• Erik Sudberg

Global Warming: Causes and Effects

Global Warming: A Definition

Global warming is a progressive increase in the Earth's atmosphere's overall temperature generally attributed to the Greenhouse Effect caused by increased carbon dioxide levels, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants.

The Causes From Global Warming

The Greenhouse Effect

As radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere. Radioactive gases (i.e., Greenhouse gasses) in a planet's atmosphere transmit energy in all directions. Part of this pollution is directed towards the surface, thus warming it.

The Greenhouse Gasses From Global Warming

The United States is one of the highest producers of the world's most elevated greenhouse emitting countries. The gasses include Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Fluorinated Gases (Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride.)

The Controversy From Global Warming

Climate change is a topic that leads to an enormous amount of political controversy. On Sept. 27, 2013, a significant report was released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating that scientists are more confident than ever about the link between human activities and global warming. More than 197 international scientific organizations agree that global warming is real and caused by human action.

The Effects From Global Warming

The Economic Impact of Global Warming

The level of social responsibility a company takes is based on corporate policy and stakeholder expectations. Whether a business wishes to take on more responsibility presently or face hefty governmental fines and a climate disaster later is entirely up to them.

The Effects on Society From Global Warming

Urban Populations

American cities hold approximately 80% of their population, making them the most susceptible areas to experience climate change's detrimental effects. For example, cities have more heatwaves because they absorb more sun during the day than noncity areas holding in the heat well into the night and are much more densely populated. Peak heatwaves and extreme events will tax the health of its inhabitants and potentially overwhelm a city's infrastructure to the point of mandatory blackouts ( as we already see in California during Wildfire events), required infrastructure improvements that a city may or may not be prepared to handle, or cause widespread medical issues for the elderly and the underprivileged.

In Agriculture

In 2019, farming and food-related industries contributed $1.109 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The potential for a massive socio-economic impact at the municipal, state, and federal levels may impact decreasing rural populations, and a changing environment may fundamentally change a large swath of many communities of the Great Plains. Climate change agitates food accessibility, diminishes access to food, and transforms food characteristics. With increased temperatures, weather patterns, and water availability, reductions decreased farming potency.

Tourism and Recreation

Climate change will also likely affect tourism and recreational activities. Snowsports, such as skiing and snowmobiling, and the service-related support services will likely face an ever-shortening season. An ever-increasing number of wildfires could affect hiking and recreation in parks in the West. Beaches are currently suffering erosion due to sea-level rise and storm surge. The migration patterns of fish and animals would affect fishing and hunting. Communities that support themselves through these recreational activities would feel economic impacts as tourism patterns begin to change.


The Department of Energy understands global warming connects to the increased opportunity of wildfires. Climate change increases wildfire frequency and influences crop development, property, life, and health insurance cost. The rising sea levels from climate change will affect property, flood, business interruption, and life insurance lines with coastal erosion from rising sea levels. Climate change will make it increasingly more rigid and more expensive for many people to ensure their homes, businesses, or other valuable assets as "uninsurable" or "more expensive to insure areas" continue to grow.

The Effects on

From Global Warming

The Earth's ice and permafrost are melting. The sea ice melt rate has been increasing exponentially since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, causing sea levels to rise worldwide, uncovering dark ocean waters that absorb more heat than ice, thereby heating the ocean in a vicious cycle.

The Mammals

People and wild animals risk new hurdles for survival because of weather modification. In 2008, the polar bear became the first animal to make the Endangered Species Act list of threatened species because of Global Warming.

Animals Affected by Climate Change







Coral reefs

Ocean life is susceptible to the smallest changes in ocean temperatures. The rise in ocean temperatures strains the algae that nourish the corals and provide their vibrant colors. The algae leave, and the corals eventually starve, causing a bleaching event such as the one seen on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Dead reefs potentially cause more shore erosion. The entire reef system is disrupted due to what would be seen by most as a minuscule ocean temperature increase and acidity within the ocean water, throwing off the calcium balance, making it inhabitable to corals and certain shellfish. The calcium shift also leads to ocean expansion compounding the sea rise issue. The ocean is approximately 40% more acidic than it used to be.


The Forests are now more prone to deadly bug infestations and wildfires. Milder winters and longer summers allow tree-killing insects to thrive and dry out under-growth, providing fuel for the summertime wildfires. Prolonged drought causes a tree's natural immunity to becoming weaker, causing unprecedented die-offs such as the Rocky Mountain evergreen event that killed off about 70,000 acres of trees in 2014. Scientists estimate that by the year 2060, most of the evergreen and aspen trees will have already died off in the Rockies.


The weather is getting more extreme. Hurricanes are not only increasing in number but intensity. Wildfires are also growing in number and intensity—areas of outer drought border areas of intense precipitation. Las Vegas, NV, and its surrounding areas just came out of almost an entire calendar year without a drop of measurable rain.

The world is changing. What are you going to do about it?


  1. https://www.ipcc.ch_AnnexIII_FINAL.pdf

  2. https://archive.ipcc.ch/publications/faq-1-3.html

  3. epa.gov

  4. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

  5. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/insurance.pdf

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