by David Torrejon
Global warming is an issue that poses an urgent threat to society. Global warming is the gradual increase in temperature on the Earth’s surface. The Earth has suffered irreversible damage at the hands of global warming. The Earth’s average temperature has increased 0.4 to 0.8 Celsius over the course of 50 years. A major cause of global warming is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and there are two main processes that contribute to increased carbon dioxide, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Deforestation is the process of cutting down trees in order to clear the land. Since trees use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, this helps create a good balance of gases in the atmosphere so if more forests are cut down, there will be fewer trees to complete this function. Burning fossil fuels impacts global warming because whenever people are burning fossil fuels, they are releasing carbon dioxide into the air. The carbon dioxide goes into the Earth’s atmosphere, which could potentially disturb the natural balance of carbon. The carbon dioxide trap the heat and cause the temperature to get hotter.
Fossil fuels are concentrated organic compound that was formed from the remains of plants and animals millions of years ago. The burning of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas, originates from multiple sources. Most commonly, fossil fuels are used to fuel and provide our everyday transportation, to generate electricity to power house and to provide heat. This graph, which I made from public data from NASA on 2011 carbon dioxide emission, has countries on the X- axis and has carbon dioxide emission in millions of metric tons on the Y-axis. Based on this graph, it can revealed which nations are responsible for the high quality of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. China, which ranked number one according to carbon dioxide emission, released 8715.34 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The United States came in second place with 5490.63 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Figure 1: This graph provides information about the amount of carbon dioxide each country releases into the Earth’s atmosphere
The rapidly and drastic increasing of carbon dioxide will have a profound impact on the Earth. This graph, which I made from UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists) on Global Temperature, the year is the X-axis while the temperature anomaly is on the Y-axis. The temperature anomaly means a difference from an average. A positive anomaly indicates that the temperature was warmer than what it should be ,while a negative anomaly indicates that the temperature was cooler than it was supposed to be. The trend for the graph is that as the years have increased the temperature anomaly have increased positively.
Figure 2: This graphs provides you the difference temperature relative to the average each year
You may ask yourself, why should I care? Well the truth is that economical, environmental and health consequences will only continue to develop if the trend continues. For example, there will be a rise in sea level since the ice is melting at a rapid pace. Global warming will only continue the internal migration of animals. Animals in the North and South Poles will move even further north and further south. Diseases tend to thrive in warm temperatures and have been limited to the subtropical and tropical areas. However, with rise of global temperature, diseases will soon be able to blossom anywhere. Plants and animals will die because of exposure to diseases. Although the damage to the Earth’s atmosphere is irreparable, the carbon emission must go down otherwise life on Earth will only get worse. Our society needs to stop taking this planet for granted. Our society needs to have our political leaders work together to preserve the Earth, after all there is only one planet suitable for human life.
1.”Each Country’s Share of CO2 Emissions.” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
2. “Vital Signs: Global Temperature.” Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.