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The Problems the United States Has with Other Countries on Global Warm

Essay by   •  October 27, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  2,095 Words (9 Pages)  •  2,279 Views

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In my paper, I plan to explain why the United States and other nations cannot get along when it comes to environmental issues. I plan to break up the paper into three sections that contains what global warming is and how it effects the world, the United States problems and conflicts with other counties about this subject, and my own conclusion based on the information I have found.

Global warming is a serious issue in today's society. World powers such as the United States, Japan, Canada, and Australia can usually see eye to eye with each other about global warming. Other countries, either less developed or more climate aware, do not agree with the countries that are more industrial, because they want strict regulations on air pollution that the more developed countries do not want. The more industrialized countries complain because they say that in order to keep the world going at a safe and orderly pace, they cannot have a change the lifestyle that we are used to today. Both sets of countries know that the amount of greenhouse gasses need to be lightened, but cannot come up with a viable solution.

In order to understand what the countries are talking about, one would have to know why the earth is warming and what exactly is causing it. Greenhouse gasses are what is causing the earth to retain more heat. Greenhouse gasses "that have increased over the industrial period are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20), and chlorofluorocarbons CFC-11." (2-453) The increase in these gases has caused global warming and it continues to rise today. Factory smoke stacks, car emissions, forests burning, and energy usage that burn fossil fuels produce the highest percentage of the gasses that harm the Earth and continue our warming trend. (5-1) For example, the United States, for the nine month period of January to November 2000, "had the warmest nine month period since records began in 1895." because we use the most fossil fuels and put out the most greenhouse gasses (6-1). This was all caused by the growing industrial age that we live in today.

Why do greenhouse gases produce global warming? "Infrared active gases (IR), principally water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and ozone (O3), naturally present in the Earth's atmosphere, absorb thermal IR radiation emitted by the Earth's surface and atmosphere". (2-453) The greenhouse gasses stop the flow of infrared waves out of the Earth's atmosphere. When the atmosphere is warmed it emits IR radiation, with a portion of the energy acting to warm the surface and the Earth's atmosphere. As a result the average surface temperature of the Earth is higher than it would normally be without the atmospheric absorption and re-radiation of IR energy. This is known as the "Greenhouse effect". The predictions of the future of these greenhouse gasses being in our atmosphere is based on how much we put into the atmosphere and how much is consumed. One thing is for certain, there are still large controversies on how much of these gasses that are let into the atmosphere are by natural or man made processes. (2-453-454)

One of the only known things on Earth that consumes CO2 is plant life. The industrial nations cut down and consume more trees then they can reforest. Also, toxins and pollutants kill plant life in the oceans like algae. This is a major reason for the abundance of CO2. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere went "from about 280 PPM in the preindustrial age to about 364 PPM in 1997Ð'..." (2-454) The amount consumed is far less that the amount that is put into the atmosphere.

One of the major reasons that the rest of the world is unhappy with the United States is that we produce the most greenhouse gasses on the planet. The reason for this is our large amounts of factories and inadequate transportation. Chart one shows the amounts of greenhouse gasses as related to the other parts of the world in 1998.

Chart 1

The United States understands that they are making to many green house gasses but feel that they need to in order to survive. The United States is doing little to prevent global warming. It is not doing as much to prevent it as much as it is to prepare it for the inevitable. "In New JerseyÐ'... the state government has begun an aggressive program of buying out property owners whose homes or business are in vulnerable flood planes."(4-2) In New York City they are teaching public school children about global warming so that they may conserve energy and be environmentally conscious. (4-2) These are little, insignificannot

things that they doing to try to keep energy levels down, but they are failing miserably. If you ask the U.S. if their doing a good job in trying to reduce pollution they will tell you yes they are. They can teach kids in school about the dangers of wasting energy (seeing if there are even awake or paying attention), but they won't put higher standards on factory and car emissions.

In order to help reduce these gasses in the U.S. and around the world the United Nations have held conferences to try to establish an environmental treaty. There was a proposed treaty, which was called the Kyoto Protocol. (5-2) This treaty explained that certain countries were to cut "their greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 to at least 5 percent below emissions in 1990. So far, no industrialized countries have ratified the pact." (5-2) There were to many provisions the United States could not uphold. They could not put their industrial revolution on hold, even if it was for the sake of the environment. No one can seem to agree on this treaty, so this conference ended with little progress.

Most countries could not agree on certain parts of the provisions of the treaty. Prime example, "The European Union and the United States remain far apart on key provisions, including the amount of credit a country can get by investing in climate- protection projects abroad and how much credit towards emissions cuts could be gained by using forests to absorb carbon dioxide." (5-2) Many environmental campaigners were mad because countries would only have to save forests to receive credit for emissions goals and not by lowering pollution made by cars and burning fossil fuels. The United States wanted to take credit for not cutting down as many trees, but failed to lower standards for factories. They told the UN that they were doing their part, when in fact they were doing very little. This would be a reason why they called another Conference of the Parties three years later. This conference was known as Cop 6. (5-2)

"Conference delegates have been meeting

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