上個星期大概是我有生以來最熱的一個星期了,每天台北市的氣溫都超過35度,即使入夜,到了晚上10點,室外氣溫依然是高達30度,在室內,如果不開冷氣,汗水也是狂飆,經過了上一個星期,我想應該沒有任何台北市民會再說溫室效應只是科學家的陰謀論吧!

下面我之前寫的essay,題目雖然是氣候變遷,可是其實我想說得應該是溫室效應,只是閱卷老師不相信溫室效應真的存在,所以我只好人在屋簷下的改了題目,但是內容基本上還是在談溫室效應。

Human Should Try to Prevent Climate Change

     Have you ever heard that polar bears have drowned in the Arctic? In decades ago, this was a ridiculous question. But now, it no longer is. The reason why these tragedies happened is because of the climate change. Think about this question: how we live in where we live? I can think of several reasons. It could because of the convenience of getting water, easy to get food, or cold enough to keep away from bacteria. Just imagine what will happen if climate change? The place we used to live may no longer be the proper place for living. It might never near by the waterside; the soils might not suitable for farming; and known bacteria might mutate to new fatal ones. We built our home based on those environments that we were used to. What should we do if the environment changes? The problem we have here is not the climate is changing or not, but should we do something for the climate change. The answer is obvious, yes. No matter the changing of climate is made by human or just a periodical phenomenon, the truth is that climate change is happening; they affect the whole ecosystem, and will eventually cost a big fortune.

     First, let's take a look at climate change happened between now and the past. The biggest difference of the climate change between now and a century ago is structural difference. In the last century, climate changed only in some region on the earth. However, according to the report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the warmest 11 years of the instrumental record were appeared in the last 12 years (Section: Direct Observations of Recent). In addition, according to Kay (2006), "During the past century, global surface temperatures has increased 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit, according to weather records" (para. 16). Although 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit seems not a big deal, it should be warmer in high latitudes than in low latitudes (Kay, J., 2006, para. 15). Another report written by Tom Simonite (2005) supported this perspective:

The ice sheet is shrinking at a rate of about 10% per decade, with Arctic summer temperatures climbing to around 2°C higher than they were 50 years ago. About 1.3 million square kilometres, an area equivalent to three times that of California, have been lost over the past four years. (Section: Going, going, gone, para. 1) 

This explained why people found polar bears drown. It happens that there are similar cases on other ice. According to Glick (2004), "The famed snows of Kilimanjaro have melted more than 80 percent since 1912" and researchers predict that the glaciers on Himalayan could disappear by 2035 (para. 6).

     Climate change has also impacted ecosystem. Pine beetle, which is a kind of harmful insects, makes their living by eating trees. Their population is controlled by weather. They can't survive under cold environment, where the best place for pines' growing. Nevertheless, things have changed. According to Doug Struck (2006), "The weather here has not been cold enough for long enough to kill the beetle" (para. 9), and beetles has destroyed more than 400 million cubic feet of forest (para. 19). Coral reef is another species which sensitive to temperature. Coral reef grows in the ocean where no deep then 30 meters or the temperature no higher than 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of climate change, sea level and water temperature have risen around the world. As a result of these, coral reefs are bleaching and dying. What worse is that coral reefs would not die alone. A report of Associated Press states,"The changes will affect countless millions of fish and other marine organisms that depend on the reef" (Henley et al., 2007). Species lost happens not only under the sea, but also on the land. According to Tomas, et al. (2004), "On the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15–37% of species in our sample of regions will be 'committed to extinction'" (p. 145). Biodiversity is one of the earth's proudest things. However, biodiversity is so weak that is easily to destroy. If we do nothing to prevent climate change, biodiversity will be just a vocabulary in the dictionary in the foreseeable future.

     Climate change affects not only ecosystem, but also a financial impact to human beings. As we all know, many viruses are spread by mosquitoes, which have short life spans in the cold region. If temperature climbs, mosquitoes will be more active in these regions, and bring diseases which have never shown before. Sooner or later, we need to pay a lot of money on fighting with diseases. Not to mention some of the mosquitoes bring deadly viruses. There are cities that were built in the mountain because of they have deadly mosquitoes on the level ground. Some of them are already under threatening. Because of the rising temperature we have now, mosquitoes spread to higher altitudes and bring not only diseases but also death. Beside health problem, climate change causes land lost as well. According to Stern (2007), "Many of the world's major cities (22 of the top 50) are at risk of flooding from coastal surges, including Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Calcutta, Karachi, Buenos Aires, St Petersburg, New York, Miami and London" (Part II, Chapter 3.5 Land, p. 76). It is not difficult to imagine how large lost we will have if we do nothing to prevent climate change. Stern Review also mentions that if we act now, we need only 1% of global GDP to make our environment better (Section: Summery of Conclusion, para. 5). In contrast, if we do nothing, the overall damage and cost would rise to 5% ~ 20% global GDP (Section: Summery of Conclusion, para. 4).

     Climate change will not only change how we live, but also where we live. We need to stand and act to slow down the rate of climate change. Although climate change is a big problem all around the world, it is not something individual has nothing to do with. Actually, there are a lot of things we can do in our daily life. We can try to save more energy. There are lots of thermal power plants. They create huge amount of heat emission. This means the less power we use, the less heat thy discharge. Decreasing the number of cutting trees is another way to save the planet. We can do that by using both sides of papers, and recycling them after used. We live on the only Earth we have. It breeds all the lives on it. We have no right to change the nature; and we can't afford the result of it. It is not too late to do something. Like Stern said, "There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now."

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References

Glick, D. (2004). GeoSigns: The Big Thaw. National Geographic. Retrieved April 23, 2007, from http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0409/feature2/index.html

Hanley, C. J., Fox, B., Sullivan, R., Ritter, K., Duff-Brown, B., French, C., et al. (2007) Science panel: 'Species are going to be lost'. Retrieved April 23, 2007, from http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2007-04-01-ipcc-report_N.htm

Kay, J. (2006, July 30). Is the recent heat wave a clue to global warming? San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 23, 2007, from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/30/MNGEUK86BK1.DTL

Simonite, T. (2005, December 20). Drowning polar bears worry researchers: Evidence hints that bear populations are on thin ice. Nature. Retrieved April 23, 2007, from http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051219/full/051219-6.html

Stern, N. (2007). The Economics of Climate Change. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press

Stuck, D. (2006, March 1). 'Rapid Warming' Spreads Havoc in Canada's Forests: Tiny Beetles Destroying Pines. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2007, from washingtonpost.com database.

Thomas, C. D., Cameron, A., Green, R. E., Bakkenes, M., Beaumont, L. J., Collingham, Y. C., et al. (2004). Extinction risk from climate change. Nature, 427, 145.

Working Group I of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Summary for Policymakers. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

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