SCI/362 Environmental Issues and Ethics
August 5, 2013
Americans’ health, security, and economic well-being are tied to climate and weather. In the last 2 years, the United States experienced 25 climate- and weather-related disasters exceeding $1 billion ($115 billion total) in damages and claiming 1,019 lives. The public, businesses, resource managers, and policy leaders are increasingly asking for information to help them understand how and why climate conditions are changing and how they can prepare. ("Climate", 2013) Climate change is apparent now across our nation; and natural climate patterns, like El Niño, can have a major impact on weather. Many changes have been observed in global climate over the past century. The nature and causes of these changes have been comprehensively chronicled in a variety of recent reports, such as those by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). ("Global Climate Change", 2009).
Influences on Climate
Human activities have led to large increases in heat- trapping gases over the past century. Carbon dioxide concentration has increased due to the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation, transportation, and industrial and household uses. Deforestation provides a source of carbon dioxide and reduces its uptake by trees and other plants. ("Global Climate Change", 2009).
The methane concentration has increased mainly as a result of agriculture; raising livestock; mining, transportation, and use of certain fossil fuels; sewage; and decomposing garbage in landfills. ("Global Climate Change", 2009)
Nitrous oxide concentration is increasing as a result of fertilizer use and fossil fuel burning. ("Global Climate Change", 2009).
Halocarbon emissions come from the release of certain manufactured chemicals to the atmosphere. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which...