The Effect of Increased Greenhouse Gasses on Mexico and it’s Effort to Reduce Environmental DamageIntroductionFor over a hundred years, scientists have been carefully gathering and verifying data on the earth’s temperature. The latest data reveals some striking trends:All 10 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the last 15 years The 1990’s have already been warmer than the 1980’s- the warmest decade on record The global average surface temperature has risen 0.5 degrees (site source)For the first time ever, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the authoritative international body charged with studying this issue, concluded that the observed increase in global average temperature over the last century “is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin” and that “the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.”The Earth’s climate is the result of extremely complex interactions among the atmosphere, the oceans, the land masses, and living organisms, which are all warmed daily by the sun’s enormous energy. This heat would radiate back into space if not for the atmosphere, which relies on a delicate balance of heat-trapping gases, including water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, to act as a natural “greenhouse,” keeping in just the right amount of the sun’s energy to support life.
For the past 150 years, though, the atmospheric concentrations of these gases, particularly carbon dioxide. Have been rising. As a result, more heat is being trapped than previously, which in turn is causing the global temperature to rise. Climate scientists have linked the increased levels of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere to human activities, in particular the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas for heating and electricity; gasoline for transportation) deforestation, cattle ranching, and rice farming. Scientists still cannot predict the exact impact on the earth’s climate of these rising levels of heat-trapping gases over the next century. But there is striking agreement among most climate scientists about what is likely to occur.
Increasingly sophisticated climate models suggest that the planet will warm over the next century at a more rapid rate than ever before recorded. The current best estimate from the Intergovernmental Panel is that if carbon dioxide concentrations double over preindustrial levels, global average surface temperatures will rise between 1.8 degrees and 6.3 degrees F. According to the Panel’s range of possible scenarios, an atmospheric doubling of carbon dioxide could occur as early as 2050. Future impacts worldwide from this kind of warming will most likely include: damage to human health, severe stress on forests, wetlands, and other natural habitats, dislocation of agriculture and commerce, expansion of the earth’s deserts, melting of the polar ice caps and consequent rise in the sea level, and more extreme weather events on-line (Available: www.
epa.gov/global warming)This paper will discuss some impacts of global climate change on Mexico, what action Mexico is taking toward sustainable development (ie. Population conferences, earth summits, etc.), how Mexico is treating it’s environment presently, and background information of Mexico will be presented. MexicoMost of Mexico is an immense, elevated plateau, flanked by mountain ranges that fall sharply off to narrow coastal plains in the west and east. The two mountain chains, the Sierra Madre Occidental to the west and the Sierra Madre Oriental in the east, meet in a region called La Junta in the southeast.
At La Junta the two ranges form the Sierra Madre del Sur, a maze of volcanic mountains containing the highest peaks in Mexico. The Sierra Madre Del Sur leads into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which lies between the Bay of Campeche and the Gulf of Tecuantepec. The prominent topographical feature of the country is the central plateau, a continuation of the plains of the southwestern U.S. Comprising more that half the total area of Mexico, the plateau slopes downward from the west to the east and from the south, where the elevation varies from about 1830 to 2440 m above sea level, to the north with an elevation of about 1070 to 1220 m. Two large valleys form notable depressions in the plateau: the Bolson de Mapimi in the north and the Valley of Mexico, or Anahuac, in central Mexico (Encyclopedia Brittanica, CD 1997).
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