To understand this event and the political controversies that followed in its wake, one has to reach back through almost a century's worth of history, long before CFCs existed. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb heat radiation. For instance, automobile fuel consumption can be analyzed as the product of number of automobiles, average fuel efficiency of automobiles, and miles driven per automobile; the determinants of each of these factors can be studied separately. TABLE 3-2 Global Emissions of CO2, CH4, and N2O From Human Activities in the Late 1980s, Function of acreage and cropping intensity. a 2 percent in the single category of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and lighting was allocated one percent each to heating and lighting. Historical data show that successful. Clearing of tropical forests is generally considered to be the most important single cause of recent losses in the earth's biological diversity. These gases accumulate in the atmosphere, blocking heat from escaping, and they don't respond to the temperature changes (the greenhouse effect). But other important energy-productive investments do not fit these priorities. c Projected atmospheric effects depend not only on total production but also on the balance between end uses. The most widespread early refrigeration technology depended on compressed ammonia gas, which easily produced desired drops in temperature for effective food storage. Initially, projections of the future accounts based on simple models will suffice to guide the research plan for human dimensions. 4. The bulk of Chinese coal is burned at still lower efficiencies, in industry (46 percent of 1985 coal use) and for commercial and residential heating (26 percent). Different methods may prove useful for different purposes. What are the multipliers that represent the environmental impacts of a new person in a particular year and coun-. Beef was much less popular in preserved form, so those who ate it preferred to purchase it freshly slaughtered from local butchers. This fact has three major implications for research strategy: understanding the human causes is an intrinsically interdisciplinary project; the important human causes of global change are not all global; and comparative studies to specify the contingencies are critically needed (see #2 and #3 below). There is — and has already been enough — evidence showing that climate change is being driven by human activity, and is not just a part of a natural climate cycle. At each level of analysis, projects that meet such criteria are worthy of support, independently of what is known at the global level. Paleoclimatology can answer the question of anthropogenic climate change by using fossils to show links between global temperatures and CO2 levels, Seeing evidence of man-made climate change is difficult ‘when the details are buried under thousands of lines of computer code which implement algorithms of mind-numbing complexity'. Although it is more difficult to quantify other aspects of importance, these can provide strong justifications for research. Because these factors appear in different branches of Figure 3-1, the figure is not useful for representing the effect of female labor force participation on energy demand. Under these conditions the relative gap between per capita income in developing and developed countries would narrow, but the absolute gap would increase substantially. Widely shared cultural beliefs and attitudes can also function as root causes of global environmental change. Individuals not involved in buying or selling a good or service may nevertheless be affected by the transaction, for ex-. Indigenous groups combined relatively extensive strategies, such as temporary or shifting cultivation followed by natural forest regeneration and hunting and gathering of dispersed game, fish, and wild food plants, with more intensive farming of alluvial riverine and other soils of high, renewable fertility. The Amazonian forest has long been inhabited by peoples that used a mixture of these strategies to support their economies. Because the connections between global environmental change and the concepts of social science are rarely obvious, social scientists who begin with important concepts in their fields have often directed their attention to low-impact human activities (see Stern and Oskamp, 1987, for elaboration). Better studies focused on the driving forces and their connections to the proximate causes are necessary for effective integrative modeling of the human causes of global change. The 4 human causes of climate change include: burning fossil fuels, farming, deforestation and cement production. During the 20th and 21st century, the level of carbon dioxide rose by 40%. Under what conditions do capitalist actors adopt practices of natural resource use or waste management that preserve environmental values? It seems reasonable that the social institutions that control the exchange of goods and services and that structure the decisions of large human groups should have a strong influence on the effects of human activity on the global environment. But does the paleoclimate evidence really tell us that increased carbon dioxide must mean increased temperatures? If the historic pattern holds, future economic growth in the low-income developing countries will be materials and energy intensive for quite some time before a transition to a service economy sets in. Testing this hypothesis would require research conducted over longer time scales than is common in psychological research. Bias toward growth and a hubristic disregard for physical limits, others have argued, are today the principal driving forces (e.g., Boulding, 1971, 1974; Daly, 1977). The empirical associations underlying some claims have also been called into question (e.g., Tuan, 1968, on White, 1967). Important questions should be studied at different time scales. If China turns inward to resist democratization, global concerns about energy efficiency may not influence Chinese policy for a long time. And it does not acknowledge the existence within fully integrated market economies of stable, intensively producing family farmers and smallholder land-use regimes that modify but do not permanently degrade their habitat. Fiscal incentives for livestock raising have largely dried up since 1985, but the cattle population has continued to grow at an annual rate of 8 percent (Schneider, 1990), suggesting that profit can now be made without subsidies, partly from the appreciation of land values (Binswanger, 1989). a Estimates of N2O emissions are highly uncertain. It might employ a large number of local or regional data points, worldwide in coverage. For instance, carbon dioxide is emitted by respiration of animals and plants, burning of biomass, burning of fossil fuels, and so forth. In the United States, pork was the most popular form of preserved meat because of the ease with which its decay could be arrested by salt. Comparative analysis at the global scale can take various forms. Finally, much deforestation is a by-product of industries such as mining, which not only destroys the forest at the industrial site, but may also use large numbers of trees for fuel. TABLE 3-1 Estimated Human Contributions Per Decade to Global Warming of Major Greenhouse Gases During Three Time Periods, in Watts per square meter (percentage in parentheses). Economic growth and energy intensity are closely interrelated and very difficult to forecast. One strand of criticism argues that technological and socioeconomic factors are primary (e.g., Coale, 1970; Commoner, 1972; Harvey, 1974; Ridker, 1972a; Schnaiberg, 1980). Physical scientists know which halocarbons are long-lived catalysts for the destruction of stratospheric ozone and which ones are quickly destroyed; social scientists do not yet know much about which social changes catalyze other changes or about which ones are relatively irreversible. Systemic analysis of human-environmental relationships emphasizes facets of human activity that operate as a global system (i.e., a perturbation anywhere in the system has consequences throughout). Many governments have pursued policies aimed at maximum exploitation of natural resources in pursuit of economic growth that give environmental concerns a low priority. The Chinese national growth plan calls for quadrupling GNP from 1980 to 2000, but for coal use to increase only 2.3 times (Smil, 1988; Xi et al., 1989). Population growth increases the demand for food, which creates pressure to make agriculture both more intensive and extensive. To understand the nature of these interactive relationships, it is important to compare different places and to follow the relationships over time. Together, they make up an integrated Earth system, in which all components interact with and influence one another in often complex ways. odds with conservation and long-term sustainability and, moreover, that the capitalist class exacerbates the process through its strong influence on public policy. Fossil fuel consumption accounts for over half the human contribution to the greenhouse effect, chiefly through the emission of carbon dioxide. Almost no one has responded to the ozone hole by suggesting a retreat from these fundamental technologies of modern life: al-. Consequently, much additional work is needed to support valid global generalizations. Many factors (called “climate drivers”) can influence Earth’s climate—such as changes in the sun’s intensity and volcanic eruptions, as well as heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Squatters on public land can gain the rights to 100 ha by living on it and using it, but 100 ha is not sufficient for ranching. Indeed, it is argued that once population has reached a level in excess of the earth's long-term capacity to sustain it, even stability and zero growth at that level will lead to future environmental degradation (Ehrlich and Ehrlich, 1990). That the Montreal Protocol and the later, even stronger London amendments to it could be signed even in the absence of environmentally benign alternatives to the CFCs suggests people's perception of how serious and urgent the problem had become, but also their faith—encouraged by DuPont's actions—that alternatives would in fact be available by the time the agreement's deadline fell due. The threatened ecosystems provide regionally important services, such as creating soils, moderating temperatures, reducing soil erosion, cleaning the air and water, and preventing flood and drought (Smith, 1982). The examples above illustrate how the proximate causes of global environmental change result from a complex of social, political, economic, technological, and cultural variables, sometimes referred to as driving forces. These priorities encourage some energy-productive investments, such as combined heat and power plants that capture waste heat to warm buildings. In addition, development policy around the world has supported capital-intensive development of export monocultures. For example, the environmental effects of refrigeration technology look much different now than they would have looked in an analysis done in the 1950s. 7 days ago. within its area. Three reasons why climate change is real, and humans are causing it David Waltham for the Conversation, part of the Guardian Comment Network This article is more than 6 years old For example, emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in the United States have been greatly affected by the many policy choices of the U.S. government that have encouraged the use of the automobile as a form of personal transportation. And this is not an isolated case. These critics offer evidence from long sweeps of history, such as the relationships between major sociotechnical changes in society and global increases in population (Deevey, 1960; Boserup, 1965). They argue that the capitalist, cash-based market system rewards those who exploit the environment for maximum short-term gain, an incentive structure fundamentally at. And an observed trend in the United States, in which the main source of pollution has shifted from production activities to consumption activities, has effects on the overall economy-environment relationship that are not yet clear (Ayres and Rod, 1986; Ayres, 1978). Different kinds of technological change and of economic growth clearly have different implications for the global environment, but much still needs to be learned about which aspects of change in these and other variables drive environmental change. Climate change, the periodic modification of Earth’s climate caused by atmospheric changes and the atmosphere’s interactions with geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors. Research that estimates the relative impacts of proximate human causes of global change on particular environmental changes of concern, specifying the uncertainty of the estimates, is essential for understanding the human dimensions of global change. 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