Global Warming is Real


Maskot / Alamy Stock Photo

Sara Matvey, Contributer

Global warming, we have all heard it but no one really knows what it means. Is global warming only when temperatures rise or general temperature change? Is it the same as climate change? What effect does it have on us? Will cars be banned to reduce emissions? Will the world end? These are all common questions that people ask frequently about global warming. The answer, in short, is yes, let us dive in.

First, what is global warming? Everyone has a different idea and understanding of what global warming is. According to National Geographic, global warming is a change is greenhouse gas levels which, over time, causes temperatures to rise and weather patterns to change. This causes glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise but it could also work the other direction. Even though it would not technically be global “warming” the temperatures can fall because of a decrease in greenhouse gasses. This this is where the term climate change comes into play. Since not all temperatures are rising (some are falling) scientists term climate change which refers to temperatures and extreme weather. Greenhouse gasses, which are frequently given credit for global warming, are gasses that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Some are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. They give the Earth their temperature, which is why the increase/decrease of these gasses leads to temperature change.

One of the most common greenhouse gasses, ozone (O₃), makes up the ozone layer. As do all greenhouse gases, it protects the earth from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It is created from chemical reactions from emissions on the surface. The protective ozone layer in the stratosphere is growing a hole in it. To help keep the ozone layer intact, congress passed the Clean Air Act which calls for state and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) environmental reform to help solve air pollution problems. Speaking of pollution, what exactly is pollution? Pollution is the introduction of materials into the environment that have a adverse affect on the earth. Common pollutants include Styrofoam, plastic, McDonalds bags, and any type of trash that don’t decompose or biodegrade. Many common pollutants do biodegrade but they take a very long time to do so. Air pollution comes from cars, powerplants, cities, fires, and dust. These are swept into the air, break down greenhouse gasses, and then are deposited back into the ecosystem through haze and smog. Smog is made of ozone, which is harmful to humans. It can cause throat irritation, cough, and chest tightness/pain. The National Ambient Air Quality Standards issued by the EPA for the Clean Air Act outline how much exposure to certain pollutants can be harmful. This helps people to know if the air quality will be harmful to them.

The main mode of transportation for many people around the world is the car. Car engines emit nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons/ volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and nitrogen oxides. The EPA requires yearly emissions testing on all vehicles including boats, planes, and construction vehicles (like excavators). This helps to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals emitted into our atmosphere. Cars likely will not get banned for their emissions but more strict laws regarding emissions and electric cars are becoming more popular (they have emissions but they are less harmful because no gasoline is burnt).

While the world will not end in the near future due to global warming, it will end due to global warming. As the ozone hole gets larger and temperatures rise, many animals, especially in cold regions, will go extinct. It is predicted that in 1-2 billion years the earth will become too hot for any animal, plant, or human life to survive. That doesn’t mean now is the time to stop caring for the environment. Life will be different in 50 years because of global warming. Many coastal cities and towns will be underwater from rising oceans, it will be hot, more animals will be extinct, and some of Earth’s greatest natural features will be depleted and gone. Initiatives like the Green New Deal are trying to combat this. The deal states that by 2030 the US will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Contrary to Donald Trump’s belief Global Warming is real and alternative energy sources that would prevent the ultimate doom of the entire world do not cause cancer and kill bald eagles. Alternative energy sources, reduced emissions, and less pollution will help our planet for the better. Global warming is very real and it is harmful to the Earth, and without action, the Earth will die.