Global Warming: problems and solutions

Gia Gwyin

What is global warming? According to the EPA it’s a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants. Simplified, global warming is the warming of the earth due to increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. There is about 18 months until there is permanent damage on the planet, we call home.
But how do scientists know global warming is even real?
According to, scientists have used “Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale,” NASA also explains that heat-trapping of carbon dioxide was noticed in the mid-19th century. It was noticed once the ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica started to respond to the changes in greenhouse levels. Now, the evidence of rapid climate change is even more compelling.
Let’s start with the global temperature rise. According to the same NASA article, the planets average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century. This change is purely due to increases in carbon dioxide and other human related activities. Most of the warming has occurred in the past 35 years. Five of the warmest years on record have taken place since 2010. Not only was 2016 recorded as the hottest year to take place but, January through September were the warmest months during 2016.
The Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets have now decreased. Greenland has lost about 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016, while Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice per year during the same time period and both the extent and thickness has decreased over the last several decades. Now the melting of ice has attributed to sea level rises. Globally, sea levels have risen about eight inches in the last two decades. But in the last century it has doubled and is slightly increasing. Due to sea levels rising there is an increasing chance that inland habitats will be destroyed due to flooding. According to National Geographic, higher sea levels are associated with dangerous typhoons and hurricanes. This contributes with stronger storm strains and these can strip away anything that is in its path.
According to another National Geographic article that includes ideas that there are multiple different solutions, starting with changing our human behavior within the environment and how we consume our energy. Our vehicle fuel, more increasing amounts of solar and wind power and biofuels from organic waste. But mainly protecting our forests. Even scientists are coming up with ways to lower the permanent effects including building better batteries to store more renewable energy, capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and other sources with the goal of storing it underground or turning it into valuable things such as gasoline. Lastly, adapting to change is the biggest solution. There are flood free regions that are suffering from out of control flooding, hurricans and storms and costal states are getting destroyed from out of control wildfires. A new way of ideas has come into light according to this same article. Those “Include managing or preventing land erosion, building microgrids and other energy systems built to withstand disruptions, and designing buildings with rising sea levels in minds.” There have been recent books that have included solutions as well, Drawdown and Designing Climate Solutions. The ideas vary but put out the same message:
We already have many of the tools needed to address climate change. Some of the concepts are broad ones that governments and businesses must implement.
We need a plan now, one that works. We need the funding, we need more voices to speak out about this situation, we need people to pay attention to the consequences and we need them to take it seriously.
The real question is: If asked to help save our only home, the home on the verge of the beginning of a mass extinction… would you?