Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Michael Parente Multimodal Essay

Controversy with Climate Change
Over the past decade there has been controversy over climate change often referred to as global warming.  Scientists have proven a theory that climate change is happening faster than ever seen before.  Unfortunately, a scientist can not conduct an experiment due to the size of the Earth.  Therefore, this theory of climate change remains only a theory.  Although there is an extreme amount of evidence supporting the idea of climate change happening all over the world, the average citizen argues that since it is not a proven fact, they will do nothing to change it.  This leaves the world at a stand still between the scientist’s theory and the general public actions.
Picture of Power plant emitting fossil fuels 
            One major issue with climate change is figuring out the exact cause of it. There are many different viewpoints about climate change, but however it is stated that greenhouse gases emission, especially in developed countries, are rising.  Greenhouse gases are linked to climate change because they allow solar radiation to enter the Earth's atmosphere while heat is trapped to warm the earth.  This is a concern to the worlds population because it has been found that, "the accelerated growth of carbon-dioxie concentration in the atmosphere is unambiguously linked with fossil fuel burning" (Paramonov 1).  For example when someone drives a car, fossil fuels are burned and carbon dioxide is released into Earth's atmosphere.  The effect of vehicles and fossil fuel based machines have been recorded, “since the industrial revolution, [and] atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased by 31 percent” (F. Javidkia et all 4).  As seen through the carbon level increase, the worst impact we have on the environment is due to the development of society and especially the development of the United States and their advancement in technology.  Also, the emission of carbon dioxide is related to electricity because in most developed countries, such as the United States, power comes from coal burning power plants that release carbon dioxide.  Unfortunately these levels are rising faster than ever before and the average carbon cycle can no longer explain such trends.  As humans continue to revolve around an oil based economy, carbon dioxide rates skyrocket.  The public must be properly educated in order to help cut carbon dioxide emissions and change the negative impacts of greenhouse.
            As previously mentioned, burning fossil fuels is a major cause of climate change because of the release of carbon dioxide.  Having a fossil fuel based society where the majority of electricity continuously comes from the burning of fossil fuels, proves to be detrimental to our environment.  In a study about Fossil and Nuclear Power Plants and Their Environmental Impact, it was stated that "by the year 2030 the worlds power demand will rise by 60 percent" (F. Jacidkia et all 3).  This is alarming because it shows that the amount of fossil fuels being burnt is only to going to increase and continue to harm our atmosphere.  With the demand of energy on the rise this percentage is only expected to rise. 
            Critics of climate change often blame the aforementioned carbon increase in the atmosphere on the seasonal carbon cycle.  It is true that there are many cycles within our environment worth acknowledging regarding climate change, including the seasonal carbon cycle, is being damaged and affected by humans.  This seasonal carbon cycle is mainly seen in areas with harsh winters causing the plants to lose their leaves and cease photosynthesis all together for an entire season.  While the trees stop making carbon dioxide into oxygen, humans and other mammals continue to breath and let out carbon dioxide creating an increase of carbon dioxide in the air during the winter season.  Once spring hits and the plants regain their leaves, the carbon dioxide levels are lowered again.  Unfortunately each year in the spring, the plants decrease the carbon oxide emissions again but they cannot seem to get back to the carbon oxide level they left us humans with in the fall.  This is a problem for climate change because the plants cannot catch up with all factories being built and more forests being ruined over the winter.  These plants are in a losing battle against returning the carbon level to where it was the year before.  "Deforestation has global effects [causing the] reduction of photosynthesis, necessary for oxygen generation and carbon oxide absorption from the atmosphere" (Paramonov 1) and is a major anthropogenic factor that influences climate change.  If more people would help stop the carbon levels rising simply by planting a tree every year or emitting less then other plants would be able to catch up and bring the carbon levels back to where they should be.  Although the carbon levels fluctuate in a years time, it is clear carbon dioxide levels are rising dramatically.
             Another idea contrasting the scientist’s theory of carbon dioxide rising is the idea of water vapor in the atmosphere.  The number one greenhouse gas is water vapor.  It has been proved that humans cannot change the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere because it is all based on the hydraulic cycle. Water vapor deals with the heat retention of the earth.  It acts as a shield during the day by reflecting solar energy, but at night the water vapor acts as a blanket to warm the earth by trapping in heat.  Therefore, proponents of climate change ask how can it be true that humans are effecting climate change as the scientists say we are?  What this idea does not take into consideration is the fact that if humans cannot change the water vapor then it is most likely a greenhouse gas.  This means water vapor cannot be blamed for the climate change and instead we must investigate other greenhouse gases that are being manipulated and increased by humans to find the root cause of climate change.   
This show how the Arctic Ice has changed. Click here for more info
The average temperature of the earth is being increased by the rising amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.   In 2004 it was recorded to be the fourth hottest year indicating that heat is becoming a trend as reported in commission by Australia’s Federal Dept. of Climate Change.  They predict that average temperatures of the earth will rise 0.6 and 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2050.  The effects of this increase do not stop at global warming instead they extend to change a majority of the earth's features.  Overall precipitation is predicted to drop due to heat by as much as 24% by 2050. This decrease of precipitation proves why this problem is called climate change and not just global warming.  The Earth is allowing us to see an extreme change in many weather aspects including the patterns of rain fall, temperatures and sea level.  As glaciers thaw from the increased temperatures, sea levels continue to rise.  It is stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that "the sea level could rise three feet by 2100" (F. Jacidkia et all 4). Three feet may seem small, but due to the flat geography around the coast lines, this increase would displace many people and societies.  This would cost the United States and many other countries a significant amount of money, so rather than suffering the painful consequences of climate change, we could take action and change the way in which we live to stop climate change. In the end, money will need to be spent to either move people away from the rising sea levels or to change out ways.  It is our choice if we want to act now to prevent climate change or just adjust along the way to the unpredictable results.
            With all the negative factors surrounding the idea of climate change many people believe that it is impossible to reverse and that  there is nothing we can do that will help slow down the process of global warming.  In fact, there are many people that actually believe humans do not contribute to climate change at all. The truth is that people are contributing to climate change and people need to work to help reverse it.  There are many solutions and ways to decrease one's emissions in order to help this continuous climate battle.  If we act now to prevent and stop global warming, it can be seen as a sort of insurance against the negative effects that climate change will have on the earth.
            There are numerous ways to help prevent climate change. One of the most obvious is by using other forms of energy. Using energy sources such as wind and solar can greatly reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gasses released into our atmosphere by no longer supporting the coal burning power plants. 
Wind energy is one alternative to fossil fuel based energy and is very reliable. How wind energy is generated is by wind turbines, or huge spinning propellers moved by the wind to make electricity. The biggest advantage to switching over to wind energy is that wind is a renewable resource that no matter how much we use of it, there will still be wind yet to come. Also, other than the manufacturing process, which usually uses coal based electricity, wind energy does not emit any harmful pollutants or greenhouse gases.  This proves to be an environmentally friendly alternative to other electricity sources.  By switching some coal burning power plants to wind farms, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted will significantly decrease and help stop climate change.  Another benefit with these turbines is the land at the base can still be used for other purposes, such as farming or raising livestock, which is unique to energy sources.  The negatives of wind energy must be also evaluated such as harm to migrating birds, visual pollution, and the cost, but as technology advances, wind energy will improve and make evident its worthiness on the electricity grid.
            Another alternative energy source to help reduce and eliminate coal power plants and their emissions is solar power. Solar panels are becoming more common because unlike wind power, solar power can be used on both small and large scales. The idea of harnessing the wasted energy that the sun emits everyday is efficient and harmless to the environment. According to How Stuff Workswithin each solar panel are photovoltaic cells.  These cells are able to convert sunlight into direct electricity. Photovoltaic cells are long lasting and do not need a lot of maintenance.  They are also completely silent. Although solar power is most efficient where the sun is the strongest, the south-west part of the United States, is completely converted to solar energy and a large amount of carbon dioxide would not be released from the previous coal burning power plant.  This would help immensely to stop climate change.  The only downfall to solar energy is the cost of the system, but as stated before it is a decision between paying to change now or paying for the consequences later.  
This is the 2012 Mitsubishi i, it is 100% electric and and rates 129 MPGe city

            Fuel-efficient cars are becoming more popular in the current day. Why would someone not want a car that is more eco friendly and also saves on gas money? Why not go electric? While electric vehicles may be more expensive up front, in the long term the consumer will be saving money on gas and maintenance of the car. Not only that, but these vehicles are also more sustainable. Electric engines have less moving parts. This means that there is no need for engine oil, anti-freeze, or transmission fluids.  Electric cars prove to be a sufficient alternative to old gas fueled vehicles.  Without the combustion process in the engine producing carbon dioxide, no harmful emission are let out of electric cars.
Example of florescent light bulb
            One of the most up and coming ways of helping to use less electricity and therefore using less electricity and burning less coal is by changing old lightbulbs to new long lasting florescent light bulbs! There are many advantages to changing the light bulbs in one's home.  Florescent light bulbs require less energy for them to work.  In fact, these light bulbs are not only burning less coal, but also allowing people to save some money on their monthly electric bills. Also, these alternative lightbulbs last longer ten times than traditional incandescent lightbulbs and require one quarter of the energy. By using these new efficient lightbulbs, less emissions will be released in the power plants, helping the fight against climate change.  Why this intrigues most Americas is because by using these lightbulbs they will be saving money on their electricity.
            The Earth's population needs to respond to all the damage that they have caused on the environment. There are many ways that people can help prevent and halt climate change. Even though it may seem over whelming, there are little things that people can do every day to save energy and prevent climate change. For instance, this house demonstrates what a person can do in their own home to save energy and help prevent climate change. Every little step to improving the environment adds up; whether its signing a petition to promote wind farms in one's local area or just changing light bulbs. I hope that through reading this you are better educated on climate change and how to prevent it. Remember, there is only one earth and once its gone, its gone forever.

Paramonov, Dmitry. "Some Aspects Of The Fight Against Climate Change." Mechanical Engineering 133.5 (2011): 47-48. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Oct. 2001.

Javidkia, F., M. Hashemi-Tilehnoee, and V. Zabihi. "A Comparison between Fossil and Nuclear Power Plants Pollutions and Their Environmental Effects." Journal of Energy & Power Engineering 5.9 (2011): 811-820. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

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