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  • Introduction & Top Questions
  • Climatic variation since the last glaciation
  • The greenhouse effect
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  • Carbon dioxide
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  • Environmental consequences of global warming
  • Socioeconomic consequences of global warming
  • The IPCC and the scientific consensus
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  • The Paris Agreement and future climate-change policy
  • global warming summary
  • Facts & Related Content

How does global warming work?

Where does global warming occur in the atmosphere, why is global warming a social problem, where does global warming affect polar bears.

global warming

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Grinnell Glacier shrinkage

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Human activity affects global surface temperatures by changing Earth ’s radiative balance—the “give and take” between what comes in during the day and what Earth emits at night. Increases in greenhouse gases —i.e., trace gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that absorb heat energy emitted from Earth’s surface and reradiate it back—generated by industry and transportation cause the atmosphere to retain more heat, which increases temperatures and alters precipitation patterns.

Global warming, the phenomenon of increasing average air temperatures near Earth’s surface over the past one to two centuries, happens mostly in the troposphere , the lowest level of the atmosphere, which extends from Earth’s surface up to a height of 6–11 miles. This layer contains most of Earth’s clouds and is where living things and their habitats and weather primarily occur.

Continued global warming is expected to impact everything from energy use to water availability to crop productivity throughout the world. Poor countries and communities with limited abilities to adapt to these changes are expected to suffer disproportionately. Global warming is already being associated with increases in the incidence of severe and extreme weather, heavy flooding , and wildfires —phenomena that threaten homes, dams, transportation networks, and other facets of human infrastructure. Learn more about how the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, released in 2021, describes the social impacts of global warming.

Polar bears live in the Arctic , where they use the region’s ice floes as they hunt seals and other marine mammals . Temperature increases related to global warming have been the most pronounced at the poles, where they often make the difference between frozen and melted ice. Polar bears rely on small gaps in the ice to hunt their prey. As these gaps widen because of continued melting, prey capture has become more challenging for these animals.

Read a brief summary of this topic

global warming , the phenomenon of increasing average air temperatures near the surface of Earth over the past one to two centuries. Climate scientists have since the mid-20th century gathered detailed observations of various weather phenomena (such as temperatures, precipitation , and storms) and of related influences on climate (such as ocean currents and the atmosphere’s chemical composition). These data indicate that Earth’s climate has changed over almost every conceivable timescale since the beginning of geologic time and that human activities since at least the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have a growing influence over the pace and extent of present-day climate change .

Annual global temperature average: 1880–2021

Giving voice to a growing conviction of most of the scientific community , the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), published in 2021, noted that the best estimate of the increase in global average surface temperature between 1850 and 2019 was 1.07 °C (1.9 °F). An IPCC special report produced in 2018 noted that human beings and their activities have been responsible for a worldwide average temperature increase between 0.8 and 1.2 °C (1.4 and 2.2 °F) since preindustrial times, and most of the warming over the second half of the 20th century could be attributed to human activities.

Global average sea level change: 1880–2021

AR6 produced a series of global climate predictions based on modeling five greenhouse gas emission scenarios that accounted for future emissions, mitigation (severity reduction) measures, and uncertainties in the model projections. Some of the main uncertainties include the precise role of feedback processes and the impacts of industrial pollutants known as aerosols , which may offset some warming. The lowest-emissions scenario, which assumed steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions beginning in 2015, predicted that the global mean surface temperature would increase between 1.0 and 1.8 °C (1.8 and 3.2 °F) by 2100 relative to the 1850–1900 average. This range stood in stark contrast to the highest-emissions scenario, which predicted that the mean surface temperature would rise between 3.3 and 5.7 °C (5.9 and 10.2 °F) by 2100 based on the assumption that greenhouse gas emissions would continue to increase throughout the 21st century. The intermediate-emissions scenario, which assumed that emissions would stabilize by 2050 before declining gradually, projected an increase of between 2.1 and 3.5 °C (3.8 and 6.3 °F) by 2100.

Many climate scientists agree that significant societal, economic, and ecological damage would result if the global average temperature rose by more than 2 °C (3.6 °F) in such a short time. Such damage would include increased extinction of many plant and animal species, shifts in patterns of agriculture , and rising sea levels. By 2015 all but a few national governments had begun the process of instituting carbon reduction plans as part of the Paris Agreement , a treaty designed to help countries keep global warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) above preindustrial levels in order to avoid the worst of the predicted effects. Whereas authors of the 2018 special report noted that should carbon emissions continue at their present rate, the increase in average near-surface air temperature would reach 1.5 °C sometime between 2030 and 2052, authors of the AR6 report suggested that this threshold would be reached by 2041 at the latest.

Thunderstorm cloud-to-ground lightning discharge with cumulonimbus clouds in field. weather storm thunderstorm atmospheric disturbance cumulonimbus clouds thunder and lightning Homepage blog 2011, science and technology

The AR6 report also noted that the global average sea level had risen by some 20 cm (7.9 inches) between 1901 and 2018 and that sea level rose faster in the second half of the 20th century than in the first half. It also predicted, again depending on a wide range of scenarios, that the global average sea level would rise by different amounts by 2100 relative to the 1995–2014 average. Under the report’s lowest-emission scenario, sea level would rise by 28–55 cm (11–21.7 inches), whereas, under the intermediate emissions scenario, sea level would rise by 44–76 cm (17.3–29.9 inches). The highest-emissions scenario suggested that sea level would rise by 63–101 cm (24.8–39.8 inches) by 2100.

greenhouse effect on Earth

The scenarios referred to above depend mainly on future concentrations of certain trace gases, called greenhouse gases , that have been injected into the lower atmosphere in increasing amounts through the burning of fossil fuels for industry, transportation , and residential uses. Modern global warming is the result of an increase in magnitude of the so-called greenhouse effect , a warming of Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere caused by the presence of water vapour , carbon dioxide , methane , nitrous oxides , and other greenhouse gases. In 2014 the IPCC first reported that concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides in the atmosphere surpassed those found in ice cores dating back 800,000 years.

Of all these gases, carbon dioxide is the most important, both for its role in the greenhouse effect and for its role in the human economy. It has been estimated that, at the beginning of the industrial age in the mid-18th century, carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were roughly 280 parts per million (ppm). By the end of 2022 they had risen to 419 ppm, and, if fossil fuels continue to be burned at current rates, they are projected to reach 550 ppm by the mid-21st century—essentially, a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in 300 years.

A vigorous debate is in progress over the extent and seriousness of rising surface temperatures, the effects of past and future warming on human life, and the need for action to reduce future warming and deal with its consequences. This article provides an overview of the scientific background and public policy debate related to the subject of global warming. It considers the causes of rising near-surface air temperatures, the influencing factors, the process of climate research and forecasting, the possible ecological and social impacts of rising temperatures, and the public policy developments since the mid-20th century. For a detailed description of Earth’s climate, its processes, and the responses of living things to its changing nature, see climate . For additional background on how Earth’s climate has changed throughout geologic time , see climatic variation and change . For a full description of Earth’s gaseous envelope, within which climate change and global warming occur, see atmosphere .


Global Warming

Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. Climate has changed when the planet received more or less sunlight due to subtle shifts in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past century, another force has started to influence Earth’s climate: humanity.

Photograph of sunglint and the Earth's limb from the Internation Space Station Expedition 22.

(NASA astronaut photograph ISS022-E-6674. )

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels.

How Does Today’s Warming Compare to Past Climate Change?

Earth has experienced climate change in the past without help from humanity. But the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events.

Why Do Scientists Think Current Warming Isn’t Natural?

In Earth’s history before the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s climate changed due to natural causes unrelated to human activity. These natural causes are still in play today, but their influence is too small or they occur too slowly to explain the rapid warming seen in recent decades.

How Much More Will Earth Warm?

Models predict that as the world consumes ever more fossil fuel, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise, and Earth’s average surface temperature will rise with them. Based on plausible emission scenarios, average surface temperatures could rise between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century. Some of this warming will occur even if future greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, because the Earth system has not yet fully adjusted to environmental changes we have already made.

How Will Earth Respond to Warming Temperatures?

The impact of global warming is far greater than just increasing temperatures. Warming modifies rainfall patterns, amplifies coastal erosion, lengthens the growing season in some regions, melts ice caps and glaciers, and alters the ranges of some infectious diseases. Some of these changes are already occurring.

References and Related Resources

Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. Climate has changed when the planet received more or less sunlight due to subtle shifts in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past century, another force has started to influence Earth’s climate: humanity

How does this warming compare to previous changes in Earth’s climate? How can we be certain that human-released greenhouse gases are causing the warming? How much more will the Earth warm? How will Earth respond? Answering these questions is perhaps the most significant scientific challenge of our time.

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. The global average surface temperature rose 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.1 to 1.6° F) between 1906 and 2005, and the rate of temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. Temperatures are certain to go up further.

Graph of global mean temperature from 1880 to 2009.

Despite ups and downs from year to year, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average. (NASA figure adapted from Goddard Institute for Space Studies Surface Temperature Analysis. )

Earth’s natural greenhouse effect

Earth’s temperature begins with the Sun. Roughly 30 percent of incoming sunlight is reflected back into space by bright surfaces like clouds and ice. Of the remaining 70 percent, most is absorbed by the land and ocean, and the rest is absorbed by the atmosphere. The absorbed solar energy heats our planet.

As the rocks, the air, and the seas warm, they radiate “heat” energy (thermal infrared radiation). From the surface, this energy travels into the atmosphere where much of it is absorbed by water vapor and long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

When they absorb the energy radiating from Earth’s surface, microscopic water or greenhouse gas molecules turn into tiny heaters— like the bricks in a fireplace, they radiate heat even after the fire goes out. They radiate in all directions. The energy that radiates back toward Earth heats both the lower atmosphere and the surface, enhancing the heating they get from direct sunlight.

This absorption and radiation of heat by the atmosphere—the natural greenhouse effect—is beneficial for life on Earth. If there were no greenhouse effect, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be a very chilly -18°C (0°F) instead of the comfortable 15°C (59°F) that it is today.

See Climate and Earth’s Energy Budget to read more about how sunlight fuels Earth’s climate.

The enhanced greenhouse effect

What has scientists concerned now is that over the past 250 years, humans have been artificially raising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, mostly by burning fossil fuels, but also from cutting down carbon-absorbing forests. Since the Industrial Revolution began in about 1750, carbon dioxide levels have increased nearly 38 percent as of 2009 and methane levels have increased 148 percent.

Graphs of atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane from 1750 to 2009.

Increases in concentrations of carbon dioxide (top) and methane (bottom) coincided with the start of the Industrial Revolution in about 1750. Measurements from Antarctic ice cores (green lines) combined with direct atmospheric measurements (blue lines) show the increase of both gases over time. (NASA graphs by Robert Simmon, based on data from the NOAA Paleoclimatology and Earth System Research Laboratory. )

The atmosphere today contains more greenhouse gas molecules, so more of the infrared energy emitted by the surface ends up being absorbed by the atmosphere. Since some of the extra energy from a warmer atmosphere radiates back down to the surface, Earth’s surface temperature rises. By increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, we are making Earth’s atmosphere a more efficient greenhouse.

How is Today’s Warming Different from the Past?

Earth has experienced climate change in the past without help from humanity. We know about past climates because of evidence left in tree rings, layers of ice in glaciers, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. For example, bubbles of air in glacial ice trap tiny samples of Earth’s atmosphere, giving scientists a history of greenhouse gases that stretches back more than 800,000 years. The chemical make-up of the ice provides clues to the average global temperature.

See the Earth Observatory’s series Paleoclimatology for details about how scientists study past climates.

Photograph of a section of an ice core, with bubbles.

Glacial ice and air bubbles trapped in it (top) preserve an 800,000-year record of temperature & carbon dioxide. Earth has cycled between ice ages (low points, large negative anomalies) and warm interglacials (peaks). (Photograph courtesy National Snow & Ice Data Center. NASA graph by Robert Simmon, based on data from Jouzel et al., 2007. )

Using this ancient evidence, scientists have built a record of Earth’s past climates, or “paleoclimates.” The paleoclimate record combined with global models shows past ice ages as well as periods even warmer than today. But the paleoclimate record also reveals that the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events.

As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 4 to 7 degrees Celsius over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature has climbed 0.7 degrees Celsius, roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

Graph of multi-proxy global temperature reconstruction and instrumental records.

Temperature histories from paleoclimate data (green line) compared to the history based on modern instruments (blue line) suggest that global temperature is warmer now than it has been in the past 1,000 years, and possibly longer. (Graph adapted from Mann et al., 2008. )

Models predict that Earth will warm between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius in the next century. When global warming has happened at various times in the past two million years, it has taken the planet about 5,000 years to warm 5 degrees. The predicted rate of warming for the next century is at least 20 times faster. This rate of change is extremely unusual.

Is Current Warming Natural?

In Earth’s history before the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s climate changed due to natural causes not related to human activity. Most often, global climate has changed because of variations in sunlight. Tiny wobbles in Earth’s orbit altered when and where sunlight falls on Earth’s surface. Variations in the Sun itself have alternately increased and decreased the amount of solar energy reaching Earth. Volcanic eruptions have generated particles that reflect sunlight, brightening the planet and cooling the climate. Volcanic activity has also, in the deep past, increased greenhouse gases over millions of years, contributing to episodes of global warming.

A biographical sketch of Milutin Milankovitch describes how changes in Earth’s orbit affects its climate.

These natural causes are still in play today, but their influence is too small or they occur too slowly to explain the rapid warming seen in recent decades. We know this because scientists closely monitor the natural and human activities that influence climate with a fleet of satellites and surface instruments.

Images of the Atmospheric Research Observatory and Polar Operational Environmental Satellite.

Remote meteorological stations (left) and orbiting satellites (right) help scientists monitor the causes and effects of global warming. [Images courtesy NOAA Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (left) and Environmental Visualization Laboratory (right).]

NASA satellites record a host of vital signs including atmospheric aerosols (particles from both natural sources and human activities, such as factories, fires, deserts, and erupting volcanoes), atmospheric gases (including greenhouse gases), energy radiated from Earth’s surface and the Sun, ocean surface temperature changes, global sea level, the extent of ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice, plant growth, rainfall, cloud structure, and more.

On the ground, many agencies and nations support networks of weather and climate-monitoring stations that maintain temperature, rainfall, and snow depth records, and buoys that measure surface water and deep ocean temperatures. Taken together, these measurements provide an ever-improving record of both natural events and human activity for the past 150 years.

Scientists integrate these measurements into climate models to recreate temperatures recorded over the past 150 years. Climate model simulations that consider only natural solar variability and volcanic aerosols since 1750—omitting observed increases in greenhouse gases—are able to fit the observations of global temperatures only up until about 1950. After that point, the decadal trend in global surface warming cannot be explained without including the contribution of the greenhouse gases added by humans.

Though people have had the largest impact on our climate since 1950, natural changes to Earth’s climate have also occurred in recent times. For example, two major volcanic eruptions, El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991, pumped sulfur dioxide gas high into the atmosphere. The gas was converted into tiny particles that lingered for more than a year, reflecting sunlight and shading Earth’s surface. Temperatures across the globe dipped for two to three years.

Graphs of the magnitudes of natural and anthropogenic influences on climate from 1889 to 2006.

Although Earth’s temperature fluctuates naturally, human influence on climate has eclipsed the magnitude of natural temperature changes over the past 120 years. Natural influences on temperature—El Niño, solar variability, and volcanic aerosols—have varied approximately plus and minus 0.2° C (0.4° F), (averaging to about zero), while human influences have contributed roughly 0.8° C (1° F) of warming since 1889. (Graphs adapted from Lean et al., 2008.)

Although volcanoes are active around the world, and continue to emit carbon dioxide as they did in the past, the amount of carbon dioxide they release is extremely small compared to human emissions. On average, volcanoes emit between 130 and 230 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. By burning fossil fuels, people release in excess of 100 times more, about 26 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere every year (as of 2005). As a result, human activity overshadows any contribution volcanoes may have made to recent global warming.

Changes in the brightness of the Sun can influence the climate from decade to decade, but an increase in solar output falls short as an explanation for recent warming. NASA satellites have been measuring the Sun’s output since 1978. The total energy the Sun radiates varies over an 11-year cycle. During solar maxima, solar energy is approximately 0.1 percent higher on average than it is during solar minima.

Extreme ultraviolet images of the sun during Solar Max and Solar Minimum.

The transparent halo known as the solar corona changes between solar maximum (left) and solar minimum (right). (NASA Extreme Ultraviolet Telescope images from the SOHO Data Archive. )

Each cycle exhibits subtle differences in intensity and duration. As of early 2010, the solar brightness since 2005 has been slightly lower, not higher, than it was during the previous 11-year minimum in solar activity, which occurred in the late 1990s. This implies that the Sun’s impact between 2005 and 2010 might have been to slightly decrease the warming that greenhouse emissions alone would have caused.

Graph of total solar irradiance from 1978 to 2010.

Satellite measurements of daily (light line) and monthly average (dark line) total solar irradiance since 1979 have not detected a clear long-term trend. (NASA graph by Robert Simmon, based on data from the ACRIM Science Team. )

Scientists theorize that there may be a multi-decadal trend in solar output, though if one exists, it has not been observed as yet. Even if the Sun were getting brighter, however, the pattern of warming observed on Earth since 1950 does not match the type of warming the Sun alone would cause. When the Sun’s energy is at its peak (solar maxima), temperatures in both the lower atmosphere (troposphere) and the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) become warmer. Instead, observations show the pattern expected from greenhouse gas effects: Earth’s surface and troposphere have warmed, but the stratosphere has cooled.

Graph of tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures from 1978 to 2010.

Satellite measurements show warming in the troposphere (lower atmosphere, green line) but cooling in the stratosphere (upper atmosphere, red line). This vertical pattern is consistent with global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases, but inconsistent with warming from natural causes. (Graph by Robert Simmon, based on data from Remote Sensing Systems, sponsored by the NOAA Climate and Global Change Program.)

The stratosphere gets warmer during solar maxima because the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet light; more ultraviolet light during solar maxima means warmer temperatures. Ozone depletion explains the biggest part of the cooling of the stratosphere over recent decades, but it can’t account for all of it. Increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the troposphere and stratosphere together contribute to cooling in the stratosphere.

To further explore the causes and effects of global warming and to predict future warming, scientists build climate models—computer simulations of the climate system. Climate models are designed to simulate the responses and interactions of the oceans and atmosphere, and to account for changes to the land surface, both natural and human-induced. They comply with fundamental laws of physics—conservation of energy, mass, and momentum—and account for dozens of factors that influence Earth’s climate.

Though the models are complicated, rigorous tests with real-world data hone them into powerful tools that allow scientists to explore our understanding of climate in ways not otherwise possible. By experimenting with the models—removing greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of fossil fuels or changing the intensity of the Sun to see how each influences the climate—scientists use the models to better understand Earth’s current climate and to predict future climate.

The models predict that as the world consumes ever more fossil fuel, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise, and Earth’s average surface temperature will rise with them. Based on a range of plausible emission scenarios, average surface temperatures could rise between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century.

Graph of predicted temperature change based on 4 scenarios of carbon dioxide emissions.

Model simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that Earth will warm between two and six degrees Celsius over the next century, depending on how fast carbon dioxide emissions grow. Scenarios that assume that people will burn more and more fossil fuel provide the estimates in the top end of the temperature range, while scenarios that assume that greenhouse gas emissions will grow slowly give lower temperature predictions. The orange line provides an estimate of global temperatures if greenhouse gases stayed at year 2000 levels. (©2007 IPCC WG1 AR-4.)

Climate Feedbacks

Greenhouse gases are only part of the story when it comes to global warming. Changes to one part of the climate system can cause additional changes to the way the planet absorbs or reflects energy. These secondary changes are called climate feedbacks, and they could more than double the amount of warming caused by carbon dioxide alone. The primary feedbacks are due to snow and ice, water vapor, clouds, and the carbon cycle.

Snow and ice

Perhaps the most well known feedback comes from melting snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere. Warming temperatures are already melting a growing percentage of Arctic sea ice, exposing dark ocean water during the perpetual sunlight of summer. Snow cover on land is also dwindling in many areas. In the absence of snow and ice, these areas go from having bright, sunlight-reflecting surfaces that cool the planet to having dark, sunlight-absorbing surfaces that bring more energy into the Earth system and cause more warming.

Photograph of the retreating Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Canada.

Canada’s Athabasca Glacier has been shrinking by about 15 meters per year. In the past 125 years, the glacier has lost half its volume and has retreated more than 1.5 kilometers. As glaciers retreat, sea ice disappears, and snow melts earlier in the spring, the Earth absorbs more sunlight than it would if the reflective snow and ice remained. (Photograph ©2005 Hugh Saxby. )

Water Vapor

The largest feedback is water vapor. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas. In fact, because of its abundance in the atmosphere, water vapor causes about two-thirds of greenhouse warming, a key factor in keeping temperatures in the habitable range on Earth. But as temperatures warm, more water vapor evaporates from the surface into the atmosphere, where it can cause temperatures to climb further.

The question that scientists ask is, how much water vapor will be in the atmosphere in a warming world? The atmosphere currently has an average equilibrium or balance between water vapor concentration and temperature. As temperatures warm, the atmosphere becomes capable of containing more water vapor, and so water vapor concentrations go up to regain equilibrium. Will that trend hold as temperatures continue to warm?

The amount of water vapor that enters the atmosphere ultimately determines how much additional warming will occur due to the water vapor feedback. The atmosphere responds quickly to the water vapor feedback. So far, most of the atmosphere has maintained a near constant balance between temperature and water vapor concentration as temperatures have gone up in recent decades. If this trend continues, and many models say that it will, water vapor has the capacity to double the warming caused by carbon dioxide alone.

Closely related to the water vapor feedback is the cloud feedback. Clouds cause cooling by reflecting solar energy, but they also cause warming by absorbing infrared energy (like greenhouse gases) from the surface when they are over areas that are warmer than they are. In our current climate, clouds have a cooling effect overall, but that could change in a warmer environment.

Astronaut photograph of clouds over Florida.

Clouds can both cool the planet (by reflecting visible light from the sun) and warm the planet (by absorbing heat radiation emitted by the surface). On balance, clouds slightly cool the Earth. (NASA Astronaut Photograph STS31-E-9552 courtesy Johnson space Center Earth Observations Lab. )

If clouds become brighter, or the geographical extent of bright clouds expands, they will tend to cool Earth’s surface. Clouds can become brighter if more moisture converges in a particular region or if more fine particles (aerosols) enter the air. If fewer bright clouds form, it will contribute to warming from the cloud feedback.

See Ship Tracks South of Alaska to learn how aerosols can make clouds brighter.

Clouds, like greenhouse gases, also absorb and re-emit infrared energy. Low, warm clouds emit more energy than high, cold clouds. However, in many parts of the world, energy emitted by low clouds can be absorbed by the abundant water vapor above them. Further, low clouds often have nearly the same temperatures as the Earth’s surface, and so emit similar amounts of infrared energy. In a world without low clouds, the amount of emitted infrared energy escaping to space would not be too different from a world with low clouds.

Thermal infrared image of the Western Hemisphere from GOES.

Clouds emit thermal infrared (heat) radiation in proportion to their temperature, which is related to altitude. This image shows the Western Hemisphere in the thermal infrared. Warm ocean and land surface areas are white and light gray; cool, low-level clouds are medium gray; and cold, high-altitude clouds are dark gray and black. (NASA image courtesy GOES Project Science. )

High cold clouds, however, form in a part of the atmosphere where energy-absorbing water vapor is scarce. These clouds trap (absorb) energy coming from the lower atmosphere, and emit little energy to space because of their frigid temperatures. In a world with high clouds, a significant amount of energy that would otherwise escape to space is captured in the atmosphere. As a result, global temperatures are higher than in a world without high clouds.

If warmer temperatures result in a greater amount of high clouds, then less infrared energy will be emitted to space. In other words, more high clouds would enhance the greenhouse effect, reducing the Earth’s capability to cool and causing temperatures to warm.

See Clouds and Radiation for a more complete description.

Scientists aren’t entirely sure where and to what degree clouds will end up amplifying or moderating warming, but most climate models predict a slight overall positive feedback or amplification of warming due to a reduction in low cloud cover. A recent observational study found that fewer low, dense clouds formed over a region in the Pacific Ocean when temperatures warmed, suggesting a positive cloud feedback in this region as the models predicted. Such direct observational evidence is limited, however, and clouds remain the biggest source of uncertainty--apart from human choices to control greenhouse gases—in predicting how much the climate will change.

The Carbon Cycle

Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and warming temperatures are causing changes in the Earth’s natural carbon cycle that also can feedback on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. For now, primarily ocean water, and to some extent ecosystems on land, are taking up about half of our fossil fuel and biomass burning emissions. This behavior slows global warming by decreasing the rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase, but that trend may not continue. Warmer ocean waters will hold less dissolved carbon, leaving more in the atmosphere.

Map of anthropogenic carbon dissolved in the oceans.

About half the carbon dioxide emitted into the air from burning fossil fuels dissolves in the ocean. This map shows the total amount of human-made carbon dioxide in ocean water from the surface to the sea floor. Blue areas have low amounts, while yellow regions are rich in anthropogenic carbon dioxide. High amounts occur where currents carry the carbon-dioxide-rich surface water into the ocean depths. (Map adapted from Sabine et al., 2004.)

See The Ocean’s Carbon Balance on the Earth Observatory.

On land, changes in the carbon cycle are more complicated. Under a warmer climate, soils, especially thawing Arctic tundra, could release trapped carbon dioxide or methane to the atmosphere. Increased fire frequency and insect infestations also release more carbon as trees burn or die and decay.

On the other hand, extra carbon dioxide can stimulate plant growth in some ecosystems, allowing these plants to take additional carbon out of the atmosphere. However, this effect may be reduced when plant growth is limited by water, nitrogen, and temperature. This effect may also diminish as carbon dioxide increases to levels that become saturating for photosynthesis. Because of these complications, it is not clear how much additional carbon dioxide plants can take out of the atmosphere and how long they could continue to do so.

The impact of climate change on the land carbon cycle is extremely complex, but on balance, land carbon sinks will become less efficient as plants reach saturation, where they can no longer take up additional carbon dioxide, and other limitations on growth occur, and as land starts to add more carbon to the atmosphere from warming soil, fires, and insect infestations. This will result in a faster increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and more rapid global warming. In some climate models, carbon cycle feedbacks from both land and ocean add more than a degree Celsius to global temperatures by 2100.

Emission Scenarios

Scientists predict the range of likely temperature increase by running many possible future scenarios through climate models. Although some of the uncertainty in climate forecasts comes from imperfect knowledge of climate feedbacks, the most significant source of uncertainty in these predictions is that scientists don’t know what choices people will make to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The higher estimates are made on the assumption that the entire world will continue using more and more fossil fuel per capita, a scenario scientists call “business-as-usual.” More modest estimates come from scenarios in which environmentally friendly technologies such as fuel cells, solar panels, and wind energy replace much of today’s fossil fuel combustion.

It takes decades to centuries for Earth to fully react to increases in greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, among other greenhouse gases, will remain in the atmosphere long after emissions are reduced, contributing to continuing warming. In addition, as Earth has warmed, much of the excess energy has gone into heating the upper layers of the ocean. Like a hot water bottle on a cold night, the heated ocean will continue warming the lower atmosphere well after greenhouse gases have stopped increasing.

These considerations mean that people won’t immediately see the impact of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Even if greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized today, the planet would continue to warm by about 0.6°C over the next century because of greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere.

See Earth’s Big Heat Bucket, Correcting Ocean Cooling, and Climate Q&A: If we immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases, would global warming stop? to learn more about the ocean heat and global warming.

How Will Global Warming Change Earth?

The impact of increased surface temperatures is significant in itself. But global warming will have additional, far-reaching effects on the planet. Warming modifies rainfall patterns, amplifies coastal erosion, lengthens the growing season in some regions, melts ice caps and glaciers, and alters the ranges of some infectious diseases. Some of these changes are already occurring.

Photograph of Lake Powell showing the bathtub ring exposed by the low lake level.

Global warming will shift major climate patterns, possibly prolonging and intensifying the current drought in the U.S. Southwest. The white ring of bleached rock on the once-red cliffs that hold Lake Powell indicate the drop in water level over the past decade—the result of repeated winters with low snowfall. (Photograph ©2006 Tigresblanco. )

Changing Weather

For most places, global warming will result in more frequent hot days and fewer cool days, with the greatest warming occurring over land. Longer, more intense heat waves will become more common. Storms, floods, and droughts will generally be more severe as precipitation patterns change. Hurricanes may increase in intensity due to warmer ocean surface temperatures.

Maps of predicted future precipitation based on global circulation models.

Apart from driving temperatures up, global warming is likely to cause bigger, more destructive storms, leading to an overall increase in precipitation. With some exceptions, the tropics will likely receive less rain (orange) as the planet warms, while the polar regions will receive more precipitation (green). White areas indicate that fewer than two-thirds of the climate models agreed on how precipitation will change. Stippled areas reveal where more than 90 percent of the models agreed. (©2007 IPCC WG1 AR-4.)

It is impossible to pin any single unusual weather event on global warming, but emerging evidence suggests that global warming is already influencing the weather. Heat waves, droughts, and intense rain events have increased in frequency during the last 50 years, and human-induced global warming more likely than not contributed to the trend.

Rising Sea Levels

The weather isn’t the only thing global warming will impact: rising sea levels will erode coasts and cause more frequent coastal flooding. Some island nations will disappear. The problem is serious because up to 10 percent of the world’s population lives in vulnerable areas less than 10 meters (about 30 feet) above sea level.

Between 1870 and 2000, the sea level increased by 1.7 millimeters per year on average, for a total sea level rise of 221 millimeters (0.7 feet or 8.7 inches). And the rate of sea level rise is accelerating. Since 1993, NASA satellites have shown that sea levels are rising more quickly, about 3 millimeters per year, for a total sea level rise of 48 millimeters (0.16 feet or 1.89 inches) between 1993 and 2009.

Graph of average global sea level since 1880.

Sea levels crept up about 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) during the twentieth century. Sea levels are predicted to go up between 18 and 59 cm (7.1 and 23 inches) over the next century, though the increase could be greater if ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melt more quickly than predicted. Higher sea levels will erode coastlines and cause more frequent flooding. (Graph ©2007 Robert Rohde. )

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that sea levels will rise between 0.18 and 0.59 meters (0.59 to 1.9 feet) by 2099 as warming sea water expands, and mountain and polar glaciers melt. These sea level change predictions may be underestimates, however, because they do not account for any increases in the rate at which the world’s major ice sheets are melting. As temperatures rise, ice will melt more quickly. Satellite measurements reveal that the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets are shedding about 125 billion tons of ice per year—enough to raise sea levels by 0.35 millimeters (0.01 inches) per year. If the melting accelerates, the increase in sea level could be significantly higher.

Impacting Ecosystems

More importantly, perhaps, global warming is already putting pressure on ecosystems, the plants and animals that co-exist in a particular climate zone, both on land and in the ocean. Warmer temperatures have already shifted the growing season in many parts of the globe. The growing season in parts of the Northern Hemisphere became two weeks longer in the second half of the 20th century. Spring is coming earlier in both hemispheres.

This change in the growing season affects the broader ecosystem. Migrating animals have to start seeking food sources earlier. The shift in seasons may already be causing the lifecycles of pollinators, like bees, to be out of synch with flowering plants and trees. This mismatch can limit the ability of both pollinators and plants to survive and reproduce, which would reduce food availability throughout the food chain.

See Buzzing About Climate Change to read more about how the lifecycle of bees is synched with flowering plants.

Warmer temperatures also extend the growing season. This means that plants need more water to keep growing throughout the season or they will dry out, increasing the risk of failed crops and wildfires. Once the growing season ends, shorter, milder winters fail to kill dormant insects, increasing the risk of large, damaging infestations in subsequent seasons.

In some ecosystems, maximum daily temperatures might climb beyond the tolerance of indigenous plant or animal. To survive the extreme temperatures, both marine and land-based plants and animals have started to migrate towards the poles. Those species, and in some cases, entire ecosystems, that cannot quickly migrate or adapt, face extinction. The IPCC estimates that 20-30 percent of plant and animal species will be at risk of extinction if temperatures climb more than 1.5° to 2.5°C.

Impacting People

The changes to weather and ecosystems will also affect people more directly. Hardest hit will be those living in low-lying coastal areas, and residents of poorer countries who do not have the resources to adapt to changes in temperature extremes and water resources. As tropical temperature zones expand, the reach of some infectious diseases, such as malaria, will change. More intense rains and hurricanes and rising sea levels will lead to more severe flooding and potential loss of property and life.

Photograph of beach erosion in Massachusetts, 2007.

One inevitable consequence of global warming is sea-level rise. In the face of higher sea levels and more intense storms, coastal communities face greater risk of rapid beach erosion from destructive storms like the intense nor’easter of April 2007 that caused this damage. (Photograph ©2007 metimbers2000. )

Hotter summers and more frequent fires will lead to more cases of heat stroke and deaths, and to higher levels of near-surface ozone and smoke, which would cause more ‘code red’ air quality days. Intense droughts can lead to an increase in malnutrition. On a longer time scale, fresh water will become scarcer, especially during the summer, as mountain glaciers disappear, particularly in Asia and parts of North America.

On the flip side, there could be “winners” in a few places. For example, as long as the rise in global average temperature stays below 3 degrees Celsius, some models predict that global food production could increase because of the longer growing season at mid- to high-latitudes, provided adequate water resources are available. The same small change in temperature, however, would reduce food production at lower latitudes, where many countries already face food shortages. On balance, most research suggests that the negative impacts of a changing climate far outweigh the positive impacts. Current civilization—agriculture and population distribution—has developed based on the current climate. The more the climate changes, and the more rapidly it changes, the greater the cost of adaptation.

Ultimately, global warming will impact life on Earth in many ways, but the extent of the change is largely up to us. Scientists have shown that human emissions of greenhouse gases are pushing global temperatures up, and many aspects of climate are responding to the warming in the way that scientists predicted they would. This offers hope. Since people are causing global warming, people can mitigate global warming, if they act in time. Greenhouse gases are long-lived, so the planet will continue to warm and changes will continue to happen far into the future, but the degree to which global warming changes life on Earth depends on our decisions now.

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Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction

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What are the main indicators of climate change, what is the greenhouse effect, the greenhouse effect is natural. what do we have to do with it, the climate has always varied in the past. how is this any different, doesn’t recent record cold weather disprove global warming, has global warming paused due to recent surface temperature drops, most global warming is going into the oceans, 2014 warmest year since records began, rapid changes in global temperature, small average global temperature change can have a big impact, super-storms, extreme weather events on the increase, ecosystem impacts, rising sea levels, increasing ocean acidification, increase in pests and disease, failing agricultural output; increase in world hunger, agriculture and livelihoods are already being affected, women face brunt of climate change impacts, differences in greenhouse gas emission around the world, the united states is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases per capita, the previously 15-member european union is also large emitter, stalling kyoto protocol gets push by russia, canada pulls out of kyoto, rich nation emissions have been rising, rich nations have outsourced their carbon emissions, developing countries affected most, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, bush administration accused of silencing its own climate scientists, many sources of greenhouse gases being discovered, warming happening more quickly than predicted, what is global warming and climate change.

Global warming and climate change refer to an increase in average global temperatures. Natural events and human activities are believed to be contributing to an increase in average global temperatures. This is caused primarily by increases in greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ).

A warming planet thus leads to a change in climate which can affect weather in various ways, as discussed further below.

As explained by the US agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there are 7 indicators that would be expected to increase in a warming world (and they are), and 3 indicators would be expected to decrease (and they are):

The term greenhouse is used in conjunction with the phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect .

Six main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), methane (CH 4 ) (which is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide) and nitrous oxide (N 2 O), plus three fluorinated industrial gases: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF 6 ). Water vapor is also considered a greenhouse gas.

Many of these greenhouse gases are actually life-enabling, for without them, heat would escape back into space and the Earth’s average temperature would be a lot colder.

However, if the greenhouse effect becomes stronger, then more heat gets trapped than needed, and the Earth might become less habitable for humans, plants and animals.

Carbon dioxide, though not the most potent of greenhouse gases, is the most significant one . Human activity has caused an imbalance in the natural cycle of the greenhouse effect and related processes. NASA’s Earth Observatory is worth quoting the effect human activity is having on the natural carbon cycle, for example:

In addition to the natural fluxes of carbon through the Earth system, anthropogenic (human) activities, particularly fossil fuel burning and deforestation, are also releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When we mine coal and extract oil from the Earth’s crust, and then burn these fossil fuels for transportation, heating, cooking, electricity, and manufacturing, we are effectively moving carbon more rapidly into the atmosphere than is being removed naturally through the sedimentation of carbon, ultimately causing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to increase. Also, by clearing forests to support agriculture, we are transferring carbon from living biomass into the atmosphere (dry wood is about 50 percent carbon). The result is that humans are adding ever-increasing amounts of extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Because of this, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are higher today than they have been over the last half-million years or longer.

Another way of looking at this is with a simple analogy: consider salt and human health:

In a similar way, greenhouse gases are essential for our planet; the planet may be able to deal with slightly increased levels of such gases, but too much will affect the health of the whole planet.

The other difference between the natural carbon cycle and human-induced climate change is that the latter is rapid . This means that ecosystems have less chance of adapting to the changes that will result and so the effects felt will be worse and more dramatic it things continue along the current trajectory.

Throughout Earth’s history the climate has varied, sometimes considerably. Past warming does not automatically mean that today’s warming is therefore also natural. Recent warming has been shown to be due to human industrialization processes.

John Cook, writing the popular Skeptical Science blog, summarizes the key indicators of a human finger print on climate change:

This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO 2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution:

The above covers hundreds of thousands of years and shows how atmospheric CO 2 levels have dramatically increased in recent years. If we zoom in on just the past 250 years, we see the following:

NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) tracks atmospheric global temperature climate trends. As environmental engineer, D Kelly O’Day, explained on ProcessingTrends.com (link no longer available): To facilitate assessments of long term trends, climatologists compare the mean for a base period with the annual mean. Differences between the annual mean and baseline mean are called anomalies. GISS uses the 1951 - 1980 period for their baseline period. They use the difference between the annual mean and the baseline mean to determine the global temperature anomaly for the year.

O’Day originally produced a chart showing global temperature anomalies between 1800 and 2006 using data from NASA. I updated the chart he provided to include recently updated data up to 2014:

In the 1880 - 1935 period, the temperature anomaly was consistently negative. In contrast, the since 1980 the anomaly has been consistently positive. The 1909 temperature anomaly (-0.47oC) was the lowest year on record. Since 1909, global temperature has warmed, with the most recent years showing the highest anomalies of +0.6 oC in the past 120 years.

A NASA’s GISS animation also shows how most parts of the world have experienced this warming, recently:

And, as Sir David Attenborough explains, natural variability alone does not explain recent temperature rise:

As well as the links above, see also Skeptical Science , which, while examining the arguments of global warming skepticism, provides information on causes of anthropogenic global warming.

In different parts of the world, there have been various weather events that at first thought would question global warming. For example, some regions have experienced extremely cold winters (sometimes record-breaking), while others have experienced heavy rain, etc.

The confusion that sometimes arises is the difference between climate change and weather patterns. Weather patterns describe short term events, while climate change is a longer process that affects the weather. A warming planet is actually consistent with increasing cold, increasing rain and other extremes, as an overall warmer planet changes weather patterns everywhere at all times of the year.

To get an idea of how looking at short term changes only can lead to a conclusion that global warming has stopped, or doesn’t exist, see Alden Griffith’s has global warming stopped ?

(As an aside, those crying foul of global warming claims when going through extremely cold weather in Europe for example in 2010, later found their summers to be full of heat waves. The point here is that a specific short period such as a cold winter — or even a hot summer — is not proof alone that global warming has stopped (or increased); short term variability can mask longer term trends.)

This means, for example, increasing temperatures can actually mean more snowfall — at least until it becomes too warm for significant snowfall to happen.

The additional concern, as meteorology professor Scott Mandia explains, it can take decades for the climate temperatures to increase in response to increased greenhouse gas emissions . So up until now, perhaps it has been easier for skeptics to deny climate change is occurring or that humans are responsible.

As the IPCC’s fifth major report draws to a conclusion in 2013 it notes that scientists have increased their certainty of human-induced warming to 95%. It was extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century , as summarized by the IPCC.

As their fifth report started to come out, a number of climate skeptics and media outlets were arguing that the slowdown shown in surface temperatures in recent years proved global warming had stopped or paused. Yet, this slowdown was in surface temperatures only even though the overall trend (using a more longer period which is more valid in climate change analysis) showed an increase in temperatures. Two simple graphs help illustrate this:

The next graph is an animation from Skeptical Science showing how time-frames to interpret climate data is significant:

For further information on the above see also Does the global warming pause mean what you think it means? , from Skeptical Science.

As this infographic shows, most of the warming is going into the oceans:

As John Cook, creator of the graphic above says (see above link), Just as it takes time for a cup of coffee to release heat into the air, so to it takes time for the ocean to release its heat into the atmosphere. .

The implications of this is further explained with Inter Press Service’s freezer analogy: The world’s northern freezer is on rapid defrost as large volumes of warm water are pouring into the Arctic Ocean, speeding the melt of sea ice .

Indeed, as this chart also shows, the warming in the oceans has been occurring for quite some time:

One of John Bruno’s colleagues, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, talks about the impact climate change will have on ocean ecosystems. A summary of the video here says that

Rapidly rising greenhouse gas concentrations are driving ocean systems toward conditions not seen for millions of years, with an associated risk of fundamental and irreversible ecological transformation. Changes in biological function in the ocean caused by anthropogenic climate change go far beyond death, extinctions and habitat loss: fundamental processes are being altered, community assemblages are being reorganized and ecological surprises are likely.

D. Salmons also has a post at Skeptical Science that explains the impact of warming Arctic’s relation to the very cold recent winters further, using the following NASA map:

As Salmons explains,

the Arctic has been heating up, and studies show that is happening at two to three times the global average. This rising temperature in the Arctic has served to reduce the region’s floating ice layer by more than 20%. And as you would expect, when the reflective ice and snow layer is stripped away, it leaves a dark blue sea. Now, what does the effect of the dark blue sea being exposed have on the Arctic area? Well, the ice and snow layer reflects the majority of the sun’s rays harmlessly back into space. But the dark blue of the exposed sea absorbs the rays, aiding the heating process.

NASA’s GISS Surface Temperature Analysis graph shown earlier (from 1800 to 2014) shows that temperature anomalies since 1980 have all been positive; i.e. it has been constantly hotter than normal.

As the same data shows, the hottest years have all been since 1998:

Back to top

What are the impacts of Global Warming?

For decades, greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide have been increasing in the atmosphere. But why does that matter? Won’t warmer weather be nicer for everyone?

Increased greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect has contributed to an overall warming of the Earth’s climate, leading to a global warming (even though some regions may experience cooling, or wetter weather, while the temperature of the planet on average would rise).

Consider also the following:

While year-to-year changes in temperature often reflect natural climatic variations such as El Niño/La Niña events, changes in average temperature from decade-to-decade reveal long-term trends such as global warming. Each of the last three decades has been much warmer than the decade before. At the time, the 1980s was the hottest decade on record. In the 1990s, every year was warmer than the average of the previous decade. The 2000s were warmer still.

At the end of the 1990s, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) had noted that not only was the 1990s the warmest decade but at the time, the 1900s was the warmest century during the last 1,000 years.

It is the rapid pace at which the temperature will rise that will result in many negative impacts to humans and the environment and this why there is such a world-wide concern.

Climate scientists admit that the chances of the world keeping average global temperature at current levels are not going to be possible (humanity has done little to address things in the past couple of decades that these concerns have been known about).

So, now, there is a push to contain temperature rises to an average 2°C increase (as an average, this means some regions may get higher temperatures and others, lower).

Even just a 2°C increase can have impacts around the world to biodiversity, agriculture, the oceans etc (detailed further below). But in the lead up to important global climate talks at the end of 2009, some delegates are skeptical that temperature rises can be contained to a 2°C rise (or C0 2 levels of 350 ppm ) .

On October 22, 2009, the British Government and the UK’s Met Office (UK’s National Weather Service) unveiled a new map, showing what would happen if we allowed average global temperatures to increase to 4°C above pre-industrial levels (the high end of the UN IPCC projections ):

In short, we would not be able to cope with a 4°C average increase .

As the Met Office noted,

The poster shows that a four degree average rise will not be spread uniformly across the globe. The land will heat up more quickly than the sea, and high latitudes, particularly the Arctic, will have larger temperature increases. The average land temperature will be 5.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The impacts on human activity shown on the map are only a selection…. Agricultural yields are expected to decrease for all major cereal crops in all major regions of production. Half of all Himalayan glaciers will be significantly reduced by 2050, leading to 23% of the population of China being deprived of the vital dry season glacial melt water source.

Extreme Weather Patterns

Most scientists believe that the warming of the climate will lead to more extreme weather patterns such as:

While many environmental groups have been warning about extreme weather conditions for a few years, the World Meteorological Organization announced in July 2003 that Recent scientific assessments indicate that, as the global temperatures continue to warm due to climate change, the number and intensity of extreme events might increase.

The WMO also notes that New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years the number of such extremes have been increasing. (The WMO limits the definition of extreme events to high temperatures, low temperatures and high rainfall amounts and droughts.) The U.K’s Independent newspaper described the WMO’s announcement as unprecedented and astonishing because it came from a respected United Nations organization not an environmental group!

Mentioned further above was the concern that more hurricanes could result. The link used was from the environmental organization WWF, written back in 1999. In August/September 2004 a wave of severe hurricanes left many Caribbean islands and parts of South Eastern United States devastated. In the Caribbean many lives were lost and there was immense damage to entire cities. In the U.S. many lives were lost as well, some of the most expensive damage resulted from the successive hurricanes.

In its wake, scientists have reiterated that such super-storms may be a sign of things to come. Global warming may spawn more super-storms , Inter Press Service (IPS) notes.

Interviewing a biological oceanography professor at Harvard University, IPS notes that the world’s oceans are approaching 27 degrees C or warmer during the summer. This increases the odds of major storms.

Furthermore, as emissions of greenhouse gases continue to trap more and more of the sun’s energy, that energy has to be dissipated, resulting in stronger storms, more intense precipitation and higher winds.

There is abundant evidence of an unprecedented number of severe weather events in the past decade, [professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University, James] McCarthy says. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch killed nearly 20,000 people in Central America, and more than 4,000 people died during disastrous flooding in China. Bangladesh suffered some of its worst floods ever the following year, as did Venezuela. Europe was hit with record floods in 2002, and then a record heat wave in 2003. More recently, Brazil was struck by the first-ever recorded hurricane in the South Atlantic last March. Weather records are being set all the time now. We’re in an era of unprecedented extreme weather events, McCarthy said. Historical weather patterns are becoming less useful for predicting the future conditions because global warming is changing ocean and atmospheric conditions. In 30 to 50 years’ time, the Earth’s weather generating system will be entirely different, he predicted.

Looking at 2010 as a whole year revealed a variety of extreme weather events. A panel of climate and weather experts ranked the top 10 global weather/climate events of 2010 which included heat waves to droughts to negative arctic oscillation (a climate pattern where cold Arctic air slides south while warmer air moves north, bringing snow storms and record cold temperatures to much of the Northern Hemisphere) show that a variety of weather events can occur as a result of changing climate:

With global warming on the increase and species’ habitats on the decrease, the chances for various ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing.

Many studies have pointed out that the rates of extinction of animal and plant species, and the temperature changes around the world since the industrial revolution , have been significantly different to normal expectations.

An analysis of population trends, climate change, increasing pollution and emerging diseases found that 40 percent of deaths in the world could be attributed to environmental factors.

Jaan Suurkula, M.D. and chairman of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology ( PSRAST ), paints a dire picture, but notes that he is only citing observations and conclusions from established experts and institutions. Those observations and conclusions note that global warming will lead to the following situations, amongst others:

The vicious circle Suurkula refers to is worth expanding. In his own words, but slightly reformatted:

The ongoing accumulation of greenhouse gasses causes increasing global warming. This causes a more extensive destruction of ozone in the polar regions because of accentuated stratospheric cooling. An increase of ozone destruction increases the UV-radiation that, combined with higher ocean temperature, causes a reduction of the gigantic carbon dioxide trapping mechanism of the oceanic phytoplankton biomass; This accentuates the warming process. When the warming has reached a certain level, it will release huge amounts of greenhouse gasses trapped in the permafrost. This will enhance the global warming, and the polar destruction of ozone, and so on. The observed decrease of the thermohaline circulation [the various streams that transport warm and cold waters around the world and therefore has an important stabilizing effect on world climate] further aggravates the situation. This is a global self-reinforcing vicious circle accelerating the global warming.

Water expands when heated, and sea levels are expected to rise due to climate change. Rising sea levels will also result as the polar caps begin to melt.

Rising sea levels is already affecting many small islands .

The WorldWatch Institute reports that [t]he Earth’s ice cover is melting in more places and at higher rates than at any time since record keeping began . (March 6, 2000).

Rising sea levels will impact many coastlines, and a large mass of humanity lives near the coasts or by major rivers. Analysis by the World Wildlife Fund has found that many cities are unprepared for climate change effects such as rising sea levels.

Although it has gained less mainstream media attention, the effects of increasing greenhouse emissions — in particular carbon dioxide — on the oceans may well be significant.

As explained by the US agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the basic chemistry of ocean acidification is well understood.

These are the 3 main concepts:

Scientists have found that oceans are able to absorb some of the excess CO 2 released by human activity. This has helped keep the planet cooler than it otherwise could have been had these gases remained in the atmosphere.

However, the additional excess CO 2 being absorbed is also resulting in the acidification of the oceans: When CO 2 reacts with water it produces a weak acid called carbonic acid, changing the sea water chemistry. As the Global Biodiversity Outlook report explains, the water is some 30% more acidic than pre-industrial times, depleting carbonate ions — the building blocks for many marine organisms.

In addition, concentrations of carbonate ions are now lower than at any time during the last 800,000 years. The impacts on ocean biological diversity and ecosystem functioning will likely be severe, though the precise timing and distribution of these impacts are uncertain. (See p. 58 of the report.)

Although millions of years ago CO 2 levels were higher, today’s change is occurring rapidly , giving many marine organisms too little time to adapt . Some marine creatures are growing thinner shells or skeletons, for example. Some of these creatures play a crucial role in the food chain, and in ecosystem biodiversity.

Some species may benefit from the extra carbon dioxide, and a few years ago scientists and organizations, such as the European Project on OCean Acidification , formed to try to understand and assess the impacts further.

One example of recent findings is a tiny sand grain-sized plankton responsible for the sequestration of 25–50% of the carbon the oceans absorb is affected by increasing ocean acidification . This tiny plankton plays a major role in keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations at much lower levels than they would be otherwise so large effects on them could be quite serious.

Other related problems reported by the Inter Press Service include more oceanic dead zones (areas where there is too little oxygen in the sea to support life) and the decline of important coastal plants and forests, such as mangrove forests that play an important role in carbon absorption. This is on top of the already declining ocean biodiversity that has been happening for a few decades, now.

Scientists now believe that ocean acidification is unparalleled in the last 300 million years , raising the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.

An increase in pests and disease is also feared.

A report in the journal Science in June 2002 described the alarming increase in the outbreaks and epidemics of diseases throughout the land and ocean based wildlife due to climate changes.

One of the authors points out that, Climate change is disrupting natural ecosystems in a way that is making life better for infectious diseases.

The Guardian summarizes a United Nations warning that, One in six countries in the world face food shortages this year because of severe droughts that could become semi-permanent under climate change.

Drought and desertification are starting to spread and intensify in some parts of the world already.

Failing agriculture in the future have long been predicted.

Looking to 2100, scientists who looked at projections of global warming’s impact on the average temperatures during the growing season fear that rising temperatures will have a significant impact upon crop yields , most noticeably in the tropics and sub tropics.

While warm weather can often be good for some crops, hotter than average temperatures for the entire season is often not good for plants.

This would affect at least half the world’s population that either live in the region or rely on food coming from that region.

IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks), part of the United Nations, has produced a series of short videos showing how some regions are already being affected by climate change and are trying to adapt as a result:

Changing crops

Melting glaciers, worsening floods, creeping deserts.

One example is farmers in Nepal finding that cultivating rice isn’t as productive as before, and are changing to other crops as a result:

In the Himalayas, melting glaciers means less water for local villages:

(South Asia in general is also seriously affected by rapidly retreating Himalayan glaciers which feed the mighty rivers that have created the various South Asian civilizations.)

In Mozambique, rains are becoming heavier and causing floods, which affect crops and people’s livelihoods as they are displaced and have to change their way of life quickly.

It is feared that globally, there will be mass migrations in the future as climate change makes conditions worse in some regions of the world, and these challenges will play itself out on a much larger scale, with much more human movement. (And if Western attitudes towards immigration are negative now, they could be even worse in the future.)

In Mauritania, by contrast, there is the problem of increasing desertification, creeping ever closer to people who have had to change their way of life, focusing more on searching for water.

In some cases, improved agricultural techniques may help, such as rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation. Some also believe genetically modified crops may be essential to deal with changing climates. Yet, there are many other crucial issues that affect agriculture, such as poverty , political and economic causes of world hunger , global trade policies (which create unequal trade and affect the poorest countries the most), etc.

See IRIN’s videos on climate change impacts in Africa and Asia for more short clips.

It is recognized that poorer nations will suffer the worst from climate change, either because of geographical reasons, and/or because they will have less resources to cope with a problem (mostly caused by emissions from rich countries over the past decades).

In addition to poor countries, women are likely to suffer the worst, as the United Nations Population fund explains:

Women—particularly those in poor countries—will be affected differently than men. They are among the most vulnerable to climate change, partly because in many countries they make up the larger share of the agricultural work force and partly because they tend to have access to fewer income-earning opportunities. Women manage households and care for family members, which often limits their mobility and increases their vulnerability to sudden weather-related natural disasters. Drought and erratic rainfall force women to work harder to secure food, water and energy for their homes. Girls drop out of school to help their mothers with these tasks. This cycle of deprivation, poverty and inequality undermines the social capital needed to deal effectively with climate change.

The UNFPA also captures this in some videos that accompanied their 2009 report.

The first one is the above-described effects occurring in rural areas of Bolivia. The second one is on the impact on women in Vietnam.

Greenhouse gases and emissions resulting from human activity

Every few years, leading climate scientists at the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have released major, definitive reports detailing the progress in understanding climate change. From the outset they have recommended that there be emission reductions. This body is comprised of hundreds of climate scientists around the world.

At the beginning of January 2007, the IPCC’s fourth major report summarized that they were even more certain than before of human-induced climate change because of better scientific understanding:

Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land-use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. … The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the Third Assessment Report (TAR), leading to very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming. Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

Their definition of very high confidence and very likely is a 90% chance of being correct. (Their 2001 report claimed a 66% certainty.)

This report was produced by some 600 authors from 40 countries. Over 620 expert reviewers and a large number of government reviewers also participated, according to the IPCC’s media advisory .

As Inter Press Service notes, although the IPCC has become the gold standard for global scientific collaboration, their reports are inherently conservative :

The IPCC operates under the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and does not fund any research itself. It collects, evaluates and synthesises scientific data. Any U.N. country can be a member of the IPCC and can challenge the findings in its reports. And consensus is required for every word in the Summary for Policy Makers section included in each report. It’s an inherently conservative process, with oil-rich countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia always trying to tone down the conclusions and emphasise uncertainties and unknowns, said Weaver.

As the World Resources Institute highlights there is a huge contrast between developed/industrialized nations and poorer developing countries in greenhouse emissions, as well as the reasons for those emissions. For example:

At the 1997 Kyoto Conference, industrialized countries were committed to an overall reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases to 5.2% below 1990 levels for the period 2008—2012. (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its 1990 report that a 60% reduction in emissions was needed…)

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is an organization — backed by the UN and various European governments — attempting to compile, build and make a compelling economics case for the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity.

In a report titled The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for National and International Policy Makers 2009 , TEEB noted different types of carbon emissions as colors of carbon :

But a mitigation approach needs to consider all these forms of carbon they note, not just one or two:

Past mitigation efforts concentrated on brown carbon, sometimes leading to land conversion for biofuel production which inadvertently increased emissions from green carbon. By halting the loss of green and blue carbon, the world could mitigate as much as 25% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with co-benefits for biodiversity, food security and livelihoods (IPCC 2007, Nellemann et al. 2009). This will only be possible if mitigation efforts accommodate all four carbon colors.

Around 2007, China surpassed the US as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases in terms of total output. Per person ( per capita ), however, China’s emissions are much smaller.

Until recently, the United States was the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. However, it remains the largest emitter when measured in terms of emissions per person.

Due to its much longer period of industrialization, the US has emitted far more into the atmosphere than China (greenhouse gases such as CO 2 linger on in the atmosphere for decades).

In addition, the US:

The previously 15 member-nations European Union (E.U.), if considered as a whole (for it is more comparable to the U.S.):

The Kyoto Protocol was the climate change treaty negotiated in 1997, setting targets for emissions of greenhouse gases.

In order to be binding under international law, the treaty would need ratification from the countries responsible for around 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions of 1990.

The U.S. being the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, pulled out in 2001, leaving treaty ratification dependent on Russia, responsible for 17% of world emissions. Russia has to cut emission levels from the Soviet days, and their emissions in the past decade has been far less, so it should not pose as much of a problem to reduce such emissions.

Noting the above, the BBC commented on this adding that Kyoto was only ever a first step — now discussions on the next, more stringent, target on greenhouse gas emissions can begin.

On December 13 2011, Canada pulled out of the Kyoto climate treaty — which it is legally allowed to do — to condemnation domestically and internationally. One of the main concerns had been the cost to the tax payer: (CAN)$14bn.

Yet, the economic costs of inaction are in the trillions :

(Some believe one of Canada’s motivations to leave Kyoto was on its desire to protect the lucrative but highly polluting exploitation of tar sands, the second biggest oil reserve in the world , as The Guardian had noted .)

The UNFCCC reported (November 17, 2008) that although industrialized nations have reduced emissions between 1990 and 2006, in recent years, between 2000 and 2006, greenhouse gas emissions have generally increased by 2.3% .

This is despite an overall decrease of 4.7% since 1990. However, the more recent period suggests the rich country emission reductions are not sustainable. Furthermore, it looks worse considering a large part of this decrease is because of the collapse of the Soviet Union. As transition economies started to recover around 2000, emissions have started to rise.

Some nations with large reductions are also seeing limits , for example:

(See also this Climate Change Performance Index from German Watch and Climate Action Network Europe, which attempts to rank over 57 nations that account for 90% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, including industrialized nations and emerging economies.)

Global trade is an important feature of the modern world. The production and global distribution of manufactured products thus form a large portion of global human carbon emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol assigns carbon emissions to countries based on where production takes place rather than where things are consumed.

For many years, critics of the Kyoto Protocol have long argued that this means rich countries, who have outsourced much of their manufacturing to developing nations have an accounting trick they can use to show more emissions reduction than developing nations.

The BBC noted back in 2005 that this outsourcing was already taking place , but this idea started way before the Kyoto Protocol came into being.

In 1991 Larry Summers, then Chief Economist for the World Bank (and US Treasury Secretary, in the Clinton Administration, until George Bush and the Republican party came into power), had been a strong backer of structural adjustment policies . He wrote in an internal memo:

Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of dirty industries to the LDCs [less developed countries]?… The economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable, and we should face up to that… Under-populated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City… The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostate cancer than in a country where under-five mortality is 200 per thousand.

Although the discussion above wasn’t about carbon emissions, the intention was the same: rather than directly address the problem, off-shoring dirty industries to the developing nations and let them deal with it.

More recently, The Guardian provided a useful summary of the impacts of this approach: carbon emissions cuts by developed countries since 1990 have been canceled out by increases in imported goods from developing countries — many times over.

They were summarizing global figures compiled and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US . And the findings seemed to vindicate what many environmental groups had said for many years about the Kyoto Protocol as noted earlier.

In more detail:

According to standard data, developed countries can claim to have reduced their collective emissions by almost 2% between 1990 and 2008. But once the carbon cost of imports have been added to each country, and exports subtracted – the true change has been an increase of 7%. If Russia and Ukraine – which cut their CO2 emissions rapidly in the 1990s due to economic collapse – are excluded, the rise is 12%. … Much of the increase in emissions in the developed world is due to the US, which promised a 7% cut under Kyoto but then did not to ratify the protocol. Emissions within its borders increased by 17% between 1990 and 2008 – and by 25% when imports and exports are factored in. In the same period, UK emissions fell by 28 million tonnes, but when imports and exports are taken into account, the domestic footprint has risen by more than 100 million tonnes. Europe achieved a 6% cut in CO2 emissions, but when outsourcing is considered that is reduced to 1%. … The study shows a very different picture for countries that export more carbon-intensive goods than they import. China, whose growth has been driven by export-based industries, is usually described as the world's largest emitter of CO2, but its footprint drops by almost a fifth when its imports and exports are taken into account, putting it firmly behind the US. China alone accounts for a massive 75% of the developed world's offshored emissions, according to the paper.

In addition, as Climate News Network notes, Asian countries have been cutting emissions faster than Europe and the US . At the same time, there are signs of progress in Europe and the US, too. Germany for example is known to be pushing for renewables more than most. While recently the US has seen a drop in carbon emissions while seeing some economic growth.

It has been known for some time know that developing countries will be affected the most. Reasons vary from lacking resources to cope, compared to developed nations, immense poverty, regions that many developing countries are in happen to be the ones where severe weather will hit the most, small island nations area already seeing sea level rising, and so on.

German Watch published a Global Climate Risk Index at the end of 2011 listing nations that would be affected the most from climate change based on extreme weather such as hurricanes and floods.

Between 1991 and 2010 they found these were the most affected nations:

Much of Asia, as well as wealthier areas such as the US, Russia and Australia have also experienced specific incidents of very damaging extreme weather that the climate risk index captures:

Into 2013, November saw possibly the largest ever typhoon, Hiayan, make landfall and cause incredible devastation to parts of the Philippines with at least 10,000 feared dead and more than 9 million affected.

Hiayan struck just days before the start of a major UN conference on climate change perhaps acting as a wakeup call to the negotiators regarding potential impacts of inaction. While no single event can easily be attributed to climate change, as the Institute for Public Accuracy notes, this devastating typhoon demonstrates how the Global South pays the price for emissions historically from the North .

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) noted in November 2013 that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012 , continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our planet for hundreds and thousands of years.

Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions, accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the past ten years.

(The International Energy Agency, IEA, also reported this earlier in the year.)

So despite increased global warming concerns and calls for action, little seems to have been achieved due to the political challenges, and skepticism that abounds.

Skepticism on Global Warming or That it can be human-induced

For a very long time, something of contention and debate in the U.S. had been whether or not a lot of climate change has in fact been induced by human activities, while many scientists around the world, Europe especially, have been more convinced that this is the case.

In May 2002, the Bush Administration in the U.S. did admit a link between human activities and climate change. However, at the same time the administration has continued its controversial stance of maintaining that it will not participate in the international treaty to limit global warming, the Kyoto Protocol, due to economic priorities and concerns. (More about the Kyoto Protocol, U.S. and others’ actions/inactions is discussed in subsequent pages on this section.)

Throughout the 1990s, especially in the United States, but in other countries as well, those who would try and raise the importance of this issue, and suggest that we are perhaps over-consuming, or unsustainably using our resources etc, were faced with a lot of criticism and ridicule . The previous link is to an article by George Monbiot, writing in 1999. In 2004, he notes a similar issue, whereby media attempts at balance has led to false balancing where disproportionate time is given to more fringe scientists or those with less credibility or with additional agendas, without noting so, and thus gives the impression that there is more debate in the scientific community about whether or not climate change is an issue to be concerned about or not:

Picture a situation in which most of the media, despite the overwhelming weight of medical opinion, refused to accept that there was a connection between smoking and lung cancer. Imagine that every time new evidence emerged, they asked someone with no medical qualifications to write a piece dismissing the evidence and claiming that there was no consensus on the issue. Imagine that the BBC, in the interests of debate , wheeled out one of the tiny number of scientists who says that smoking and cancer aren’t linked, or that giving up isn’t worth the trouble, every time the issue of cancer was raised. Imagine that, as a result, next to nothing was done about the problem, to the delight of the tobacco industry and the detriment of millions of smokers. We would surely describe the newspapers and the BBC as grossly irresponsible. Now stop imagining it, and take a look at what’s happening. The issue is not smoking, but climate change. The scientific consensus is just as robust, the misreporting just as widespread, the consequences even graver. … The scientific community has reached a consensus, the [U.K.] government’s chief scientific adviser, Professor David King, told the House of Lords last month. I do not believe that amongst the scientists there is a discussion as to whether global warming is due to anthropogenic effects. It is man-made and it is essentially [caused by] fossil fuel burning, increased methane production… and so on. Sir David chose his words carefully. There is a discussion about whether global warming is due to anthropogenic (man-made) effects. But it is not—or is only seldom—taking place among scientists. It is taking place in the media, and it seems to consist of a competition to establish the outer reaches of imbecility. … But these [skeptics and illogical points against climate change] are rather less dangerous than the BBC, and its insistence on balancing its coverage of climate change. It appears to be incapable of running an item on the subject without inviting a sceptic to comment on it. Usually this is either someone from a corporate-funded thinktank (who is, of course, never introduced as such) or the professional anti-environmentalist Philip Stott. Professor Stott is a retired biogeographer. Like almost all the prominent sceptics he has never published a peer-reviewed paper on climate change. But he has made himself available to dismiss climatologists’ peer-reviewed work as the lies of ecofundamentalists. This wouldn’t be so objectionable if the BBC made it clear that these people are not climatologists, and the overwhelming majority of qualified scientific opinion is against them. Instead, it leaves us with the impression that professional opinion is split down the middle. It’s a bit like continually bringing people on to the programme to suggest that there is no link between HIV and Aids. What makes all this so dangerous is that it plays into the hands of corporate lobbyists. A recently leaked memo written by Frank Luntz, the US Republican and corporate strategist, warned that The environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general—and President Bush in particular—are most vulnerable… Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need… to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue.

Monbiot’s comments above were over 5 years ago (as of writing), and yet some of those concerns, especially about false balancing, carry on today .

Gary Schmidt is a leading climate researcher working for NASA. He is also a contributor to RealClimate.org, a blog by climate scientists that attempt to dispel misinformation by climate skeptics and provide background information often missing in mainstream media. In one of his posts, he laments at the continual diversion caused by misinformation:

Recently there has been more of a sense that the issues being discussed (in the media or online) have a bit of a groundhog day quality to them. The same nonsense, the same logical fallacies, the same confusions – all seem to be endlessly repeated. The same strawmen are being constructed and demolished as if they were part of a make-work scheme for the building industry attached to the stimulus proposal.

However, (and perhaps belatedly) there is growing public acceptance of human-induced climate change as reports such as the US Global Change Research Program and the UK Met Office assert things like current climate change happening now and human-induced and that they will cause many problems.

But, as well as growing acceptance, there is also louder vocal opposition, and the repeated nonsense and logical fallacies that Schmidt was concerned about seems to have had an effect upon the general public — in the US, anyway; fewer Americans believe in global warming (as the Washington Post headlined it.

Amongst scientists, however, there is less skepticism: 11% of US scientists from any field disagree with human-induced climate change, while only 1% of US climatologists disagree, according to the following:

Asking who are among the 11% of skeptical scientists amongst all science fields, almost half are engineers.

For more detailed information, the following sites can be useful:

As revealed towards the end of January 2006, NASA’s top climate scientist said NASA and the Bush Administration tried to silence him .

While NASA said this was standard procedure to ensure an orderly flow of information, the scientist, Dr. James Hansen disagreed, saying that such procedures had already prevented the public from fully grasping recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead.

Dr. Hansen, according to the New York Times reporting this, noted that these were fresh efforts to silence him because he had said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth a different planet. (By contrast, the Bush administration’s policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.)

Furthermore, After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be dire consequences if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

Earlier, in 2004, Dr. Hansen fell out of favor with the Bush Administration for publicly stating before the presidential elections that government scientists were being muzzled and that he planned to vote for John Kerry.

The New York Times also notes that this echoes other recent disputes, whereby many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.

Furthermore, Where scientists’ points of view on climate policy align with those of the administration, however, there are few signs of restrictions on extracurricular lectures or writing.

And in terms of media manipulation, the Times also revealed that at least one interview (amongst many others) was canceled because it was with NPR, which the public affairs official responsible felt was the most liberal media outlet in the country. This implies a political bias/propaganda in terms of how information is released to the public, which should be of serious concern.

At the beginning of June, 2006, the BBC Panorama documentary followed up on this and found that many scientists felt they were being censored and that various reports had been systematically suppressed, even altered. In one case, a major climate assessment report was due out a month before the 2004 presidential elections, but was delayed because it had such a bleak assessment, and the Bush administration did not want it to be part of the election issues. It was released shortly after the elections were over.

Panorama also interviewed a pollster who had advised the Bush Administration when they came into power in 2000 to question global warming, that humans caused it if it existed at all, to hire skeptical scientists, and play down its impacts. (The advisor has now distanced himself away from the Bush Administration’s stance today because he felt the science was more certain than it was in 2000.)

Just weeks before hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Southern United States, Panorama reported that Another scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) … had research which established global warming could increase the intensity of hurricanes. He was due to give an interview about his work but claims he was gagged. After Katrina, the NOAA website said unusual hurricane activity is not related to global warming. When a leading scientist was asked why NOAA came out with such a statement, he suggested it was ideologically driven.

(The BBC Panorama documentary is called Climate chaos: Bush’s climate of fear and as well as a summary, you can watch the actual documentary online.)

Despite attempts to discredit global warming concerns, the Bush Administration has now conceded that there is climate change and that humans are contributing to it, but Panorama reports that a lot of vital time has been lost, and that some scientists fear US policy may be too slow to carry out.

Almost a year after the story about attempts to silence NASA’s top climate scientist, many media outlets have reported on a new survey where hundreds of government scientists say they have perceived or personally experienced pressure from the Bush administration to eliminate phrases such as “climate change” and “global warming” from their reports and public statements. A US government hearing in the US is also pursuing this further as the seriousness of climate change is becoming more accepted.

There has been a similar concern in Australia. At the beginning of 2006, the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) revealed that some business lobby groups have influenced the Australian government to prevent Australia from reducing greenhouse gas emissions . This lobby group included interests from the coal, electricity, aluminum (aluminium), petroleum, minerals and cement industries. The documentary exposing this revealed possible corruption within government due to extremely close ties with such industries and lobby groups, and alleged silencing of government climate scientists.

In what would seem to be a twist to suppression of government reports, it was widely claimed that the US Environmental Protection Agency had suppressed a report that was skeptical of climate change. However, it turns out that while the report was written by an employee on EPA time, but on his own initiative and not qualified to do so, and so couldn’t be published by the EPA and therefore was not suppressed . Furthermore, as the previous link finds, the report contained large pieces of plagiarism. In addition, the report was flawed as RealClimte.org quickly showed.

The headlines about this episode talked of suppression and would likely increase the view amongst those still skeptical about climate change. Corrections to those headlines have been few, and less prominent, by comparison.

Pollution from various industries, the burning of fossil fuels, methane from farm animals, forest destruction, rotting/dead vegetation etc have led to an increased number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. And, as international trade in its current form continues to expand with little regard for the environment, the transportation alone, of goods is thought to considerably contribute to global warming via emissions from planes, ships and other transportation vehicles. (For more about trade and globalization in its current form and how it affects the environment, as well as other consequences, visit this web site’s section on Trade, Economy, & Related Issues .)

Even sulphur emitted from ships are thought to contribute a fair bit to climate change. In fact, sulphur based gas, originating from industry, discovered in 2000 is thought to be the most potent greenhouse gas measured to date. It is called trifluoromethyl sulphur pentafluoride (SF 5 CF 3 ).

The Guardian adds that one giant container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50 million cars .

Furthermore, Confidential data from maritime industry insiders based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars shows that just 15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world’s 760m cars. Low-grade ship bunker fuel (or fuel oil) has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles.

(Shipping is responsible for 3.5% to 4% of all climate change emissions the Guardian also notes.)

NewScientist.com reports (December 22, 2003) on a study that suggests soot particles may be worse than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming . The soot particles also originate from industry, and during the industrial revolution, was quite common. While on the positive side there is less soot these days and perhaps easier to control if needed, alone, as one of the scientists of the study commented, It does not change the need to slow down the growth rate of carbon dioxide and eventually stabilize the atmospheric amount.

NewScientist.com and others have also reported (August 2005) that the world’s largest frozen peat bog is melting, and could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere . An area the size of France and Germany combined has been melting in the last 4 years. In addition, Western Siberia has warmed faster than almost anywhere else on the planet, with an increase in average temperatures of some 3°C in the last 40 years.

A scientist explained a fear that if the bogs dry out as they warm, the methane will oxidise and escape into the air as carbon dioxide. But if the bogs remain wet, as is the case in western Siberia today, then the methane will be released straight into the atmosphere. Methane is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide.

While those denying climate change are reducing in number and there appears to be more effort to try and tackle the problem, climate scientists are now fearing that climate change is happening far faster and is having much larger impacts than they ever imagined .

The Arctic plays an incredibly important role in the balance of the earth’s climate. Rapid changes to it can have knock-on effects to the rest of the planet. Some have described the Arctic as the canary in the coal mine , referring to how canary birds used to be taken deep down coal mines. If they died, it implied oxygen levels were low and signaled mine workers to get out.

Satellite observations show the arctic sea ice decreasing, and projections for the rest of the century predict even more shrinkage:

In terms of biodiversity, the prospect of ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean implies the loss of an entire biome , the Global Biodiversity Outlook report notes (p. 57).

In addition, Whole species assemblages are adapted to life on top of or under ice — from the algae that grow on the underside of multi-year ice, forming up to 25% of the Arctic Ocean’s primary production, to the invertebrates, birds, fish and marine mammals further up the food chain. The iconic polar bear at the top of that food chain is therefore not the only species at risk even though it may get more media attention.

Note, the ice in the Arctic does thaw and refreeze each year, but it is that pattern which has changed a lot in recent years as shown by this graph:

It is also important to note that loss of sea ice has implications on biodiversity beyond the Arctic, as the Global Biodiversity Outlook report also summarizes:

Bright white ice reflects sunlight. When it is replaced by darker water, the ocean and the air heat much faster, a feedback that accelerates ice melt and heating of surface air inland, with resultant loss of tundra. Less sea ice leads to changes in seawater temperature and salinity, leading to changes in primary productivity and species composition of plankton and fish, as well as large-scale changes in ocean circulation, affecting biodiversity well beyond the Arctic.

Some scientists fear changes are happening to the Arctic much faster than anticipated . The previous link mentions that despite computer climate models predicting loss of Arctic sea ice by 2050 to 2080, some scientists fear it could be as soon as 2015. The BBC notes similar concerns by scientists , with one quoted as saying the sea ice is so thin that you would have to have an exceptional sequence of cold winters and cold summers in order for it to rebuild.

Another BBC article reports scientists now have unambiguous evidence that the warming in the Arctic is accelerating .

The Arctic reflects much sunlight back into space helping keep earth temperate. More melting will result in less reflection and even more heat being absorbed by the earth. A chain reaction could result, such as the Greenland ice sheet melting (which will actually increase sea levels, whereas the melting of Arctic ice will not because it is sea ice), possibly increasing the melting of permafrost in Siberia, which will release huge amounts of methane (as noted above), and rapidly change climate patterns, circulation patterns and jet streams, far quicker than what most of the environment could adapt to easily.

Older members of the indigenous Inuit people describe how weather patterns have shifted and changed in recent years, while they also face challenges to their way of life in the form of increased commercial interest in the arctic region . This combination of environmental and economic factors put indigenous populations ways at a cross roads as this documentary from explore.org shows:

For decades, scientists and environmentalists have warned that the way we are using Earth’s resources is not sustainable. Alternative technologies have been called for repeatedly, seemingly upon deaf ears (or, cynically, upon those who don’t want to make substantial changes as it challenges their bottom line and takes away from their current profits).

In the past, some companies and industries have pushed back on environmental programs in order to increase profits or to survive in a tough business world.

It has perhaps taken about a decade or so — and a severe enough global financial crisis that has hit the heart of this way of thinking — to change this mentality (in which time, more greenhouse gases have been emitted — inefficiently). Is that too late or will it be okay?

Economists talk of the price signal that is fundamental to capitalism; the ability for prices to indicate when a resource is becoming scarcer. At such a time, capitalism and the markets will mobilize automatically to address this by looking for ways to bring down costs. As a result, resources are supposedly infinite. For example, if energy costs go up, businesses will look for a way to minimize such costs for themselves, and it is in such a time that alternatives come about and/or existing resources last longer because they are used more efficiently. Running out of resources should therefore be averted.

However, it has long been argued that prices don’t truly reflect the full cost of things, so either the signal is incorrect, or comes too late. The price signal also implies the poorest often pay the heaviest costs. For example, commercially over-fishing a region may mean fish from that area becomes harder to catch and more expensive, possibly allowing that ecosystem time to recover (though that is not guaranteed, either). However, while commercial entities can exploit resources elsewhere, local fishermen will go out of business and the poorer will likely go hungry (as also detailed on this site’s section on biodiversity ). This then has an impact on various local social, political and economic issues.

In addition to that, other related measurements, such as GNP are therefore flawed, and even reward unproductive or inefficient behavior (e.g. Efficiently producing unhealthy food — and the unhealthy consumer culture to go with it — may profit the food industry and a private health sector that has to deal with it, all of which require more use of resources. More examples are discussed on this site’s section on consumption and consumerism ).

Our continued inefficient pumping of greenhouse gases into the environment without factoring the enormous cost as the climate already begins to change is perhaps an example where price signals may come too late, or at a time when there is already significant impact to many people. Resources that could be available more indefinitely, become finite because of our inability or unwillingness to change.

The subsequent pages on this site look at the political issues around tackling climate change.

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Current events and news told in essay format

Global Warming Essay

global warming essay

So You Want To Write A Global Warming Essay?

One of the most important issues of our time is climate change, or global warming. As a student, you should know that climate change is real and that the only political issue is what to do about it. Climate change is not something you can believe in, any more than gravity is something you can believe in. However, it can be difficult to propose solutions to the problem that are realistic and workable.

Climate change is complex but can be explained in simple terms even by those with no scientific background. Basically, climate change caused by the greenhouse effect, which means exactly what it says: the earth is like a giant greenhouse in which the heat can get trapped beneath the atmosphere. The atmosphere traps heat that emits from the surface of the planet. That heat would normally be allowed to move into space, but due to the proliferation of “greenhouse gases,” the atmosphere is becoming less permeable.

Writing the Essay

When you have been asked to write about global warming , you may be overwhelmed. There are many approaches to this complex subject. You could write about it for a science class, or for a political science class. You could talk about the causes or global warming, or the effects of global warming, or both. In fact, you could even write only about your suggestions for how to deal with the effects of global warming.

Looking for a creative or unique approach to global warming that will impress your readers? Want to write about global warming in a way that will interest you? This article will help you understand how to write an essay about global warming from many different perspectives.

Getting Started

Before you begin your essay, consider things like how long it has to be and what class you are writing for. Then, narrow down your topic using one of the suggested subjects above or one of your own ideas. The next step would be to create a subject outline to help you structure your essay. With a subject like global warming, you are generally going to talk about causes, effects, and possible solutions to the problem.

I. Introduction

A. One degree in temperature change may not seem like a lot, but that amount of global warming can cause major crises, displacing millions of people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

B. It is a known fact that fossil fuel burning, particularly coal, is the biggest culprit of global warming (MacMillan, 2016).

C. Knowing what causes global warming makes it possible to take action, to minimize the deleterious effects of global warming.

D. Thesis Statement: A comprehensive solution to global warming would be to curtail carbon emissions further through innovations in alternative energy, combined with a plan to minimize humanitarian and financial damages.

II. Body Section One: Causes of Global Warming

A. Topic sentence: Global warming is anthropogenic, meaning that it is caused by human beings.

B. Human industrial activity results in the emission of greenhouse gases, with China and the United States the biggest culprits (MacMillan, 2016).

C. Knowing the causes of global warming, it becomes easier to come up with targeted and reasonable solutions to the problem.

III. Body Section Two: Effects of Global Warming

A. Topic sentence: Global warming is a problem because it can lead to extreme weather conditions, flooding due to rising sea levels, and resulting deaths, destruction, and displacement.

B. The term “global warming” is misleading, because not all areas will experience uniform temperature rises and some areas will not warm at all (NASA, 2018).

C. However, global warming has the potential to radically alter the climate conditions around the world.

1. Effects on agricultural production and food security.

2. Effects on water security.

3. Effects on population displacement and financial damages due to natural disasters.

4. Humanitarian and political effects due to displacement, which could even lead to the outbreak of wars.

D. Because of how devastating the effects of global warming will be, taking action now is an ethical responsibility.

IV. Body Section Three: How to Prevent Global Warming

A. Topic Sentence: Taking action on global warming now requires a concerted coalition between the private and public sectors around the world.

B. Governments need to work together better to create stimulus packages for investment into alternative energy.

C. The private sector needs to become more environmentally responsible, requiring new anti-pollution laws if necessary.

D. Governments and the private sector also need to work together to build resilience and have strategies in place for mitigating disasters.

V. Conclusion

A. Doing something about global warming requires being proactive, both in terms of changing the way industry operates, and also building resilience to minimize harm.

B. Innovation in new technologies will be essential to prevent global warming and stimulate the global economy.

C. Investment into infrastructure improvement will also help to minimize damages due to climate change.

D. Legislation and public policy, in addition to ethical behavior from the private sector, will help reduce climate change and create a safer tomorrow.


Thesis statement.

A comprehensive solution to global warming would be to curtail carbon emissions further through innovations in alternative energy, combined with a plan to minimize humanitarian and financial damages.

One degree. That is all it takes to create massive changes on planet earth. Just one degree in temperature change may not seem like a lot, but that amount of global warming can cause major crises, displacing millions of people and causing billions of dollars in damage (NASA, 2018).

One degree. That is all it takes to create massive changes on planet earth. Just one degree in temperature change may not seem like a lot, but that amount of global warming can cause major crises, displacing millions of people and causing billions of dollars in damage (NASA, 2018). It is a known fact that fossil fuel burning, particularly coal, is the biggest culprit of global warming (MacMillan, 2016). Knowing what causes global warming makes it possible to take action, to minimize the deleterious effects of global warming. Global warming is not a political issue, but a simple fact. However, what to do about global warming is a political issue. A comprehensive solution to global warming would be to curtail carbon emissions further through innovations in alternative energy, combined with a plan to minimize humanitarian and financial damages.

Causes of Global Warming

Global warming is anthropogenic, meaning that its primary cause is human beings. In particular, human industrial activity results in the emission of greenhouse gases, with China and the United States the biggest culprits (MacMillan, 2016). The population of the planet has also exploded rapidly over the past century, which results in increased industry, increased use of land for agriculture, and increased human activities that contribute to global warming. The most important cause of global warming is greenhouse gases, which trap hot air in the Earth’s atmosphere instead of allowing that heat to escape into space. Greenhouse gasses build up in the earth’s atmosphere, effectively insulating the planet just as a greenhouse used to grow fruits and vegetables traps heat.

According to NASA (2018), the primary greenhouse gases responsible for global warming include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Deforestation leads to an overabundance of carbon dioxide, and agriculture leads to an overabundance of methane (NASA, 2018). Therefore, unsustainable agricultural practices and related issues like land use are one of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas buildup. Unsustainable agriculture is a major cause of global warming. There are several reasons why agriculture is a problem. One reason is linked to land use. When rainforests and other vegetation-dense areas are cut down to make room for agriculture, the result is an increase in carbon dioxide emissions (MacMillan, 2016). Many crops and farm animals are especially bad for the environment. For example, animals like cattle emit methane, a greenhouse gas, and certain fertilizers used extensively in mono-crop agriculture also lead to greenhouse gas emissions (NASA, 2018). Yet the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil for electricity production and transportation also cause global warming. Knowing the causes of global warming, it becomes easier to come up with targeted and reasonable solutions to the problem.

Effects of Global Warming

Global warming is a problem because it can lead to extreme weather conditions, flooding due to rising sea levels, and resulting deaths, destruction, and displacement. In fact, the term “global warming” is misleading, because not all areas will experience uniform temperature rises and some areas will not warm at all (NASA, 2018). However, global warming has the potential to radically alter the climate conditions around the world. The main effects of global warming will be on agricultural production and food security, on water security, on population displacement, financial damages due to natural disasters, and the humanitarian and possibly military effects of global warming.

Global warming will lead to changes to weather patterns, causing some areas to experience flooding and other areas to experience drought conditions (NASA, 2018). The result is that food production will be less reliable, and there could be major crop failures. Crop failures and unpredictable food supplies will drive up prices of food, leading to humanitarian crises, and possibly even cause famine in some of the most affected areas. In addition to alterations in food production, global warming will also lead to increased extreme weather events including major storms like hurricanes, and wildfires (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2018). These extreme weather patterns can destroy whole communities, leading to humanitarian crises. The initial extreme weather may cause deaths, while the long-term effects include population displacement and refugee crises. Because of what it could mean for displacement and refugee crises, global warming could cause wars in the future. Because of how devastating the effects of global warming will be, taking action now is an ethical responsibility.

Rising temperatures cause ice packs to melt in the arctic and other glacial regions. The melting of ice is the primary contributor of sea level rises. Some ice packs will melt directly into the sea, altering the salinity of the sea water too, thereby having an impact on all underwater life. When inland glaciers melt, the additional water fills rivers, which could lead to disastrous flooding. Rising sea levels could inundate coastal regions and cause whole islands to disappear. Flooding due to global warming could displace countless people all around the world, creating humanitarian crises. As MacMillan (2016) also points out, flooding also increases the rates at which communicable diseases spread. Therefore, global warming could indirectly lead to disease proliferation.

It is also important to address the effects of global warming on the non-human populations of planet earth. Global warming has the potential to wipe out whole species. Whole ecosystems will change because of global warming, causing some animals and plants to move to new territories, altering the food chains and also changing the relationships between humans and nature.

Another important effect of global warming is related to national security. As the Union of Concerned Scientists (2018) points out, global warming may directly impact American military bases, particularly those located in coastal areas. In addition to the impact on military bases that are at risk for flooding, global warming could also create national security issues such as diverting military resources to helping the victims of climate change. If the United States experiences water shortages or crop failures due to global warming, it would also become more vulnerable and dependent on other nations, creating national security crises or alternatively, causing a bellicose president to invade another country for its resources.

How to Prevent Global Warming and Minimize Damage

Taking action on global warming now requires a concerted coalition between the private and public sectors around the world. Governments need to work together better to create stimulus packages for investment into alternative energy. Likewise, the private sector needs to become more environmentally responsible, requiring new anti-pollution laws if necessary. Governments and the private sector also need to work together to build resilience and have strategies in place for mitigating disasters. Unfortunately, getting multiple stakeholders to work together can be challenging, even within the same country. Creating international coalitions between governments and private sector organizations has been ineffective so far, but there is still room for hope.

As the Union of Concerned Scientists (2018) claims, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the first and most important order of business, and will require politicians to take action. The reason why politicians are often reluctant to take action is fear that doing so would adversely impact the economy. After all, many businesses have yet to develop alternative methods, processes, or technologies that can replace those that caused global warming. To overcome this problem, politicians need to simultaneously pass laws that offer incentives to companies for developing alternative technologies or energy sources. Another reason why governments need to take responsibility is that in most places, land use issues can be mitigated via legislation. Instead of allowing more deforestation, governments can cease new developments in favor of a more sustainable economic policy.

global warming research paper introduction

Taking action on global warming requires a multifaceted effort, that combines working with the private sector as well as forming local, regional, national, and international coalitions. Each region will experience global warming differently. Therefore, it is important to not just focus on what can be done nationally or internationally but also locally. Each community needs to build its own resilience strategy to reduce harm. For example, regions in California and the American West that could experience greater wildfires and droughts need to have in place improved fire mitigation strategies. Low-lying coastal regions like Florida and the Atlantic seaboard need to have evacuation or land reclamation measures in place in case of storms and rising sea levels. Local approaches help to create more robust long-term solutions. It is often easier to get smaller groups of people from the same region to agree on a course of action than it is for larger and more diverse entities. The residents of one area can see the immediate results of their work, and are more connected to the need to take action for their community.

Individual consumers also need to take responsibility for their choices to help reduce global warming. Because the private sector responds to consumers, and because governments respond to the private sector, ultimately consumers have more power than they may believe. By choosing sustainable products, and supporting sustainable, ethical companies, individuals can reduce global warming. Eating less meat or no meat is one way to contribute to the effort in reducing demand for unsustainable agricultural practices. Likewise, boycotting products that are manufactured in ways that contribute to global warming can also help create a consumer-driven revolution. Walking, riding a bicycle, and otherwise avoiding unnecessary use of fuel-burning cars is another way consumers can make a difference even before governments are willing to take action. As the Union of Concerned Scientists (2018) also points out, individuals have a responsibility to promote science literacy and reduce misinformation. When voters are empowered with information about global warming, they are more able and likely to elect officials who are dedicated to implementing solutions.

Minimizing damage is also an important global warming strategy. Both governments and the private sector need to work together to create more resilient communities. Disasters will happen, but responses need to be more robust. For example, the public infrastructure needs to be improved so that hurricanes like Katrina cause less damage than they did. Helping the most vulnerable areas around the world to prepare for disasters and evacuate people as safely and efficiently as possible is one of the most important ways of responding to the problem of global warming.

It may be impossible to completely eliminate global warming because of the huge population on the planet, but a lot can be done to minimize it and reduce harm. Doing something about global warming requires being proactive, both in terms of changing the way industry operates, and also building resilience to minimize the damages that may result from extreme weather, drought, and other problems. Innovation in new technologies will be essential to prevent global warming and stimulate the global economy. Investment into infrastructure improvement will also help to minimize damages due to climate change. Legislation and public policy, in addition to ethical behavior from the private sector, will help reduce climate change and create a safer tomorrow.

MacMillan, A. (2016). Global warming 101. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101#warming

NASA (2018). Facts. https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

Union of Concerned Scientists (2018). Confronting the realities of climate change. https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming#.WrwXPtPwYWo

When you write about global warming for a class, always remember to keep your audience in mind.

Are you writing your global warming essay for an environmental science class? If so, then make sure you use credible science sources and talk about the chemistry of greenhouse gases and other scientific principles.

However, if you are writing your essay for a debate class or for an English composition class, you will want to use the principles of argumentative essay or expository essay writing.

You might even be asked to write about global warming from a historical perspective, such as tracing the evolution of policies or attitudes towards global warming. Sociology, anthropology, and psychology classes might also ask you to write about attitudes towards global warming.

Remember to use an outline to stay organized while you write, and proofread your copy when you are finished writing your draft.

To avoid being accused of plagiarism when you write an essay, always keep track of what sources you use and cite them properly in the References or Bibliography section of your essay. If you need help composing an essay on global warming or any other subject, you can seek help with a writing tutor.

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Writing the best global warming essay – take an original approach.

October 8, 2019

Global warming is one of the most disastrous phenomenons in the history of the earth. Unlike several decades ago, the scientific evidence of global warming and associated impacts has become clearer. But even with the dangers such as the thawing of polar ice sheets and extensive droughts become the norm, it is sad that we have failed to come up with a cohesive strategy to counter it. Now, when you are required to write a global warming essay or related paper; how do you do it?


Craft The Right Structure For Your Essay On Global Warming

Even before starting to work on your global warming essay, it is prudent to create a good structure. The goal of the structure is ensuring you know what will come at what section and creating a smooth flow of ideas from the start to the end. Here is a sample structure of a great short essay on global warming for students.

Title : The title should be catchy and relevant to the topic.

Introduction : As the first part of your essay, you should use the introduction to prepare the reader about what is in the body. Also, make the introduction interesting so that the reader can have the interest to keep reading.

The body : This is another very important part of the essay where you get into the details of your subject. Every paragraph on global warming essays should explain a different point.

Conclusion : After bringing out your argument cohesively, the conclusion allows you to tie the points neatly. You should summarize the entire essay in a few sentences. Note that the conclusion should not introduce new points. However, you can call for further studies on the topic if you found it inadequately covered.

Research All Facts Before Writing Your Essay On Global Warming

Now that you have the best structure for the essay of global warming, it is time to get down into the details of your topic. Every global warming essay in English for students should be deeply researched to cover the following components:

Some history of global warming (when did it start). At what point was it discovered to be a threat to the planet?

What are the causes of global warming? Make sure to cite specifics such as individual sources of emissions.

Effects of global warming. Because these are many, it is important to focus on those that you have ample information on.

Carefully bring out the different interventions that have been instituted and point out their success or failure.

Special Tips For A Winning Global Warming Essay For Students

In addition to having the best structure, and comprehensive research on global warming, here are other useful tips to help you craft a good essay.

Essay Of Global Warming: Where Do You Place Environmental Activism

Another concept that features prominently in global warming essays is environmental activism. You can either include it as a separate paragraph in a short essay or a different subtopic for longer papers. One of the most outstanding activists in fighting global warming out there is Greta Thunberg. Here is some info about her:

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist whose campaign on climate change has won her international recognition. At age 15, she started spending part of her school time outside the Swedish parliament with banners calling for stronger efforts to counter global warming. She called it “School Strike for Climate.” Soon, other students joined and held demonstrations from across the world, calling for firmer action on climate change. In 2018, she addressed the UN Climate Change Conference.

Identifying Essay Topics On Global Warming

If you are in a global warming class or a related subject, there are instances when your tutor might require you to pick your preferred topic to write on. In such a case, you should look for a subject that has ample information to write on. Though it is also okay to be exploratory by picking subjects that are relatively new, you are likely to get stuck along the way for a lack of information. Here are some great topics that you should consider for your global warming essay.

The Final Take On Writing Global Warming Essays

If you are new to college, tasks such as global warming essay assignments will be very common. This post has demonstrated how to plan for such essays and get the highest marks. Do not let college essays cause stress to you; use the tips provided in this post to write like a pro.

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Research Paper: "The Climate Change" - Introduction Section

We usually pay attention to how the weather changes throughout a week, a month, or even compared to previous few years. On the other hand, there are changes that are not visible and can only be observed by scientists using sensitive equipment. Certain patterns in weather that have a tendency to recur each year are called a climate. Nowadays scientists claim that there are major changes to the climate all over the world that will have, or already have, dire consequences.

Consider these facts provided by NASA:

The primary factor that affects all the other changes in our climate is the temperature change. What are the main reasons the temperature changes throughout the years? There is a certain amount of heat that the Earth gets from the sun, and there is also a certain amount of heat that bounces back to the space. Our temperature depends on both these factors. The point is that when the heat reaches the Earth and then is reflected back to the atmosphere, the certain amount of it is stopped by the so called greenhouse gases. They are vital for keeping the right amount of heat on the Earth so that all the living creatures can exist on our planet. However the increasing amount of it changes the average temperature which can lead to unprecedented changes in our climate. The greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Their number has increased due to burning of fossil fuels, which has become the primary source of energy for people nowadays.

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Climate scientists all over the globe agree that the Industrial Revolution could be called the defining moment when emissions of greenhouse effect gases started soaring when entering the atmosphere. It is important to mention that the Industrial Revolution wasn’t a separate phenomenon itself. Instead, it was the consequence of less grandiose revolutions, such as demographic, agricultural, transport, tech, and finance. All together, they led to creation of a new model of production and consumption. From that moment, exploding use of available resources, the growth of population (for example, in 1750, the population on earth was less than 800 million people, while at the moment there are more than 7.5 billion people living on the planet), increasing production and demand of energy, all saw the earth entering into the so-called Anthropocene period. The latter is known as a new geological era mainly characterized by how people affect the planet. It is difficult for most of us to understand why a slight increase in the average temperature on the planet can somehow influence us. Consider this example: there are a lot of glaciers that are at the verge of melting and increasing the temperature by even one degree can make this process begin. In addition, such climate changes can result in longer period of droughts in some regions, the increasing number of wildfires, and the bigger number of tropical storms.

In general, the global temperature increase stands behind catastrophic consequences that are dangerous to not only flora and fauna, but human beings as well. The most disastrous climate change impacts include endangering coastal environments, melting of the poles ice, and flooding. This, in turn, may become the main explanation for some of the small island states’ disappearance in the future. Finally, intensive climate change also tends to cause more severe weather situations, such as the death of plants and animals, fires, droughts, as well as climate refugees, especially when it comes to the developing countries. That being said, we are going to make an in-depth analysis of all the factors that cause the greenhouse effect, the consequences, including the potential ones, and the ways of solving this problem.

Works Cited

How to Write an Introduction on a Scientific Research Topic:

Serious Mistakes to Avoid in Research Paper Introduction

Check out the most common mistakes that students shouldn’t make in the process of writing an introduction part of the research paper. Keep in mind these:

Your Final Climate Change Intro Checklist

Want to make your research paper introduction impeccable? Here’s an important checklist:

Finally, in a research paper on climate change, there is a solid structure that you’ll have to follow.

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Global Warming 101

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global warming research paper introduction

Q: What is global warming?

A:  Since the Industrial Revolution, the global annual temperature has increased in total by a little more than 1 degree Celsius, or about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Between 1880—the year that accurate recordkeeping began—and 1980, it rose on average by 0.07 degrees Celsius (0.13 degrees Fahrenheit) every 10 years. Since 1981, however, the rate of increase has more than doubled: For the last 40 years, we’ve seen the global annual temperature rise by 0.18 degrees Celsius, or 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit, per decade.

The result? A planet that has never been hotter . Nine of the 10 warmest years since 1880 have occurred since 2005—and the 5 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2015. Climate change deniers have argued that there has been a “pause” or a “slowdown” in rising global temperatures, but numerous studies, including a 2018 paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters , have disproved this claim. The impacts of global warming are already harming people around the world.

Now climate scientists have concluded that we must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040 if we are to avoid a future in which everyday life around the world is marked by its worst, most devastating effects: the extreme droughts, wildfires, floods, tropical storms, and other disasters that we refer to collectively as climate change . These effects are felt by all people in one way or another but are experienced most acutely by the underprivileged, the economically marginalized, and people of color, for whom climate change is often a key driver of poverty, displacement, hunger, and social unrest.

Q: What causes global warming?

A:  Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Normally this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter. These heat-trapping pollutants—specifically carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and synthetic fluorinated gases—are known as greenhouse gases, and their impact is called the greenhouse effect .

Though natural cycles and fluctuations have caused the earth’s climate to change several times over the last 800,000 years, our current era of global warming is directly attributable to human activity—specifically to our burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas, which results in the greenhouse effect. In the United States, the largest source of greenhouse gases is transportation (29 percent), followed closely by electricity production (28 percent) and industrial activity (22 percent). Learn about the natural and human causes of climate change .

Curbing dangerous climate change requires very deep cuts in emissions, as well as the use of alternatives to fossil fuels worldwide. The good news is that countries around the globe have formally committed—as part of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement —to lower their emissions by setting new standards and crafting new policies to meet or even exceed those standards. The not-so-good news is that we’re not working fast enough. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, scientists tell us that we need to reduce global carbon emissions by as much as 40 percent by 2030. For that to happen, the global community must take immediate, concrete steps: to decarbonize electricity generation by equitably transitioning from fossil fuel–based production to renewable energy sources like wind and solar; to electrify our cars and trucks; and to maximize energy efficiency in our buildings, appliances, and industries.

Q: How is global warming linked to extreme weather?

A:  Scientists agree that the earth’s rising temperatures are fueling longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes .

In 2015, for example, scientists concluded that a lengthy drought in California—the state’s worst water shortage in 1,200 years —had been intensified by 15 to 20 percent by global warming. They also said the odds of similar droughts happening in the future had roughly doubled over the past century. And in 2016, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine announced that we can now confidently attribute some extreme weather events, like heat waves, droughts, and heavy precipitation, directly to climate change.

The earth’s ocean temperatures are getting warmer, too—which means that tropical storms can pick up more energy. In other words, global warming has the ability to turn a category 3 storm into a more dangerous category 4 storm. In fact, scientists have found that the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes has increased since the early 1980s, as has the number of storms that reach categories 4 and 5. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season included a record-breaking 30 tropical storms, 6 major hurricanes, and 13 hurricanes altogether. With increased intensity come increased damage and death. The United States saw an unprecedented 22 weather and climate disasters that caused at least a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 2020, but 2017 was the costliest on record and among the deadliest as well: Taken together, that year's tropical storms (including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria) caused nearly $300 billion in damage and led to more than 3,300 fatalities.

The impacts of global warming are being felt everywhere. Extreme heat waves have caused tens of thousands of deaths around the world in recent years. And in an alarming sign of events to come, Antarctica has lost nearly four trillion metric tons of ice since the 1990s. The rate of loss could speed up if we keep burning fossil fuels at our current pace, some experts say, causing sea levels to rise several meters in the next 50 to 150 years and wreaking havoc on coastal communities worldwide.

Q: What are the other effects of global warming?

A:  Each year scientists learn more about the consequences of global warming , and each year we also gain new evidence of its devastating impact on people and the planet. As the heat waves, droughts, and floods associated with climate change become more frequent and more intense, communities suffer and death tolls rise. If we’re unable to reduce our emissions, scientists believe that climate change could lead to the deaths of more than 250,000 people around the globe every year and force 100 million people into poverty by 2030.

Global warming is already taking a toll on the United States. And if we aren’t able to get a handle on our emissions, here’s just a smattering of what we can look forward to:

Though everyone is affected by climate change, not everyone is affected equally. Indigenous people, people of color, and the economically marginalized are typically hit the hardest . Inequities built into our housing , health care , and labor systems make these communities more vulnerable to the worst impacts of climate change—even though these same communities have done the least to contribute to it.

Q: Where does the United States stand in terms of global-warming contributors?

A:  In recent years, China has taken the lead in global-warming pollution , producing about 26 percent of all CO2 emissions. The United States comes in second. Despite making up just 4 percent of the world’s population, our nation produces a sobering 13 percent of all global CO2 emissions—nearly as much as the European Union and India (third and fourth place) combined. And America is still number one, by far, in cumulative emissions over the past 150 years. As a top contributor to global warming, the United States has an obligation to help propel the world to a cleaner, safer, and more equitable future. Our responsibility matters to other countries, and it should matter to us, too.

Q: Is the United States doing anything to prevent global warming?

A:  We’ve started. But in order to avoid the worsening effects of climate change, we need to do a lot more—together with other countries—to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and transition to clean energy sources.

Under the administration of President Donald Trump (a man who falsely referred to global warming as a “hoax”), the United States withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, rolled back or eliminated dozens of clean-air protections, and opened up federally managed lands, including culturally sacred national monuments , to fossil fuel development. Although President Biden has pledged to get the country back on track, years of inaction during and before the Trump administration—and our increased understanding of global warming’s serious impacts—mean we must accelerate our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite the lack of cooperation from the Trump administration, local and state governments made great strides during this period through efforts like the American Cities Climate Challenge and ongoing collaborations like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative . Meanwhile, industry and business leaders have been working with the public sector, creating and adopting new clean-energy technologies and increasing energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, and industrial processes. Today the American automotive industry is finding new ways to produce cars and trucks that are more fuel efficient and is committing itself to putting more and more zero-emission electric vehicles on the road. Developers, cities, and community advocates are coming together to make sure that new affordable housing is built with efficiency in mind , reducing energy consumption and lowering electric and heating bills for residents. And renewable energy continues to surge as the costs associated with its production and distribution keep falling. In 2020 renewable energy sources such as wind and solar provided more electricity than coal for the very first time in U.S. history.

President Biden has made action on global warming a high priority. On his first day in office, he recommitted the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement, sending the world community a strong signal that we were determined to join other nations in cutting our carbon pollution to support the shared goal of preventing the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. (Scientists say we must stay below a 2-degree increase to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.) And significantly, the president has assembled a climate team of experts and advocates who have been tasked with pursuing action both abroad and at home while furthering the cause of environmental justice and investing in nature-based solutions.

Q: Is global warming too big a problem for me to help tackle?

A:  No! While we can’t win the fight without large-scale government action at the national level , we also can’t do it without the help of individuals who are willing to use their voices, hold government and industry leaders to account, and make changes in their daily habits.

Wondering how you can be a part of the fight against global warming? Reduce your own carbon footprint by taking a few easy steps: Make conserving energy a part of your daily routine and your decisions as a consumer. When you shop for new appliances like refrigerators, washers, and dryers, look for products with the government’s ENERGY STAR ® label; they meet a higher standard for energy efficiency than the minimum federal requirements. When you buy a car, look for one with the highest gas mileage and lowest emissions. You can also reduce your emissions by taking public transportation or carpooling when possible.

And while new federal and state standards are a step in the right direction, much more needs to be done. Voice your support of climate-friendly and climate change preparedness policies, and tell your representatives that equitably transitioning from dirty fossil fuels to clean power should be a top priority—because it’s vital to building healthy, more secure communities.

You don’t have to go it alone, either. Movements across the country are showing how climate action can build community , be led by those on the front lines of its impacts, and create a future that’s equitable and just for all .

global warming research paper introduction

Demand Climate Action

This story was originally published on March 11, 2016 and has been updated with new information and links.

NRDC.org stories are available for online republication by news media outlets or nonprofits under these conditions: The writer(s) must be credited with a byline; you must note prominently that the story was originally published by NRDC.org and link to the original; the story cannot be edited (beyond simple things such as time and place elements, style, and grammar); you can’t resell the story in any form or grant republishing rights to other outlets; you can’t republish our material wholesale or automatically—you need to select stories individually; you can't republish the photos or graphics on our site without specific permission; you should drop us a note to let us know when you’ve used one of our stories.

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global warming research paper introduction

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The Engineer Who Discovered Global Warming

global warming research paper introduction

Guy Callendar was an expert on steam and combustion who found the link between fossil fuels, carbon dioxide, and temperature.

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Apr 29, 2020

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Global Warming Research Paper

Persuasive essay on climate change.

Climate change has been happening since late nineteenth century, but has increased significant since then. The world’s oceans are steadily warming up and ice is melting. Furthermore, the factories and cars are causes of global warming. There are a lot of cars and factories in the world but its danger for atmosphere. Also, one more causes

The Dangers of Carbon Dioxide Essay

There are various consequences that may arise if significant global warming begins to take effect. Some scientists believe that over the next 50 years, global temperatures could rise by as much as 1.5-4.5 degrees Celsius worldwide (Climate Change, 1997). Many speculate that this increase in temperatures could produce profound, if not devastating effects to our environment and ourselves. Already, many scientists are attributing some of the severe weather around the world such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts to global warming (Bernard, 1993). The high-latitude regions are likely to have the largest temperature change, while regions such as the North American Great Plains are predicted to feel a large decrease in precipitation (Climate Change, 1997). In regions with a lowered precipitation rate, agriculture would suffer, potentially causing severe economic and food shortage problems. Numerous species of plants and animals could also suffer, causing permanent damage to ecosystems and biodiversity. It is also thought that because of

Vector-Borne Diseases Contributing Factors Related To Climate Change

Global Warming has been a big issue that has effects on the environment, people, and the world, and if not stopped now, the results could be catastrophic. The main cause of climate change is likely to be the result of too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. CO2 creates a blanket which traps heat. Burning fossil fuels for energy, such as coal, oil, and natural gas release CO2 which impacts the atmosphere heavily. Waste management and agricultural practices also produce gases that contribute to climate change, such as methane. There are many contributing factors to climate change.

Global Warming Middle 1900's

Global Warming is a high rise in the usual climate heat on the Earth's surface. People often use the term climate change to refer mainly to the warming observed since the middle 1800's. Scientists guess that Earth's normal surface temperature rose by about 0.76 Celsius degrees or 1.4 Fahrenheit degrees from the middle 1800's to the 2000's. Researchers have also found that most of the temperature rise happened from the middle 1900's to the 2000's. Normal processes have caused Earth's weather to change in the distant past. But scientists have found big evidence that people activities have caused most of the warming since the middle 1900's.

Rising Obstacles Of Earth's Climate Pursue To Warming

Earth's inhabitants will be encountered with threatening obstacles if Earth's climate continues to warm. Earth will experience periodic and intense droughts, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and warming oceans; which could be the demise of flora and fauna, and ultimately disrupt the Earth.

Global Warming and Greenhouse Gases Essay

Energy from the sun drives the earth’’s weather and climate, and heats the earth’’s surface; in turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases) trap some of the

Global Warming And The Industrial Revolution

Global warming, the phenomenon of increasing average air temperatures near the surface of Earth over the past one to two centuries. Climate scientists have since the mid-20th century gathered detailed observations of various weather phenomena (such as temperatures, precipitation, and storms) and of related influences on climate (such as ocean currents and the atmosphere’s chemical composition). These data indicate that Earth’s climate has changed over almost every conceivable timescale since the beginning of geologic time and that the influence of human activities since at least the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has been deeply woven into the very fabric of climate change. Global warming is happening right now and the balance of the

Global Warming Argument Paper

To start, we have to answer an important question. What is global warming, and why is it happening? Global warming, or climate change, is the Earth’s atmosphere warming due to the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases.

Global Warming Is A Real Thing Or Hoax?

What’s is Global Warming? Global Warming is defined as the overall increase in temperature of the earthly atmosphere which is caused by increased pollutants, most notably CO2 levels. Global warming is a man-made disaster that also stems deforestation and the gases that come from the greenhouse effect. “Climate change is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, responsible for rising seas, raging storms, searing heat, ferocious fires, severe drought, and punishing floods”(NRDC). In short, it’s a detrimental change in the earth’s atmosphere. There is an on-going discussion on whether global warming is a real thing or Hoax but the majority of the world believes in it, it’s the rare few that try to fight against its actuality. As students

Global Warming: Are Humans to Blame?

In order to understand the issue of global warming (also referred to as climate change), you must first understand what it means and how it happens. Global warming is a result of a process known as the greenhouse effect, in which the light and heat from the sun are trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere by greenhouse gases; which subsequently raises the average temperature on Earth. The greenhouse gases responsible for this process are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and tropospheric ozone, all of which are released into the atmosphere through naturally occurring processes (Warrick, R. & Farmer, G., 1990).

Global Warming Position Paper

Although some believe that Global Warming has been created due to manmade pollutants, I believe that Global Warming is a natural process that has been accelerated due to the excess emissions of pollutants from nature and manmade devices into the atmosphere. The world has been said to be on a cycle of global warming and cooling, this process can neither be stopped nor prevented, but it can be accelerated with the addition of non-natural emissions from automobiles and factories; because this is a natural process, even if constraints were to be put on the amount of pollutants released into the air global warming could not be prevented—it could only be slowed. When the inevitable happens and global warming occurs, there are many

Informative Speech For Global Warming

The first definable cause of global warming is because human activities. In the past few decades the population of the world has increased rapidly. This has certainly triggered to increase pollution and ultimately effecting in the rise of earth's temperature. The major contributors of the climate change

The Causes Of Global Warming

Global warming is one of the major problems facing the Earth. Our year is divided up into four seasons: summer, fall, winter, spring. Unless you live at the equator, you've likely noticed that each season has become slightly warmer and often drive than usual. Humans have been on Earth for a little over two hundred thousand years and the human population has been increased to over seven billion. According to the article “Global warming”, “Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels,” (1) The article by Kirschner ststaes, “ Carbon Dioxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless gas.” (Kirschner 168) The causes of global warming are greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the heat that gets trapped in. Both human and non-human factors have contributed to global warming, but only the human factors are within our control.

The Effects of Climate Change: Agriculture and Livestock

Climate change is one of the major issues surfacing earth over the past century. The earth’s temperature has increased over the years leading to detrimental effects on the economic and life sources of people, especially that of agricultural production and livestock. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary (2014), defined climate change as a change in global climate patterns apparent from the mid late 20th century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, (2007) predicts that by 2100 the increase in global average surface temperature may be between 1.8° C and 4.0° C. With increases of 1.5° C to 2.5° C, approximately 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species are expected to be at risk of extinction. Moreover, the IPCC (2007)

Essay on Global Warming

A planet’s temperature change is an evolutionary mechanism that is dependent on three different factors. First, the amount of sunlight received determines how much energy is available for Earth’s disposal. Over the last two million years, ice ages and global heating came about because of changes in the amount and timing of sunlight. Second, there is a portion of energy that is lost or reflected back into the universe. The last factor is the extent at which the atmosphere retains heat. During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries there has been a drastic increase in the concentrations of organic water vapor and carbon

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Writing Papers about Global Warming

Essay paper writing

Academic writing

global warming research paper introduction

The humanity is and has always been connected with all the life cycles of the surrounding world. But since the emergence of highly industrialized society, the scope of damage that people do to nature has grown rapidly. Consumption of non-renewable mineral resources constantly intensifies. More and more arable lands drop out of use as cities and factories are built on them.

As a result of the population increase, intensive industrialization and urbanization of our planet, economic pressure began to exceed the ability of ecological systems to self-purification and regeneration. A natural cycle of substances in the biosphere was disrupted.The health of present and future generations of people is under threat! This is one of the most important and frequent global warming thesis statement ideas.

Ecological problems of the modern world are not only acute but also multifaceted. They are caused by virtually all branches of material production and are relevant to all regions of the planet. The Earth’s biosphere is currently exposed to serious anthropogenic impact. There is a number of processes worsening the ecological situation: in particular, the world is getting warmer and humanity is largely responsible for this, experts say. But many factors affecting climate change have not yet been studied. Scientists and students analyze this topic thoroughly. If you also got a global warming essay assignment, the facts listed below may be useful for your academic work.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 1

Causes of warming to be described in research papers on climate change

The greenhouse effect has been a serious problem for several decades now. Without it, the temperature of the atmospheric surface layers would be on average 30 degrees lower than the actual one. However, in the last decades, the content of some greenhouse gases in the air has significantly increased: the percentage of methane has grown 2.5 times and that of carbon dioxide – by more than 1/3 of its previous volume.

There are also new harmful substances which simply did not exist earlier; primarily, these are chlorine- and fluorine-hydrocarbons including the notorious freons. The link between global warming and air composition change is quite obvious. Moreover, the reason for the rapid growth in the amount of greenhouse gases is also clear: our entire civilization, since the bonfires of primitive hunters to modern gas stoves and cars, has utilized the rapid oxidation of carbon compounds, the final product of which is CO2.

Human activity is associated with an increase in the content of methane (rice fields, livestock, leaks from gas pipelines) and nitrogen oxides. Perhaps, people do not yet have a noticeable direct effect only on the content of water vapor in the atmosphere.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 2

CO2 problem

Among the global environmental issues facing humanity, the problem of CO2 is one of the most controversial. Many consider it to be a far-fetched one. Yet, there are real signs of global warming and forecasts by some climatologists and physicists who affirm that the situation is about to get a lot worse. In their opinion, it should happen because of the accumulation of carbon dioxide of anthropogenic origin in the atmosphere.

In the Quaternary period, which includes our time, the content of CO2 in the air is very low. But the pace of accumulation of this gas in the atmosphere is unprecedentedly high. That’s why most of the climate change essay topics revolve around this issue.

Nowadays, most researchers consider the combustion of fossil fuels as almost the single reason for the CO2 volume increase in the air in the X - XX centuries. In the XXI century however, there are deforestation, agricultural pollution, overgrazing, and a number of other factors that have negative effect on the and vegetation cover of the Earth.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 3


One should pay special attention to this phenomenon when writing a reasons of global warming essay. Deforestation for the sake of building construction, mining, creation of water reservoirs, and repurposing of forest lands into agricultural ones is considered the most significant factor leading to the permanent loss of organic matter in the biosphere. Up to 25% of the carbon dioxide got to the atmosphere due to deforestation. The issue of deforestation and burning of fossil fuels are roughly equal now as for the scopes of ecological damage they do to our planet.

Degradation of forests occurs on the background of excessive recreation activities and tourism, air pollution, and a number of other cases (intensive grazing, flooding of the terrain, drainage of nearby swamps, etc.).

Through the observations it was established that even an insignificant load causes changes in the soil-vegetation cover. Soil compression carried out in forests and parks leads to a decrease in the mass of roots due to which the trees’ growth stops. As a result, they become smaller and the branches become thin and short.

Mechanical damage to forests leads to the development of diseases and increase in the population of pests. When natural territories are visited by large groups of people, the lower tiers of vegetation die, the soil litter is trampled, and the humus layer suffers. Organic matter is reduced by 50% or more in parking and recreational areas.

Significant air pollution is one of the main reasons for serious forest degradation. Fly ash together with coal and coke dust clog the pores of leaves, reduce the access of light to plants, and weaken the process of assimilation. Poisoning of the soil by the emissions of metal/arsenic dust in combination with superphosphate or sulfuric acid affects the root system slowing down its growth. Sulfurous anhydrite is toxic to plants. The vegetation is completely destroyed under the influence of smokes and gases of copper smelters in close proximity. 

Significant damage to the forests is caused by the acid precipitation connected with the spread of sulfur compounds into hundreds and thousands of kilometers. A great decrease in forest biomass is also associated with fires.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 4


Nowadays, agricultural activities include processes leading to a rapid reduction of humus in soil and the release of CO2. Agriculture-provoked pollution can be considered as one of the most significant factors that lead to global warming and one of the main climate change research topics.

Most of humus is lost as a result of severe erosion and weathering. In addition, the cultivated lands lose this natural fertilizer due to its oxidation during the plowing and burning of vegetation in the framework of the slash-and-burn agriculture system. The constant loss of humus is also observed when nitrogen reserves are depleted in the soil. In developed countries, nitrogen depletion is compensated by using mineral nitrogen fertilizers and cultivation of leguminous crops.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 5


Excessive grazing in tundra, forests, and especially in meadows leads to the destruction of the land. This problem can also be discussed in a causes of global warming essay. Currently, overgrazing is particularly damaging the ecosystems of Africa, Eurasia, Latin America, and Australia. Simultaneously with the desertification, the soil with its organic matter is gradually removed.

Bogs drainage

Drainage leads to the oxidation of organic substances accumulated in peat bogs. This also leds to greenhouse effect and may be mentioned in your global climate change essay outline. When removing the 1-meter layer of marsh water from 1-hectare area, dozens of tons of dissolved organic matter are released.

Irrigation of lands

In some cases, this practice causes losses of crucial elements of soil as a result of irrigation erosion. At the same time, the correct melioration of poor desert areas increases the resources of organic matter in the soil. This is one of the most actively discussed environmental science research paper topics. Today, 0.2-0.3 million hectares of irrigated lands are annually turned into wastelands due to salinization and waterlogging. After that, they become completely damaged, uninhabitable, and unfit for agricultural use.

Construction works

Construction and growth of cities, the creation of communications, and mining generally lead to massive destruction of the soil and vegetation cover; sometimes, in order to partially lessen the damage, parks are created on the areas that have been subjected to human influence. Every year, construction works and mining operations destroy the soil and vegetation cover on an area of 5-10 million hectares that leads to a decrease in the organic matter stocks of the biosphere. Even the most approximate calculation will give the total figure of annual losses equal to several hundred million tons of organic matter.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 6

Possible consequences: points to discuss in argumentative global warming essay

There would not be so many global warming essay examples if humanity was not afraid of the possible consequences of this phenomenon. If current tendencies remain unchanged, the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere will double by 2060 (compared to the pre-industrial level) and quadruple by the end of the century. This is an extremely disturbing fact because the life cycle of CO2-emissions in the atmosphere is more than a hundred years. For comparison, water vapor has an eight-day cycle.

Modern predictions are based on the idea of a dynamic equilibrium among all components of the natural environment and the danger of its breaking. In particular, anthropogenic warming of the climate system as well as the decrease (or even disappearance) of snow and ice masses in high latitudes and at the poles of the Earth will significantly weaken the meridional atmospheric circulation and, as a result, lead to the moistening of the continents. Over the past 250-300 years, the level of the World Ocean rises by an average of 1 mm per year.

It is worth mentioning in your effects of global warming essay that the predicted changes should be observed to the biggest extent in the Arctic and Subarctic. Degradation of permafrost and ice rocks can occur in these zones. All cities, towns, and communications built on such territories are under the threat of destruction.

There are lots of reasons to believe that radical climatic shifts and the melting of glaciers may affect the processes in the depths of the earth. Due to the redistribution of water masses from the poles to low latitudes, the Earth’s rotation speed will slow down imperceptibly. Will such impulses stimulate volcanism and earthquakes in the Сircum-Pacific belt, the Mediterranean, and other seismically active zones? In case the disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet continues at the same speed, the level of ocean water will grow rapidly by 5-7m and this may be enough to provoke volcanic processes in the most seismically active areas.

It will lead to flooding of the continental edges and change the geography of their wet and arid zones that will influence the underground hydrosphere. Will the uplifting and lowering of the Earth’s crust in the zones of growth and reduction of natural water horizons be accompanied by the seismic activity? The available data on anthropogenic subsidence and uplifts of the Earth’s surface exciting seismicity denote the possibility of such events.

The delicate balance among the Earth’s shells that is maintained by slow geological processes can be disrupted for hundreds of years. These changes will undoubtedly cause great damage to the world economy, although the technical advancements of mankind are expected to help us resist it. Therefore, the measures must be taken to counteract the increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration and provide safety for the biosphere and humanity. That’s why the investigation of climate change paper topics by scientists and students is so important.

Given the data collected from all over the world and the results of the UN Commission’s studies, the average temperature may rise by 1.4-1.8 degrees Celsius during this century. The level of the World Ocean will increase by 10 cm, jeopardizing the countries that are located lower than the sea level.

Given the influence of mankind on the environment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) insists on increasing the number of observations to create a more precise picture of global warming.

Your global warming persuasive essay should be based on information provided by authoritative scholars and organizations. The United Nations has a great influence in various parts of the world so you have every reason to take the opinion of the UN experts into account. Unfortunately, most of the conclusions and predictions of specialists are disappointing; according to them the negative results of warming will be seen almost everywhere.

For most of Europe, the threat of floods will increase significantly. The glaciers of the Alps and large areas of permafrost will begin to melt and completely disappear by the end of this century. However, the climate change will have a positive impact on the crops harvested in Northern Europe and almost equally negative effect on the agriculture of Southern Europe. This area will suffer from constant droughts in the 21st century.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 7

In Asia high temperatures, droughts, floods, and soil erosion will cause irrecoverable damage to the agriculture of many countries. A rise of sea level and strong tropical cyclones will force dozens of millions of people to move away from the seashores. Approximately the same conditions will be observed in Africa. Crop yields will be considerably reduced, the amount of available drinking water will decrease. There will be less precipitation, especially in the south, north, and west of the continent. As a result, the emergence of new desert areas will become a common issue. Settlements in Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Egypt, and the ones along the southeast coast of Africa will suffer from rising of the sea level and coastal erosion. Epidemics of infectious diseases spread by insects such as mosquitoes will occur.

In North America and Australia, some regions will benefit from warming because agricultural activities will become more profitable there. However, all the other regions may suffer from various disasters, including floods, droughts, and epidemics. The amount of rains on the whole planet may significantly decrease, but the appearance of deserts and storms may become more frequent. In a few years, we will all run the risk of getting into an unfamiliar and frightening world in which the threat of pernicious infections will loom over mankind. The warm and humid climate that will be formed on the planet during the next 20 years will help dangerous diseases such as malaria or Dengue fever (already presenting a serious threat to humanity) to conquer new frontiers.

The small island states will suffer the most. It will be difficult for the developing countries to adapt to new conditions. Nevertheless, some positive effects, such as the increased timber production, lower deaths rates because of frosts during winter time, and large grain yields in such regions as Southeast Asia and Northern Europe are also expected.

Scientists warn that the predicted climate changes can potentially lead to large-scale and irreversible transformations: a slowdown in the supply of warm water to the North Atlantic, rapid melting of ice in Greenland and western Antarctica, and an increase in the proportion of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.

The UN report is one of the most detailed and serious works regarding the consequences of global warming. So you can safely use this data as a basis for a climate change research paper. The UN experts state that the signs of alarming processes are already visible:

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 8

Ways of solving the greenhouse effect problem to highlight in essays on global warming

Your how to prevent global warming essay should contain specific proposals aimed at helping mankind to avoid the impending danger. The main measure to prevent climate changes can be formulated as follows: to find a new type of fuel or to change the technology of using current fuels. This means that humanity needs:

You can choose the measures, which are the most effective in your opinion and list them in a global warming conclusion paragraph. According to the standards of academic writing, the final words of the essay should serve as a call for action.

Global Warming Essay Writing Guide 9

Protection of the atmosphere

The protection of the atmosphere from the over-saturation with carbon dioxide is one of the most popular environment research paper topics. The slowdown of global warming depends on the supporting of the balance of air composition.

The nature defense program should include effective measures to fight against air pollution by vehicles as well as agricultural and, especially, industrial sources. The ways of fix the existing situation should be clearly specified. Thus, intermediate and long-term plans as well as specific programs aimed at neutralization of adverse effects using local and national resources must be developed.

The solution of a global warming essay should involve several integrated practices. Protection of the atmosphere can’t be successful with unilateral decisions and half-measures. The best results can be obtained only with multifaceted approach to determining the causes and sources of pollution as well as realistic possibilities for limiting the harmful emissions.

It is worth pointing out that only a combination of optimal economic and technological conditions can lead to the improvement of the quality of atmosphere, especially in urban and industrial conglomerates where the concentration of pollutants is higher.

Based on these provisions, it would only be safe to use the information from an independent source that could provide the data not only on the degree of air pollution, but also on the types of technological and administrative measures that should be taken. As a result, an objective assessment will allow creating actual plans and long-term forecasts for the worst and most favorable scenarios and form a solid basis for the development and strengthening of an atmosphere protection program.

It is obvious that the most contaminated part of any city is its center and the main polluter is road traffic. Vehicle emissions account for about 60% of all harmful substances in urban air. Exhaust fumes from autos are a mix of about 200 different substances. They contain hydrocarbons (unburned or incompletely burnt fuel components) the part of which sharply increases at the moment of speed increase at the start, i.е. during a traffic jam or red signal.

There are several ways to deal with the problem of exhaust gases:

•   technical improvement of engines, fuel equipment, electronic fuel supply systems;

•   improvement of fuel quality;

•   reducing the content of toxic substances in exhaust gases as a result of the use of fuel afterburners or catalysts;

•   usage of alternative fuels.

The vehicle exhaust can be made harmless by means of special devices in the car engine exhaust system called neutralizers.

•   Flame neutralizer is a device for protecting the environment from the exhaust gases by afterburning them in an open flame.

•   Thermal neutralizer is a heat-saving device for neutralization of exhaust gases by the method of flameless combustion.

•   Liquid neutralizer is a device for nullifying the effects of exhaust gases by chemical reaction with liquid substances.

Ideas of scientists

Proposals for solving the problem of climate change from leading scientists sometimes may seem unrealistic. But experts seriously consider all the factors when developing them, because sooner or later these strategies may come in handy. You may describe some of the theories in your environmental pollution and global warming essay.

Today, the Earth absorbs 70% of all radiation received from the Sun and there is a need to reduce this amount. Astronomer Roger Ancel suggested placing millions of lenses with a diameter of 60 cm around the Earth to reflect the sun rays. It should be noted that the reduction of solar illumination by 1.6% compensates for the temperature increase by 1.75 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit) as there is a direct correlation between light scattering and temperature. For example, the temperature drops during the eruption of volcanoes when a huge mass of particles enters the atmosphere and as a result a smaller percentage of sunlight can reach the Earth.

According to another strategy (taken from the journal ActaAstronautica), it was proposed to create a ring of small particles or spaceships around the Earth to darken some parts of tropics and thereby to balance the climate.

The cost of these projects can be very high: $500 billion for special spacecraft design and from $6 to $200 trillion for the particles-ring construction.

Climatologist Wallace Broker proposed to scatter sulfur in the stratosphere at an altitude of more than 15 km with the help of hot-air balloons and airplanes. The bigger part of sulfur particles will stay at this level for about a year or two. This project is estimated at $50 billion.

Another theory suggests producing salted steam with the help of mechanisms that will turn the seawater into real clouds saturated with sodium chloride.

There is an idea to create artificial floating islands with a mirroring surface in the sea zones or to cover some desert regions with light colored plastic materials to reflect solar radiation.

The plan to disperse substances that catalyze the growth of water plants in order to increase the amount of carbon dioxide these plants absorb has already been implemented in some areas of Antarctica.

A famous British astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, believed that the survival of the human race depends on our chances to find a new home elsewhere in the universe, because the destruction that global warming causes is skyrocketing. He claimed that people could have a permanent base on the Moon in the next 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next four decades.

Useful tips for writing the research paper on global warming

If we look closely at a climate change research paper example, it will be noticeable that the academic text is written according to specific rules. There is a clear structure, which makes the presentation of different opinion points clear. An essay is a short prose paper, the purpose of which is to express thoughts and ideas of the author on a particular subject. It is worth pointing out that the usage of templates in essay writing is rare and often discouraged. It is obvious that you have to strain your brain to write a good essay.

Tip 1: read the essays of other authors

Find the papers with similar global warming essay titles and read them carefully. This will help you develop your own writing style. After all, essay writing requires a sense of style. According to the opinion of specialists, a good presentation of your opinion should be emotional, expressive, and artistic.

Tip 2: study the literature on the given topic

As it has been already mentioned, an essay is a creative work, which involves the description of our own thoughts on a particular topic. But one should keep in mind that such academic papers target not only beginners but also readers who have a certain level of awareness of the topic. Therefore, in order to present the main points and ideas in the best possible way, one should have knowledge in the area.

Tip 3: think out the structure and the climate change essay outline

Such work can have an arbitrary structure, and the only formal rule is the presence of a heading. Nevertheless, the most popular structure of an essay is as follows:

1.    Title. It’s not hard to come up with good global warming essay titles since many authors have already considered this problem and lots of options can be found online. However, it is much better if the heading is unique. Many students compile the text relying on the title, although experts recommend doing vice versa. You can come up with the title after the paper is finished as it will be possible to highlight the main idea accurately.

2.    Global warming essay introduction. It depends on the introduction whether the reader will continue studying the rest of the text. This part should be bright, catchy, and closely related to the actual problems and phenomena.

3.    The main body. You’ll have to formulate the thesis and arguments supporting each point of your global warming research paper outline. A thesis should be the author’s idea and the arguments should be its rationale.

4.    Conclusion of a global warming essay. It’s necessary to sum up the answers to all the questions presented in the text and prove the statement that you have put forward at the beginning.

5.    References. If you have used the writings of other authors, conference proceedings, or scientific sources, the examiner should be aware of this. Compile a list of references at the end of the paper.

If you are looking for some directions on how to write an essay, here they are. However, you can write all the parts in random order. For example, it’s normal to compose an introduction paragraph for a global warming essay after the main block with thesis and arguments. First, you need to create a rough draft of the paper, and then it should be edited and checked for possible mistakes. Once that is done, you will be able to polish it to become the final text that completely satisfies the requirements.

Tip 4: Do not "overload" the essay

It is evident that everyone has their own writing style and wants to provide a detailed answer to each question, but too long of a construction can negatively affect the mark. The hook for global warming essay must consist of a few sentences maximum. The presentation of the arguments also should not be burdened with superfluous text.

Tip 5: be honest with readers

It is highly unethical and counterproductive to attribute someone else’s ideas to oneself. You should remember that excellence can be achieved with practice only. Working on essays develops creative thinking as well as the ability to express one’s opinion. This will help you to learn how to choose words that fit the context, highlight cause-effect relationships, and support your thesis with appropriate arguments and examples from real life.

global warming research paper introduction

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global warming research paper introduction

Global Warming Introduction Essay

Introduction: What is global warming? The earth experience 4 distinct seasons and climate change regularly every three months : Spring, Summer, Autumn and winter. However, the earth’s temperature has been rising and climate is getting warmer. The reason to this strange fact is due to one main reason: Global warming. All of us human beings have the moral duty to help to ameliorate global warming. Global Warming is a strangely fast increase in Earth’s surface temperature over the past century mainly caused by the greenhouse gases produced when human burn fossil fuel . The causes of global warming Global warming is happening rapidly due to many activities that is performed naturally or man-made. Natural causes Global warming actually happened naturally through the activity of the earth or places on the earth.The production of methane gas from arctic tundra and wetlands is a cause of global warming.. Another cause is the earth’s cycle of climate change which last about 40,000 years. Man-made causes The activities that human beings performed are causing the most impact to the world. Human beings are taking advantage of the nature and overdoing stuffs. Their activities need to be cut down. 1.Pollution Pollution is one of the major man made problems which are resulted by different activity. Burning fossil fuels is one of them. Fossil fuels are made of organic matter and when they are burned, the release greenhouse gas called CO2. Mining coal and oil is also one of the problem. When they are mined by humans, methane are able to escape. 2. Population Population is also another serious man-made problems of Global Warming. More people resulted in more food, more ways of transportation. Therefore, More and more methane will be released ... ... middle of paper ... ...ove our society. Everyone is responsible for this So what can we do? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle use reusable products rather than disposables. buy things with little packaging to reduce waste. Recycle more things like paper, newspapers, cans, plastic and save carbon dioxide. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning We can help global warming by using less heater and air conditioning. Whenever we are away or not using it, turn them off. We can lower our heating cost by placing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows. Drive less as when you drive less, there is less release of carbon dioxide. Walking,biking may be a better choice and they can save you gasoline. Plant more trees and plants as during days, plants undergoes photosynthesis, where carbon dioxide is absorbed and oxygen is released. This will help to control the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

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Global Warming is the term used to describe the steady and prolonged increase to the Earths temperature. Global Warming can be caused by many different factors, including both natural and human influences.

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How researchers can help fight climate change in 2022 and beyond

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Military personnel floats on a boat on a river as the roof of a damaged house hangs in the water

Devastating floods that hit Germany last July were made more likely by the warming climate. Credit: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty

Late last year, the major climate summit in Glasgow, UK — the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations climate convention (COP26) — injected much-needed momentum into the political and business community in the fight to stop climate change. The year ahead represents an opportunity for scientists of all stripes to offer up expertise and ensure that they have a voice in this monumental effort.

Science is already baked into the UN’s formal climate agenda for 2022. In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to release its assessment of the latest research into how climate warming is affecting people and ecosystems; a month later, the panel is set to provide an analysis of the options for curbing emissions and halting global warming. Combined with last year’s report on climate science , the governments of the world will have a solid review of the state-of-the-art of research on climate change. But the research community’s work stretches far beyond the IPCC.

At the top of governments’ climate agenda is innovation. Existing technologies such as wind and solar power, whose price has plummeted over the past decade, and more-efficient lighting, buildings and vehicles will help to reduce emissions. But if green energy is to push out fossil fuels and fulfil the rising demand for reliable power in low-income countries, scientists and engineers will be needed to solve a range of problems. These include finding ways to cut the price of grid-scale electricity storage and to address technical challenges that arise when integrating massive amounts of intermittent renewable energy. Research will also be required to provide a new generation of affordable vehicles powered by electricity and hydrogen, and low-carbon fuels for those that are harder to electrify, such as aircraft.

Even in the most optimistic scenarios, such clean-energy deployments are unlikely to be enough to enable countries to keep their climate commitments. More innovation will also be needed — for example, in the form of technologies that can pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. These have yet to be tested and demonstrated at any significant scale. Governments and funders also need to support scientists in efforts to understand the safety and efficacy of various controversial geoengineering technologies — methods for artificially cooling the planet, such as the addition of particles to the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back into space — if only to determine whether there is sense in even contemplating such alternatives.

global warming research paper introduction

Give research into solar geoengineering a chance

There are signs of renewed support for research and innovation in helping to address climate change. In Glasgow, 22 countries, as well as the European Commission (EC), announced plans to cooperate on innovation focused on greening cities, curbing industrial emissions, promoting CO 2 capture and developing renewable fuels, chemicals and materials. The EC has also announced efforts to drive new funds into demonstration projects to help commercialize low-carbon technologies. And China, currently the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is creating a vast research infrastructure focused on technologies that will help to eliminate carbon emissions.

global warming research paper introduction

China creates vast research infrastructure to support ambitious climate goals

In the United States, under President Joe Biden, the Democrats have also made innovation a linchpin of efforts to address climate change. A bipartisan bill enacted in November will expand green-infrastructure investments, as well as providing nearly US$42 billion for clean-energy research and development at the US Department of Energy over the next 5 years, roughly doubling the current budget, according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank in Washington DC. Another $550 billion for climate and clean-energy programmes is included in a larger budget bill that Democrats hope to pass this year. Economic modelling suggests that the spending surge could help to lower emissions in the coming decade while teeing up technologies that will be crucial to eliminating greenhouse-gas emissions in the latter half of the century.

In addition to enabling green innovation, scientists have an important part to play in evaluating climate policies and tracking commitments made by governments and businesses. Many of the initiatives that gained traction at COP26 need science to succeed. That includes evaluating how climate finance — money that wealthy nations have committed to help low-income nations to curb emissions and cope with climate change — is spent. Research is also needed to understand the impacts of carbon offsets and carbon trading, for which new rules were agreed at COP26.

global warming research paper introduction

COP26 climate pledges: What scientists think so far

Climate science, too, must continue apace, helping governments and the public to understand the impact of climate change. From floods in Germany to fires in Australia, the evolving field of climate attribution has already made it clear that global warming is partly to blame for numerous tragedies. Attribution science will also feed into an ongoing geopolitical debate about who should pay for the rising costs of climate-related natural disasters, as many low-income countries seek compensation from wealthy countries that are responsible for the bulk of the greenhouse-gas emissions so far.

These and other issues will be discussed again in November at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, where it will be crucial to make sure that everyone has a voice and that research supports climate monitoring and innovation everywhere, not just in richer nations.

A new agreement made at COP26 that requires governments to report annually on their climate progress should help to maintain pressure on them to act on climate change. But science and innovation will be equally important to driving ever-bolder climate policies.

Nature 601 , 7 (2022)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-03817-4

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Greenhouse gases, radiative forcing, global warming potential and waste management--an introduction


Management of post-consumer solid waste contributes to emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) representing about 3% of global anthropogenic GHG emissions. Most GHG reporting initiatives around the world utilize two metrics proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): radiative forcing (RF) and global warming potential (GWP). This paper provides a general introduction of the factors that define a GHG and explains the scientific background for estimating RF and GWP, thereby exposing the lay reader to a brief overview of the methods for calculating the effects of GHGs on climate change. An objective of this paper is to increase awareness that the GWP of GHGs has been re-adjusted as the concentration and relative proportion of these GHGs has changed with time (e.g., the GWP of methane has changed from 21 to 25 CO(2)-eq). Improved understanding of the indirect effects of GHGs has also led to a modification in the methodology for calculating GWP. Following a presentation of theory behind GHG, RF and GWP concepts, the paper briefly describes the most important GHG sources and sinks in the context of the waste management industry. The paper serves as a primer for more detailed research publications presented in this special issue of Waste Management & Research providing a technology-based assessment of quantitative GHG emissions from different waste management technologies.

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Published Climate Change Research Papers

Published Climate Change Research Papers

The number of papers classified as predicting, implying, or providing supporting evidence for future global cooling, warming, and neutral categories. Bars indicate number of articles published per year. Squares indicate cumulative number of articles published. For the period 1965 through 1979, the literature survey found seven papers suggesting further cooling, 20 neutral, and 44 warming. Even in the early years of the study of climate change, more science studies were discussing concerns about global warming than global cooling. (Figure source: Peterson et al. 200814).

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Global Warming Research Paper Introduction Examples

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Writing a research paper is a difficult task that can take you over two weeks to complete. You are not a professional writer and don’t have enough writing experience to write a global warming essay in a few days. This means that you risk being late with your assignment and getting penalized. One of the best ways to make sure this doesn’t happen is to follow a good essay on global warming . . .

Global warming refers to extreme changes in the Earth’s climate. The term illustrates dramatic increases in atmospheric and water temperatures experienced as a result of growing amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Humans are responsible for producing these gases via cars. electricity. . . . Are you experiencing academic anxiety?

The essay on global warming may come with different topics. explore a variety of effects of global warming for the whole ecosystem. and outline possible human-centric causes and consequences of inactivity. Whether you need an argument-based text (argumentative essay) or want to convince someone to follow your way of thinking (persuasive essay). your task is to approach the problem …

Introduction In this article. Walter Starck dismisses the global focus that has been put on global warming and climate change and insists that the obsession with global warming has overshadowed the vital issues such as the diminishing supply of energy to run the world economy. Starck claims that. instead of focusing too much on the […]

Introduction of the introduction: This one page of introduction will include 3 paragraphs on what the subject ‘’Global Warming” is about. One paragraph will be on how the topic is introduced. the second about what it will discuss. and the third on how …

1598 Words | 7 Pages Introduction: The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether global warming could affect the thermohaline circulation cycle (THC) significantly enough that it could even shut it down and thus cause a shift in the climate of Europe severe enough to cause another Little Ice Age.

Global warming research paper intro example. Saved by Katie Plant. Topics For Research Primary Research Research Paper Introduction Research Paper Outline Executive Summary Template Library Research High Tension Stanford University Writing Help Primary Research Research Paper Introduction Research Paper Outline Executive Summary Template Library Research High

Most scientists also agree that global warming is the result of human activity. Opponents argue that the correlation between higher levels of greenhouse gases and the earth's warming trend do not necessarily mean that the greenhouse gases are

Many researchers. engineers and environmentalists are expressing deep concerns about changes in the overall climate of the planet. Fossil fuels are being continuously used to …

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