Although, climate change seems to be an issue which has only recently come up in the public eye, the underlying works of it have been present for many years. In order to start looking at the issue of climate change we will start with the history of the discoveries and issues that have sparked the climate change discussion.
The civic issue brought on by climate change claims that the temperature of the earth is steadily rising due to non-natural means. In order to understand our role in climate change we have to understand the principles that govern our influence with the environment.
Our understanding of our climate first originated when we first discovered some of our properties of our atmosphere. In the 1820’s Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, a famous mathematician, began inquiring about the temperature of the earth. He found that the temperature of the earth was higher than he calculated the temperature should be from being the distance we are away from the sun. He concluded that there must be something that is warming our planet other than the heat from the sun. His conclusion was that the radiation from the sun was being trapped in our atmosphere and heating the earth more than if it had just been reflected away. This is now known as the greenhouse effect.
We continued to refine our idea of our atmosphere’s part in the status of our climate near the end of 1860’s with the work of Svante Arrhenius. He began to look at the relationship of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere with the temperature of the earth. It was found that more carbon dioxide doesn’t just magnify the greenhouse effect, but it also increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere due to the increase in temperature causing a further increase in climate temperature. From this data, he calculated that doubling the total amount of carbon dioxide in the air would in term raise the temperature of the earth by roughly five to six degrees celsius.
From these findings we can look at the beginning of our carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. The steam engine was invented in 1712 and began the process of burning fossil fuels in order to power technology. By burning fossil fuels we began to release carbon dioxide into the environment by non-natural means. This began to raise the temperature of the earth due to the increased gas in the atmosphere fueling the greenhouse effect.
The use of fossil fuels only began to increase after the invention of the steam engine with the increasing innovation brought on by modern technology. Before long everything ran on fossil fuels, from boats, to trains, to planes, and many other engine based objects.
The effects of the burning fossil fuels began increasing as more innovations developed in society. One of the most notable was the creation of the automobile. Not long after the automobile was introduced to the public, did almost every household in the United States and many other developed countries own at least one. This lead to an exponential increase in the amount of fossil fuels that were burnt in order to propel our technology which in turn raised the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
The measurement of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been monitored ever since it was noticed that it plays a role in our climate. Alongside, the rising carbon dioxide levels each year, the temperature of the earth also seems to be rising as well. This relationship has formed the basis for the issue of climate change.
We can for the most part clearly see that we as humans have a distinct role in the condition of our climate. By burning fossil fuels and contributing to the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere we are actively taking a role in warming the planet, and in term hurting it. If we continue to not inform the public of our monumental effect on our atmosphere we may continue to aid to this issue of climate change. However, informing the public does no good if we consist of a society in which people would rather continue with their daily lives which are more beneficial to themselves in opposed to stopping the changing condition of our planet. What may be even worse, is if the general public is already aware of their impact on the environment, yet continues to hurt it without care.