Greenhouse Effects Speech Essay, Research Paper
The Greenhouse Effect
Earth is the only planet that we know of that has the right conditions to support life. Because of it s perfect distance from the sun, Earth has an average temperature of 60.F, making it an ideal place for many types of life to thrive in. However, the temperature would not be so ideal if we did not have an atmosphere with certain gasses in it. Without the help of gasses such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and others, the Earths climate would not be suitable for life. Energy from the sun heats the Earth, where that energy is then radiated back into space. These gasses trap the energy and make the climate on Earth hospitable.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased nearly 30%, methane concentrations have more than doubled, and nitrous oxide concentrations have risen by about 15%. Because of the increase of concentrations of these gasses, more energy is trapped within the Earths atmosphere, which is slowly increasing the average heat levels. Scientists predict that the average temperature will rise 1.6 6.3.F by the year 2100, which could wreak havoc with climates around the world.
Why are greenhouse gas concentrations increasing? Scientists generally believe that the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide. Energy burned to run cars and trucks, heat homes and businesses, and power factories is responsible for about 80% of society’s carbon dioxide emissions, about 25% of U.S. methane emissions, and about 20% of global nitrous oxide emissions. Increased agriculture, deforestation, landfills, industrial production, and mining also contribute a significant share of emissions.
Rising global temperatures are expected to raise sea level, and change precipitation and other local climate conditions. Changing regional climate could alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies. It could also threaten human health, and harm birds, fish, and many types of ecosystems. Unfortunately, many of the potentially most important impacts depend upon whether rainfall increases or decrease, which can t be reliably projected for specific areas.
Today, action is occurring at every level to reduce, to avoid, and to better understand the risks associated with climate change. Many cities and states across the country have prepared greenhouse gas inventories; and many are actively pursuing programs and policies that will result in greenhouse gas emission reductions.
As of September 1997, over 30 states had become partners in the State Outreach program. Most have completed state greenhouse gas inventories. Nearly 20 are working on, or have completed, action plans that identify cost-effective options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the efforts focusing on cities and counties is being coordinated by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), a non-governmental environmental organization supporting local authorities. ICLEI provides support to cities and counties that have joined the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Program.
All of this effort will hopefully decrease the threat that global warming is. With such an initiative being put out by city, state, and national levels, saving the Earth from becoming a more hospitable environment seems possible. But we can not expect the government to do everything, so we must put forth our own effort to save our home from global warming.