In 1989, then-Senator Albert Gore almost lost his son in a car accident. At that moment, everything in his life changed. He began to worry about the future, and most importantly, the planet in that future. In four short years, he became vice president with his main initiative being climate change. After not being listened to for 15 years he wrote "An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It", his main point he wanted to convey was that climate change is real, and we need to take immediate action to stop it.
Based upon the reading of "An Inconvenient Truth", additional research and the study of biology, climate change is real and humans need to take immediate action to combat it. The following three reasons uphold that belief: the shrinking of polar ice caps, the bleaching of coral reefs and extreme weather patterns.
To further explain the main source, "An Inconvenient Truth", the following information will summarize it. In 1992, Gore published "Earth in Balance", his first novel on climate change. He was inspired to write this novel based on a graph he saw as a college student depicting CO2 levels.
The results were shocking.
CO2 was rising at unequivocal amounts. After publishing, he converted the book to a PowerPoint and would go to universities and present about climate change.
In less than a year, Gore became Vice President under the Clinton Administration from 1993-2001.
"In 2000, he ran for the presidency and lost against George W. Bush in a 271-266 electoral count" (Gore, 2008, p. 2).
With all of his newfound free time, he decided to begin presenting his PowerPoint on global climate change again; in spite of the new administration's views on climate change. After many presentations, he put his thoughts to paper and authored "An Inconvenient Truth".
Throughout the novel, he hits the basics as well as more detailed information about climate change.
To start, he analyzed the greenhouse effect and how it related to our climate. To quote the book, "The Sun's energy enters the atmosphere in the form of light waves and heats up the Earth. Some of that energy warms the Earth and then is re-radiated back into space in the form of infrared waves. Greenhouse gases trap the necessary heat in a layer to keep the planet warm" (Gore, 2008, p. 26).
He goes on to explain that with global warming the greenhouse gas layer gets thicker and more heat is trapped in. The main cause of this is human activity, the burning of fossil fuels.
Next, he explained Keeling's findings, CO2 levels, a greenhouse gas, were rising and contributing to the warming of the globe. However, he was sure to note that on the graph the CO2 levels increase and decrease each season as a result of the increase and decrease of photosynthesis.
But, the overall trend is growing extremely.
The rest of the book illustrates the negative effects of global warming humans are already experiencing including the example of the Mt. Kilimanjaro glacial decrease. Each year, the temperatures are breaking records set by the previous year, extreme weather conditions are occurring and so is coral reef bleaching.
To support the thesis that global warming is real and that we need to take action immediately, the Mt. Kilimanjaro glacial decrease, permafrost decrease and polar ice caps melting show the extreme biological effects happening.
The glacial decrease and permafrost decrease shows the Earth is warming up; it is melting glaciers and permafrost that have been here for millions of years.
"Those glaciers directly contribute to the albedo effect; lighter surfaces reflect sunlight back to space, in turn, cooling our planet. With these changes of glacial decrease, we are hurting ourselves twice: the melting is causing a warming and losing albedo is causing a warming" (Gore, 2008, p. 144).
Biologically, the melting of permafrost is destroying human habitats.
According to Al Gore, "The land areas north of the Arctic Circle are frozen for most of the year. Some of the soil that remains permanently frozen is referred to as "permafrost." However, global warming has begun to thaw large areas of permafrost. That is why buildings located in Siberia, built on permafrost and is collapsing" (Gore, 2008, p. 133).
The importance of this is that Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection states, "Phenotypic variation exists among individuals and the variation is heritable. Those individuals with heritable traits better suited to the environment will survive" (McClean, 1997).
However, this sudden change has not allowed any heritable changes to take place "resulting in the death of thousands" (Gore, 2008, p. 75).
Found in "An Inconvenient Truth", "The melting of ice represents bad news for creatures like polar bears. A new scientific study shows that, for the first time, polar bears have been drowning in significant numbers" (Gore, 2008, p. 146).
Without the polar bears, the entire food web of that ecosystem is completely changed. Ringed seals and bearded seals will begin to overpopulate if the polar bears are not there to keep their population in check.
On to the second point, "The link between global warming and the large-scale bleaching of corals, considered controversial only 10 to 15 years ago, is now universally accepted" (Gore, 2008, p. 166).
This affects the ecosystem of the ocean and the ecosystem of the humans. Coral reef bleaching is, "The process that turns healthy corals into white skeletons- occurs when skeletons are stressed by heat and evacuate" (Gore, 2008, p. 164).
With the absence of coral reefs, many ocean fish lose their homes and eventually die. Additionally, coral reefs participate in the carbon cycle.
If we still had an abundance of them, they would significantly help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. They breathe it in and produce O2, a process learned in biology.
In addition to that, "Humans are protected from damaging tidal waves produced by tropical storms" (Bauer, "Biodiscovery and the Great Barrier Reef").
Due to the fact that coral reefs are dying and not pulling CO2 out of the ocean, carbonic acid is resulting. To cite the book, "Carbonic acid resulting from all of the extra CO2 changes pH in the ocean water and alters the ratio of carbonate and bicarbonate ions. In turn, the saturation of calcium carbonate is affected" (Gore, 2008, p. 168). That calcium carbonate is what helps build the shells of many sea creatures. That is their home; without it, there is a mass extinction of that organism.
Finally, we come to the final point of the thesis that proves support of Al Gore and his findings relates to the extreme weather events associated with climate change. To start, "As oceans get warmer, storms get stronger. In 2004 Florida was hit by four unusually powerful hurricanes" (Gore, 2008, p. 80).
Numerous scientific studies suggest that as ocean temperatures get warmer it allows more convection to occur. Convection is one of the key ingredients in the development of oceanic storms. Those storms can be extremely powerful. They destroy many species habitats.
Not only are ocean storms increasing, "Also in 2004, the all-time record for tornadoes in the United States was broken" (Gore, 2008, p. 87).
To further explain, "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration" summarized… As water temperatures go up, wind velocity goes up and so does storm moisture condensation" (Gore, 2008, p. 89).
Finally, as temperatures go up, heat-related deaths go up, "In the summer of 2003 Europe was hit by a massive heat wave that killed 35,000 people" (Gore, 2008, p. 75).
Humanity is not suited for extreme temperature increase. Multiple different situations in which humanity and other species die were explained throughout this analysis. They die from what Gore has described as "An Inconvenient Truth".
It seems as if people understand that this is true and happening, but they do not want to grip the effects. This analysis describes how human nature does not enjoy thinking about issues like climate change.
Not only scientists but also journalists have experienced people doubting this issue.
After I produced a documentary, talked to congressmen and senators, a climatologist, our local energy providers and normal citizens, one common phrase Gore mentions in his book that journalists have heard many times is, "The climate is always changing. We are not the cause of it" (Gore, 2008, p. 64).
To those skeptics, one cannot express any more urgency than right now. We only have one planet; elect officials who understand that. Read the graphs, go to NASA's website, NOAA's website and watch the upcoming sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth: Truth To Power," being released July 28.
They all say the same thing.
Climate change is real, and we need to fix it. We can see this through the following three examples: the shrinking of polar ice caps, the bleaching of coral reefs and extreme weather patterns.
To quote another outspoken climate activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, " I believe humankind has looked at Climate Change in that same way: as if it were fiction, happening to someone else's planet as if pretending that Climate Change wasn't real it would somehow make it go away."