Among the numerous critical issues facing the world population in general and Americans in particular, climate change stands as one of, if not the most urgent. However, understanding and assimilating the different factors of this ever-growing environmental dilemma is crucial for effectively addressing, reducing our pollution footprint and controlling the unstable factors that produce major changes in temperature, precipitation, wind patterns, as well as many other frequent and disastrous weather related phenomenon’s. Meanwhile, climate change policy in the US has transformed timidly over the past twenty years and is being constantly hindered by Washington big lobby.
The restrained approach of US lawmakers on global warming and climate change and its obvious environmental consequences have polarized certain political parties and other big industry organizations in Washington and around the world. It is clear nowadays, that global warming is caused by rising temperatures due to higher world wide’s carbon emissions. Industrialized countries have not future plans to reduce their carbon footprint, despite the international scientific community multiple warnings. Their data shows the strong correlation between carbon emission and global warming.
The article of “Sensitivity of Global Warming to Carbon Emissions” indicates that, “The sensitivity of surface warming to carbon emissions is interpreted in terms of a product of three terms: the dependence of surface warming on radiative forcing, the fractional radiative forcing from CO2, and the dependence of radiative forcing from CO2 on carbon emissions.” (Williams, Richard G., et al.) Moreover, a recent article “Climate change: Global warming could speed up” indicates that, “The article discusses research done by Steve Smith and his colleagues at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in College Park, Maryland published in the 2015 issue of ‘Nature Climate Change,’ which found that the rate of global warming could accelerate due to greenhouse gases build up in Earth’s atmosphere.” (Climate Change: Global Warming Could Speed Up.)
I believe that nature has its own defense mechanisms but, mankind’s selfishness appears to have a devastating weakening effect on its fragile eco-systems. I really believe that if we do not take immediate actions to stop the ever-growing emissions of all harmful gases from heavy polluters and attempt to reverse it to acceptable levels, we could see this precarious situation becomes very critical for humanity’s survival, as stated in John Halley’s article of “How Survival Curves Affect Populations Vulnerability to climate Change”, which argues that, “Human activities are exposing organisms not only to direct threats (e.g. habitat loss) but also to indirect environmental pressures such as climate change, which involves not just directional global warming but also increasing climatic variability. Such changes will impact whole communities of organisms and the possible effects on population dynamics have raised concerns about increased extinction rates.” (Halley, John M., et al.)
To put it another way, we will lose the ability to protect the earth from certain destruction and death. Yet people, when confronted with hard evidence of eminent threat of climate change, tend to not grasp the danger of the matter and feel that it is something distant, far off, intangible and almost otherworldly. An ordinary individual does not feel like He or she can make an impact. This point is well illustrated in Alberto de la Fuente article which argues that, “Part of the grasping problem that prevents humans from feeling responsible for the global climate change problem is related to the nature of the issue. Well described as a tragedy of the commons , climate change is produced by the collective action of billions of individuals— many of whom are already dead, although the costs of their actions are shared among the entire population, including many not yet born. In other words, actions and consequences in the context of climate change are disjointed in both space and time, which makes it very difficult for individuals to engage in actions against global warming .
The personal engagement required is further inhibited by the fact that for most people, the environment alone is not a real motivation . Although civic engagement is more related to human rights, community or the impact on poorer people , it can be catalyzed by personal experiences such as carpooling or recycling . In addition, if people do not feel or see that they are personally affected by climate change, it will be more difficult to achieve the required changes” (de la Fuente, Alberto, et al.) However, what’s incredibly terrifying is that things are already happening way ahead of any scientific projection. For instance, ocean scientists are surprised that coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate, not to mention the irreversible impact this will have on the one billion people that depend on its fisheries for their diet and livelihoods.
According to coastal reef expert Terry Hughes, the rising carbon emissions, and the extra heat created by climate change is plunging the entire coastal systems into extreme turmoil, which in return is affecting coastal reefs by exerting extensive pressure on its fragile eco-system. He argues in his article “Global Warming and Recurrent Mass Bleaching of Corals” that, “The worlds tropical reef ecosystems, and the people who depend on them, are increasingly affected by climate change [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Since the 1980s, rising sea surface temperatures owing to global warming have triggered unprecedented mass bleaching of corals, including three pan-tropical events in 1998, 2010 and 2015/16 (ref. 1). Thermal stress during marine heatwaves disrupts the symbiotic relationship between corals and their algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.), causing the corals to lose their colour [2, 3]. Bleached corals are physiologically damaged, and prolonged bleaching often leads to high levels of coral mortality [5, 6, 7, 8].” (Hughes, Terry P., et al.)
We absolutely need to acknowledge that others effects are becoming more apparent, and according to David Rotman, rising temperatures around the world will have disastrous effects on weather patterns across the globe. He argues that, “Hotter weather is just one of the effects of climate change; shifts in rainfall and an increase in severe weather like hurricanes are among the others.” (Rotman, David.) Ahmadalipour and Moradkhani acknowledge that global warming is starting to seriously affect our older generation’s mortality rates, they argue that, “The current study investigates the impacts of global warming on the mortality risk of people over 65 years of age caused by extreme high temperatures.”(Ahmadalipour and Moradkhani, pp. 215-225.)
I believe that global warming has proven to reach and affect all levels and parts of our lives. Studies show that it is already having a steady impact on our socioeconomics. It is argued that, ‘’the potential impact of global warming and climate change on socioeconomic outcomes has become an important and growing area of scientific study and evaluation. Separate lines of study include quantifying the likely impact of climatic change on measures of civil conflict (1–5) and agricultural land values, profitability, and/or production efficiency (6–22).” .” (Tack, Jesse1, [email protected]., et al.) Like the oceans, the world remaining rainforests act as a sponge for carbon dioxide emissions. Sumatra, the last place on Earth that still has elephants, rhinos, orangutans, and tigers living together in the wild, is seeing Palm oil farmers intentionally setting fires in the rain forest habitat at an alarming rate to create palm oil plantations.
This practice releases massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and threatens the foundation of one of the most biodiverse places on this planet. The expansion of palm oil industry in Indonesia has already consumed about eighty percent of its forests. We should be all concerned about the global warming increasing consequences. We must take concrete action to address global warming, because these alarming consequences will continue to intensify, grow ever more costly, and devastate the entire planet. This is why, it is extremely important that we must let our local government and our politicians know of the urgency of the situation. This should motivate them to harness the bipartisan political will necessary to start taking global warming seriously and start developing and implementing innovative solutions to curb its growing and alarming threats to humanity.
Yet, the Pew Research Center claims that “Over the past two decades, the public consensus in favor of tougher environmental restrictions has weakened, also primarily because of changing opinions among Republicans.” (Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years, p1.) Moreover, we cannot overlook the actual White House administration’s stance on global warming. President Trump has confirmed all pro-environmentalist’s fears. He has back out of the Paris agreement and pointed an avid opponent of global warming as the new head of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Samet, Jonathan M., and Alistair Woodward argue in their article that, “ The present administration, comfortable with “alternative facts, “whatever gap there may be between what is claimed and what is true, is feeding the anti-science agenda and appointing decision-makers who do not consider scientiﬁc evidence as holding primacy.
Notably, the veracity of human-made climate change and the need for action has become politicized and linked to positions of US political parties, stereotypically the Democratic Party being the action-oriented “believers” and the Republican Party being the “business-as-usual” doubters. The Republican Party’s stance ﬁts well with the positions of some of its key supporters from the fossil fuel and chemical industries. Such political polarization of science is unfortunate and with regard to climate change quite recent.” (Samet, Jonathan M., and Alistair Woodward.)