By Patrick Bardsley
What is the problem?
Global warming is defined as "an increase in the earth's average atmospheric temperature that causes corresponding changes in climate and that may result from the greenhouse effect" (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/global-warming).
How do we know it's a problem?
There are many signs that global warming is happening. Sea level rise, global temperature rise, and an increase in the number of extreme events are some very obvious signs that it is happening. Other signs include shrinking ice sheets, declining Arctic sea ice, ocean acidification, and warming oceans (http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/)
Where in North Carolina has global warming been a problem?
This has been affecting our coastline, particularly in the Outer Banks. The "short term" effects such as daily tides and storm surges (which can have a "5, 10, 15, 20 foot change" in "sea levels" according to IndyWeek) will start to have more of an impact (http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/a-new-report-lays-bare-the-effects-of-climate-change-on-the-nc-coast/Content?oid=4371388)
What are the possible future effects?
If we continue to increase greenhouse gases and burn fossil fuels, the effects could be devastating. It can lead to the extinction of some species and can potentially lead to a drought. It can also lead to the flooding of some areas, worsen air pollution, more acidic oceans, and can even increase death rates. These consequences can impact the world, and it obviously won't be for the best (https://www.nrdc.org/stories/are-effects-global-warming-really-bad).
What are some proposed solutions to the problem?
We can limit deforestation and lower our burning of fossil fuels. We can turn to alternative energy, such as solar and wind power. Personally, I think that the Paris Agreement is fantastic to solve global warming because it will limit us to a safe global temperature and it will cause us to look more into alternative energy. If we don't do something about it now, then it's going to have some devastating consequences in the future.
Are there laws in place?
There are laws in place for some countries to try and stop global warming. Here are some of the things that could stop global warming:
- America banned CFC's in 1996 and passed the Clean Air Act in 1970.
- The UK passed the Climate Change Levy in 2001 (to apply electricity, solid fuel, gas, and liquid gases used for heating, lighting, and power into businesses and private sectors) and the Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme (to support biomass-fuelled heat, and combine heat and power projects in the industrial, commercial, and community sectors.
- Germany has promised to cut greenhouse gases emissions by 40% by 2020 and has passed the Biofuel Quota Act (to achieve a 17% biofuels target by 2020.
- Australia has passed the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act and has also passed the Climate Change Authority Act.
- And on a global scale, 195 countries adopted the first ever universal global climate deal, otherwise known as the Paris Agreement. The agreement says that it would limit global warming to well below 2°C and will go into effect in 2020.