• Question: What is Global warming

    Asked by leila to Gavin, Karen, Mark, Michel, Roisin on 10 Nov 2016. This question was also asked by kaceyb45.
    • Photo: Mark Kennedy

      Mark Kennedy answered on 10 Nov 2016:

      Global warming is the gradual increase of Earths atmosphere that we’ve seen since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

      When humans figure out how to build mechanical objects that needed power to run, westarted burning all of the coal and peat we could get their hands on. Then, around World War 1, we realised oil was a really good energy source, and started burning that. Then we figured out how to bottle and store natural gas, and we started burning that.

      Burning all of these resources has led to a massive increase in the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Having lots of CO2 in the atmosphere is a real problem because its very good at trapping heat, so more the heat that comes from the Sun is kept here on Earth. This might sound like a good thing because maybe Ireland will get weather like Spain some day. But it’s not a good thing.

      As the atmosphere heats up, the ice caps melt. This further increases the problem, because the ice caps (which are pure white) used to reflect a lot of sunlight away from the Earth. But the ice caps being smaller, even more heat from the Sun is trapped in the Earths atmosphere. Which heats us up even quicker.

      The lose of the ice caps will lead to massive rises in sea levels across the Earth, and the increased temperature around the Earth will see deserts become bigger, and more barren.

      However, it isn’t all bad. There’s a big push to reduce our CO2 output (by moving to renewable energy, such as solar and wind). And also, eating less meat helps too (producing beef releases lots of methane into the atmosphere, which is also a problem). So doing simple things like eating less beef, and turning off lights, and using cars less, really help. This is a problem we’re all facing together, and we’ll solve it by working together.

    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 10 Nov 2016:

      Mark has covered this very well! Global warming (or climate change as it’s now often called) is probably the single largest problem we as a race have faced, and it’s only by working together and implementing ways to curb our CO2 and methane production that we’ll be able to reverse or at least halt the effects.

    • Photo: Gavin Coleman

      Gavin Coleman answered on 10 Nov 2016:

      Mark pretty much nailed the answer! Most of the things we use for fuel, like coal, oil and gas are made up of lots of carbon, and when you burn it, it combines with oxygen in the air to make CO2 (carbon dioxide). This is a problem as CO2 and other greenhouse gases, while necessary for a lot of life, are being produced much more than they can be used up, as humanity is burning more, and farming more animals than would naturally exist (cows burp out methane A LOT). These molecules absorb the heat from the sun, raising temperature on earth, melting the ice caps and messing with global weather, leading to some countries becoming too hot, others too cold, spreading deserts and increasing the severity of storms. No matter what, it leads to bad things, so humanity needs to work hard at swapping to cleaner energy sources, and lowering waste!

    • Photo: Karen

      Karen answered on 12 Nov 2016:

      I think Mark has nailed this answer!