The Cause and Effect of Climate Change

Our Earth has been facing horrific events, such as global warming and climate change. Spoil alert: we only have one Earth! 

The talk about climate change has been a topic for several years now. Occasionally it will be discussed in politics, educational systems, and many more places/events globally. Some people are believers that human behavior is to blame for the warming of the Earth due to our industrialized lifestyle, however, others believe it is the Earth’s natural system due to the historical data. The attention regarding climate change has risen the past few years due to it being the hottest years recorded in a certain amount of time that humans have roamed the Earth. Scientists have been panicking because the Earth’s temperature has risen half a degree, which surprisingly has huge consequences and extinctions. The human behavior is leading to a path of the Earth rising two degrees which can affect human survival in the long run. It’s important to remember that in a geological time period, humans have not existed for very long, therefore the amount of change we have brought to this Earth in a short amount of time questions our behavior. This paper will go over the effects of climate change and how serious the topic actually is, and how it fits in with politics. This paper will address both sides of the argument to get a level head on what is actually happening. Field research will be added to the paper will include an interview from Geologist Dr. Melissa K. Giovanni who teaches Environmental Studies at the College of Southern Nevada. The issue of climate change needs to be discussed and gain the development of solutions to the future can still exist. We seem to consume the Earth’s natural materials, causing a disruption to the Earth’s natural ability to recover itself. Climate change can be solved (not completely), by voting, change the materials people rely on, and be more cautious about how the individual person can add to the issue. It may not seem so alarming right now, however, it will begin to destroy our Earth in ways it cannot recover.

The sources covered in this paper about climate change will include an interview, a book, a few web articles, a couple of journals, and a few notes taken from an Environmental Studies lecture. The book The Environment and You, dated 2016, covers a whole chapter regarding climate change and global warming. It provides the details of how climate change developed, the history of climate change, and human impact. Next, there are two articles from the Guardian. The first one is called We Have 12 Years To Limit Climate Change Catastrophe, Warns UN, written in October 2018, stating the negative situations our Earth is suffering through. The other Guardian article is named Trump Administration Sees a 7-degree Rise in Global Temperatures By 2100, dated October 2018, which helps demonstrate how politics has a huge role to play regarding climate change. This article goes into detail about how the government can really control the solutions to climate change, yet they aren’t doing anything about it. Secondly, is two articles from ProQuest (founded in the College of Southern Nevada online library), first one is called Global Warming Models Wrong Again, written in 2012, allows for there to be an opposed side of the argument to add open mindfulness to this research. This journal will help discover nonbelievers side of the topic. Five Truths About Climate Change, published in 2011, will put a balance and reality on the topic. This article does not pick a side of what is right and what is wrong. An article from the New York Times, Why Half a Degree of Global Warming is a Big Deal, will clarify why climate change is such a big deal and how much of a disaster it can be if human behavior does not change. ADD New Articles

Background & Context

The book, The Environment and You, has a whole chapter on climate change and global warming. It first discusses the long-term climate patterns dating back to over 200,000 years ago. During the Pleistocene, which is known as the last two million years, the Earth cycled between colder and warmer periods over the last 800,000 years. It was not uncommon that the Earth fluctuates its temperatures. Cold periods brought severe glaciations, covering vast areas of North America. The Earth also experienced Milankovitch cycles, which are changes in the Earth’s orbit. These stages affect the way the sun is hitting the Earth making it warmer or cooler. The next period that the Earth experienced is the Holocene, dating back to the last 10,000 years. This is the Earth’s warm interglacial period. It was especially warm in the last 9,000 - 5,000 years ago. The Earth then cooled 5,000 to 1,000 years ago. The climate shifted in various regions. Next hit the Medieval Warm Period which was A.D. 1000-1300. After lead to the Little Ice Age in A.D. 1400 - 1500. The Earth has always experienced the differences in temperatures, however, it takes thousands of years to do it, yet humans are doing it in such a short amount of time (Christensen and Leege pp. 267-302).

Before heading on the topic of what causes climate change (regarding humans), its mandatory to discuss recent climate change. The Earth has warmed significantly since the Industrial Revolution. The causes of natural climate variation can be explored, but cannot be justified as what made the Eart’s warming worse than ever. Regional variations and annual temperatures vary. Land v.s. Water differ in the amount of heat absorption. Land can retain heat very fast, but can also release heat very fast. For example, the dessert is can be extremely hot during the day. The reason for that is because the ground is soaking solar heat. However, water takes slower to absorb the heat but will retain the heat for a long period of time. For example, the coast of LA can be soothing temperatures because the water soaks up the solar heat but the ocean’s temperature then rises. The places of the tectonic plates have a big part in the way our climate change works as well. Most of the continents are places up north, which tends to be the hottest areas on the Earth. With that being said, with rising temperatures means that human survival could be at risk. Land and water distribution can make the temperatures vary as well. El Nino and Southern Oscillation, known as the changes in the ocean’s currents, has an effect as well. This alters weather patterns and can cause volcanic eruptions. Although, it can also cool the atmosphere as well (Christensen and Leege pp. 267-302).

The context of this paper is to discuss the causes of global warming and climate change. It's necessary to go into depth on what exactly “global warming” is. Temperatures of Earth’s atmosphere is affected by the amount of solar radiation, the Earth’s orbit (Milankovitch) and human influences. The chemical composition of the atmosphere is carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous Oxide (N2O). The carbon dioxide is produced by the power and transportation industry. Methane and Nitrous oxide is from agriculture. It’s common to hear “Greenhouse gases”, therefore what is the greenhouse effect? Greenhouse gases are molecules that absorb heat. These gases include water vapor (H2O) (must abundant naturally occurring), carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous Oxide (N20). These gases are trapped heat from the Earth’s surface. All of these effects brought together causes global warming and climate change (Christensen and Leege pp. 267-302).

Lecture Review

When people hear that the Earth is warming a half a degree, they seem to think its a bit dramatic. However, what they do not know is that a half degree can cause a series of events, such as heat waves, water shortage, coastal floodings, and the disappearance to coral reefs and the Antartic (as well as its species) which will destroy our world. By the Earth raising half of a degree, we have a greater chance of losing polar bears, whales, seals, and seabirds in the Arctic. The dangers of the Earth rising two degrees Celsus means that we are getting to the point of having ice-free summers in the Arctic. The Earth rising by a half degree can also cause serious heat waves that can affect the survival of humans. Worst case scenario, if it rises two degrees then about 37% of the world population will be hit. Extreme heat will be much more common due to the rise in temperatures, making it unbearable in the long run. The last example, which I believe is the most important, is climate change is causing us to lose our species. The hotter it gets, the more percentage species will die off. Again, if the Earth’s heat rises two-degree Celsius, then we will lose about 18% insects, 16% plants, and 8% vertebrates. It shouldn’t even be an option that this scenario is happening, but it seems like no one is doing anything about it. Therefore, a half degree of global warming is such a big deal because it can lead to negative consequences that we cannot fix. We cannot forget that climate change is just not in the present, it also affects our future (2018 Plumer and Popovich). (Look over correct citation).

Again, many people seemed to notice the heat began to rise which sparked alarm. They then established the Paris Treaty to help stop the world from heating up, however, two degrees hotter still seems to be sneaking up in our environmental issues. They now call it the “genocide” because of its appearance, which determines how it will react in the future. However, this is the standards now, therefore how much worse can it get? Well, because of our industries that emit carbon emission into the air, it is not possible to keep the heat down under two degrees. We are raising two degrees, which is already alarming. Though, the future will raise four degrees which are even worse. If we do reach the point of four degrees hotter than citizens are at risk of survival. We went over what the Earth will be like if it raises two degrees, but what happens if it raises three degrees? Europe will be in a drought, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. The wildfires will begin to double and affect the United States, as well as the Mediterranean. We also cannot forget about the coastal floodings that will come along and wipe out Miami to Jakarta. If you thought three degrees was bad, let's talk about what four degrees will do. There will be 8 million cases of people in Latian America dealing with dengue fever. Our farms and global grain fields will decrease by 50% which will leave us a shortage of food. The economy will shrink by 30%, maybe more on the path that we are going (2018, Wallace-Wells).

Climate change is a serious topic, yet not all people technically “believe” (if that is the right word) in it. This leads to dangerous events, given that the people with the most power are “nonbelievers”. President Trump seems to be one of them, which causes us to fall deeper into the worries of climate change. His administration predicted that we will rise seven degrees Fahrenheit (which is four degrees Celsius) by the end of this century, 2100. Scientists listed events that will be negatively affecting our Earth, such as heat waves, the loss of coral reefs, and Miami and Manhattan will be trapped underwater. You would think that it would open Trump’s administration's eyes, however, they decided that it was just Earth’s natural cycle and we should continue on with our behavior. Cars and trucks have a huge impact on our greenhouse emissions, but that did not stop Donald Trump from freezing our fuel alternatives regulations on these vehicles. Michael MacCracken states that the administration admitted that human’s cause the most destructive impact on our climate change, yet they are not got going to do anything about it. Sounds to me that it was only money doing the talking. Carbon emissions and the heating over the Earth have risen dramatically due to the modern day industrialized society. An analysis has noted that the only way for us to save the day is to stop burning fossil fuels which are not “technologically feasible nor economically feasible” (2018, Eilperin, Dennis, and Mooney).