Policy Memo Global Warming Essay

This essay has a total of 3737 words and 17 pages.

Policy Memo Global Warming




Global Warming Is A Serious Issue That Should Have Immediate Attention

As Vice President Al Gore has said about the threat of global warming, it is "the most
serious problem our civilization faces" (2). It has become quite an issue internationally
because of the threat of increasing greenhouse gasses. It is these gasses, when released
into the air, accumulate and then trap the heat inside our atmosphere. Our climate is
greatly affected by this. Therefore, affecting all of the organisms on earth, including
humans. Usually these gasses should be able to move out into the upper atmosphere, where
they are not as harmful. There are three important greenhouse gasses:

· Methane
· Sulfur Dioxide
· Carbon Dioxide

Where Do These Gasses Come From?

· Methane primarily comes from the decay and flatulence of animals and plants. It also
arises from biomass burning, landfills, coal mining, and gas drilling (133).

· Sulfur Dioxide is a gas that is emitted by many natural and anthropogenic sources, for
example, volcanoes. It changes from sulfuric acid aerosol to acid rain and aerosol
cooling in the stratosphere (167).

· Carbon Dioxide is the principal culprit when it comes to gas emissions. Carbon dioxide
is the only gas released by human activities that can cause global warming. It can also
come from the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and gas (123).

There are, of course, many myths relating to global warming, but let there be no mistake
about it, it is happening, and it should be dealt with. Global warming is a pollution
problem. If we continue to burn oil, coal, and other gasses, carbon dioxide will trap
the sun’s heat, changing the natural balance of the climate.


Trends In Rising Temperature

The increase of use of fossil fuels and concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
have led to the warming of the Earth, meaning that the average temperature has risen
annually. As the temperature of the Earth rises, there will be a great number of changes
to the environment. There has been a definite trend in the rising temperature over the
century. From 1880 to 1990, the average temperature has risen about 0.5º F or about 2
percent (112). NASA has found that since 1958, the temperature has increased about 0.14º
F (12). These changes in temperature have not been absolutely consistent though, there
have been gradual increases and decreases. The changes are an average over the years.
The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), and international body made up of
2500 of the world’s leading scientists, predicts that "global warming could raise
world-wide temperatures as much as 6º F in the next 100 years" (Sierra Club). This rise
would be bigger than the records have shown over the past 10,000 years. Scientists are
hoping to use these



findings to create a model of what may happen in the future. The hard part is predicting
the future in all the complications due to human activity, other life forms, changes in
forestry, and the state of water (in all forms). Still, models have been able to help in
finding whether or not we are reaching destruction or whether or not a decrease in gas
emissions will make a difference.


An Increase In Temperature Will Lead To Major Catastrophes For
Certain Parts Of The World.

· The higher temperatures will generate higher sea levels (13). This is caused by the
melting of glaciers, which leads to the expanding of ocean water. There are two specific
worries about the rise in sea level. One problem is that coastal cities that live on land
only a few meters above sea level risk and have the possibility to be flooded and then
submerged. And if this doesn’t happen, then cities who have natural water reservoirs,
might have the chance of being mixed with sea water making it undrinkable (125).

· Temperatures will effect those who live in agricultural areas (44). Many people depend
on crop-growing as a way of living, and with a change in temperature, it could mean that
the regions for growing crops could move north. There will be a major impact not just on
crop production, but also world food prices as well. This means a major change in these
people’s lives. It’s not even just the people who farm that it effects but the people
that depend on the crops for food, and that is everybody! In some areas they may
experience an increase in rain, while others may get no rain. These can get even more
complicated because some places that get more rain, might not be able to deal with it,
while places that need rain might not get any at all.

· There are growing numbers of extinctions. As the Sierra Club said, "The effects of
global warming may be measure in extinctions, not degrees"(Sierra Club). The change in
temperature has a great effect on the natural habitat of all animals. As it is, many
animals and plants have moved to try to escape and cope with the changing climate. Not
only does variation in temperature effect homes, it also effects their health. Many
animals are found to have been infected with diseases that are related to the change in
their environment. And don’t think that humans aren’t effected either. Scientists and
physicians from some renowned universities, such as Harvard and John Hopkins Medical
School, have said that global warming can cause the increase of communicable diseases. The
scientists say that the warming weather creates a perfect environment for the spread of
diseases. They also say that, the health of humans could have a major impact in the years
to come. Irregular and unseemly weather, which scientist have already predicted has
already taken many lives (Sierra Club). For example, last year in Texas, where many
people suffered an extreme heat wave. It had killed many elderly people, who weren’t
strong enough to withstand the heat. As part of its research the IPCC, they have examined
the effects of global warming and have concluded that, "human induced climate change is
likely to have wide-ranging and mostly adverse impacts on human health, with significant
loss of life" (Sierra Club).



Attempts Made By Major Countries To Deal With Global Warming

· United States Earth Summit in Rio- In 1992, the United States and several other nations
came together and discussed possible methods to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions.
Their goal was to reach the 1990 levels of gas emissions by the year 2000. But as of now,
many of the nations will not reach that goal. The reason is said to be because the treaty
was not legally binding and many nations feared economic repercussions if they tried to
meet their goal (Global Warming Org).

· Kyoto Protocol- In December of 1997, there were representatives from various nations who
met again in a conference in Kyoto to sign another agreement. This time the Clinton
Administration wanted to make this pact legally binding, therefore making it more
effective (124).

Timothy Wirth, a previous U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, said "We’ve got
to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will
be doing the right thing - in terms of economic policy and environmental policy" (NCPA).
He even pointed out that the Clinton administration was very committed to legally binding
limits on gas emissions. The President obviously sees this as an important issue, but it
doesn’t seem enough. There are still many scientist that are still concerned with global
warming even after the conference. There should be more done to reduce the emissions of
these harmful gasses into the air.


Global warming has only become a issue within the last decade, and already it has become a
major debate. By definition, global warming is the "warming of the earth by greenhouse
gasses emitted into the atmosphere naturally or by mankind" (Global Warming Central).
Many people question whether global warming exists, there should be no doubt that it does.
There has been a definite increase in temperature over the last few years, even over the
last century for that matter. An increase in temperature has many devastating effects on
humans, animals, plants, and any other living organism. The increase in sea level, the
change in food production, and the spread of disease are just some of the few impacts
caused by global warming. Everything must be done to prevent the uses of fossil fuels,
since that is the leading cause of global warming. The answers are in front of everyone,
but no one wants to face them. The future will be very grim if nothing is done about it
now.




"Global Warming has emerged as the most serious environmental threat of the 21st century,"
as said by the Union of Concerned Scientists (87). The effects of global warming involves
a few well known facts, as well as many uncertainties, which have created a great many
debates. Although several influential politicians have joined the band-wagon against
global warming, more clout is needed to address this issue. It is an important matter
that needs to be dealt with immediately. Global warming has put the earth in a dire
situation, and dire situations call for drastic actions.


What actions need to be taken to prevent the continuance of global warming?

· First of all, the Federal government needs to get involved. Laws should be made to
promote energy efficiency from large corporations to small families. No one is free from
the effects of global warming, therefore everyone should participate in the fight against
it.

· There are many sources, like the sun and wind, which offer non-polluting, economical,
and durable alternatives for general electricity. The government must help in the efforts
to move towards these cleaner methods of producing energy. They need to continue to fund
research for clean energy.

· Then, we need to find some ways to encourage the population to continue to conserve
energy wisely, perhaps offer some type of tax credit. Energy efficiency is the simplest,
most effective way to stop global warming. This concept needs to be dug into the
population. And, if it means saving money for them as well, it’s all the more better.


How can the government get involved?

They need to take action and set an example of how much a priority global warming has
become. Here are some steps that should be made-

· Deregulate electricity prices everywhere (198)
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