The potential consequences of global warming are so great sulfur pentafluoride. Atmospheric concentrations of this gas are rising quickly,
that many of the world's leading scientists have called for international and although it still is extremely rare in the atmosphere, scientists are
cooperation and immediate action to counteract the problem. concerned because the gas traps heat more effectively than all other known
II THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT greenhouse gases. Perhaps more worrisome, scientists have been unable to
The energy that lights and warms Earth comes from the Sun. Most of the confirm the industrial source of the gas.
energy that floods onto our planet is short-wave radiation, including visible IV MEASURING GLOBAL WARMING
light. When this energy strikes the surface of Earth, the energy changes from As early as 1896 scientists suggested that burning fossil fuels might change
light to heat and warms Earth. Earth’s surface, in turn, releases some of this the composition of the atmosphere and that an increase in global average
heat as long-wave infrared radiation. temperature might result. The first part of this hypothesis was confirmed in
Much of this long-wave infrared radiation makes it all the way back out to 1957, when researchers working in the global research program called the
space, but a portion remains trapped in Earth’s atmosphere. Certain gases in International Geophysical Year sampled the atmosphere from the top of the
the atmosphere, including water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane, provide Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa. Their instruments indicated that carbon dioxide
the trap. Absorbing and reflecting infrared waves radiated by Earth, these concentration was indeed rising. Since then, the composition of the
gases conserve heat as the glass in a greenhouse does and are thus known as atmosphere has been carefully tracked. The data collected show undeniably
greenhouse gases. As the concentration of these greenhouse gases in the that the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are increasing.
atmosphere increases, more heat energy remains trapped below. All life on Scientists have long suspected that the global climate, the long-term average
Earth relies on this greenhouse effect—without it, the planet would be colder by pattern of temperature, was also growing warmer, but they were unable to
about 33 Celsius degrees (59 Fahrenheit degrees), and ice would cover Earth provide conclusive proof. Temperatures vary widely all the time and from place
from pole to pole. However, a growing excess of greenhouse gases in Earth’s to place. It takes many years of climate observations to establish a trend.
atmosphere threatens to tip the balance in the other direction—toward Records going back to the late 1800s did seem to show a warming trend, but
continual warming. these statistics were spotty and untrustworthy. Early weather stations often
III TYPES OF GREENHOUSE GASES were located near cities, where temperature measurements were affected by
Greenhouse gases occur naturally in the environment and also result from the heat emitted from buildings and vehicles and stored by building materials
human activities. By far the most abundant greenhouse gas is water vapor, and pavements. Since 1957, however, data have been gathered from more
which reaches the atmosphere through evaporation from oceans, lakes, and reliable weather stations, located far away from cities, and from satellites.
rivers. These data have provided new, more accurate measurements, especially for
Carbon dioxide is the next most abundant greenhouse gas. It flows into the the 70 percent of the planetary surface that is ocean water (see Satellite,
atmosphere from many natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions; the Artificial). These more accurate records indicate that a surface warming trend
respiration of animals, which breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide; and exists and that, moreover, it has become more pronounced. Looking back from
the burning or decay of organic matter, such as plants. Carbon dioxide leaves the end of the 20th century, records show that the ten warmest years of the
the atmosphere when it is absorbed into ocean water and through the century all occurred after 1980, and the three hottest years occurred after
photosynthesis of plants, especially trees. Photosynthesis breaks up carbon 1990, with 1998 being the warmest year of all. Greenhouse gas concentrations
dioxide, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere and incorporating the carbon are increasing. Temperatures are rising. But does the gas increase necessarily
into new plant tissue. cause the warming, and will these two phenomena continue to occur together?
Humans escalate the amount of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere In 1988 the United Nations Environment Program and the World
when they burn fossil fuels, solid wastes, and wood and wood products to heat Meteorological Organization established a panel of 200 leading scientists to
buildings, drive vehicles, and generate electricity. At the same time, the number consider the evidence. In its Third Assessment Report, released in 2001, this
of trees available to absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis has been Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global air
greatly reduced by deforestation, the long-term destruction of forests by temperature had increased 0.6 Celsius degree (1 Fahrenheit degree) since
indiscriminate cutting of trees for lumber or to clear land for agricultural 1861. The panel agreed that the warming was caused primarily by human
activities. activities that add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The IPCC predicted in
Ultimately, the oceans and other natural processes absorb excess carbon 2001 that the average global temperature would rise by another 1.4 to 5.8
dioxide in the atmosphere. Celsius degrees (2.5 to 10.4 Fahrenheit degrees) by the year 2100.
However, human activities have caused carbon dioxide to be released to the The IPCC panel cautioned that even if greenhouse gas concentrations in the
atmosphere at rates much faster than that at which Earth’s natural processes atmosphere ceased growing by the year 2100, the climate would continue to
can cycle this gas. In 1750 there were about 281 molecules of carbon dioxide warm for a period after that as a result of past emissions. Carbon dioxide
per million molecules of air (abbreviated as parts per million, or ppm). Today remains in the atmosphere for a century or more before nature can dispose of
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are 368 ppm, which reflects a 31 it. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, experts predict that
percent increase. carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere could rise to more than three
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increases by about 1.5 ppm per times preindustrial levels early in the 22nd century, resulting in dramatic climate
year. If current predictions prove accurate, by the year 2100 carbon dioxide will changes. Large climate changes of the type predicted are not unprecedented;
reach concentrations of more than 540 to 970 ppm. indeed, they have occurred many times in the history of Earth. However,
At the highest estimation, this concentration would be triple the levels prior to human beings would face this latest climate swing with a huge population at
the Industrial Revolution, the widespread replacement of human labor by risk.
machines that began in Britain in the mid-18th century and soon spread to V EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING
other parts of Europe and to the United States. Scientists use elaborate computer models of temperature, precipitation
Methane is an even more effective insulator, trapping over 20 times more heat patterns, and atmosphere circulation to study global warming. Based on these
than does the same amount of carbon dioxide. Methane is emitted during the models, scientists have made several predictions about how global warming
production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane also comes
will affect weather, sea levels, coastlines, agriculture, wildlife, and human to emphasize the fact that continued warming could have benefits in some
health. regions. Scientists who question the global warming trend point to three
A Weather puzzling differences between the predictions of the global warming models and
Scientists predict that during global warming, the northern regions of the the actual behavior of the climate. First, the warming trend stopped for three
Northern Hemisphere will heat up more than other areas of the planet, northern decades in the middle of the 20th century; there was even some cooling before
and mountain glaciers will shrink, and less ice will float on northern oceans. the climb resumed in the 1970s. Second, the total amount of warming during
Regions that now experience light winter snows may receive no snow at all. In the 20th century was only about half what computer models predicted. Third,
temperate mountains, snowlines will be higher and snowpacks will melt earlier. the troposphere, the lower region of the atmosphere, did not warm as fast as
Growing seasons will be longer in some areas. Winter and nighttime the models forecast. However, global warming proponents believe that two of
temperatures will tend to rise more than summer and daytime ones. The the three discrepancies have now been explained.
warmed world will be generally more humid as a result of more water The lack of warming at midcentury is now attributed largely to air pollution that
evaporating from the oceans. Scientists are not sure whether a more humid spews particulate matter, especially sulfates, into the upper atmosphere. These
atmosphere will encourage or discourage further warming. On the one hand, particulates, also known as aerosols, reflect some incoming sunlight out into
water vapor is a greenhouse gas, and its increased presence should add to the space. Continued warming has now overcome this effect, in part because
insulating effect. On the other hand, more vapor in the atmosphere will produce pollution control efforts have made the air cleaner. The unexpectedly small
more clouds, which reflect sunlight back into space, which should slow the amount of total warming since 1900 is now attributed to the oceans absorbing
warming process. Greater humidity will increase rainfall, on average, about 1 vast amounts of the extra heat. Scientists long suspected that this was
percent for each Fahrenheit degree of warming. (Rainfall over the continents happening but lacked the data to prove it. In 2000 the U.S. National Oceanic
has already increased by about 1 percent in the last 100 years.) Storms are and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offered a new analysis of water
expected to be more frequent and more intense. However, water will also temperature readings made by observers around the world over 50 years.
evaporate more rapidly from soil, causing it to dry out faster between rains. Records showed a distinct warming trend: World ocean temperatures in 1998
Some regions might actually become drier than before. Winds will blow harder were higher than the 50-year average by 0.2 Celsius degree (0.3 Fahrenheit
and perhaps in different patterns. Hurricanes, which gain their force from the degree), a small but very significant amount. The third discrepancy is the most
evaporation of water, are likely to be more severe. Against the background of puzzling. Satellites detect less warming in the troposphere than the computer
warming, some very cold periods will still occur. Weather patterns are expected models of global climate predict. According to some critics, the atmospheric
to be less predictable and more extreme. readings are right, and the higher temperatures recorded at Earth’s surface are
B Sea Levels not to be trusted. In January 2000 a panel appointed by the National Academy
As the atmosphere warms, the surface layer of the ocean warms as well, of Sciences to weigh this argument reaffirmed that surface warming could not
expanding in volume and thus raising sea level. Warming will also melt much be doubted. However, the lower-than-predicted troposphere measurements
glacier ice, especially around Greenland, further swelling the sea. Sea levels have not been entirely explained.
worldwide rose 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 in) during the 20th century, and IPCC VII EFFORTS TO CONTROL GLOBAL WARMING
scientists predict a further rise of 9 to 88 cm (4 to 35 in) in the 21st century. The total consumption of fossil fuels is increasing by about 1 percent per year.
Sea-level changes will complicate life in many coastal regions. A 100-cm (40- No steps currently being taken or under serious discussion will likely prevent
in) rise could submerge 6 percent of The Netherlands, 17.5 percent of global warming in the near future. The challenge today is managing the
Bangladesh, and most or all of many islands. Erosion of cliffs, beaches, and probable effects while taking steps to prevent detrimental climate changes in
dunes will increase. Storm surges, in which winds locally pile up water and the future. Damage can be curbed locally in various ways. Coastlines can be
raise the sea, will become more frequent and damaging. As the sea invades armored with dikes and barriers to block encroachments of the sea.
the mouths of rivers, flooding from runoff will also increase upstream. Wealthier Alternatively, governments can assist coastal populations in moving to higher
countries will spend huge amounts of money to protect their shorelines, while ground. Some countries, such as the United States, still have the chance to
poor countries may simply evacuate low-lying coastal regions. Even a modest help plant and animal species survive by preserving habitat corridors, strips of
rise in sea level will greatly change coastal ecosystems. A 50-cm (20-in) rise relatively undeveloped land running north and south. Species can gradually
will submerge about half of the present coastal wetlands of the United States. shift their ranges along these corridors, moving toward cooler habitats. There
New marshes will form in many places, but not where urban areas and are two major approaches to slowing the buildup of greenhouse gases. The
developed landscapes block the way. This sea-level rise will cover much of the first is to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by storing the gas or its
Florida Everglades. carbon component somewhere else, a strategy called carbon sequestration.
C Agriculture The second major approach is to reduce the production of greenhouse gases.
A warmed globe will probably produce as much food as before, but not A Carbon Sequestration
necessarily in the same places. The simplest way to sequester carbon is to preserve trees and to plant more.
Southern Canada, for example, may benefit from more rainfall and a longer Trees, especially young and fast-growing ones, soak up a great deal of carbon
growing season. At the same time, the semiarid tropical farmlands in some dioxide, break it down in photosynthesis, and store the carbon in new wood.
parts of Africa may become further impoverished. Desert farm regions that Worldwide, forests are being cut down at an alarming rate, particularly in the
bring in irrigation water from distant mountains may suffer if the winter tropics. In many areas, there is little regrowth as land loses fertility or is
snowpack, which functions as a natural reservoir, melts before the peak changed to other uses, such as farming or building housing developments.
growing months. Crops and woodlands may also be afflicted by more insects Reforestation could offset these losses and counter part of the greenhouse
and plant diseases. buildup. Many companies and governments in the United States, Norway,
D Animals and Plants Brazil, Malaysia, Russia, and Australia have initiated reforestation projects. In
Animals and plants will find it difficult to escape from or adjust to the effects of Guatemala, the AES Corporation, a U.S.-based electrical company, has joined
warming because humans occupy so much land. Under global warming, forces with the World Resources Institute and the relief agency CARE to create
animals will tend to migrate toward the poles and up mountainsides toward community woodlots and to teach local residents about tree-farming practices.
higher elevations, and plants will shift their ranges, seeking new areas as old The trees planted are expected to absorb up to 58 million tons of carbon
habitats grow too warm. In many places, however, human development will dioxide over 40 years. Carbon dioxide gas can also be sequestered directly.
prevent this shift. Species that find cities or farmlands blocking their way north Carbon dioxide has traditionally been injected into oil wells to force more
or south may die out. Some types of forests, unable to propagate toward the petroleum out of the ground or seafloor. Now it is being injected simply to
poles fast enough, may disappear. isolate it underground in oil fields, coal beds, or aquifers. At one natural gas
E Human Health drilling platform off the coast of Norway, carbon dioxide brought to the surface
In a warmer world, scientists predict that more people will get sick or die from with the natural gas is captured and reinjected into an aquifer from which it
heat stress, due less to hotter days than to warmer nights (giving the sufferers cannot escape. The same process can be used to store carbon dioxide
less relief). Diseases now found in the tropics, transmitted by mosquitoes and released by a power plant, factory, or any large stationary source. Deep ocean
other animal hosts, will widen their range as these animal hosts move into waters could also absorb a great deal of carbon dioxide. The feasibility and
regions formerly too cold for them. Today 45 percent of the world’s people live environmental effects of both these options are now under study by
where they might get bitten by a mosquito carrying the parasite that causes international teams. In an encouraging trend, energy use around the world has
malaria; that percentage may increase to 60 percent if temperatures rise. Other slowly shifted away from fuels that release a great deal of carbon dioxide
tropical diseases may spread similarly, including dengue fever, yellow fever, toward fuels that release somewhat less of this heat-trapping gas. Wood was
and encephalitis. Scientists also predict rising incidence of allergies and the first major source of energy used by humans. With the dawn of the
respiratory diseases as warmer air grows more charged with pollutants, mold Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, coal became the dominant energy
spores, and pollens. source. By the mid-19th century oil had replaced coal in dominance, fueling the
VI DEBATES OVER GLOBAL WARMING internal combustion engines that were eventually used in automobiles. By the
Scientists do not all agreed about the nature and impact of global warming. A 20th century, natural gas began to be used worldwide for heating and lighting.
few observers still question whether temperatures have actually been rising at In this progression, combustion of natural gas releases less carbon dioxide
all. Others acknowledge past change but argue that it is much too early to be than oil, which in turn releases less of the gas than do either coal or wood.
making predictions for the future. Such critics may also deny that the evidence Nuclear energy, though controversial for reasons of safety and the high costs
for the human contribution to warming is conclusive, arguing that a purely of nuclear waste disposal, releases no carbon dioxide at all. Solar power, wind
natural cycle may be driving temperatures upward. The same dissenters tend power, and hydrogen fuel cells also emit no greenhouse gases. Someday
these alternative energy sources may prove to be practical, low-pollution John Hart
energy sources, although progress today is slow. Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft
B National and Local Programs Corporation. All rights reserved.
The developed countries are all working to reduce greenhouse emissions. Disadvantages of Global Warming
Several European countries impose heavy taxes on energy usage, designed • Ocean circulation disrupted, disrupting and having unknown
partly to curb such emissions. Norway taxes industries according to the amount effects on world climate.
of carbon dioxide they emit. In The Netherlands, government and industry have • Higher sea level leading to flooding of low-lying lands and
negotiated agreements aimed at increasing energy efficiency, promoting deaths and disease from flood and evacuation.
alternative energy sources, and cutting down greenhouse gas output. In the
United States, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection • Deserts get drier leaving to increased desertification.
Agency, product manufacturers, local utilities, and retailers have collaborated • Changes to agricultural production that can lead to food
to implement the Energy Star program. This voluntary program rates
shortages.
appliances for energy use and gives some money back to consumers who buy
efficient machines. The Canadian government has established the FleetWise • Water shortages in already water-scarce areas.
program to cut carbon dioxide emissions from federal vehicles by reducing the • Starvation, malnutrition, and increased deaths due to food and
number of vehicles it owns and by training drivers to use them more efficiently. crop shortages.
By 2004, 75 percent of Canadian federal vehicles are to run on alternative • More extreme weather and an increased frequency of severe
fuels, such as methanol and ethanol. Many local governments are also working
and catastrophic storms.
against greenhouse emissions by conserving energy in buildings, modernizing
their vehicles, and advising the public. Individuals, too, can take steps. The • Increased disease in humans and animals.
same choices that reduce other kinds of pollution work against global warming. • Increased deaths from heat waves.
Every time a consumer buys an energy efficient appliance; adds insulation to a • Extinction of additional species of animals and plants.
house; recycles paper, metal, and glass; chooses to live near work; or • Loss of animal and plant habitats.
commutes by public transportation, he or she is fighting global warming. • Increased emigration of those from poorer or low-lying
C International Agreements countries to wealthier or higher countries seeking better (or
International cooperation is required for the successful reduction of greenhouse non-deadly) conditions.
gases. In 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 150 countries • Additional use of energy resources for cooling needs.
pledged to confront the problem of greenhouse gases and agreed to meet
again to translate these good intentions into a binding treaty. In 1997 in Japan, • Increased air pollution.
160 nations drafted a much stronger agreement known as the Kyōto Protocol. • Increased allergy and asthma rates due to earlier blooming of
This treaty, which has not yet been implemented, calls for the 38 industrialized plants.
countries that now release the most greenhouse gases to cut their emissions to • Melt of permafrost leads to destruction of structures,
levels 5 percent below those of 1990. This reduction is to be achieved no later landslides, and avalanches.
than 2012. Initially, the United States voluntarily accepted a more ambitious • Permanent loss of glaciers and ice sheets.
target, promising to reduce emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels; the • Cultural or heritage sites destroyed faster due to increased
European Union, which had wanted a much tougher treaty, committed to 8 extremes.
percent; and Japan, to 6 percent. The remaining 122 nations, mostly • Increased acidity of rainfall.
developing nations, were not asked to commit to a reduction in gas emissions.
But in 2001 newly elected U.S. president George W. Bush renounced the treaty • Earlier drying of forests leading to increased forest fires in size
saying that such carbon dioxide reductions in the United States would be too and intensity.
costly. He also objected that developing nations would not be bound by similar • Increased cost of insurance as insurers pay out more claims
carbon dioxide reducing obligations. The Kyōto Protocol could not go into effect resulting from increasingly large disasters.
unless industrial nations accounting for 55 percent of 1990 greenhouse gas Advantages of Global Warming
emissions ratified it. That requirement was met in 2004 when the cabinet of • Arctic, Antarctic, Siberia, and other frozen regions of earth may
Russian president Vladimir Putin approved the treaty, paving the way for it to experience more plant growth and milder climates.
go into effect in 2005. • The next ice age may be prevented from occurring.
Some critics find the Kyōto Protocol too weak. Even if it were enforced • Northwest Passage through Canada's formerly-icy north opens
immediately, it would only slightly slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the up to sea transportation.
atmosphere. Much stronger action would be required later, particularly because • Less need for energy consumption to warm cold places.
the developing nations exempted from the Kyōto rules are expected to produce
half the world’s greenhouse gases by 2035. The most influential opponents of • Fewer deaths or injuries due to cold weather.
the protocol, however, find it too strong. Opposition to the treaty in the United • Longer growing seasons could mean increased agricultural
States is spurred by the oil industry, the coal industry, and other enterprises production in some local areas.
that manufacture or depend on fossil fuels. These opponents claim that the • Mountains increase in height due to melting glaciers, becoming
economic costs to carry out the Kyōto Protocol could be as much as $300 higher as they rebound against the missing weight of the ice.
billion, due mainly to higher energy prices. Proponents of the Kyōto sanctions I Global Warming in the Past
believe the costs will prove more modest—$88 billion or less—much of which I
will be recovered as Americans save money after switching to more efficient
appliances, vehicles, and industrial processes. Behind the issue of cost lies a Earth has warmed and cooled many times since its formation about 4.6 billion
larger question: Can an economy grow without increasing its greenhouse gas years ago. Global climate changes were due to many factors, including
emissions at the same time? In the past, prosperity and pollution have tended massive volcanic eruptions, which increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere;
to go together. Can they now be separated, or decoupled, as economists say? changes in the intensity of energy emitted by the Sun; and variations in Earth’s
In nations with strong environmental policies, economies have continued to position relative to the Sun, both in its orbit and in the inclination of its spin axis.
grow even as many types of pollution have been reduced. However, limiting the Variations in Earth’s position, known as Milankovitch cycles, combine to
emission of carbon dioxide has proved especially difficult. For example, The produce cyclical changes in the global climate. These cycles are believed to be
Netherlands, a heavily industrialized country that is also an environmental responsible for the repeated advance and retreat of glaciers and ice sheets
leader, has done very well against most kinds of pollution but has failed to meet during the Pleistocene Epoch (1.8 million to 11,500 years before present),
its goal of reducing carbon dioxide output. After 1997 representatives to the when Earth went through fairly regular cycles of colder “glacial” periods (also
Kyōto Protocol met regularly to negotiate a consensus about certain known as ice ages) and warmer “interglacial” periods. Glacial periods occurred
unresolved issues , such as the rules, methods, and penalties that should be at roughly 100,000-year intervals. An interglacial period began about 10,000
enforced in each country to slow greenhouse emissions. The negotiators years ago, when the last ice age came to an end. Prior to that ice age, an
designed a system in which nations with successful cleanup programs could interglacial period occurred about 125,000 years ago.
profit by selling unused pollution rights to other nations. For example, nations During interglacial periods, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and
that find further improvement difficult, such as The Netherlands, could buy methane naturally increase in the atmosphere from increased plant and animal
pollution credits on the market, or perhaps earn them by helping reduce life. But since 1750 greenhouse gases have increased dramatically to levels
greenhouse gas emissions in less developed countries, where more can be not seen in hundreds of thousands of years, due to the rapid growth of the
achieved at less expense. Russia, in particular, stood to benefit from this human population combined with developments in technology and agriculture.
system. In 1990 the Russian economy was in a shambles, and its greenhouse Human activities now are a powerful factor influencing Earth’s dynamic climate.
gas emissions were huge. Since then Russia has already cut its emissions by The ice of the polar regions furnishes clues to the makeup of Earth’s ancient
more than 5 percent below 1990 levels and is in a position to sell emission atmosphere. Ice cores that scientists have bored from the ice sheets of
credits to other industrialized countries, particularly those in the European Greenland and Antarctica provide natural records of both temperature and
Union (EU). atmospheric greenhouse gases going back hundreds of thousands of years.
Contributed By: Layers in these ice cores created by seasonal snowfall patterns allow scientists
to determine the age of the ice in each core. By measuring tiny air bubbles Earlier drying of forests leading to increased forest fires in size and
trapped in the ice and properties of the ice itself, scientists can estimate the intensity.
temperature and amount of greenhouse gases in Earth’s past atmosphere at Increased cost of insurance as insurers pay out more claims resulting
the time each layer formed. Based on this data, scientists know that from increasingly large disasters.
greenhouse gases have now risen to levels higher than at any time in the last
650,000 years. Advantages of Global Warming
Greenhouse gases are rising, and temperatures are following. Before the late • Arctic, Antarctic, Siberia, and other frozen regions of earth may
1800s, the average surface temperature of Earth was almost 15°C (59°F). experience more plant growth and milder climates.
Over the past 100 years, the average surface temperature has risen by about • Northwest Passage through Canada's formerly-icy north opens up to
0.7 Celsius degrees (1.3 Fahrenheit degrees), with most of the increase sea transportation.
occurring since the 1970s. Scientists have linked even this amount of warming • Less need for energy consumption to warm cold places.
to numerous changes taking place around the world, including melting
mountain glaciers and polar ice, rising sea level, more intense and longer • Fewer deaths or injuries due to cold weather.
droughts, more intense storms, more frequent heat waves, and changes in the • Longer growing seasons could mean increased agricultural
life cycles of many plants and animals. Warming has been most dramatic in the production in some local areas.
Arctic, where temperatures have risen almost twice as much as the global • Mountains increase in height due to melting glaciers, becoming
average. higher as they rebound against the missing weight of the ice
III Global Warming in the Future Advantages/Benefits of Global Warming
Print this section I must preface this list of advantages with the following statements:
Scientists project global warming to continue at a rate that is unprecedented in 1) I do not believe that global warming is actually happening at all. It MAY have
hundreds of thousands or even millions of years of Earth’s history. They predict been happening 10 years ago, though there is now evidence that the
considerably more warming in the 21st century, depending on the level of observational data is biased by proximity of temperature-recording stations to
future greenhouse gas emissions. For a scenario (possible situation) assuming artificial heat sources (see surfacestations.org). However, even that biased
higher emissions—in which emissions continue to increase significantly during data shows that the global average temperature has decreased over the last 9
the century—scientists project further warming of 2.4 to 6.4 Celsius degrees years since hitting a peak in 1998, and forecasts for 2008 call for another
(4.3 to 11.5 Fahrenheit degrees) by the year 2100. For a scenario assuming decrease.
lower emissions—in which emissions grow slowly, peak around the year 2050, 2) Even if global warming is (or was) happening, and even if it continues (or
and then fall—scientists project further warming of 1.1 to 2.9 Celsius degrees resumes), it is not caused by humans. Besides the current warm period, there
(1.9 to 5.2 Fahrenheit degrees) by the year 2100. have been three warm periods in the last 4,000 years, following a fairly regular
Melting polar ice and glaciers, as well as warming of the oceans, expands cycle of 1,000-1,500 years. The current warming falls right in line with that
ocean volume and raises sea level, which will eventually flood some coastal cycle. Whatever the cause of those three previous warming periods, it could
regions and even entire islands. Patterns of rainfall are expected to change, not have been human emissions of carbon dioxide, because we were not
with higher latitudes (closer to the poles) projected to receive more rainfall, and burning fossil fuels at any of those times. Moreover, the previous warm periods
subtropical areas (such as the Mediterranean and southern Africa) projected to all reached temperatures well above any temperatures observed in the current
receive considerably less. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns warm period. So neither the warming itself nor the degree of warming is
may damage food crops, disrupting food production in some parts of the world. anything that cannot be explained by the same natural cycle that caused the
Plant and animal species will shift their ranges toward the poles or to higher last three warm periods.
elevations seeking cooler temperatures, and species that cannot do so may That said, I will now list the two major benefits of global warming.
become extinct. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere also • Fewer cold-related deaths. Many, many more people die from cold
leads to increased ocean acidity, damaging ocean ecosystems.
Human beings face global warming with a huge population at risk. The than from heat (though the cold related deaths don't get as much
potential consequences are so great that many of the world’s leading scientists media attention). The warmer it gets, the fewer people will die from
—and increasingly, politicians, business leaders, and other citizens—are cold. Moreover, global warming models all predict that the coldest
calling for international cooperation and immediate action to counteract the times of the year, the coldest times of the day, and the coldest parts
problem. of the world will warm much more than the warmest times of the
Advantages and Disadvantages of global warming permalink year, times of the day, and parts of the world. So, the positive effect
Positive and Negative effect of the global warming on the people and the of warming in the cold areas/times will more than offset, by a huge
planet margin in fact, the negative effect of warming in the warm
In February 2007, the United Nations released a scientific report that concludes areas/times.
that global warming is happening and will continue to happen for centuries. The • Increased food supply. Alarmists will tell you that global warming
report also stated with 90% certainty that the activity of humans has been the endangers the world's food supply. This is because they do not have
primary cause of increasing temperatures over the past few decades. a basic understanding of agronomic production. There are three
With those conclusions and the conclusions of innumerable other scientists things that crops need more than anything else to grow and produce
that global warming is here and will continue into the foreseeable future, I high yields: heat, moisture, and carbon dioxide. Some crops can get
wanted to summarize the likely effects of global warming, into the advantages too much heat, but even the worst predictions of global warming
and disadvantages of global warming. First, we will look at the many alarmists don't call for such temperatures. In most cases, increased
disadvantages of global warming and then follow with the very small number of temperatures will increase yields. Moreover, millions of acres that are
advantages of global warming. now too cold to grow crops will become warm enough. Furthermore,
Disadvantages of Global WarmingOcean circulation disrupted, disrupting in traditional crop-growing areas, it is entirely possible that, with a
and having unknown effects on world climate. shorter, warmer winter, farmers will be able to plant their crops earlier
Higher sea level leading to flooding of low-lying lands and deaths and and harvest them later. What this means is that they might be able to
disease from flood and evacuation. get two crops planted and harvested in one year, effectively
Deserts get drier leaving to increased desertification. doubling the yield. The case can be made that rainfall will decrease
Changes to agricultural production that can lead to food shortages. in some areas of the world if global warming continues. But overall,
Water shortages in already water-scarce areas. worldwide precipitation will increase. So we might have to shift
Starvation, malnutrition, and increased deaths due to food and crop farming to other areas (which is not a bad idea anyway) but there will
shortages. be plenty of places where rainfall is adequate for growing crops. And
More extreme weather and an increased frequency of severe and even where it isn't, there's always irrigation. Carbon dioxide is
catastrophic storms. obvious. Supposedly, it's the culprit behind global warming, so if
Increased disease in humans and animals. global warming continues, it will be because of more carbon dioxide.
Increased deaths from heat waves. But plants live on carbon dioxide - the more of it they have, the faster
Extinction of additional species of animals and plants. they grow and the higher yields they obtain. Greenhouse growers
Loss of animal and plant habitats. have artificially raised CO2 levels to several times current
Increased emigration of those from poorer or low-lying countries to atmospheric levels, with no ill effects (and plenty of positive effects)
wealthier or higher countries seeking better (or non-deadly) conditions. to the crops. All in all, global warming will probably be the best thing
Additional use of energy resources for cooling needs. to happen to agricultural production since the invention of the tractor
Increased air pollution. and man-made fertilizers.
Increased allergy and asthma rates due to earlier blooming of plants. If you look at global warming as the alternative to stopping global warming,
Melt of permafrost leads to destruction of structures, landslides, and then you could also list all of the disadvantages of stopping global warming as
avalanches. benefits of global warming itself. For example:
Permanent loss of glaciers and ice sheets.
Cultural or heritage sites destroyed faster due to increased extremes. • Freedom. Stopping global warming will force the people to hand
Increased acidity of rainfall. over their rights and freedoms to an all-powerful government. This is
indisputable. We will have to give up our right to drive cars, our right
to electricity, our freedom of enterprise, and our right to anything else
Akawogeji hanarul borigien
that involves the burning of fossil fuels. And we will even have to give gue jogongwa narul bigyohamyonso jamshi
up our freedom of speech, because, in the name of saving the
planet, the government cannot tolerate any skepticism about global
hengboghegeji
warming. Geujo negenun namjado bosogilpun
• Prosperity. Stopping global warming (if the alarmists are correct jaranghago shiphulpun onuri doesoya algedoesso
about its causes) will require a ban on (or at least a massive noui jinshirul
reduction in) the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are what drives
our economy. Without them, everything will grind to a halt quite Baboga doeoboryosso nege pajyo sogawasso
quickly. Businesses will fail. Jobs will disappear. The economy will go Ijen kuthiya mabobun pullyosso
into the tank.
• Human comfort, convenience, and entertainment. One of the
norul yongsohal mamun obso
rights we will have to give up is the right to use electricity. We won't Nol wihe sajwodon sonmuldo
be able to use our stoves, our lights, our air conditioners, our essodon shigando chageshigogan nachorom
heaters, our dishwashers, our hot water heaters, our televisions, our
computers, etc. Are those things that you want to do without? Can Chamul mankhum chamasso annyongira
you even survive without those things? marhalkoya
• Food supply. I've already mentioned how the food supply will Ijen bakkwiosso jangnanun kuthiya
increase dramatically under global warming. But any effort to stop
global warming will cause a huge decrease in the food supply. modu boryosso nega dashi doragalgosun obso
Growing crops requires tractors, and tractors use fossil fuels. Except Baboga doeoboryosso nege pajyo sogawasso
they won't be using fossil fuels anymore if we are going to stop
global warming. Tractors will be replaced with mules and other draft Ijen kuthiya mabobun pullyosso
animals. Not only will agricultural production drop by 80-90%, but norul yongsohal mamun
much of what is left will be required to feed the draft animals. And
what little food is grown will never make it to the places where people
norul dashi bol mamun obso
live in massive numbers because that too requires burning fossil
fuels. There will be massive starvation around the world, especially
in large urban areas and other places where no food is grown.
• World Peace. We already know that China and India are never
going to go along with reducing their carbon dioxide emissions. But
no plan to stop global warming will work without their participation.
So what are we going to do about that? We're going to go to war with
them, that's what we are going to do. The Arab nations will ally
themselves with China and India, because that will be the only
customers they have for their oil. The two sides will be fairly evenly
matched, which will make for a very long, very bloody world war.
There will be tens of millions of deaths over years, perhaps decades,
in this World War III, caused by global warming alarmism. Not to
mention that the war will defeat its own purpose anyway, because of
the massive burning of fossil fuels that will be required to wage that
war.
• Avoiding World-wide Nuclear Armageddon. It is very, very likely
that the WW3 mentioned in the previous point will, eventually, go
nuclear. Then everything is for naught. Oh sure, global warming will
be stopped, because of the planet-covering cloud of radioactive dust,
smoke, and soot, blocking 90% of the sunlight from reaching the
surface. But between the immediate effect of the missiles
themselves and the delayed effects of radiation poisioning, the vast
majority of the earth's human population will be gone (and for those
of you more worried about the prescious polar bears, they'll be gone
too).
My point is that, even if global warming is happening, even if we are causing it,
and even if we can stop it, there is no proof that doing so will benefit us at all.
In fact, one can easily make the case (as I have) that the benefits of global
warming will outweigh the disadvantages. Moreover, the case can also easily
be made that the sacrifices we will have to make to stop global warming are
far, far worse than global warming itself. Are you willing to give up your freedom
and comfort to stop global warming? Are you willing to sacrifice the world's
economic prosperity, and even its food supply? Are you willing to precipitate a
massive world war, probably ending in nuclear Armageddon? If so, then let's
just launch the nukes now and get it over with. Because I, for one, don't want to
live through the loss of freedom, comfort, prosperity, and food that will
otherwise precede the Armageddon.
"Ss501 Warning lyrics"
Jujo angeji hangsang guredushi
dalkomhan yegi gojidoen nunmullo
narul sogilsun obso
Esso nal etewoyahal iyuobso
bin mal punin umsongdo
onuri doesoya algedoesso aphunjinshirul
Baboga doeoboryosso nege pajyo sogawasso
Ijen kuthiya mabobun pullyosso
norul yongsohal mamun obso