Untitled Document
Global Warming
What is global warming?
Global warming is the rise in temperature of the earth's atmosphere.
It's said that by the time a baby born today is 80 years old, the world will be 6 and a half degrees warmer than it is now.
Is global warming bad?
The earth is naturally warmed by rays (or radiation) from the sun which pass through the earth's atmosphereand are reflected back out to space again.
The atmosphere's made up of layers of gases, some of which are called 'greenhouse gases'. They're mostly natural and make up a kind of thermal blanket over the earth.
This lets some of the rays back out of the atmosphere, keeping the earth at the right temperature for animals, plants and humans to survive (60DegF/16DegC).
So some global warming is good. But if extra greenhouse gases are made, the thermal blanket gets thicker and too much heat is kept in the earth's atmosphere. That's when global warming's bad.
What are the greenhouse gases?
Greenhouse gases are made out of:
  • water vapour
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane (come from animal poo)
  • nitrous oxide
  • ozone
  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
They are all natural gases, but extra greenhouses gases can be made by humans from pollution.
How are extra greenhouse gases produced?
Extra greenhouse gases are produced through activities which release carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). These activities include:
  • Burning coal and petrol, known as 'fossil fuels'
  • Cutting down of rainforests and other forests
  • Animal waste which lets off methane
What's the 'ozone layer' got to do with global warming?
The ozone layer is another important part of the atmosphere.
It's made up of ozone (a type of oxygen) that protects the earth from too many harmful rays called UVB.
So.... what could happen ?
If Earth gets hotter, some of the important changes could happen:
  • Water expands when it's heated and oceans absorb more heat than land, so sea levels would rise.
  • Sea levels would also rise due to the melting of the glaciers and sea ice.
  • Cities on coasts would flood.
  • Places that usually get lots of rain and snowfall might get hotter and drier.
  • Lakes and rivers could dry up.
  • There would be more droughts making hard to grow crops.
  • Less water would be available for drinking, showers and swimming pools.
  • Some plants and animals might become extinct because of the heat.
  • Hurricanes, tornadoes and other storms which are caused by changes in heat and water evaporation may get more common.
What's being done about it?
The United Nations has meetings where world leaders agree on what to do about global warming.
Every five years, the Earth Summit happens.
In 1997 there was an Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and in 1997, an agreement was made at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, to cut the amount of gases that industries make.
Leaders agree the world can cut the amount of carbon dioxide that's released into the atmosphere by changing the way power is produced too.
What can U do?
There are ways you can help cut greenhouse gases and help stop global warming.
They are simple things, but can make a difference if everyone does them!
  • Re-cycle glass bottles, jars, newspapers and magazines and tin cans. Save them and take them to local re-cycling centres.
  • Re-use plastic shopping bags and envelopes, don't get new ones
  • Persuade you mum or dad (or whoever does the gardening) to have a compost heap.
  • Put a brick in a plastic bag into your toilet cistern, then the toilet will use less water each time you flush. Don't worry that's plenty of water to get rid of...
  • Use paper on both sides.
  • Try and buy products that don't use much packaging.
  • Give unwanted gifts and clothes to a charity shop.
  • Only fill the kettle up with the amount of water you need to boil that time.
  • Don't leave the TV or video on standby.
  • If you get lift to office in a car, take your mates along for the ride.
  • Ask whoever does your washing to use the machine at 40 degrees, this helps conserve power..ur use your hands.. saves power,saves water.
  • Switch lights off when you're not in the room
  • Get a clockwork mobile phone recharger / if not available locally.. take out the charger from the power socket when its not being used.
  • Cycle to places!
  • Have showers instead of baths…or if you really really care..share your bath.
Wind power
  • Wind can be used to drive turbines which in turn produce electricity
  • UK already has over 1,000 wind turbines
  • First built in Cornwall in 1991
  • Hundreds more have been built since in Cumbria, Wales, Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • Some are on land, some on water where it's windier
  • Produce 555.8 megawatts of energy - enough to power nearly 400,000 homes
  • Wind energy is renewable, clean, and cheap
  • But critics say turbines are an eyesore…thumb the critics..whats one gonna do with an eyesore..when one cant see !
Water power (hydro electricity)
  • Water is used to drive turbines to produce electricity
  • Underused in this country
  • Generates 20% of the world's power
  • But only 2% of UK's electricity
  • Almost 200 hydro electric plants in UK - most in Scotland
  • Campaigners say hydro electricity is greener because water can be stored behind dams and used to create electricity when needed most.
Other ways of making green energy
  • Gas produced from rotting rubbish on landfill sites could be used
  • An example; www.projectsimilipal.blogspot.com
  • Experts are also looking at energy crops; sugarcane is being used to produce ethanol,. as a green fuel.
  • Small scale and domestic solar energy are being developed.
Most of the above said stuff is from BBC. That’s the basics.
Given below are some details about the same facts- in a slightly more scientific way;
Burning fossil fuels, and the consequent release of carbon dioxide, is highly essential to our day-to-day activities. But, the increased quantity and speed at which these gases are released into the atmosphere is threatening the earth’s climate.
This increase in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation, play a major role in warming the Earth. This phenomenon, known as global warming, is likely to raise sea levels by expanding ocean water, and by melting glaciers and the polar ice cap.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported recently that the 20th century was the hottest of the last one thousand years. Six of the 10 warmest years ever recorded were in the 1990s; the other four were in the 1980s. Europe's winter is now 11 days shorter than it was 35 years ago. The Arctic ice cover is at the same time shrinking by an area the size of the Netherlands each year. Further south, Europe's largest glacier, the Breidamerkurjoll in Iceland, is expected to slide into the Atlantic within five years. In the last 100 years, the sea level has already risen by about 7 inches, wiping up miles of land, and it is expected to rise more in the future leading to the actual submergence of islands. By the year 2080, Manhattan and Shanghai could be underwater.
Moreover, storms, droughts, and floods could become more extreme than they already are, and this is also attributed to the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). As a matter of fact, climate change is considered to be the most serious threat to the world's environment, affecting human health, food security, economic activity, natural resources, and physical infrastructure. Unless curbed, global warming is to be the fatal catastrophe of our era.
Global Warming: Causes and Solutions
Although greenhouse gases are natural gases that maintain the earth's temperature, an excess of those gases, resulting from human activities, raises the temperature in the atmosphere and leads to global warming.
So what are the human activities that release greenhouse gases?
  1. Burning fossil fuels to produce electricity, power factories, and to carry out a wide range of vital human tasks. The use of fossil fuels accounts for three fourths of manmade carbon dioxide emissions.
  2. Deforestation: Deforestation results in an increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide as forests normally absorb this greenhouse gas in the course of photosynthesis.
  3. Accumulation of animal manure, which lets off methane-another greenhouse gas. Methane is emitted from the manure during storage in lagoons or concrete tanks.
Putting a stop to the process of global warming may be achieved simply through reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause the greenhouse effect.
Industrialized countries that have spent decades enhancing their industries and polluting the planet should be held accountable by establishing environmentally friendly systems that cut the use of fossil fuels and release smaller amounts of greenhouse gases.
The US: Key Emitter and Kyoto Rejecter
Gas 1990 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2001
Carbon dioxide 4,969.4 5,130.4 5,224.4 5,273.5 5,454.8 5,533.0 5,540.0 5,630.7 5,805.5
Methane 31.7 31.0 31.0 31.1 29.9 29.6 28.9 28.7 28.2
Nitrous oxide 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2
US emissions of greenhouse gases in million metric tons of gas.
(Source: Infoplease.com)
With only 4% of the world's population, the United States - the world's single largest emitter of greenhouse gases - accounts for 25% of the world's GHGs.
The US Govt. still rejects the Kyoto agreement saying that its implementation would harm the American economy. With light shed again on the critical environmental issue at New Delhi in the COP8, Bush has reasserted his position against the agreement.
Not only is the Bush administration against Kyoto, US legislators are also under great pressure from lobbying groups representing domestic energy and automotive industries.
International Support for Kyoto
Apart from the American position, other countries of the world have realized the risks that global warming cause, and they are thus calling for the implementation of Kyoto. Canada, which previously backed the US in its refusal to execute the pact's recommendations, now holds a different view as it has promised to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Similarly, China, Japan, as well as Russia, are for taking quick actions towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The treaty has also been adopted by the 15 country members of the European Union. It is worth mentioning here that the European Union's carbon dioxide releases make up 24.2% of the world's emissions of carbon dioxide, with China at 14%, and Russia at 6% of the world's emissions. With these major GHG- emitter countries aware of the risks of global warming, the Kyoto protocol is expected to meet its prerequisite conditions and to take effect next year.
The Kyoto Protocol and Developing Countries
Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 17th century, European nations have made rapid progress in terms of industrial development, discharging all kinds of greenhouse gases and leading to their accumulation in the atmosphere, which effectively led to the widening of the hole in the ozone layer and the existence of the global warming phenomenon. While moving forward in the industrialization process, the developed countries exploited the resources of the developing ones thus hindering their development. This is why the Kyoto protocol's emissions reduction targets are only binding to the industrialized developed countries. Flexibility with developing nations in environmental issues will help them advance to the stage that would later allow them to move to a greener way of development.
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