Case Study Climate Change

Submitted By greecechick
Words: 1229
Pages: 5

Case Study: Global Warming Although uncertain about several of the significant impacts that comes with climate change, it is clear to see that climate change is already upon us, from early springs to rising sea levels from glaciers melting. Over the course of the 20th century, the average global temperature rose by 0.8°C, due to the fact that less heat is escaping the Earth. This is because there has been an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2). The way greenhouse gases work is that they absorb infrared radiation and then re-radiate some of the energy towards Earth's surface. So, with more greenhouse gases, less heat escapes Earth. It is understood that the global temperature is getting hotter and hotter, but there is absolutely no idea of what's to come due to the fact that the temperature is increasing so rapidly. Firstly, there is no certainty around how much hotter things will get, but it is expected to exceed 4°C by 2060 with the current trends. It would be nice to know, for planning purposes, which regions will become flooded, turn into dry desserts, tropical paradises, or humid hellholes, but that is another thing that is uncertain. There is a generally accepted idea on what will happen, using basic knowledge, but when it comes to the finer details, there are hardly any agreements. From the media, many know that the Arctic ice caps are melting. When the ice melts, the sea level rises several meters. More specifically, with a rise of 1°C, there is, an approximately 20-meter sea level rise. Because of the rapidly changing climate, we don't know how quick sea levels will rise or how global warming will affect human life. Basically, what is being asked is could the human race adapt as quick as the temperature rises? Sorry to say this, but there is no telling what could happen. Without a doubt, more intense floods, droughts, and storms will come, but we don't know how often a storm will be ignited. The last uncertainty, for the ones that will be mentioned, are tipping points. We are able to pinpoint several tipping points, such as the Amazon turning into grassland, just like the Sahara that dried up 8000 years ago, or great cities being submerged in water. We surely can identify tipping points, but will they really happen? If so, then when will these tipping points be reached? None of these questions can be answered and the danger with that is by the time the world realizes that tipping points are about to be passed, it might be too late. Not only are humans feeling the impact of global warming but so are plants and animals. According to Terry L. Root, lead author of a Stanford University study, "Birds are laying eggs earlier than usual; plants are flowering earlier; and mammals are breaking hibernation sooner." After researching, Root and other researchers saw that roughly 81 percent of the species analyzed have been biologically affected by global warming that were "consistent with our understanding of how temperature change influences various traits of a variety of species and populations from around the globe." Their research also showed that spring time events, such as laying eggs, blooming, coming out of hibernation, now occur 5.1 days earlier per decade on average. Also, species are shifting to other places in the world (warm places that used to be cold), causing an imbalance in ecosystems. From this research, it has been predicted that with the warming, species could disappear all together. Many might be wondering what or who even started global warming in the first place. The answer to this question is, humans. Humans are the main contributor to global warming with CO2 as the prime, not only, cause. Starting from the Industrial Revolution to 2003, CO2 emissions have increased from 280 ppm to 379 ppm. The cause for CO2 emissions is rooted in a global economy committed to making profit and the belief that our planet has unlimited resources. Global capitalism,