Global Warming Prevention - Essay Example

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The debate over global warming has been one of the most hotly contested scientific claims over the past twenty years. The earth’s surface temperatures have been rising over the past eighty years at an alarmingly rapid rate. There is indisputable evidence to show that many areas of the earth, especially near the poles and in alpine climates, are warming at a very rapid rate…
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Global Warming Prevention
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Download file to see previous pages Industrialization has caused us to increase the amount of fossil and carbon based fuels we burn. Coal, oil and natural gas are great sources of energy because they produce massive amounts of energy from a small volume of matter. Unfortunately, these carbon-based fuels produce carbon dioxide as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a green house gas. It traps the earth’s heat and keeps it in the atmosphere much the same way a blanket hold in heat from the human body in a bed. Too much carbon dioxide is like sleeping under a thick blanket on a warm night. Too much heat is trapped, resulting in an uncomfortable situation. A minority of scientists feel that human sources of carbon dioxide have little or nothing to do with global warming. They point to the geologic history of earth and show times that earth was much warmer than it is currently. Interests, such as oil and gas companies, that want to continue to drill for and consume fossil fuels at the current levels, often support these scientists. Countering these industry scientists are many brave individuals. Al Gore said, “Scientists around the world are sounding a clear and urgent warning. Global warming is real, it is already underway, and its consequences are totally unacceptable (Anderson, 2009).” Most independent data shows that global warming is being driven by human activity, so the most important thing we can do in this generation is develop practices and technology that lessen human impact on the global climate. The first course of action we must undertake to prevent further warming is to lessen the amount of greenhouse gasses entering the atmosphere. This is not a simple job because much of our modern lifestyle depends on burning fossil fuels. The largest amounts to fossil fuels are burned to transport goods and people and to produce electricity. Reducing the amount of fuel used in these two processes will greatly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. For electrical power generation, we need to derive more of our energy from renewable resources such a wind and solar power. Many electrical power plants burn coal because it is cheap and easy to obtain. Solar and wind power are more expensive because the technology to generate electricity this way is fairly new (Roberts, 1994). Research and development monies must be spent so that photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines can produce electricity more efficiently. Greater efficiency will result in reduced cost. Some skeptics argue that these technologies only work when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. They say that this is not reasonable because an energy supply must be constant. Improvements in storing generated electricity in liquid metal batteries will enable sustainably generated electricity to be produced and then stored until needed. This is an example of how technology can overcome current obstacles to electrical power generation. Providing carbon-neutral transportation will be a bit trickier and require more sacrifice. We are many generations away from being able to produce solar powered cars and trucks. Currently, transportation accounts for over 25% of the fossil fuels consumed globally (Collier, 2007). Clear alternatives, such as hybrid vehicles have grown in popularity and are cutting fuel consumption, but global changes have been ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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