The Warming of the Earth The of global warming, has been intensely debated amongst many in the world community for decades. Debates in regards to the degree which global warming has been and continues to be occurring throughout the world. Regardless of individual perspective as to how the warming has occurred, the evidence is insurmountable, that the world is warming at a continued rate, with drastic implications for the future if the warming continues. "The main cause of this global warming appears to be the greenhouse gas CO2, whose concentration has been increasing primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels and to deforestation. However, in recent years, increasing concentration of other greenhouse gases, such as Methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), has collectively been shown to have an effect almost equal to that of CO2," (Ahrens, p.42).
With the millions of people that call Earth ‘home’, the condition of the planet is one that many have sought to gather more information about, in order to understand the degree in which the planet may be in peril, as well as to what degree human actions would be responsible for it. "Throughout Earth’s history, the climate has varied on many time and space scales. In that sense, climatic change is not new, and humanity has had to adapt to a constantly changing climate. Human action has itself had an impact on that climate. Until recently, the impact was local, but now there is concern that human activity, primarily through the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, is leading to a world-wide climatic change which is more rapid and more extreme than any encountered during human history," (Robinson &. Henderson-Sellers, p.267). While the extent at which the climate of the planet has varied, so has the impact of its inhabitants. As humans increase their usage of such resources, the rate of global warming is steadily increasing, in conjunction with such behavior patterns.
As is the case with many discussions, there are those who feel that the Earth is not warming to such catastrophic levels, that many in the science community have come to believe. According to a speech given by John Coleman, the founder of the Weather Channel, he seeks to explain the warming trend by saying, "Through all history, Earth has shifted between two basic climate regimes: ice ages and what paleoclimatologists call "Interglacial periods." For the past 10 thousand years the Earth has been in an interglacial period. That might well be called nature’s global warming because what happens during an interglacial period is the Earth warms up, the glaciers melt and life flourishes," (Coleman, p.1).
Consequently, to remain inactive on the issue of global health, would mean results that would not bode well for the longevity of the planet itself. "In its final and most powerful report, a United Nations panel of scientists meeting here describes the mounting risks of climate change in language that is both more specific and forceful than in previous assessments, according to scientists here. Synthesizing reams of data from its three previous reports, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the first time specifically points out important risks if governments fail to respond: melting ice sheets that could lead to a rapid rise in sea levels and the extinction of large numbers of species brought about by even moderate amounts of warming, on the order of 1 to 3 degrees," (Rosenthal, 11/17/07).
The text Life: The Science of Biology states the following, "Scientists predict that, as a result of human activities, average temperatures in North America will increase 2 degrees Celsius-5 degrees Celsius by the end of the twenty first century. If the climate warms by only 1 degree Celsius, the average temperature currently found at any particular location in North America today will be found 150 kilometers to the north. If the climate warms 2 degrees Celsius- 5 degrees Celsius, some species will need to shift their ranges by as much as 500 to 800 kilometers within a single century. Some habitats, such as alpine tundra, could be eliminated as forests expand up mountain slopes," (Heller et al., p.1234). For animal species, as well as mankind, global warming has consequences both natural, as well as political, that will be felt by those nations that take an inactive stance towards reaching solutions to combat the problem. Only time will tell, just how much the Earth and its inhabitants, will be impacted by the science and politics involved with the issue of Global Warming and its effects.
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Environment. 8th Edition (International Student Edition). Published: Thomson Brooks/Cole, a part of The Thomson Corporation. Copyright: 2007.
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Life: The Science of Biology. 8th Edition. Copyright: 2008 by Sinauer Associates, Inc.
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The New York Times. Section: Environment. Published: November 17, 2007.