Global Warming: Historical Background And Possible Solutions
The issue of global warming was first raised by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. Arrhenius believed that fossil fuel combustion may eventually result in enhanced global warming. ( S.M. Enzler). By the 1930’s people started to realize that the United States and North Atlantic region had warmed significantly during the previous half century. G. S. Callendar was the only scientist who believed that greenhouse warming was on the way and would only increase causing a potential rise in temperature. By the 1950’s Callendar clam had provoked a few scientists to look into the question with improved techniques and calculations. In the conclusion of their research they determined that Mr. Callendar calm was true. They concluded that if carbon dioxide was building up in the atmosphere that it would bring warming trend to the Earth. This was later confirmed in the 1960’s by C. D. Keeling showed that the level of the gas was in fact rising, year by year (Spencer Weart).
Since Keeling’s test in the 1960’s more research has been conducted on the matter of Global warming. In 1966 Emiliani’s analysis of deep-sea cores and Broecker’s analysis of ancient corals show that the timing of ice ages was set by small orbital shifts, suggesting that the climate system is sensitive to small changes. ( Spencer Weart) By 1970 the issue had raised enough concern that the United States created the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is the world’s leading funder of climate research. Later in 1970 aerosols from human activity are shown to be increasing quickly. Bryson claims they counteract global warming and could bring serious cooling potently slowing down global warming. By 1971 SMIC conference of leading scientists reported the dangers of rapid and serious global change caused by humans as a result the conference calls for an organized research effort the find a solution to this rising epidemic. In 1975 scientist believed that airplanes could be causing damage to the ozone layer, potently causing global warming to become more serious and devastating. Global warming caught the world’s attention in 1982 when data showed that 1981 the warmest year on in recorded history.
In 1986 a catastrophic event happened that would change the course of history towards global warming forever. In 1986 the meltdown of reactor at Chernobyl (Soviet Union) crippled the plans to replace fossil fuels with nuclear power. By 1988 the news saw an increase in reporting on the topic of Global warming. In 2001 data was recorded that showed a warming trend in the ocean basins which match with the new computer models gave us a clear signature that there is a greenhouse effect warming taking place in the world. In 2003 there was concerns that the collapse of ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland could raise sea level faster than they had believed. In 2006 the U.S would experience Hurricane Katrina which is the costliest storm in U.S history (NOAA). This storm would be the catalyst showing that global warming could be having an effect on the intensity of storms. Since 2006 the U.S. has experienced the 5 costliest storms in their recorded history. By looking at the data compared with the pattern of global warming the intensity of storms seems to be getting worse (USCA).
Over the past 3 decades there has been numerous efforts to help prevent global warming from escalating. In 1992 the United Nations created the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was signed by all 195 members of the U.N. Then in 1997 the United Nations created the Kyoto Protocol which was an extinction of the “UNFCCC” which was signed by 192 members of the United Nations. In 2016 the country of Australia joined the United States and 193 other countries and states in signing the Paris Agreement. Australia agreed to hold the growth in its greenhouse gas emissions to 8 percent above 1990 levels for the 2008-2012 period. Since signing the agreement Australia has met those targets, mostly by reducing deforestation and land clearing (U.N Climate Change). After hitting a record high, the country of Brazil plans to cut deforestation by 80% by 2020.
After signing the Paris Agreement, the European Union along side its 27 have agreed to reduce emissions by 20% below the 1990 levels by 2020. The United States has agreed to reduce its levels of emissions by 17% by 2020. Although that promise was contingent on Congress passing an aggressive cap-and-trade bill. Instead, the bill ended up failing in Congress and since then the U.S. hasn’t made it clear how it will meet its emission goals, but still plans to hit the goal of 17% reduction by 2020. Since the “UNFCCC” the United States has passed several bills in effort to help control the problem of global warming. In 2003, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman offered “The Climate Stewardship Act”. This legislation act instituted a cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions from electricity, manufacturing, commercial, and transportation sectors of the economy which represented 85 percent of U.S. emissions at the time. In 2007 the EPA was required to start publishing rules requiring the public reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from large sources.
In 2009 President Barack Obama declared a comprehensive climate and energy bill among his top legislative priorities. Congress passed the “American Clean Energy and Security Act”. The legislation would have established an economy-wide greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system and critical complementary measures but it later failed to pass in the Senate. In 2015 Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Rep. Ted Deutch launched a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives. The goals of the caucus were educate members of Congress on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and public safety (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions). In late 2018 Rep. Ted Deutch, Rep. Francis Rooney, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and Rep. Charlie Crist introduction of “ The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” is the first bipartition legislative act in almost a decade on climate control the bill has yet to pass in the Senate.
In February of 2019 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey introduced the “ Green New Deal” the deal states that the United States would completely transition to a renewable energy source by 2035. Although the bill was introduced it was quickly shot-down in both Congress and Senate which many called the bill too “outlandish” calming the bill was unachievable and unrealistic. Outside of legislative acts there has been multiple efforts to try and help stop global warming. With invention like smart cars that run off batteries reducing emissions created by cars idling in populated areas. Also, efforts to use more renewable energy sources like solar power and hydropower have become more and more popular. Programs to help cities to recycle more also help in the efforts. When looking at the big picture of global warming it is becoming an issue that my generation and future generations can not avoid. If not properly fix eventually we will start to lose many important things like coral reefs and many low-lining costal arears permanently changing the way the world looks and functions.
After looking at the issue of global warming and the fact and data surrounding the issue, I have begun to realize that we are not helping the world but in the long-term we are damaging the earth which God has given us. After looking at the things that can contribute to global warming I have come to realize that even though I am just one person in the world I can have a potential impact on the issue of Global warming whither it is by simply recycling or even start conserving more energy my turning off thing I am not using. I can also start to unplug items when going on trips were, I will be hone for a long period of time. After looking at the facts I do believe we are on a course that if not changed will cross the “point of no return” a point in which the damages from global warming cannot be reversed.
There are a few things I believe we can do in the present and the future which will help slow down the effects of global warming. One thing we could do as a country is start switching to more affordable electric based cars and offer more charging stations to make the idea more appealing to people. In 2018 the median cost for an electric car was $46,871.67 and the median cost for a charging station was $696.00 bring the total cost to $47,567.25 while the average cost for a conventional car is $ 33,000. When looking at the economic picture most family cannot afford to spend the money on a fully electric car, but if we could find a way to make it more affordable it would help reduce emission produced my cars ( Union of concerned Scientist) . Also, if we started to car pool in area’s in which car pooling is not near as popular we could potently reduce the number of cars on the road, which in-turn would reduce greenhouse gas emissions produces by cars (University of Ottawa).
Another solution is to slow down on demolition projects, by doing more renovations of buildings than tearing down and building new ones. According to the EPA in 2015 the United States produced 548 million tons of demolition and construction waste which is more than twice the amount of generated municipal solid waste. According to the website 90% of the 548 millions tons was from demolition alone, meaning that 493.2 million tons comes from demolition alone. If we are able to reduce that amount, we would be able to reduce the emissions from the plants even more. We could also offer more recycled plastic building materials, right now they have paintable plastic panels created from recycled materials for porches that is an alternative wood substitute. If we where able to produce this on a larger scale the United States could reduce the consumption of wood-based materials and cut back on deforestation helping control the amount of Co2 that is released back into the air.
- ” History of the greenhouse effect and global warming” S.M. Enzler.( Lenntech, 2015)
- “The Discovery of Global Warming”, by Spencer R. Weart (Harvard University Press, 2008)
- “Hurricane Costs”, (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017)
- “The Science Connecting Extreme Weather to Climate Change”, (Union of concerned Scientist, 2018)
- “The Paris Agreement”, (United Nations Climate Change, 2016)
- “Congress Climate history”, (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions)
- “Electric Cars”, (Union of concerned Scientist, 2018)
- “Benefits of Carpooling”, ( University of Ottawa)