Global warming has been a huge topic of conversation in the past few years. There are those who look at what is happening in the environment, natural disasters, and with the world at large, and feel this phenomenon cannot be denied. But there are also those who feel that this is just an alarmist agenda, that the world is going through it's normal cycles. Where do you fall on this subject? If you're on the fence, here are some simple facts to help you analyze the situation:
- The primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming is carbon dioxide. The U.S. is responsible for 19.91% of the carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.
- Since 1990, yearly emissions of carbon dioxide have gone up by about 6 billion metric tons worldwide, which is more than a 20% increase. Almost all of that increase is due to human activities.
- Carbon dioxide takes 100 years to disperse in the atmosphere. Even if emissions are stopped today, we will still feel the effects for years to come.
- During the 20th century alone, the average surface temperature of the world has increased by 1.2 to 1.4°F.
- 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record, with eight of the hottest 10 years having occurred since 2000.
- In the past 50 years, the average temperatures of Alaska, eastern Russia and western Canada have increased as much as 7°F. This rise is almost twice the global average.
- Extreme weather doesn't just mean high temperatures. Global warming is causing more intense rainfall and droughts at the same time across the world.
- Sea levels have risen between 4-8 inches worldwide during the last century, and experts predict they could rise as much 2 feet in the next 100 years.
- The World Health Organization blames 150,000 deaths per year on the effects of global warming including extreme weather, drought, heat waves, decreased food production and the increased spread of diseases like malaria.
- At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, migrating north to escape rising temperatures.
- Coral reefs are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature. Scientists say if current CO2 emission trends continue, the world's coral reefs could be virtually destroyed by 2050.
There are many more indicators that global warming is, in fact, very real. Where do you stand on this issue?