Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It is quite unfortunate that even though something is and will be done for the future of the planet, reducing greenhouse gas emissions can never make the climate and ecosystems return to the way they were before. Well, some of the worst consequences can still be avoided, but only if there is an extreme reduction in emissions than before. On the other hand, reducing emissions will definitely require massive changes to the world’s carbon-based economy and the current inefficient use of energy. According to Dow and Downing, “The first round of the Kyoto Protocol committed the industrialized countries among the signatories to an average 5 percent reduction. However, the European Union environment ministers estimate that a reduction of between 60 and 80 percent will be needed to prevent dangerous climate change.”
Burning fossil fuels to power homes and run cars creates global warming pollution. The Union of Concerned Scientists said that 70 percent of the electricity is produced from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil, but only 2 percent from renewable sources in America alone. Not just that, but can you believe that cars and trucks alone make up 25 percent of the United States carbon dioxide emissions?! I mean, how scary is that?! The sad part is that even if we humans do want to or try to reduce/prevent the usage of carbon dioxide emissions, we just can’t. For example, if we do not drive in a car, a bus or metro will most likely be taken. But either way, it’s not helping the planet.
Essentially, everybody can take action to fight global warming, and there is plenty of advice on how to do it. Some people might think that doing something as little as turning off a light bulb will not help, when the truth is that everything (whether it be big or small) makes a huge difference. Now, what should be done? Well, one of the biggest problems nowadays is the use of energy. Using less energy not only helps the planet, but also saves money on household bills. How good does that sound? For example, one should buy an “Energy-efficient” refrigerator, which actually saves about half a ton of carbon dioxide per year. Not just that, but instead of using standard light bulbs, one should use “Compact fluorescent light bulbs,” which are about 75 percent more efficient than the standard light bulbs. Lastly, one can reduce energy consumption just by sitting at home by insulating the windows, doors, and electrical outlets, and adding more insulation to the attic and basement (Dow and Downing 89).
Whether one is at home or on the road, the use of energy can definitely be saved. As Dow and Downing said, “Walking, cycling, using a car pool or taking public transport, all produce fewer emissions than those emitted by a single person in a car.” For example, instead of buying a regular car, one should go for a more efficient car, such as a hybrid gasoline-electric model so that way emissions are reduced. Well, even if one does not have a hybrid car, they can still help by reducing gasoline consumption. It is actually a fact that for every gallon of gasoline that is burned, about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide enter the atmosphere. Now, here’s something interesting I didn’t even know until I read it in a book. It is said that driving at 5 miles per hour below the speed limit over an 8-mile commute to work saves 250 kg of carbon dioxide per year (Dow and Downing 88). Wow! I can’t believe that reducing the speed of a car also makes a difference. I speed most of the time I am on the road, but after reading this, I realized that I shouldn’t just be slowing down to prevent getting speeding tickets, but also to help the world I live in.
As the Union of Concerned Scientists said, “By Using energy more efficiently and moving to renewable energy, we can reduce our contribution to global warming while creating a stronger, healthier, and more secure nation.”
Dow, Kirstin, and Thomas Downing. The Atlas of Climate Change.Berkeley and Los Angeles: Myriad Editions Limited,2006.
"Global Warming." Union of Concerned Scientists. 21 May 2007. Union of Concerned Scientists. 27 Nov 2007. <http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/>
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Before taking English 112, I had heard of “blogs,” but to be quite honest, never really knew the real definition of it or why people even do it. Well, today I know and I must say, this has been quite a wonderful experience. I have learned how to create so many things, the first one being a blog. Then, when I learned how to create my own blogs, I realized I can get as creative as I want. There were many things that were new to me. For example, I always wondered how people add hyperlinks to their websites/blogs, and today I know. I can’t believe I did not even know how to add music until this class. Best of all, my writing skills have improved tremendously. I love the fact that my writing is out to the public, and everyone can respond to each other and share their viewpoints/opinions.
As the weeks go by, I have been trying to look for sources that would help me for my final analysis paper. My subject/topic is very similar to many bloggers and even though I have researched many blogs, but not many interested me. One of them is on global warming watch. When one looks at this blog, there is nothing but words. For some reason, that didn’t seem to bother me. I didn’t mind the blog being plain and simple because the information was what caught my eye. I noticed that this blogger was up to date on everything he/she was writing. Yes, there is a ton of writing-actually only writing on this blog, but also very informative and knowledgeable. Another thing I like about this blog is the writing format of the blogger. The blogger does not go on about something that is unnecessary. In fact, everything is shortly put and just straight to the point. I liked that this blog was well on topic and straight to the point because I think I need practice in that area. When I start writing, I realize that I have more to write about then I thought. However, I never know how to shorten my writing because I feel as if I will miss out on something.
Another blog that I like talks about climate change. Now, this blogger again has only writing on the blog. However, as I was reading the blog entries, they were just so exciting. I mean, the writer had facts, but at the same time, discussed her own opinions. But what really fascinated me was her writing technique. She had hyperlinks, she had facts, she had her own knowledge, and she had her own way to lay out the facts to public. I really don't know how to put it in words or how much more to get into detail, but by analyzing this blog, I will focus more on my writing style as well.
It is evident in the world around us that very dramatic changes are taking place. One of those changes happens to be warm weather. When talking about “warm weather,” I mean to say that the temperature has gone up. Unfortunately, temperature increases are taking place all over the world today, including the oceans. Watching a video on global warming provided me a lot of great information. I learned that the climate is actually a global system powered by the heat of the sun. What happens is most of the energy gets reflected straight back into space by white surfaces of clouds and ice. The rest functions as a kind of pump, which drives ocean currents, evaporation, snow and rain. The warmer the air, the more active and energetic the system becomes, which then leads to extreme weather worldwide (“Be Prepared for Global Warming”).
Sadly, the planet we live in approaches sustained higher temperatures today than ever before. Today, I came to know that our climate is changing faster than it has ever since the past 10,000 years. As I was watching a video called, “Be Prepared for Global Warming,” I couldn’t believe that the hottest years on record were the years 1998, 2001, and 2002! Along with watching this video, I read on ABC news that warm days and warm nights have tremendously increased over the past 20 years. Over the 20th century, the average global temperature has already increased by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Well, we know that temperatures are increasing, but how fast? I cannot say that I know how fast the temperatures are increasing, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that temperatures are going to increase by 1.8-4.0 degrees Celsius this century.
Climate change is happening today, but has anyone ever had the curiosity to know why this is happening? Seeing the "Global Warming: What's Up With the Weather," video informed me that human activities could possibly be the reason. According to the National Academy of Sciences, “Scientists have estimated the contribution to warming made by a range of gases, dust and solar radiation. They have a high level of certainty that greenhouse gases contribute the most to warming, with increases in CO2 as the greatest contributor with about 1.4 watts/meter2 and methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons making smaller contributions.” To put this in simpler terms, the Earth is heating up because gases produced from vehicles, power plants, deforestation, and other sources are building up in the atmosphere, acting like a thick blanket over the planet.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, “Climate change impacts will range from affecting agriculture- further endangering food security, sea-level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction and the spread of vector-borne diseases.” Sadly, climate change is already affecting our lives and there is no preparation done for it. It sounds hard to believe, but Scientists have determined that there really is nothing that can be done to stop climate change. Even if precaution is taken, sea levels and temperatures will still continue to rise. Still, carbon emissions are suggested to be reduced because if precaution is not taken, situations will only get worse.
Be Prepared for Global Warming. DVD Video. Films for The Humanities & Sciences. A Films Media Group Company, 2005.
"Climate Change." United Nations Environment Programme.
2007. UNEP. 20 Nov 2007
GLOBAL WARMING: What’s Up With The Weather? Dir. Alan Ritsko. Videocassette. A Frontline/NOVA co-production with The Palfreman Film Group, Inc., 2000.
"Global Warming and Warm Weather: Connected?." ABCNews.
2007. ABCNews Internet Ventures. 20 Nov 2007
"Human Activity And Greenhouse Gases." Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences. 2007. National Academy of Sciences. 20 Nov 2007
"Modeling of long-term fossil fuel consumption shows 14.5-degree hike in Earth's temperature" Public Affairs. 29 Oct 2007. 20 Nov 2007. <http://www.llnl.gov/PAO/news/news_releases/2005/NR-05-11-01.html>
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Has anyone ever thought that the emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels could be one of the major causes of climate change/global warming? A few days ago I went to the NVCC Woodbridge campus and found highly interesting books and videos about global warming/climate change. Since I could not check out all of the books, I brought home a few, one of them being, “The Atlas of Climate Change.” The book had plenty of knowledgeable information, but only a few facts about fossil fuels. As the authors Dow and Downing said, “Nearly two-thirds of carbon dioxide emissions, along with a significant amount of nitrous oxide and methane, derive from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal" (Dow and Downing 43).
Along with the book, I also rented a video called, “Global Warming: What’s Up with the Weather?” This video really caught my eye because I got to know a lot more information than I thought I already knew. When talking about fossil fuels, the video started out showing Al Gore and his views on fossil fuels. He believes that somehow emissions from oil, natural gas, and coal should be greatly reduced since they play a major role in global warming. The reason he believes they should be reduced is because the burning of fossil fuels puts the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which then trap heat and warm the globe. However, the problem was that others disagreed with Al Gore since fossil fuels account for 90 percent of the energy.
Well, halfway through the video, I found a lot more information on fossil fuels than I had expected. I was amazed when I came to know that fossil fuels have been used for more than 150 years, ever since the Industrial Revolution. Now, here is the scary part. In 1957, the earth had less Carbon Dioxide. But ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of carbon dioxide appeared to be higher now than it was 450,000 years ago! Why? Well, fossil fuels are used everyday and everywhere in the world. Sadly, humans are the primary cause for the increase of carbon dioxide. For example, whenever a car is started, or whenever a light or lamp is turned on, carbon dioxide is being added to the air.
According to the greenhouse effect theory, adding more greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will cause the average global temperature to rise for as long as the burning of fossil fuels continues. When talking about fossil fuels, the video also talked about the planet Mars and Venus. According to the researchers in the video, the climate of Mars and Venus were also shaped by the greenhouse effect. Now, when looking at Venus, the planet has an extremely high concentration of carbon dioxide and it is boiling hot! On the other hand, Mars has an extremely thin and small amount of carbon dioxide and it is freezing cold! What better examples can I provide than these?
Not many people realize that many of the environmental problems (global warming) the world faces today result from the use of fossil fuels. Well, is there any way the use of fossil fuels could be reduced, if not stopped? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, there are many ways to reduce global warming, such as reducing pollution from vehicles and power plants. Secondly, the use of fossil fuels could be highly reduced by building cleaner cars. Along with that, building hybrid gas-electric engines would probably cut global warming pollution by one-third or even more. Lastly, humans can help reduce global warming by manufacturing more efficient appliances and conserving energy. There are other minor things that can also be done to cut global warming, which can be found at the Natural Resources Defense Council website.
Dow, Kirstin, and Thomas Downing. The Atlas of Climate Change.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: Myriad Editions Limited,
GLOBAL WARMING: What’s Up With The Weather? Dir. Alan Ritsko. Videocassette. A Frontline/NOVA co-production with The Palfreman Film Group, Inc., 2000.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
There are numerous effects of global warming such as heat waves, warm weather/wild weather. However, one of the biggest effects that global warming has seriously caused is glaciers melting not just in the United States, but worldwide. Not many people know that there is about 10 percent of the earth's land that is actually covered with glaciers. Not just that, but the glaciers hold 75 percent of the world's fresh water(Britt 2005). According to scientists on National Geographic, “The melt rate has accelerated dramatically since the mid-1990s, which was the hottest decade in a thousand years”(Boyd 2002).
No matter what part in the world, the truth is that ice is melting all over the planet. It is normal for glaciers to melt or shrink from time to time, yet when the glaciers start melting at a faster pace than they should be, something is definitely wrong. I cannot write about all of the glaciers that are melting throughout the world, but I did find some research online to give a brief overview on what’s happening around the world. According to a geologist named Lonnie Thompson told National Geographic News that Qori Kalis, a glacier in the Peruvian Andes, is melting the same amount of ice in one week when it actually used to take a whole year. Not just that, but the glaciers located in Alaska are also melting away quickly. According to glaciologist Anthony Arendt, Alaska is losing an average thickness of 6 feet per year. As scary as it is, the numbers of glaciers that have been melting are now 160,000 (Boyd 2002).
The thinning of ice is occurring all over the world such as Antarctica, Africa, Siberia, Montana, and even Venezuela. According to Time, since the last twenty years, Antarctica’s annual melt season has increased up to three years. Secondly, Africa’s tallest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro has actually lost about seventy-five percent of its ice caps. Since there is twenty-five percent of ice caps left in the mountain, there is a huge possibility that Mount Kilimanjaro could totally disappear in about fifteen years. Thirdly, eastern Siberia’s Lake Baikal has changed dramatically due to global warming from how it was a century ago. It is now being said that a century ago, winter used to occur at normal times. But now, winter occurs eleven days later in Lake Baikal. Along with that, Time has also predicted that Glacier National park will lose all of the glaciers by the year 2070. Lastly, the glaciers on Venezuelan mountaintops are also melting away. Until 1972 and now, there has been a decrease in the number of mountaintops in Venezuela. There are only two glaciers left on the Venezuelan mountaintops today when there actually used to be a total of six glaciers.
Unfortunately, these are only one of the consequences of global warming. According to the National Resources Defense Council, it is predicted that 63 years from now, which is the year 2070, all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be vanished. Also, if all of the ice was to melt, sea level would unsurprisingly rise to at least 230 feet (Britt 2005).It’s not just us humans who are being affected due to the melting sheets of ice which are causing rising temperatures, but also the wildlife (polar bears, penguins, seals, etc.) and plants.