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Global Warming: A Combined Cause

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Essay title: Global Warming: A Combined Cause

Global warming is defined as any world wide average temperature increase during a length of specified time, such as a year, decade, century, or more. Most scientists now agree that there has been a 1-1.7 degree Celsius temperature rise since 1850. What scientists do not agree on is whether it is caused by human actions by the increase of greenhouse gas emissions or if it is a natural cycle the earth is experiencing. Both sides of the argument have important information and valuable research. When I began my research, I was a very big believer that human actions were causing global warming exclusively. While looking at information presented from the other side of the argument, my view changed based on the research and facts of the natural cycle supporters. I feel that global warming is being caused by both the natural cycles of the Earth and the increased greenhouse gas emissions produced by human actions. No matter what the cause of global warming, we should be taking preventive actions to slow global warming down before serious problems arise.

A book by Fred Singer and Dennis Avery talks about the history of the natural cycles of the Earth. The book is discussed in an article by Charles Clover and describes previous cycles and how ice core studies, written and verbal history, and stalagmites all show proof of natural cycles roughly every 1,500 years or so. Avery was quoted saying, “If this were a CO2 (carbon dioxide) driven warming it should have started in 1940 and risen strongly from there. In fact warming started in 1850 and rose sharply until 1940 then decreased for 35 years.” Avery also believes that only half of the warming since 1940, roughly .2 degrees Celsius, can be caused by greenhouse gas emissions and the rest is natural variability. In Charles Clover’s article, Avery and Singer describe specific periods of warmer and cooler temperature changes.

"During the Roman warming period from 200 BC to around 600 AD, North Africa and the Sahara were wetter and supported crops. In more recent times they point to the medieval warming of 900 and 1300, when Eric the Red’s descendants colonized Greenland and the Little Ice Age of 1300 to 1850, which saw the Norse dairy farmers on Greenland grow short from malnutrition and eventually die out. (Clover)"

Avery suggests that the warming and cooling cycles may be caused by variations in cosmic rays which can be linked to cloud formation. This theory was validated in a research paper by scientists from the Danish National Space Centre who “showed that sub-atomic particles-cosmic rays from exploding stars- play a major role in making clouds (Clover).” Research has been done showing that over the last century, cosmic rays were scarce and there was less cloud cover to reflect the sunlight away, causing warmer temperatures. In an article about global warming on Conservapedia, there is also research being done stating that other planets are experiencing climate changes as well. Mars’ temperatures have risen 1.1 degrees Celsius and since it can not be caused by human industrialization, other causes are being considered. Neptune is also experiencing global warming at the same rate of the Earth and Mars. Pluto’s temperature has increased more than the Earth’s. Uranus, on the other had, is showing a rapid cooling. This offers proof that our planet, and others go through warming and cooling cycles naturally but I feel that this is only half of the cause of global warming. Even though there is substantial evidence that there have been warmer periods throughout history, I think that our actions also play a part in the current warming period.

Our dependence on fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources has increased tremendously since the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century. Burning these resources, such as coal, natural gas, and oil, causes the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air and then causing them to settle in the atmosphere. According to many researcher centers, including National Geographic, greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for long periods of time, meaning that they will only increase in the immediate future for a period of time even if we completely stop all greenhouse gas emissions right now. Scientists say that we could experience an additional 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit warming during the next century if we do not reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (Global Warming Basics). In an article by the Natural Resources Defense Council that answers common questions of global warming, it is stated that coal-burning power plants cause 2.5 billion tons of CO2 pollution every year in the US alone. Cars are the second largest source of CO2, releasing 1.5 billion tons annually in the US. The US has the largest source of global warming pollution, making over 25 percent of the total pollution, even though our population only makes up about 4 percent of the world’s

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