The issue of global warming continues to grow, leaving many nations with the effects of the warming weather, specifically coastal regions. Many states in America are doing a lot to help with the effects of the tragic occurrences that global warming leaves behind. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a clean energy economy through planned initiatives is what states need to aim for; aiming for clean air is a main goal. Pollution greenhouse gas, and human actions are the main reason for this dramatic change. We need to reduce greenhouse gas and fossil fuel levels in order for our air to get clean once again. Nations need to take big steps to achieve the goal of clean air, especially coastal regions.

Global warming is the gradual heating of Earth’s surface, oceans and atmosphere. The term “global warming” produces dramatic increases in atmospheric temperatures shown up as a result of growing amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Humans are responsible for producing these gases via cars, electricity, and factories. The main products of these activities that are to blame for global warming are methane and carbon dioxide; as carbon dioxide, methane, and other compounds go farther and farther into the Earth’s atmosphere, slowly disintegrating the ozone layer (Chegg 2014). Holes being put into the ozone layer are letting rays of light from the sun in towards the earth, which is basically cooking our planet. According to Environment America, we’ve experienced 16 of the 17 warmest years on record since 2000— including 2016, the hottest year ever recorded (LiveScience, 2014). We’re fast approaching the point when scientists say climate change could tip toward catastrophe. Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past century, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the next 100 years, temperatures are expected to increase 2 to 11.5degrees F (EPA). The good news is that solutions like solar, wind and efficiency not only reduce carbon pollution. They also clean up our air, reduce asthma attacks, and promote energy independence.

According to NASA, most scientific organizations in the world acknowledge the existence of global warming as fact not a hoax. This is not a natural thing that is supposed to occur, but this is mainly an outcome of human activity; both natural and human factors contribute to global warming, however, evidence has shown that the warming we are currently witnessing is largely as a result of human force.

“Oceans have absorbed 20 times more heat than the atmosphere resulting in warmer oceans… The boundary of the lower atmosphere (troposphere) that contains our weather has risen by more than 900 feet over a twenty year period between 1979-1999, according to a study conducted in 2003…Average global temperatures have increased by 1.4°F over the last century, with the most significant increases occurring in the last 30 years.” (Rohde 2011).

Global warming has had extreme effects on the planet. Earth’s average temperature has been increasing and has heavily impacted other aspects of our global ecosystem, and it is continuing to rise at a faster rate. Arctic ice is vanishing and glaciers are melting; as a result, polar bears, penguins, and other animals have begun to suffer. The frequency of heat waves, intense tropical storms, and natural disasters has also been adding to trends in global climate change. Extreme weather will most likely have a negative impact on crops and agriculture. As staple crops become inadequate, they will become more expensive. Such products include rice, wheat, corn, and soy, which are also used in animal feed; therefore, prices of many other types of food will increase as well, making all food extremely expensive.

Now that you are informed on the facts of global warming, we will get into specific regions of the world. While some nations are focused on reducing fossil fuels and greenhouse gas, others are experimenting with cap-and-trade plan (FEMA 2008). The Kyoto Protocol is an international effort to kill climate change. Developed at the United Nations’ Convention on Climate Change in 1997, this treaty is aimed at killing the number of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere and it intends to hold nations accountable to their environmental pollutants. 191 countries have signed, and even ratified the treaty;  but the United States has not. Australia has met many targets of fighting climate change, mostly by reducing deforestation and land clearing. Under the plan, Australia’s 500 worst polluters would be forced to pay a tax on every ton of carbon they emit, starting in July 2012. By 2015, the nation plans to move to a big market carbon trading system. Brazil’s plan is focused on expanding renewable electric energy sources and reducing deforestation rates. Canada has made a plan to shift its electricity generation from coal to natural gas. By 2020, the report projects that Canada will fall well short of its stated emission-reduction targets. (NPR News 2017)

China is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal — and the No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gases and the second-largest consumer of energy. Chinese leaders have said they want non-fossil fuels to account for 15 percent of the nation’s energy sources by 2020. Under a law passed in 2005, “Chinese power grid companies are required to purchase a certain percentage of their total power supply from renewable energy sources.”  Like the U.S., it hopes that green tech jobs can produce a future of growth. India is the world’s No. 3 emitter of greenhouse gases, but because it’s a developing nation, it isn’t required to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. India has set an ambitious goal of getting 20 gigawatts of solar power online by 2022; a gigawatt of electricity is enough to power a small city. The world’s No. 5 greenhouse gas producer, Japan committed to reducing its emissions by 6 percent below their 1990 levels under the Kyoto Protocol. Russia, with little regard for environmental concerns, ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2004, it pledged to hold its greenhouse gas emissions at or below 1990 levels. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia’s emissions did, too. So the country hasn’t had to do much to meet its Kyoto pledges. (NPR News 2017)

The United States has taken significant steps to improve the quality of of this country’s air, including the most well-known piece of legislation in the US is the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act was created to decrease the number of air pollutants being released into the atmosphere.This generation needs to take a step forward and improve our environments future,  including new nationwide fuel efficient standards for cars. Individual states also have laws designed to lower the emissions in the upcoming years. California has the most ambitious plan: Starting in 2013, the state will cap greenhouse gas emissions from factories and power plants,

and, eventually, emissions from vehicles. Now, what states in America, specifically coastal, are doing to fix the issue of global warming?  How are states approaching the issue of climate change? Over the last decade or so, most states have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency and renewable fuels. The Brookings Institution reported that between 2000 and 2014, 33 states and the District of Columbia cut carbon emissions while expanding their economies. That list includes red states run by Republican legislatures, like Alaska, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia. Trump told The Times last month that he has an ”open mind” about climate change, but has also called it a ”hoax.” The people he has chosen to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Department of Interior — the three agencies with the greatest influence on energy policy — have either denied or expressed skepticism that human activity is causing global warming, something that virtually all scientists agree on. Many states will be able to meet the Clean Power Plan’s targets by following through on planned investments and increasing energy efficiency. According to New York Times, “California and New York plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.” They continue to say that Hawaii hopes to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045.

Climate change is affecting coastal areas in many ways. Coasts are sensitive to sea level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, increases in precipitation, and warmer ocean

temperatures. The impacts of climate change are likely to worsen problems that coastal areas already face. Approaching existing challenges that affect shoreline erosion, coastal flooding, and water pollution, is already a concern in many areas; that is why coastal states experience such effects. “This month, Charlie Baker, the Republican governor of Massachusetts (a coastal state), proposed new rules for power plants and vehicles to make sure the state achieves its goal of a 25 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2020. Emissions are already down by around 20 percent. In some states, including Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and parts of Texas, new wind turbines can generate electricity at a lower cost, without subsidies, than any other technology, according to a report published this month by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.” (NYT)

According to the article “US Actions On Greenhouse Gases” written by Bette Hileman, about 13 bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress that take varied approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A group of senators has introduced the America’s Climate Security Act that combines elements of 12 previous climate-change proposals, according to Hileman. Over the last decade or so, most states have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency and renewable fuels. These trends should continue as clean energy costs continue to decline and, in some parts of the country, fall below the cost of dirtier fuels like coal. Many states will be able to meet the Clean Power Plan’s targets by increasing energy efficiency, according to M. J. Bradley and Associates, a research/consulting firm. Four legislative bills by the Senate committees in December 2007 in the U.S. The bills focused on climate change issues; a few are the Climate Security Act, Climate Change Adaptation Act of 2007, Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007 and Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act. All of these aim to develop necessary tools to adapt to climate change, along with plans to keep these solutions going. (Board 2017)

As the issue of global warming continues to grow, while leaving many nations with the life changing effects, there needs to be a huge change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a clean energy economy through planned initiatives is what states need to aim for, what many nations need to fix. With the tragic occurrences that global warming leaves behind, nations are taking steps to create cleaner air.

 

Works Cited

Bradford, Alina. “What Is Global Warming?” LiveScience. Purch, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

“Climate Change Bills Advance in Senate.” Issues in Science & Technology, vol. 24, no.

Board, The Editorial. “On Climate Change, Look to the States.” New York Times, 26 Dec. 2016, p. A20(L). Global Issues in Context, Accessed 28 Feb. 2017.

EasyBib. Chegg. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

FEMA (2008). Coastal AE Zone and VE Zone Demographics Study and Primary Frontal Dune Study to Support the NFIP. Washington, DC: Federal Emergency

“Global Warming Solutions.” Environment America. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

Staff, NPR News. “What Countries Are Doing To Tackle Climate Change.” NPR. NPR, 09 Dec. 2011. Web. 08 Mar. 2017.

 

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Global Warming in Costal Regions by Kathleen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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