Discussion: Climate Change – Facts and Fiction
Many politicians, policy makers, and media personalities have made bold claims about the state of our global climate. In spite of their lack of scientific expertise, these public figures often appear to imagine that they understand climate science better than the global community of scientists. For instance, in 2012, Donald Trump, who would later go on to win the US presidency in 2016, famously claimed that climate change is a hoax “created by the Chinese” and said in 2015 that he does not “believe in climate change”. As president of the US, Donald Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, an attorney from Oklahoma, as the director of the US Environmental Protection Agency. In 2017, Pruitt said in an interview, “No, I would not agree that [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” directly contradicting the findings by the scientists that work in the agency that he now leads.
Scientists have been studying global climate change for over a century. They discovered the natural climate fluctuations from Earth’s distant past and then found that the phenomenon underlying those fluctuations cannot account for the change we see today. There are many different lines of evidence gathered by scientists that have led to the scientific consensus that in fact the current epoch of climate change is indeed due to human activities.
With these thoughts in mind, complete the following:
Respond back to at least two of your colleagues’ or professor’s postings in a substantive manner, meaning a minimum of 1 full paragraph. Simple “I agree,” “Good post,” or one-line question posts are not enough for full credit. Be substantive as you engage your colleagues.
Week 5 Discussion-Climate change and taking action
The most unsettling piece of information I reviewed regarding climate change was the evidence that the increase is caused by human activities. Human-caused impacts have resulted in an average global temperature increase of about 1.4 degrees, water and sea levels rising, and many extreme weather events such as heat waves and increased precipitation events (whatweknow.aaas.org). Some of the biggest impacts humans are responsible for are burning more fossil fuels, deforestation, and farming. The burning of fossil fuels leads to more greenhouse gases being placed into our air, deforestation leads to an increase in carbon in the atmosphere because humans are destroying carbon sinks, and farming is taking over the land in some places.
Our current level of carbon dioxide has increased drastically over the past few decades. Our levels now indicate that they are close to 420 parts per million, whereas in 1950 the levels never even reached over 300 parts per million (climate.nasa.gov). The carbon dioxide levels have reached an all time high and it has been caused by the billions of people on Earth. At the current rate, the Earth’s temperature will continue to rise along with the amount of carbon dioxide emissions, unless we make serious changes to our energy supplies.
One governmental policy I would like to see come to life would be to mandate the use of renewable energy resources and shift away from burning fossil fuels. The use of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar power would cut back on the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere. So not only are these various sources abundant, but they are also all resources that will constantly be able to produce energy without the damage from pollution, namely carbon dioxide emissions, that we are currently facing. Hydropower uses flowing water to produce energy, so people and companies that are near streams and rivers could potentially use hydropower for their operations. Geothermal energy is also a great use of the Earth’s already hot internal temperatures. Geothermal energy can be used to generate electricity as well as heat our houses and building infrastructures.
Another government implementation that would be beneficial to the overall environment is a carbon tax. Carbon tax is where the government sets the price that emitters must pay for each ton of greenhouse gas emissions they emit. Currently, there are 11 states in the US that have a carbon tax and have successfully reduced their emissions and those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont (www.c2es.org). If more businesses were taxed for their greenhouse gas emissions, it would give them more incentive to switch to alternative sources of energy.
What we know. (2015, February 25). What We Know. https://whatweknow.aaas.org/get-the-facts/
Jackson, R. (2020, August 25). The effects of climate change. Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/
U.S. state carbon pricing policies. (2020, August 13). Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. https://www.c2es.org/document/us-state-carbon-pricing-policies/
RE: Week 5 Spark: The GREENHOUSE effect works!
In this week’s discussion, I’ve decided to talk about the Greenhouse effect and what it actually works. According to research, the Greenhouse effect is called the “Greenhouse” effect because it is said that the outgoing radiation that warms the planets works in a way that is almost the same as a greenhouse (Climate Reality Project, 2018). While we know that the Greenhouse effect is a process that heats the earth’s surfaces, we must not forget that when the sun’s energy finally gets to the earth’s atmosphere, some of the energy is reflected into space. The rest of the energy is then absorbed and re-radiated by Greenhouse gases. Some Greenhouse gases consist of methane, water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, and nitrous oxide. Some artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons are also included. The greenhouse effect is able to keep the earth’s temperatures at about roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it would be had the greenhouse effect not exist. The greenhouse effect is what allows life on earth to be possible (Department of agriculture, water, and the environment, N.D).
We also have an enhanced greenhouse effect, which is caused by the disruption to earth’s climate equilibrium which is caused by the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. This leads to an increase in the global average surface temperatures. The enhanced greenhouse effect has 6 steps which are:
1. Solar radiation reaches the earth’s atmosphere and then some of it will be reflected back into space.
2. The remainder of the sun’s energy is then absorbed by the oceans and land, which in return heats the earth.
3. Next, heat radiates from earth towards space.
4. After, some of the radiating heat is then trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which keeps the earth warm enough to prolong life.
5. Agriculture and other human activities such as burning fossil fuels are now increasing the number of greenhouse gases released into the world.
6. step six traps the extra heat and results in the earth’s temperatures to continue to rise (Department of agriculture, water, and the environment, N.D).
Climate Reality Project. (2018). What is the Greenhouse effect? Retrieved from: https://climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-greenh…
Department of agriculture, water, and the environment. (N.D) Greenhouse Effect. Retrieved from: https://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/clim…
Australian academy of science. (N.D) The enhanced Greenhouse effect. Retrieved from: https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/enhanced-greenhouse-effect#:~:text=The%20enhanced%20greenhouse%20effect%20and,called%20the%20enhanced%20greenhouse%20effect.