Climate change is not a new concept; in fact there is evidence of major climate changes throughout the earth's history. However since the industrial revolution and especially since world war two, there has been an unprecedented change in the earth's atmosphere (Gates 4). As of March 1999, scientists reported the construction of a thousand-year record of the average temperature on earth. The results of their study concluded that a nine hundred-year cooling trend has been decisively reversed within the last fifty years (Bell and Strieber 9-10). The effects of these rapid atmospheric changes are seen in increased storm intensity, rising seas, drier cropland, dying forests and coral reefs, proliferating diseases, floods, droughts, fires, and heat waves (Gates 2). These effects have hit home for many in the United States already with the intense flooding of the southeast coast that came with hurricane Opal in 1995 and the extensive flooding of the southeast Florida coast from hurricane Hugo in 1998 (Read 68). These storms are causing increasing amounts of damage due to their growing sizes. In June of 1999, a tornado struck the Midwest with record-breaking winds reaching up to three hundred and thirteen miles per hour (Bell and Strieber 126). #Also in 1999, hurricane Floyd set a record by reaching the size of Texas at its strongest point. Increasing numbers of forest fires spread throughout the southwestern regions of the United States every year. By June of 1998, after a great period of drought, giant fires in Texas together with fires in Mexico and Guatemala created a cloud of smoke thousands of miles long and thick enough to block the suns light at noon in the worst places. This was the second w...
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...al gas instead of coal or oil reduces emissions significantly (Verma 130). There are also emission-controlling devices found on automobiles as well as power plants. The catalytic converter helps reduce emissions from automobiles, while chemical processes help reduce emissions from power plants (Gates 250). These methods however are not cost effective or energy efficient. The burning of fossil fuels will always cause pollution. So then it is up to us as individuals to help each other make the transition away from our dependence on fossil fuels. By using public transportation and conserving energy, with the incentive of environmentally friendly legislation like gas taxes and parking fees, we can start to fix our accelerated rate of warming and global instability (Lowe 34-35).
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