Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The book reviews the science of climate change and explains why it is one of the most difficult problems humanity has ever tackled. Climate change is a "wicked" problem bound up with problems of population growth, environmental degradation, and world problems of growing social and economic inequality. The book explores the politicization of the topic, the polarization of o The book reviews the science of climate change and explains why it is one of the most difficult problems humanity has ever tackled.
The book explores the politicization of the topic, the polarization of opinion, and the reasons why, for some, science has become just another ideology to be contested.
How do humans assess risk? Why are they are so bad at focusing on the future?
Framing 21St Century Social Issues Series
How can we solve the problem of climate change? These are the questions this work answers. For instructors teaching a wide range of courses in the social sciences, the Routledge Social Issues Collection now offers the best of both worlds: originally written short texts that provide "overviews" to important social issues as well as teachable excerpts from larger works previously published by Routledge and other presses. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published January 31st by Routledge first published January 29th More Details Other Editions 2. A three degree rise in annual global mean surface temperatures may not sound like much if you experience day to day fluctuations of much more than that, even though in reality a change of this magnitude would lead to very severe consequences.
As a result of this framing, many of the consequences of climate change may not sound so bad to those not closely involved with the issue. The difficulty of action is compounded by long and uncertain time lags between cause and effect. Many consequences, such as the worst effects of sea level rise, are thus seen as belonging to the distant future. It also challenges our own individual decision making.
We often have a tendency to concentrate on those problems which seem most urgent. This makes climate change difficult for people, companies and governments to deal with. Damage is also often seen as remote in place as well as time. Most people will tend naturally to be less concerned with changes perceived as unlikely to affect their immediate neighbourhood. Furthermore, career and other motivating social imperatives are not often aligned with dealing with the climate problem. And social norms may encourage bigger houses, bigger cars and more air travel despite their effect on the climate. Many people including me would be reluctant to live in a smaller house for the sake of the climate.
The most pervasive barrier to action is that emissions and the benefits of the associated activity tend to be largely local, whereas the resulting damage is global. The global nature of the climate means that a stable climate is a global public good in the economic sense . However this public good must be maintained by avoiding harmful emissions. As in all such cases, there are incentives for some to free-ride on the efforts of others to support the provision of this public good. No one country can by itself sustain a stable climate — although China can make a huge difference — but there is no global enforcement mechanism to oblige co-operation.
There is a need for co-operation at a global level. Tropical deforestation, a major source of emissions, provides a further difficulty. It is hard to solve in part because governance is often weak even at the national level in forest countries. This leads to weak constraints on the actions of companies and individuals, often pursuing their own incentives, which fail to reflect the wider environmental damage.
The Montreal Protocol on CFCs offers an interesting contrast, in that it was achieved in part because it lacked some of the characteristics of climate change. The lags involved were perceived as comfortably within normal human timescales. And the consequences of failure were easy to present as scary. Added to this, the uses of the chemicals were limited to a few sectors of the economy, with readily available substitutes. This made the costs appear much lower, and opposition from businesses and their allies, some of whom would benefit from regulatory change, much less strong.
Human activity since the Industrial Revolution has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, leading to increased radiative forcing from CO 2 , methane, tropospheric ozone , CFCs , and nitrous oxide. Global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in were 49 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalents per year using the most recent global warming potentials over years from the AR5 report.
Changing the type of vegetation in a region impacts the local temperature by changing how much sunlight gets reflected back into space and how much heat is lost by evaporation. For instance, the change from a dark forest to grassland makes the surface lighter, and causes it to reflect more sunlight: an increase in albedo. Humans change the land surface mainly to create more agricultural land. Other processes linked to land use change however have had the opposite effect, so that the net effect remains unclear.
Solid and liquid particles known as aerosols — from volcanoes, plankton and human-made pollutants — reflect incoming sunlight,  cooling the climate. In addition to their direct effect by scattering and absorbing solar radiation, aerosols have indirect effects on the Earth's radiation budget.
Sulfate aerosols act as cloud condensation nuclei and thus lead to clouds that have more and smaller cloud droplets. These clouds reflect solar radiation more efficiently than clouds with fewer and larger droplets, a phenomenon known as the Twomey effect. While aerosols typically limit global warming by reflecting sunlight, if black carbon in soot falls on snow or ice, it can also increase global warming.
Not only does it increase the absorption of sunlight, it also increases melting and sea level rise. As the Sun is Earth's primary energy source, changes in incoming sunlight directly affect the climate system. Another line of evidence for the warming not being due to the Sun is the temperature changes at different levels in the Earth's atmosphere. While variations in solar activity have not produced recent global warming, variations in solar output over geologic time millions to billions of years ago are believed to have caused major changes in the earth's climate.
This changes climate by changing the seasonal and latitudinal distribution of incoming solar energy at the Earth's surface,  resulting in periodic glacial and interglacial periods over the last few million years. The response of the climate system to an initial forcing is increased by positive feedbacks and reduced by negative feedbacks. As air gets warmer, it can hold more moisture.
After an initial warming due to emissions of greenhouse gases, the atmosphere will hold more water. As water is a potent greenhouse gas, this further heats the climate: the water vapour feedback. Cloud cover may change in the future. To date, cloud changes have had a cooling effect, with NASA estimating that aerosols produced by the burning of hydrocarbons have limited warming by half from to A concern is that positive feedbacks will lead to a tipping point, where global temperatures transition to a hothouse climate state even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced or eliminated.
A climate model is a representation of the physical, chemical and biological processes that affect the climate system. A subset of climate models add societal factors to a simple physical climate model. These models simulate how population, economic growth and energy use affect — and interact with — the physical climate. With this information, scientists can produce scenarios of how greenhouse gas emissions may vary in the future. Scientists can then run these scenarios through physical climate models to generate climate change projection.
Global warming - Wikipedia
Climate models include different external forcings for their models. The physical realism of models is tested by examining their ability to simulate contemporary or past climates. The environmental effects of global warming are broad and far-reaching. They include the following diverse effects:. Arctic sea ice decline , sea level rise , retreat of glaciers : global warming has led to decades of shrinking and thinning of the Arctic sea ice, making it vulnerable to atmospheric anomalies. Additionally, sea level rise has accelerated from to Extreme weather , extreme events , tropical cyclones : Data analysis of extreme events from until suggests that droughts and heat waves appear simultaneously with increased frequency.
Changes in ocean properties : increases in atmospheric CO 2 concentrations have led to an increase in dissolved CO 2 and as a consequence ocean acidity. Long-term effects of global warming : On the timescale of centuries to millennia, the magnitude of global warming will be determined primarily by anthropogenic CO 2 emissions.
This could lead to landslides and increased seismic and volcanic activities. Tsunamis could be generated by submarine landslides caused by warmer ocean water thawing ocean-floor permafrost or releasing gas hydrates. Abrupt climate change , tipping points in the climate system : Climate change could result in global, large-scale changes. Examples of abrupt climate change are the rapid release of methane and carbon dioxide from permafrost , which would lead to amplified global warming.
Another example is the possibility for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation to slow or to shut down see also shutdown of thermohaline circulation. Ecosystem changes : In terrestrial ecosystems , the earlier timing of spring events, as well as poleward and upward shifts in plant and animal ranges, have been linked with high confidence to recent warming.
Overall, it is expected that climate change will result in the extinction of many species and reduced diversity of ecosystems. The effects of climate change on human systems , mostly due to warming or shifts in precipitation patterns, or both, have been detected worldwide. The future social impacts of climate change will be uneven across the world. Crop production will probably be negatively affected in low latitude countries, while effects at northern latitudes may be positive or negative.
Generally impacts on public health will be more negative than positive. In small islands and mega deltas , inundation as a result of sea level rise is expected to threaten vital infrastructure and human settlements. Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple existing stresses and low adaptive capacity. Regions may even become uninhabitable, with humidity and temperature reaching levels too high for humans to survive.
Rapid climate change : causes, consequences, and solutions
Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change are two complementary responses to global warming. Successful adaptation is easier in the case of substantial emission reduction. Mitigation of climate change is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, or the enhancement of the capacity of carbon sinks to absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Over the last three decades of the twentieth century, gross domestic product per capita and population growth were the main drivers of increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
Attribution of emissions due to land-use change are subject to considerable uncertainty. Emissions scenarios , estimates of changes in future emission levels of greenhouse gases, have been projected that depend upon uncertain economic, sociological , technological , and natural developments. Near- and long-term trends in the global energy system are inconsistent with limiting global warming at below 1. Co-benefits of climate change mitigation may help society and individuals more quickly. For example, cycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions  while reducing the effects of a sedentary lifestyle at the same time.
It has been suggested that the most effective and comprehensive policy to reduce carbon emissions is a carbon tax  or the closely related emissions trading. One suggestion is that the best approach is having fewer children, and to a lesser extent living car-free, forgoing air travel , and adopting a plant-based diet. Climate change adaptation is the process of adjusting to actual or expected climate and its effects. The public section, private sector and communities are all gaining experience with adaptation and adaptation is becoming embedded within certain planning processes. Adaptation is especially important in developing countries since those countries are predicted to bear the brunt of the effects of global warming.
Climate engineering sometimes called geoengineering or climate intervention is the deliberate modification of the climate. It has been investigated as a possible response to global warming, e. A study from investigated the most common climate engineering methods and concluded they are either ineffective or have potentially severe side effects and cannot be stopped without causing rapid climate change.
As of [update] all countries in the world are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC , but 12 countries have not ratified it,  which means they are not legally bound by the agreement. During these negotiations, the G77 a lobbying group in the United Nations representing developing countries  pushed for a mandate requiring developed countries to "[take] the lead" in reducing their emissions.
This mandate was sustained in the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention. These first-round commitments expired in In several UNFCCC Parties produced the Copenhagen Accord ,   which has been widely portrayed as disappointing because of its low goals, leading poor nations to reject it. The agreement replaced the Kyoto protocol. Unlike Kyoto, no binding emission targets are set in the Paris agreement.
Instead, the procedure of regularly setting ever more ambitious goals and reevaluating these goals every five years has been made binding. In the scientific literature, there is an overwhelming consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases.
National science academies have called on world leaders for policies to cut global emissions. The report said that preventing such crises will require a swift transformation of the global economy that has "no documented historic precedent". In the 20th century and early s some companies, such as ExxonMobil , challenged IPCC climate change scenarios, funded scientists who disagreed with the scientific consensus, and provided their own projections of the economic cost of stricter controls. The global warming problem came to international public attention in the late s and polling groups began to track opinions on the subject.
From about onward, American conservative think tanks had begun challenging the legitimacy of global warming as a social problem. They challenged the scientific evidence , argued that global warming would have benefits , and asserted that proposed solutions would do more harm than good. Global warming has been the subject of controversy , substantially more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature,   with disputes regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming.
The disputed issues include the causes of increased global average air temperature , especially since the midth century, whether this warming trend is unprecedented or within normal climatic variations, whether humankind has contributed significantly to it, and whether the increase is completely or partially an artifact of poor measurements.
Additional disputes concern estimates of climate sensitivity, predictions of additional warming, what the consequences of global warming will be, and what to do about it. Due to confusing media coverage in the early s, issues such as ozone depletion and climate change were often mixed up, affecting public understanding of these issues. Reduced stratospheric ozone has had a slight cooling influence on surface temperatures, while increased tropospheric ozone has had a somewhat larger warming effect.
In a response to perceived inaction on climate change, a climate movement is protesting in various ways, such as fossil fuel divestment ,  worldwide demonstrations  and the school strike for climate. The history of climate change science began in the early 19th century when ice ages and other natural changes in paleoclimate were first suspected and the natural greenhouse effect first identified. In the s, the warming effect of carbon dioxide gas became increasingly convincing.
Since then, scientific research on climate change has expanded. The greenhouse effect was proposed by Joseph Fourier in , discovered in by Eunice Newton Foote ,   expanded upon by John Tyndall ,  investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in ,  and the hypothesis was reported in the popular press as early as Research in the s suggested increasing temperatures, and a newspaper reported "climate change".
This phrase next appeared in a November report in The Hammond Times which described Roger Revelle 's research into the effects of increasing human-caused CO 2 emissions on the greenhouse effect "a large scale global warming, with radical climate changes may result". A MIT report, referred to the human impact as "inadvertent climate modification", identifying many possible causes.
My Shopping Bag
Both the terms global warming and climate change were used only occasionally until , when Wallace Smith Broecker published a scientific paper on the topic, "Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming? There were increasing heatwaves and drought problems in the summer of , and when NASA climate scientist James Hansen gave testimony in the U.
Senate, it sparked worldwide interest. People who regard climate change as catastrophic, irreversible or rapid might label climate change as a climate crisis or a climate emergency. This section is being reorganized; many sources are not yet where they belong, and at times maybe out of order.
Editors: " o " marks citations to be deleted pending verification that any short-cites link to the replacement citation above. Anything linking to these citations should be immediately revised to link to replacement citaiton. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This page is about the current warming of the Earth's climate system.
For other uses see Global warming disambiguation.
Main article: Instrumental temperature record. See also: Regional effects of global warming and Polar amplification. Further information: Attribution of recent climate change. Main articles: Greenhouse gas , Greenhouse effect , and Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. Further information: Solar activity and climate. Main articles: Climate change feedback and Climate sensitivity.
Main article: Global climate model. Main article: Effects of global warming. Main article: Physical impacts of climate change. Main article: Climate change and ecosystems. Further information: Effects of global warming on human health , Climate security , Economics of global warming , and Climate change and agriculture.
Main article: Climate change mitigation. Main article: Climate change adaptation. Main article: Climate engineering. Main article: Politics of global warming. Main article: Scientific opinion on climate change.
See also: Fossil fuels lobby. Further information: Climate change denial , Media coverage of climate change , and Public opinion on climate change. Global warming portal Science portal. Anthropocene — proposed geological time interval for the period where humans have significant impact on geological processes Geologic temperature record Global cooling — minority view held by scientists in the that imminent cooling of the Earth would take place Holocene extinction Planetary boundaries — global warming is one of them Water cycle.
The statement added Mexico and South Africa. In the last years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about 0. Berkeley Earth. Archived from the original on 3 September Retrieved 2 September The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.
Environmental Protection Agency. Archived from the original on 7 August Retrieved 7 August This conclusion is not drawn from any one source of data but is based on multiple lines of evidence, including three worldwide temperature datasets showing nearly identical warming trends as well as numerous other independent indicators of global warming e. Deglacial global warming occurred in two main steps from Global warming refers to the upward temperature trend across the entire Earth since the early 20th century Climate change refers to a broad range of global phenomena NOAA Climate.
Archived from the original on 7 November Retrieved 15 October Global warming refers only to the Earth's rising surface temperature, while climate change includes warming and the 'side effects' of warming—like melting glaciers, heavier rainstorms, or more frequent drought. Said another way, global warming is one symptom of the much larger problem of human-caused climate change.
Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Archived PDF from the original on 9 September Retrieved 6 January Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. Archived from the original on 28 June Archived from the original on 27 January Retrieved 5 February Retrieved 19 May As of May [update] 12 parties have not ratified the convention.
Non-ratification means they are not legally bound by it. Archived from the original on 8 January Archived PDF from the original on 17 November Retrieved 28 October America's Climate Choices. Archived from the original on 21 July Retrieved 28 January The average temperature of the Earth's surface increased by about 1. Archived from the original on 12 February Retrieved 20 February Archived from the original on 12 May Retrieved 1 October Archived from the original on 6 September Retrieved 27 February This effect results in the increased absorption of radiation that accelerates melting.
Archived from the original on 22 February This means we get more warmer water pushing into the Gulf. Volume 3: Attribution of Observed Climate Change. US Environmental Protection Agency. Archived from the original on 16 June Retrieved 23 June Retrieved 8 May Retrieved 26 May Archived from the original on 18 April Retrieved 21 April Archived from the original on 28 March Retrieved 27 December Archived from the original on 14 February Retrieved 15 February Using climate models, we estimate that aerosols have masked about 50 percent of the warming that would otherwise have been caused by greenhouse gases trapping heat near the surface of the Earth.
In Letcher, Trevor M. Nature Geoscience. Archived from the original on 17 August Retrieved 26 February United Nations Environment Programme. Archived from the original PDF on 18 July Retrieved 10 May Archived from the original on 4 February Retrieved 21 February In Alverson, K. Paleoclimate, global change and the future. Archived PDF from the original on 29 March Brown University. Archived from the original on 17 February Retrieved 16 February Archived from the original on 11 October Retrieved 10 October Archived from the original on 26 February Archived from the original on 2 September The amount of heat a surface radiates is proportional to the fourth power of its temperature in Kelvin.
Archived from the original on 31 July Archived from the original on 31 March Geophysical Research Letters. The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June That finding meshes with climate predictions that dry zones will expand out of the subtropics and push storms towards the poles. The team also found that cloud tops rose higher in the atmosphere by the end of the s, again as predicted for a warming atmosphere. Archived from the original on 6 February Retrieved 4 February So far, land plants and the ocean have taken up about 55 percent of the extra carbon people have put into the atmosphere while about 45 percent has stayed in the atmosphere.
Eventually, the land and oceans will take up most of the extra carbon dioxide, but as much as 20 percent may remain in the atmosphere for many thousands of years. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 2 March A new study published in the April 6 edition of the journal Nature concludes that as emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels have increased since the start of the 20th century, plants around the world are utilizing 30 percent more carbon dioxide CO 2 , spurring plant growth.
Archived from the original on 29 March Retrieved 24 February These feedbacks can change the role of the oceans in taking up atmospheric CO 2 making it very difficult to predict how the ocean carbon cycle will operate in the future. January Archived from the original PDF on 14 October Retrieved 1 December Archived from the original on 14 October Carbon Brief. Archived from the original on 5 March Retrieved 2 March FAQ 8. US National Climate Assessment. Archived from the original on 20 August Archived PDF from the original on 18 December Retrieved 7 February Exeter, UK: Met Office.
Archived from the original on 15 May Retrieved 29 March Department of the Interior, U. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 28 February In , global mean sea level was 3 inches 77 millimeters above the average—the highest annual average in the satellite record —present.
It was the sixth consecutive year, and the 22nd out of the last 24 years in which global mean sea level increased relative to the previous year. University of California, Irvine.