What Should We Do About Global Warming?
Module written by Sharon Anthony, Thomas
W. Brauch, Elizabeth J. Longley
SESSION 1: Is the Climate Changing?
This session introduces the controversial issue of cliamte change. You will analyze data to determine if and how the climate is changing, learn about personal causes of climate change, and identify other information you will need to defend your opnion about global warming.
Exploration 1A: Is the Climate Changing?
Figure 1.1 in the module (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/figspm-1.htm)
Background reading in the module: Iintergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary
Effects of Climate Change
Recent Warming of Arctic May Effect Worldwide Climate (http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2003/1023esuice.html)
Environmental Protection Agency (http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/index.html)
Exploration 1B: Why is the Temperature Rising?
Exploration 1C: What's the Connection Between Greenhouse Gases and Global Temperature?
US Climate Action Report 2002 to the United Nations in fulfillment of its commitment under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/ResourceCenterPublicationsUSClimateActionReport.html) or pdf file (11 MB).
SESSION 2: What Is A Greenhouse Gas?
Visible and Infrared Spectroscopy
You will use visible and infrared spectroscopy to investigate the absorption characteristics unique to greenhouse gases. A brief analysis of the nature of the electromagnetic spectrum and the interaction of light with matter will accompany the spectroscopic investigation.
SESSION 3: What Determines Whether A Gas Is A Greenhouse
Lewis Structures and VSEPR, Polarity and Infrared Activity
You will be introduced to the nature of chemical bonding and molecular shape. You will also explore polarity and how molecular shape influences the absorption of infrared light.
Exploration 3A: How are the Atoms in Greenhouse Gas Molecules Connected?
Exploration 3B: What Are The Shapes of Greenhouse Gas Molecules?
Exploration 3C: What Determines Whether a Gas Absorbs Infrared Radiation?
SESSION 4: How Much Are Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
You will graphically interpret the behavior of greenhouse gas concentrations as a function of time. Conversion between different units of measure will be necessary for comparison of the concentrations of different greenhouse gases.
SESSION 5: Why Are Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Rising?
To understand why greenhouse gas concentrations are rising, we need to understand how these gases are created and destroyed. In this session, you will research the sources and sinks of the greenhouse gases and develop a qualitative understanding of why the concentrations are rising. In the process, you will develop skills in formulating and balancing chemical equations and in literature and world wide web research.
Exploration 5A: Is There CO2 in your Breath?
Exploration 5B: What are the Sources and Sinks of Greenhouse Gases?
Exploration 5C: How Do We Balance the Relevant Equations?
Finding Sources and Sinks
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the US (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/summary/index.html) or pdf file
Greenhouse Gases Online (http://ghgonline.org/)
SESSION 6: What Are Your Personal Contributions to Greenhouse
Moles and Stoichiometry
You will use laboratory investigations and stoichiometric calculations to determine whether you personally are a significant source of greenhouse gases. You will examine your daily activities to estimate which ones have the greatest impact on greenhouse gas levels. For instance, are you responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions if you drive to Boston or fly? Balancing equations, mole calculations, stoichiometry, unit conversions, experimental design, and order of magnitude estimation are skills that will be developed during this session.
Exploration 6A: What Are Your Personal Contributions to CO2
Exploration 6B: Which Daily Activities Contribute to Rising Greenhouse Gas Levels?
EPA Personal Greenhouse Gas Calculator (http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/ResourceCenterToolsGHGCalculator.html)
SESSION 7: What Should We Do About Global Warming?
In this culminating activity, you will be asked to conclude what we should do about global warming. This activity will require you to articulate what you have learned during the module and to support your conclusions with scientific and quantitative data. Your instructor will decide the format of this activity; papers, debates, posters and discussions are possibilities. Several options are given as examples so you can start to think about how you will respond.
Living on Earth, National Public Radio
September 10, 2004, Changing Views on Climate Change
Our Changing Planet, the US government report (timecode 0:00-5:35)
Balance as Bias interview with Jules Boykoff (timecode 5:35-12:45)
Climate Change in the Press interview with Andrew Revkin, New York Times, and Bill Allen, National Geographic (timecode 12:45-25:07). Timecode 12:55-18:45 is a good segment for class use and refers to Global Warning in the September, 2004, issue of National Geographic.
May 28, 2004, Climate Change (New York City)
March 5, 2004, Abrupt Climate Change
Kyoto Protocol (html or pdf
A beginners guide to the Kyoto Protocol or http://unfccc.int/resource/beginner.html
Kyoto Ratification Update
Kyoto-related emissions by country
Copyright © 2004 by the trustees of Beloit College and the Regents of the University of California. This Module has been developed under the direction of the ChemLinks Coalition, headed by Beloit College, and the ModularChem Consortium, headed by the University of California at Berkeley. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation grants No. DUE-9455918 and DUE-9455924. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation, Beloit College, or the Regents of the University of California.
Published through exclusive license with W. W. Norton.
What Should We Do About Global Warming? ISBN 0-393-92429-7
Global Warming | ChemConnections