[Sense the seriousness, yeah?]
Global warming will have serious impacts on the environment and on society. Higher temperatures will cause a melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica. This will accelerate the rise of sea level. The speed at which global warming is expected to occur in the 21st century is faster than most plant and animal species will be able to cope with. Some will adapt but others will suffer and may become extinct.
Global warming will affect agriculture. New crops will be able to be grown in areas that are currently too cold to support them. However, more pests and diseases may offset any benefits higher temperatures may have. Water resources will also be affected. Some reservoirs may dry up if temperature increases, especially if rainfall also decreases. Rising sea levels may pollute fresh groundwater supplies with salt water.
Global warming will also affect human health. There may be more heat-related illnesses in hotter summers, and increased breathing problems as higher temperatures increase air pollution in cities, reducing air quality. The malaria mosquito may also be able to spread to other regions of the world where it is currently too cold to survive and breed.
More extreme weather, for example storms, floods and droughts will have severe impacts on the environment and on society. The poorest people in society will unfortunately be those least able to cope with the impacts of global warming.
Often when we hear talk of climate change in the news media, it is about mankind's pollution of the atmosphere with extra greenhouse gases that is causing global warming. Scientists know however, that climate change on Earth has not just happened in the last 100 years, and that earlier changes were not due to mankind at all.
In fact, the Earth's climate is changing all the time, over hundreds, thousands, millions and tens of million of years. Different natural processes cause the climate to change, over different amounts of time. Global warming today may be due to man-made pollution but it is only a snapshot of the evolution of climate during the whole of Earth history. What makes man-made global warming so relevant to us however, is the speed at which it is taking place.
Energy is produced to generate electricity and to keep us warm. Most energy is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil and gas, which release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Fuel burnt in our cars also releases carbon dioxide. As an individual, you have little control on how your energy is produced. However, you can control the way in which you use that energy. Using less energy means less needs to be produced. Hence less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.
There are many ways we can all help to reduce our use of energy and the pollution of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. Use buses and trains instead of cars, as they can carry far more people in one journey. This cuts down the amount of fuel used. Walking or cycling whenever you can will be even more beneficial, as it does not create any pollution. It will also benefit your body, as regular exercise will keep you fit and healthy. If your parents must use the car, ask them to avoid using it for very short journeys if possible, as this creates unnecessary pollution. Try to encourage them to share their journeys with other people, for example when they go to work or go shopping. Also encourage them to drive more slowly as this produces less carbon dioxide.
We can also save energy within our own homes which contributes extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Turning off lights when they are not needed and not wasting electricity will reduce the energy demand. Less electricity will need to be produced and so less coal, oil and gas will have to be burnt, resulting in less carbon dioxide.
There are way too many severe effects of global warming, too many to be listed. Hence, as long as we continue to stay on this damaged earth and not doing anything, we would carry on suffering. So, for the well- being of mankind and out of own good will, lets all play a part in saving the environment!