Energy and Climate Change

To state or even consideration the falsehood of global warming is absolutely unimaginable. As evidenced by the assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, arming of the climate system is undeniable, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level. Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, An Inconvenient Truth displays Al Gore’s campaign to spread his message about the facts and future predications of the dangers that green house gas emissions impose toward the current and future state of earth’s climate and atmosphere. Gore states that many hold the assumption that “the earth is so large that we cannot have any lasting impact on the earth’s environment.” However, this statement is completely false. Due to how thin the atmosphere is, it is the most vulnerable part of the earth’s atmosphere and humanity is quite capable of changing its composition. Gore then proceeds to explain the scientific explanation of the overwhelming amount of infrared rays that are being trapped within the earth’s atmosphere due to an increase in green house gases. Gore was first brought to the attention of the rise in carbon emissions by the scientific data obtained by Roger Revelle. A graph was formulated that displayed a steady increase of carbon concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere over the past decades. This astonished Gore and he took immediate action by approaching Congress with a carbon act. He was deeply affected by this frightening and scientifically proven realization. Gore next discussed how he had contacted scientists who are using methods to bring up layers of ice and extract concentrations of carbon Imagedioxide. They can trace back to what year this particular piece of ice was from and examine oxygen bubbles in the ice that will reveal the temperature it was at that particular time. The scientists were able to examine from the ice what year the Clean Air Act was passed. This demonstrates how significant a policy can be toward making changes in our atmosphere. Gore states that the issue we face regarding carbon concentrations is a moral issue and that it is deeply unethical to neglect this problem. We have seen through scientific evidence that the hottest years on record have occurred within the last 14 years. With increased temperatures, ocean temperatures have also raised created some of the biggest catastrophes. Yet even as our world continues to face and recognize these odd and threatening weather patterns, Congress is not started. These catastrophes make continue at even a more rapid pace, and maybe finally Congress will recognize this as a serious issue. Gore also recognizes the increasing rate at which the permafrost is thawing out in the arctic. The arctic receives more sun than any other part of the planet but the ice allows it to act as a mirror. But as this ice continues to melt, the ocean water absorbs ninety percent of the rays. We have seen through the patterns of polar bears that they are now swimming significant longer distances to find ice. Gore again shows how many politicians claim this is a hoax and a threat to our economy. He states, “If an issue is not at the tips of the constituents tongues, it’s easy for them to ignore it.” Next, Gore explains how the seasons are being affected to the rise in temperature, which therefore have affected the migrating and breeding patterns of species. These changes have also introduced an overwhelming increase in invasive species and a steady increase in species extinction. Gore wants our country to recognize that we should be concerned with threats and not just terrorism. He believes that there is a clash between civilization and the environment. As population increases there is a direct pressure on food, water, and natural resource demands. Yet the US has always strived to work in a way that is most profitable, even if that means disregarding the state of the environment. The majority of political leaders in the US want to view global warming as a theory rather than a threat. The government has even worked in ways to hush scientists’ discoveries that have displayed this inconvenient truth. Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific technology to know how to solve the carbon and climate problems. Yet the US still believes that the economy will be affected if we decide to address the environment. Gore makes it clear that we have the ability to do this and that addressing these issues will help our economy and the job market. We can make considerable differences in our carbon emissions by using more efficient electricity, by producing higher mileage in cars, and by converting to renewable technology. Gore concludes by stating that future generations will question our actions if we do not take a stand and realize what steps we need to take now. In David Suzuki’s essay Sidelight: Let’s Transform the Military, he states that we are currently at war with the environment. Suzuki claims that military budgets often dwarf other government expenditures. As global perceptions of military threat’s shift, this allows for our budgets to be used towards more pressing issues such as the environment. Washington DC estimated that 15% of annual global military budget would save the planet from environmental collapse, and $300 is spent on the military for every $1 spent on the environment. Ultimately, countries need to recognize the issues they are causing and take responsibility. Climate change is a social issue as well as an ethical issue. Firstly, high emitters are putting low emitters at risk. Secondly, the harm made to the low emitters is devastatingly catastrophic. Thirdly, the victims are often the poorest people who cannot petition their government to protect them. In order for environmental issues to be successfully taken care of, developed nations need to take the lead on creating serious changes in energy production and consumption.

 Question: Can the United Nations effectively create another Convention on Climate Change and make it so that it mandatory that nations follow the policies it sets forth?

About dripley91

Senior at Fordham University. Environmental Policy Major and Sustainable Business Minor
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