Cap and Trade Paper 1

Topics: Global warming, Carbon dioxide, Greenhouse gas Pages: 16 (3704 words) Published: November 30, 2014
Alix Pena
Conner Holm
Justin Rayome

Cap-and-Trade: A Potential Solution to Global Warming

Global warming has become a heated topic over recent years as we notice more subtle changes in our environment. Some scientists even think it is a bigger problem than we can even imagine and there are many factors that play a part in global warming. So what exactly is global warming? This refers to the recent rise of Scientists are estimating a 2 to 11 degree increase of the Earth’s average surface temperature due to greenhouse gases over the next one hundred years. Most of those greenhouse gases are from human activity such as burning fossil fuels, and deforestation. Even the smallest change in warming weather can have large and potentially dangerous effects on Earth. However, global warming is only one part of climate change. Climate change is any significant change in climate over periods of time. This refers to major changes in temperature, rainfall and wind patterns, over several decades. Thus we see global warming is not something that we should be worrying about for the future. It is an issue that needs to be addressed now because it actually predates every living person today. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution, human activities have polluted the air with large amounts of greenhouses gasses. These gasses are thick covering the Earth in the atmosphere creating and trapping more heat on Earth’s surface; this is known as the greenhouse effect. While the greenhouse effect is needed to support life on Earth, a continuous buildup of these gasses becomes harmful. Greenhouses gasses come from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, industrial processes, and some agriculture practices. When the carbon dioxide is released by these activities it is trapped in the lower part of the troposphere heating the surface of the Earth thus creating global warming. The most significant greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide; it can cause the most substantial increase in temperature. Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of year on average causing a lasting effect on changing temperatures and the heating of Earth’s surface. Humans have the biggest effect on global warming by increasing the CO2 concentrations by about 30% on average. Burning fossil fuels, deforestation, even making cement will contribute over 22 billion tons of CO2 each year. We all know the temperature is changing, we feel it ever year. Even the clouds are contributing to the rising temperatures. They are supposed to act as shades protecting us from the sun, but now they are also trapping the CO2 and other greenhouse gasses keeping them closer to the surface. Over recent years it has been consistently the warmest it has been in hundreds of years. There has been scientific evidence proving global warming is directly related to droughts over the years. This happens by the simultaneous occurrence of warm sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific and cold sea surfaces in the eastern Pacific. The warmth in the western Pacific is caused by the greenhouses in the atmosphere. Other indicators of global warming are also seen through rising sea levels, changes in rainfall, melting glaciers and ice caps, even loss of plankton and vanishing animal populations. Melting glaciers and ice caps have a direct relation to the rising of sea levels when the continuous high temperatures make the ice melt, which then also effects the animal populations. Polar bears are now thought to be endangered due to the loss of habitat and of the shortening of their feeding season. Amounts of Plankton are decreasing with the continuously warming sea temperatures therefore are also endangering orcas, sea lions, sea otters, and other fish populations. When the bottom of the food chain is decreasing, the whole food web suffers over time putting the whole ecosystem out of balance. Land animals are also at risk due to deforestation and changes in rainfall that are causing droughts and...

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