Assignment 6: Climate Change, Natural Resources, and Environmental Impacts

Assignment 6 Has Four Parts:

 
Instructions
1 Geography Knowledge Game—Africa

Play the Geography Knowledge Games—Focus on Africa. Try it and practice until you can get them all correct THREE times in a row.

Exam 2 Maps will evaluate your proficiency in identifying place name locations for lessons 4-8.

When you believe you REALLY know the Central and South America countries, then try this Expert game in identifying each country by dragging, rotating, and resizing each country. Verify your score and speed when done.

2 Assignment 6
Part I: PCBs in the Hudson River

Please respond to the seven assignment questions below and post in Assignment 6.

3 Assignment 6
Part II: Climate Change
4 Assignment 6
Part III: Natural Resources

Part I: Pollutant: PCBs in the Hudson River

Dredging the Hudson River for PCB removal

In this photo made Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009, crews dredge a stretch of the Hudson River in Fort Edward, N.Y. Dredging began in May after decades of argument over how to deal with tons of PCBs that flowed down the river after a dam here was removed. General Electric plants in Fort Edward and neighboring Hudson Falls discharged wastewater containing PCBs for decades before the popular lubricant was banned in 1977.(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

 

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue, biomagnify in food chains,and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment.

What Are PCBs and How Do They Affect the Environment?

PCBs are just one example of a human-made chemical that has proved to be a persistent and dangerous pollutant to the environment.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were widely used for many applications, especially as dielectric fluids in transformers and capacitors and coolants. Due to PCB's toxicity and classification as persistent organic pollutants, PCB production was banned by the United States Congress in 1976 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.

How Are PCBs Removed from the Environment?

Quickly scan this article, "PCB Contamination of the Hudson: Is dredging an appropriate clean-up strategy?"

At Climate Based Climate Change Adaptation you will find over a hundred examples of

Multistakeholder Effort Reveals Climate Change Impacts And Adaptation Strategies For Hudson River Communities

Part II: Climate Change

The Nature Consevancy and George Raber from the University of Southern Mississippi developed the tool freely available at www.ClimateWizard.org.

The UN Climate Change Report 2007 at a Glance

The UN IPCC is the world's most authoritative body on global warming.

Click on the image to enlarge.

 Climate Change Terms
  • GHG (Greenhouse Gas)
  • ppmv (parts per million per volume), e.g., 150 parts per million per liter.
  • CO2 (carbon dioxide)
  • IPCC (Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change—a U.N. committee)
  • CH4 (Methane)
  • N2O (nitrous oxide)
  • Energy (TPES) —total primary energy supply
  • GtCO2 (giga tons of carbon dioxide)

Then, respond to these questions:

  1. Average Global Temperatures (C°)—According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global average air temperatures rose 0.74 +/- 0.18 degrees Celsius during the past century. Several climate scenarios illustrate how temperatures might increase during the 21st century. Which of these scenarios becomes reality depends on how much carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases will be emitted. Pre-industrial levels were around 280 CO2 parts per million (ppmv) molecules of dry air; they have since risen to the current level of some 380 ppmv. If global warming is to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius, carbon dioxide concentration has to be stabilized at 400-450 ppmv or less (Graphic: IPCC).

    Question 1: Interpret this graph—Which color block (AA, AB, G, C, D, or E) would limit carbon dioxide (CO2) to 2 degrees C?

  2. Local Differences in Global Warming— Although scientists talk about global warming, temperature increases are not evenly distributed geographically. For the period between 1970-2004 the image shows that parts of the southern hemisphere have even witnessed some cooling, while the Arctic, Greenland, and Alaska went through a period of significant warming. And while South America saw only small temperature increases, warming was stronger in Asia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean (Graphic: IPCC).

    Question 2: In the graphic, "Local Differences in Global Warming," does western Canada have more or less temperature change (C°) than eastern Canada?

  3. Report Highlights Climate Change Implications for Western StatesRead this brief article about projected changes in temperature and precipitation during the 21st century.

    Question 3: If you were born in 1989 and lived to 100 years (it's quite possible), describe the consequences of a 3-4° C (5.4-7.2° F) increase in the Sacramento and San Joanquin river basins..

  4. Reasons for Global Warming—A comparison of economic development, population growth and energy usage helps understand the reasons of global warming. The recent increase in CO2 emissions was fuelled more by economic growth than growing populations. It is not the poor masses, but the new and old rich that fuel global warming. And while energy and emission intensity have steadily decreased since the oil crisis in the 1970s, carbon intensity has not. One conclusion could be that fixing prices for greenhouse gas emissions can help achieve emissions reduction, just like rising oil prices helped reduce energy and emissions intensity in the last decades (Graphic: IPCC).

    Question 4: What exactly do they mean when they say, "fixing prices for greenhouse gas emissions can help achieve emissions reduction."

Key Terms for Natural Resources
  • natural resource
  • nonrenewable resources

Part III: Natural Resources

A natural resource is anything created through natural processes that people use and value. When answering questions 5-7, focus on Bolivia and refer to this article on Lithium in Bolivia.

  1. How can nonrenewable resources (Lithium, in this case) be conserved to prolong their availability and reduce their cost? (A non-renewable resource is a natural resource that cannot be re-made, re-grown or regenerated on a scale compared to its consumption. It exists in a fixed amount or is used up faster then it can be replaced by nature. Fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas (among others) are considered non-renewable resources.
  2. Once a natural resource is harvested, mined, extracted, etc. (Lithium, in this case), what factors can affect its distribution?
  3. How do political-cultural, technological, and economic factors determine whether things in the environment (Lithium, in this case) become valuable resources or not?