Global warming refers to an increase in average global temperatures, which in turn causes climate change. It is the increase in the Earth’s average temperature in the recent decades, and has occurred since the industrial revolution.
Global warming is in part the rise in global temperatures due to an increase of heat-trapping carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
Global warming, is one way to measure climate change as the rise in the average global temperature.
Global warming is caused, at least in part, by what is sometimes called the “enhanced greenhouse effect”. If global warming occurs, not every day or every place will be warmer.
The terms global warming and climate change are often used interchangeably, but the two phenomena are different.
To slow down the global warming process and eventually bring it under control, a global effort is being mounted to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases that cause global warming come from many sources, but the main source is the burning of fossil fuels. The fact that the process of global warming results in more extremes of climate, such as floods, storms and droughts. Because of this some to refer to it as global “storming”!
Climate change is different from the term global warming in that climate change is more broad and refers in the wider sense to also include natural changes in climate.
Most people are now ready for ‘green sacrifices’ to help limit climate change, a recent global poll suggests that people say that they are prepared to make tough lifestyle changes to combat global warming. The next steps will begin to show whether these are just fine words, or a real willingness to adjust our global culture to one governed by principles of sustainability.
The following is an article which gives a personal opinion from this author.
Global Warming – Why Should I Care?
Author: Robert Utter
In June 2005 I attended the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) meeting and technical conference in Denver, Co.
One of the things I always like to do at these technical conferences is attend the session devoted to an update of the current issues impacting our industry. This time there was a session devoted explicitly to global climate change.
I got to the huge ballroom early so I could get a good seat for the presentations and, as the first speaker took the stand, frankly I was shocked to look around and count less than 50 people in attendance.
Clearly our industry is not taking the issue of global climate change very seriously.
Now, if you are my age, you remember the scientific warnings in the 60’s about the coming ice age. So I’ll admit that I have been somewhat slow to warm to the idea of global climate change (formerly called global warming, pun intended). But, as time goes by better data and more research supports the prediction of increasing global temperatures.
This global temperature increase as the result of greenhouse warming has a potentially devastating impact on global climate. Therefore, we should all take the issue very seriously and at a minimum monitor very closely the private and public policies of the US and countries around the world.
I forecast that as the science becomes clearer in “the next few years”, this issue will have a major impact on each of us personally and on each of our businesses and the products we design and manufacture.
The difficulty is defining “the next few years”.
What is the timeframe we should be concerned about?
There is one timeframe already defined by the Kyoto protocol. And that timeframe is now – we are already behind. Of course, the US has not signed up to adhere to the Kyoto agreement, so that doesn’t really concern us. Or does it? These decisions are too often politically motivated more than scientifically motivated. We all know that our commitment to the Kyoto agreement could change with the next presidential election. That is in November 2008 – a little over three years away.
President Bush has been very consistent in his position and policy relative to climate change. But, even though many people seem unaware, we do have an official US policy regarding climate change.
Basically, it calls for an 18% reduction in the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions. See the links at the end of the article for more information on US policy. The policy also calls for a re-evaluation of our progress relative to our reduction goal in 2012.
Given the interest I see in our industry and other industries, I think it highly likely that we will come nowhere near that 18% reduction in the rate of growth, let alone actually reduce emission levels like most of the rest of the world is calling for.
That being the case, it is not unreasonable to expect a new and much tougher policy on emissions on or before 2012, only seven years from now. So I think that reasonably defines “the next few years”.
If you aren’t going to retire before 2012, then you can expect a great deal of pressure on you, your products and your business to reduce emissions in the next three to seven years.
Given the life cycle of most products, three to seven years goes by in a hurry.
At the very least, be an informed business leader and informed citizen. Make up your own mind about the validity of the data and the likelihood, timeframe and severity of impact on your business. Hopefully the next time you have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s foremost experts speak on global climate change, like I had in Denver, the room won’t be empty.
About the author:
Bob Utter, Senior Consultant and owner of Innovative Thermal Solutions, (LLC), has over thirty years experience developing new mechanical and heat transfer technology including seventeen years in progressive engineering management positions with industry leading companies. He is an inventor with 29 patents on mechanical and heat transfer technology.
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