Sample English Paper on Climate Change

Sample English Paper on Climate Change

Climate change is a major problem today. This problem does not only threaten the future of humanity and wildlife, but it also threatens the future of the environment. No one knows the exact damage that it might cause in the future if it progresses at the current rate, however, projections indicate that the damages might be alarming. A study by Williams shows that the global rise in sea level currently stands at 3.1 millimeters every year from a low of 1.7 millimeters during the 20th century; this is a 50 percent rise, an indication that climate change currently melts more ice than it did during the 20th century (Williams 184). Studies further show that more than 8 million people in USA live in vulnerable coastal regions (Chen, Wilson and Tapley 1959). Given the current rise in sea level, these people together with other people living in other parts of the world may be vulnerable to constant storms from the sea.

The issue of climate change is very significant today that it cannot be wished away. It affects the future of humanity, wildlife and environment. Accordingly, if it is not addressed right now, it might result to more disastrous results in the future. Studies have shown that it might melt the ice sheets in Greenland and increase the sea level by seventy meters in a thousand years to come (Dowdeswell 963). This may in turn be a great challenge to people living along the coastal lines. Besides what studies show, climate change results to destructive floods, droughts witnessed in different parts of the world and relentless snowfalls. It also results to loss of rainforests, colossal forest fires emanating from severe drought and frequent storms among other bad things (Williams 184). In order to deal with the challenges that emanate from climate change, it would be important to develop and utilize clean, sustainable energy sources, conserve energy and increase energy efficiency.

The Problem

For a long time, climate change has resulted to a rising sea level that currently stands at 3.1 millimeters every year (Williams 184). Greenland that contains about 10 percent of the global ice mass is responsible for about 43 percent of the current rising sea level. Projections indicate that if the ice sheets in Greenland melted completely, they would raise the global sea level by between 6.5 and 7 meters (Chen, Wilson, and Tapley 1958; Dowdeswell 963). Although this would take approximately one thousand years to happen and it would depend on future changes in climate, this would obviously raise the sea level by a considerable margin. By raising the sea level with such a margin, it would ultimately affect the lives of the people that live along the coastal lines. Alley et al claim that it would increase the susceptibility of these people to storm surges, lead to coastal erosion and contaminate groundwater through salt intrusion. The worrying thing is that if the change in climate will continue at the current rate, then by the end of 21st century the level of the sea will have risen by 0.5 0.4 meters (Alley et al. 456). The worst thing is that both Antarctic and Greenland will play a significant role on the projected figures.

Climate change has also resulted to wildfires currently witnessed in different parts of the world. The wildfires are amplified by severe droughts that emanate from the seasonality of wet and dry seasons. The changes in climate have also resulted to frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases among different types of plants. They have further resulted to intense tropical cyclone activities that when they occur in the oceans cause storms (Williams 188). In terms of health risks, climate change has already affected human well-being and health in numerous ways. It has altered the direct effect of sunlight on human beings by intensifying the intensity of sunlight. As a consequence, the number of skin diseases that emanate from direct sunlight has increased. Some people have even lost their lives following the intensified sunlight.

Current Solutions

The current policies that address the issue of climate change include clean coal technology, carbon sequestration, higher fuel efficiency standards and carbon taxing. Higher fuel efficiency standard is concerned with ensuring that industries that use fossil fuel to produce their products meet certain energy standards as they use fossil fuels. It is also concerned with ensuring that automotives that run on fossil fuels also meet similar standards. Carbon taxing on its part is concerned with taxing companies on the basis of the carbon dioxide gas and other greenhouse gases they release into the air. The taxing is aimed at discouraging companies from using fossil fuels. Clean coal technology is concerned with releasing minimal carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide gases during the combustion of coal (Diaz, Susan and Hannah 39). Lastly, carbon sequestration is concerned with removing or diverting carbon dioxide gas from emission sources and storing it into the ocean or injecting it into the earth’s crust.

The issue of carbon taxing is good, but its failure to discourage the emission of carbon dioxide entirely is controversial in the sense that industries still emit the gas. Accordingly, the effects of climate change still persist even in its presence. The issue of higher fuel efficiency standards is also good, but the question remains on the compliance of the industries and automotives that use fossil fuels to the standards. Carbon sequestration is also good, but the main challenge with policies related to this method is that of carbon dioxide leakage during the production process. The injection of carbon into the earth’s crust may also pollute ground water and soil (Diaz, Susan and Hannah 39). Therefore, even if carbon sequestration is a good method of dealing with climate change, it is not as good as it appears. It eliminates challenges in one area, but transfers them to another area. Lastly, clean coal technology is also good, but it encourages the use of fossil fuels rather than discouraging them.

Proposed Solutions

Therefore, in order to deal with the issue of climate change, it would be important to do the following. First, it would be important to increase energy efficiency at homes and in industries. At homes, people should use energy efficient bulbs. They should also use fluorescent lights, natural light when necessary and LED lights. These lighting methods reduce the amount of energy required to light homes. By so doing, they minimize energy consumption that in return minimizes energy demand. Industrial processes should also adopt similar measures to reduce the energy they consume as they produce goods. They should operate boilers at higher temperatures, but burn less fuels. This would reduce pollutants and save money. They should also insulate steam, maintain steam traps and stop steam leakages. More importantly, they should use variable speed electric motors as opposed to using the general electric motors. The variable electric motors match motors’ energy with required loads thereby save energy by between 3 to 60 percent (Jacobson 168). At the same time, industries should use motor coils manufactured from superconducting materials that are able to minimize energy losses. These methods would reduce energy consumed, and in return, reduce energy demanded. The overall result would be a reduction in energy produced that would reduce stress on the environment.

Secondly, it would be important to develop and utilize clean sustainable energy sources. Clean sustainable sources refer to the energy sources that do not release greenhouse gases into the air when producing energy. Majority of these sources are renewable sources of energy. They include solar, wind and hydro power energy together with biomass fuels (Jacobson 152). The hydro power in this case does not advocate for construction of dams, but it advocates for micro-hydro power that does not interfere with the natural environment. For biomass fuels; these are the fuels that come from non-fossil fuels.

Thirdly, it would be important to conserve energy when it is possible to do so. The exercise involves reducing the number of times a person heats his/her room during the winter, drying clothes through natural methods as opposed to drying them using dryer and using car less often. The energy conservation exercise requires the right policy programmes, behavior change and advancements in technology. Accordingly, the input of a lot of people is required. The first method deals with reducing stress on energy whereas the second method deals with shifting focus away from fossil fuels. The third method on its part deals with behavior change and development of the right policy programmes. Given that each method deals with a particular set of challenges and issues, then they should be combined together to eliminate climate change.

Possible Counterarguments

The above notwithstanding, some people might argue that it would be costly and almost impossible to adhere to energy efficiency standards. Others might argue that the sustainable energy sources might not be able to meet the current demand for energy without the help of fossil fuels. Other people might also argue that energy conservation methods might not be possible because they require the input of a lot of people, and collaboration among those people. All these arguments are varied in one way or the other. However, it would be important to acknowledge the fact that each method has its challenges. Therefore, it would be important to address each challenge soberly.

As for the sustainability of some of the renewable sources of energy, it would be important to acknowledge that biomass fuels may not be sustainable because of the land required to produce sufficient amounts of corn. The land required might threaten rainforests that are on the verge of diminishing. Consequently, this source of energy should be used as an interim alternative while the exploitation of other sources of energy continues (Jacobson 155). As for the collaboration of different stakeholders in promoting energy conservation exercises, it would be important to acknowledge the fact that majority of these people are already concerned about climate change. Accordingly, it might not be a big challenge to bring them together and urge them to work towards a common goal. More importantly, majority of the people would be willing to change the way they use energy. Therefore, the method may be effective in dealing with climate change.

With regard to meeting the current energy demand, it would be important to acknowledge the fact that renewable sources of energy have the potential of meeting energy demand in the future. All that is required right now is smooth transition between non-renewable energy sources and renewable energy sources. This means that dependence on fossil fuels should continue during the transition period, but it should stop at some point once the transition is over. Lastly, it would be important to acknowledge the fact that the cost of adhering to energy efficiency standards may not be a hindrance so long as people understand the rationale behind it (Jacobson 167). At the same time, governments would chip in to reduce the cost by promoting the exercises that enhance energy efficiency. Therefore, the proposed methods would be effective.

Conclusion

The solution to climate change depends largely on the energy path that policy makers take. If policy makers will stick to the conventional methods, they might not achieve considerable results. However, if they shift focus to sustainable policies that can withstand time changes, then the issue of climate change will be solved in totality. The sustainable policies rest on promoting, developing and using clean sustainable energy sources. These sources of energy do not emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as they produce energy. As a result, they attain different objectives from the current policies that although they discourage pollution, do not deal with the emission of carbon dioxide in totality. The proposed sources of energy allow the earth to sustain a balanced healthy ecosystem as they produce energy. At the same time, they do not pollute the environment. For these reasons, they are the best methods for dealing with changes in climate because the current methods have failed to do so.

 

Works Cited

Alley, Richard B., et al. “Ice-sheet and sea-level changes.” science 310.5747 (2005): 456-460.

Chen, J. L., C. R. Wilson, and B. D. Tapley. “Satellite gravity measurements confirm accelerated melting of Greenland ice sheet.” Science 313.5795 (2006): 1958-1960.

Diaz, David, Susan Charnley, and Hannah Gosnell. Engaging Western Landowners in Climate Change Mitigation: A Guide to Carbon-Oriented Forest and Range Management and Carbon Market Opportunities. Portland, Oregon: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, 2009.

Dowdeswell, Julian. The Greenland ice sheet and global sea-level rise. Science, 311, 2006.

Jacobson, Mark. Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Energy environmental science, 2, 2009.

Williams, Jeffress. Sea-level rise implications for coastal regions. Journal of coastal research, 63, 2013.