Petition: A Global Warming Case Study - Bruce Allen and Clyde F. Herreid,
University at Buffalo. State University of New York at Buffalo's
National Center for Case Study Teaching. The goal of this dilemma
case study is to teach students about the various aspects of
global warming. Students read graphs and interpret data, and
consider the political, economic, and ethical issues surrounding
The case would be appropriate
for use in a variety of courses, including biology, geology,
chemistry, physics, meteorology, economics, political science,
Viewpoints: A Case Study on the Politics of Information - Christopher
Hollister, University at Buffalo. State University of New York at
Buffalo's National Center for Case Study Teaching
In this case students work in small
groups to analyze and critically evaluate the often political
nature of news stories. The case was developed from two newspaper
articles published in different newspapers (New York Times and Wall Street Journal)
about the release of an Environmental Protection Agency report on
the state of the environment. While the New York Times article discusses White House editing
of the report, which eliminated several references to the causes
and dangers of global warming, the Wall Street Journal
article focuses more on the report's evidence of environmental
The case was developed for an
undergraduate information literacy course. Its subject matter
also makes it suitable for use in undergraduate level courses in
environmental studies, journalism, or political science.
Fertilization Good for the Sea? LeLeng To, Goucher
College. State University of New York at Buffalo's National Center
for Case Study Teaching
This case explores how human
activities contribute to greenhouse effects and global warming.
This case is appropriate for
introductory biology, ecology, environmental biology,
microbiology, and environmental microbiology classes as well as
courses dealing with environmental policy.
Geritol Solution, by Deborah Allen, University of Delaware.
Modifications by John S. Peters, College of Charleston. This
problem deals with the notion of bioengineering our oceans on a
massive scale in order to combat global warming. The notion
of fertilizing our oceans with iron to increase phytoplankton
productivity so as to draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was
first proposed by John Martin at Woods Hole. The purpose of
the problem is for students to come up with recommendations for
commercial ocean iron fertilization...that is, is this a possible
cure for GW, or is it a potentially risky idea, that may not
This problem was adapted
from D. Allen's Who Owns the
Geritol Solution at the University of Deleware's PBL Clearinghouse. Teaching notes can be found
CNN Video Clips
Environmental Science 5th Ed. CNN Ed (2:16 min)
- Too Hot Not to Handle
- HBO films special depicting the causes and potential
consequences of global warming. Excerpts from this video
are a great way to engage students in the Geritol Solution
problem. The DVD can be found in the teaching resource
library cabinet outside Rm 207 SCIC.
In 1997, the United Nations
established the Kyoto Protocol in an attempt to drastically reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, however, President
George W. Bush and his administration have indicated that the
United States may no longer play a part in the Kyoto
Protocol. President Bush cites concerns that the U.S.
participation in the Kyoto Protocol may weaken the U.S.
economy. Instead, President Bush proposes that the U.S. and
other countries concentrate on doing more research on global
warming and improving technology to reduce emissions. U.S.
business owners agree that the Bush administration should improve
technology to reduce emissions. Environmentalists, on the
other hand, comment that the U.S. is responsible for 25% of air
pollution worldwide, which may be responsible for global warming,
and the Bush administration should take responsibility for
emission reductions no matter what the cost. At the next
Kyoto meeting in Bonn, Germany, the Bush administration will be
present for the conference; however, the fate of the Kyoto treaty
now lies in the hands of Japan. One of the many problems
that officials at the United Nations are concerned with is how to
enforce the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to drastically reduce greenhouse
gas emissions. If the Japanese government supports the
treaty with Europe, then a decision may be made for global
emission reduction without the influence of the U.S. The
worksheet includes the URL for the United Nations Environment
Program. (Student worksheet provided on CD)
Global Warming: Environmental Science 6th Ed. CNN Ed (3:08 min)
In 1997, The United Nations
established the Kyoto Protocol in an attempt to drastically reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, President George W. Bush
and his administration indicated that the United States may no
longer play a role in enforcing the Kyoto Protocol.
President Bush cites concerns that U.S. participation in the Kyoto
Protocol may weaken the U.S. economy. Instead, President
Bush proposes that the U.S. and other countries focus on
conducting more research on global warming and improving
technology to reduce emissions. U.S. business owners agree
that the Bush administration should improve technology to reduce
emissions. Environmentalists, on the other hand, contend
that the U.S. is responsible for over 36% of the greenhouse gas
pollution worldwide, which may be responsible for global
warming. At the next Kyoto meeting in Bonn, Germany, the
Bush administration will be present for the conference; however,
the fate of the Kyoto treaty lies in the hands of Japan. If
the Japanese government supports the treaty with Europe, then a
decision may be made for global emission reduction without the
influence of the U.S. The worksheet includes the URL for the
CNN website. (Student worksheet provided on CD)
Environmental Science 7th Ed. CNN Ed (1:57)
According to researchers,
scientific evidence indicates that increasing amounts of
greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere, which may
in turn cause global warming to increase faster than originally
thought. As a result of the changing temperatures, countries
around the globe may begin to feel the effects from an increase in
severe weather, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. In 1997, the
United Nations established the Kyoto protocol in an attempt to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the Bush administration
recently terminated U.S. participation in the program, citing
concerns for the economy. In addition to the recommendation that
countries focus on conducting more research on global warming and
improving technology to reduce emissions, the Bush administration
created a new policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by
18% by offering tax incentives to businesses and industries in
exchange for reducing their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by the
year 2012. Many environmentalists are concerned that the plan will
only slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, rather than
reduce them all together. (Student worksheet provided on CD)
Glaciers: Environmental Science 7th Ed. CNN Ed(1:16)
According to the Journal of
Science, research indicates that global temperatures are rising,
but scientists are still uncertain as to whether rising
temperatures are a result of increases in greenhouse gas emissions
or part of Earth's natural cycle. Over the past 25 years, glaciers
around the world have grown smaller. Researchers have found that
glaciers are most at risk if surrounded by water; glaciers
surrounded by land tend to recede at a slower rate. As global
temperatures rise, researchers predict that the climate changes
may cause further melting of the polar ice caps, increased sea
levels, and flooding. (Student worksheet provided on CD)
Extinction: Environmental Science 7th Ed. CNN Ed (1:42)
According to the Journal of
Nature, scientific evidence indicates that it is likely that
global warming is increasing faster than originally thought.
Researchers predict Earth's global temperature could rise by a few
degrees over the next 50 years, causing climate changes throughout
the globe. As a result of the climate changes, Earth may
experience changing weather patterns, further melting of polar ice
caps, increasing sea levels, and flooding along coastlines. In
addition, climate changes may cause a global extinction of nearly
1 million species, which equates to between 18 and 35% of the
plant and animal species on Earth. Researchers conclude that the
U.S. and other countries need to develop cleaner burning fuels and
reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat the rise in global
temperatures. (Student worksheet provided on CD)
Melting: Biology 5th Ed. CNN Ed 2001 (2:06)
Aerial studies of the Pine Island
Glacier in Western Antarctica have determined that the height of
the glacier has dropped about 10 meters in the last 7 years.
This melting is estimated to have changed sea level by 0.5 mm.
There are two possible scenarios for future change. First,
global warming could cause more snow to fall on the glacier,
possibly causing the ice sheet to thicken. Alternatively,
the heat could contribute to a continued melt, which could
eventually raise the sea level by meters. (Student worksheet
provided on CD)
Visit the Ocean
Fertilization Issue page for articles on the science behind
Ocean Iron Feritlization (a proposal to fertilize the oceans to
combat global warming).
Icy Research Yields Clues to Warming - Neergaard,
Lauran. Science Magazine.
This article describes information
that scientists are able to extract from tiny air pockets in ice
cores from Antarctica. They are able to attain data describing
carbon dioxide levels dating back to more than 600,000 years. This
is providing more evidence to counter critics who believe that the
rise in carbon dioxide can be attributed to a naturally occurring
Life Out of Step Grossman,
Daniel. Current Issues in Biology. Scientific American, Inc.
January 2004. 44-53.
This article addresses the effect
that global warming could be having on the relationships between
species. The data is showing that plants are flowering earlier,
and caterpillars are hatching earlier, which is effecting the food
supply for the local birds. So far this seems to have little
effect on the bird population. There is evidence of global warming
impacting penguin populations in the Antarctic. The population has
declined by 70% in the past 30 years. The different responses to
global warming will leave altered ecosystems. This article is
followed by a comprehension quiz and critical thinking questions.
Up the Debate in Global Warming's Effects Post and Courier.
22 September 2005.
- "Nature Pays Bush Back for Ignoring Warnings"
Madsen, Wayne. This author argues that the US is
ignoring the warning signs for global warming. He states that
the increased intensity of hurricanes gives significant evidence
for global warming and that the storms are going to get worse.
No Sweat: SC was actually a Little
Cool Last Year" Peterson, Bo. The Post and Courier. 5
- "Statistical Analysis Refutes Claims of Linkage"
Ridenour, David. This author uses historical data
collected about hurricane intensities over the years. He uses
this data to refute any link between global warming and storm
This article touches on the fact
that global warming will effect areas differently. It addresses
the fact the inland SC experienced a 1 degree cooling trend, but
on the coast it was 4 degrees warmer. The article also shows that
scientist are not sure if there will be an increase in temperature
or heat index.
Tiny Pine Beetles Wiping Out
Forests Struck, Doug, The Washington Post. 5 March
Canadian forests are under attack
by a tiny pine beetle. The range of attack is increasing and the
beetle is now being seen in places that it had never been in
previously. This change is probably due to the increased warmth in
the climate caused by global warming. The winter is no longer
severe enough to kill off the beetle.
Permafrost gases pose climate hazard.
Seth Borenstein AP Post and Courier Sept 7, 2006
yields clues to warming: Discoveries in ancient air bubbles
chilling. Neergaard, Lauren. (Associated Press).
Permafrost harbors global warming gases that are escaping from the
ground at an alarming rate. Most of the permafrost is in Siberia. The
amount of trapped carbon in the permafrost could be 100 times the
carbon released each year by fossil fuels, having an volatile
impact to global warming.
Analysis of air bubble sin
Antarctic ice that are millions of years old proves that humans
have had a dramatic effect on the buildup of greenhouse gases,
leading to global warming.
Dirty Sky might
help cool planet. Hanley, Charles. Post
The shade on Earth is a
layer of pollution that could deliberately be put there to
overcome global warming. Crutzen's idea is one of several
geoengineering proposals on the table to deal with global
warming. The United States is the biggest emitter of
heat-trapping gases, rejecting the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce
emissions. The idea is somewhat supported by a previous
occurrence of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in
1991. So much volcanic debris entered the atmosphere that it
is believed to have cooled the Earth by 0.9 degrees for one
due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. June 2005. The Royal Society.
"The oceans are absorbing
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and this is causing chemical
changes by making them more acidic. In the past 200 years
the oceans have absorbed approximately half of the carbon dioxide
produced by fossil fuel burning and cement production. " The
full-length report gives detailed information about ocean
global warming fix. Bentley, M. BBC News, Dec 13, 2006.
"A simple sea creature
could help to address the problem of global warming, a scientist
claims. Tiny tube-like salps mop up greenhouse gases by feasting
on carbon-dioxide soaked algae from the oceans. The US researcher
told an American Geophysical Union meeting of his plans to adjust
nutrient levels in the ocean to boost the sea animal's
populations. But other scientists warned of the unknown
consequences of meddling with the ocean's complex ecosystem. "
Ocean World Online
topics links include: fisheries, weather, forams, icebergs,
coral reefs, JASON-1, iceages, satellites, waves, el nino, and
currents. Real-time data can be accessed, along with
warming search site This is a starting point for research concerning global
warming. Links to helpful resources are on this homepage.
Warming: Is it real? This site includes lecture notes
addressing global warming. Helpful links are incorporated
into teh lecture. Effective questioning has students assess
the "reality" of global warming. There is an emphasis on the
chemistry of global warming.
Shutting down the
oceans Institute of
Science in Society. June 26, 2006.
The article addresses ocean
acidity, the impact on food chains, and dire predictions.
Federation of American
site offers links to useful articles. Also, a helpful
subject guide is located on the left-hand side of the screen for
topic-related searches such as energy and the environment,
information technology for learning and research, and strategic
This interactive site gives
detailed images and important data presentations of the SeaWiFS
spacecraft. "The purpose of the Sea-viewing Wide
Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) Project is to provide quantitative
data on global ocean bio-optical properties to the Earth science
community. Subtle changes in ocean color signify various types and
quantities of marine phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants),
the knowledge of which has both scientific and practical
applications. The SeaWiFS Project will develop and operate a
research data system that will process, calibrate, validate,
archive and distribute data received from an Earth-orbiting ocean
Climate Change 2007: The Physical
Science Basis - Summary for Policy Makers -
Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of
Articles in "Taking Sides"
Act Now to Halt Global Warming? Easton, Thomas. Taking Sides: Science, Technology, and Society, sixth
- YES: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that
global warming appears to be real, with strong effects on sea
level, ice cover, and rainfall patterns to come, and that human
activities - particularly emissions of carbon dioxide - are to
blame. (from "Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis", A
Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, 2001).
- NO: Neuroscience researcher Kevin A. Shapiro argues that past
global warming predictions have been wrong and that the data do
not support calls for immediate action to reduce emissions of
carbon dioxide. (from "Too Darn Hot", Commentary, June 2001)
Act Now to Forestall Global Warming? Easton,
Thomas. Taking Sides:
- YES: George Marshall and Mark Lynas argue that despite a
remarkable level of agreement that the threat of global warming
is real, human psychology keeps us "in denial". But survival
demands that we escape denial and seek more positive action.
(from "Why We Don't Give a Damn", New Statesman, December 2003).
US be doing more to combat global warming?. Easton, TA. Taking Sides:
Clashing views on environmental issues, twelfth edition.
2007 McGraw-Hill, p.152-169.
- NO: Long-time anti-global warming spokesman Fred Singer argues
in an interview by Stephen Goode that global warming just is not
happening in any significant way and if it were, it would -
judging from the past - be good for humanity. (from "Singer Cool
on Global Warming", Insight
on the News, April 27, 2004)
- YES: "Global warming:
A consequence of human activities rivaling earth's
biogeochemical processes". Jerald Schnoor
A strong signal that GHG's are
increasing in the atmosphere proves that humans are responsible
for the global warming. The end of the 18th century
(industrial revolution) is when the carbon dioxide increase in
the atmosphere began. Earth is already feeling the
effects, as it is 0.6degrees Celsius warmer than in the past
1,000 years. The 11 warmest years on record have occurred
since 1990. The Kyoto Climate Convention was not signed in
an effort to protect the American economy. A transition
from the fossil fuel age is necessary for the emissions to
decrease. This can be done with more efficient
automobiles, fluorescent light bulbs, water savings, and
refillable beverage containers. The author also discusses
his partial optimism for carbon trading, the voluntary trading
of greenhouse gas emissions.
- NO: "Global climate
change policy book". Bush Administration
President Bush recognizes that
the global climate change is a long-term commitment. The
President's plan is to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of
the U.S. economy by 18% in the next ten years.
Transferable credits for emissions and increased funding for the
commitment to climate change is also part of the plan. The
President feels that science and technology will aid in
increasing efficiency. Also, domestic policies such as tax
incentives for using renewable energy, business challenges, and
transportation programs will reduce emissions. The
reasoning behind not joining the Kyoto Protocol is to protect
the nation's economy while still making marked feats in the
reduction of harmful emissions.