Most of us have heard the arguments about the devastating effects of global warming. We’ve also heard the arguments that the entire idea of global warming is a hoax.
While the topic continues to be debated, what’s not debatable is that you need to write an essay about global warming. (Yes, really, you do. Did you forget?)
So how do you even start writing an essay about global warming?
First, you’ll need to understand what type of essay you’re supposed to write.
- Do you need to write an expository essay in which you simply inform readers about some aspect of global warming?
- Are you supposed to write a problem/solution paper in which you explain a problem and its potential solutions?
Knowing what type of paper you need to write will shape the format, content, and of course, the type of sources you’ll need to support your claims. Not sure what type of paper you should be writing? Check your assignment guidelines!
Second, regardless of what type of paper you’re writing, you’ll need to choose credible sources.
Don’t choose blogs by some anonymous author. Don’t choose .com websites with sales pitches that only try to sell you something.
And don’t choose old, outdated articles written before you were born (unless you have a really good reason for using them, such as you’re using them in a historical discussion of the topic).
Remember: As you examine your sources, make sure they provide sufficient evidence to support your statements.
Third, start researching.
I know this step can be daunting, and right now you might be feeling a little unsure as to what kinds of sources to use for your paper. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
Because you might be writing one of many types of papers about global warming, I can’t include a list of credible sources for every type of paper here, but I have included 12 global warming articles to help you get started on your next essay.
Along with a brief summary of each article, I’ve also included an MLA 8 and an APA citation to include on your Works Cited or References page, whichever is relevant.
(I haven’t included the date of access for the MLA citations. If your professor requires it, you’ll need to add the date you viewed the source.)
Remember, you’ll also need to cite each article with an in-text citation.
12 Global Warming Articles to Help Your Next Essay
Global warming article #1: Natural Resources Defense Council
Okay, so technically, this is an environmental action group website. The group’s mission is to protect the Earth. But the site’s information and articles focus on current environmental damage and how to help save and/or protect the planet.
The topic of global warming (sometimes called climate change) is pretty broad. So you might need to narrow your topic. This website touches on various global warming topics, including recycling, air quality, and sustainability.
You can use this website as inspiration to help you find a narrowed topic if you feel global warming is too broad for your paper.
Check out these sample essays to help generate ideas:
MLA 8 Citation
National Resources Defense Council. NRDC, www.nrdc.org.
National Resources Defense Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nrdc.org
*Note: APA does not require a citation when citing the full website. If your instructor requires a Reference List entry, you could use the format above.
Global warming article #2: A Brief History of Climate Change
This article provides a historical timeline of global warming research and political action dating as far back as 1712.
It provides an overview of global warming and would be an excellent resource for background information or for added information regarding the political connection to climate change.
Looking for a good angle? Try reading this sample essay to generate some ideas: An Examination of the Literature on Environmental Politics.
MLA 8 Citation
“A Brief History of Climate Change.” BBC News, 20 Sep. 2013, www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15874560.
“A brief history of climate change.” (2013, September 20). BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15874560
Global warming article #3: A Sensitive Matter
This is an in-depth article that discusses the link between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures. Though emissions have continued to rise, temperatures have not risen as much as expected.
This article is published in The Economist, a trusted print and online source.
For an idea of how an essay on this topic might look, read this sample essay: The Greenhouse Effect and the Global Warming as the Causes for the Rise of Temperature.
MLA 8 Citation
“A Sensitive Matter.” The Economist, 30 Mar. 2013, www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions.
“A sensitive matter.” (2013, March 30). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions
Global warming article #4: Climate Change: The Case of the Missing Heat
Published in Nature (an international weekly journal of science), this article discusses a stall in global warming and examines scientific theories as to what effects oceans, trade winds, and emissions may have on global warming.
Scientists believe that, if their theories are correct, temperatures will spike once again.
Need a starting off point to explore how oceans and trade winds affect the climate? Read this sample essay: An Analysis of the Characteristics of El Nino, a Weather Phenomenon.
MLA 8 Citation
Tollefson, Jeff. “Climate Change: The Case of the Missing Heat.” Nature, Macmillan Publishers Limited, 15 Jan. 2014, www.nature.com/news/climate-change-the-case-of-the-missing-heat-1.14525.
Tollefson, J. (2014, January 15).“Climate change: The case of the missing heat.” Nature, 505, 276–278. doi:10.1038/505276a
Global warming article #5: Global Warming Prediction for Next 200 Years
Published in conjunction with ABC News, this story printed by Yahoo summarizes a study published in Nature Communications. The study indicates that the pace of climate change is “highly unusual” and could result in a climate warmer than it has been in the past 420 million years.
For some inspiration on how temperature increases might work as a topic for your essay, check out this example essay: The Growing Concerns Over the Rapid Rate of Global Warming Today.
MLA 8 Citation
Goenka, Himanshu, and Dana Royer. “Global Warming Prediction For Next 200 Years.” Yahoo, 5 Apr. 2017, gma.yahoo.com/global-warming-prediction-next-200-093916939.html.
Goenka, H., & Royer, D. (2017, April 5). Global warming prediction for next 200 years. Yahoo. Retrieved from http://gma.yahoo.com/global-warming-prediction-next-200-093916939.html
Global warming article #6: Al Gore Explains Why He’s Optimistic About Stopping Global Warming
This source is an interview transcript with Al Gore (Vice President of the United States from 1993–2001). Although many still deny the existence of global warming, Gore believes that, because conversations continue, advancements will continue, and eventually “national laws will evolve into global cooperation.”
If you’re looking for more information about Al Gore’s opinions on global warming, read this sample essay: An Analysis of the Global Warming Threat by Al Gore in the Film Inconvenient Truth.
MLA 8 Citation
Klein, Ezra. “Al Gore Explains Why He’s Optimistic about Stopping Global Warming.” The Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2013, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/21/al-gore-explains-why-hes-optimistic-about-stopping-global-warming/?utm_term=.490976a3d77b.
Klein, E. (2013, August 21). Al Gore explains why he’s optimistic about stopping global warming. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/21/al-gore-explains-why-hes-optimistic-about-stopping-global-warming/?utm_term=.490976a3d77b
Global warming article #7: NASA, NOAA Data Show 2016 Warmest Year on Record Globally
The content of this article can be summed up in its opening sentence: “Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”
Published by NASA and NOAA, this article easily passes the CRAAP test and can be considered credible.
Need some insight on writing an essay about the surface temperature of Earth? Read this sample essay: An Examination of Increasement of Earth’s Surface Temperature.
MLA 8 Citation
“NASA, NOAA Data Show 2016 Warmest Year on Record Globally.” NASA, 18 Jan. 2017, www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20170118/.
NASA, NOAA data show 2016 warmest year on record globally. (2017, January 18). NASA. Retrieved from http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/ news/20170118/
Global warming article #8: Global Warming Solutions
Published by National Geographic, this article asserts that, in order to slow global warming, the world needs to stop emitting greenhouse gasses. Greenhouse gasses can be reduced by improving fuel economy in vehicles and relying more on alternative energy sources.
This article also links to additional global warming articles published by NatGeo.
Want to see how another student tackled the topic of solutions to global warming? Check out this sample essay: An Analysis of the Possible Solutions to Global Warming.
MLA 8 Citation
“Global Warming Solutions.” National Geographic, 8 Apr. 2017, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-solutions/.
Global warming solutions. (2017, April 8). National Geographic. Retrieved from http://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/global-warming-solutions/
Global warming article #9: Climate Change Is a Problem. But Our Attempts to Fix It Could Be Worse Than Useless
The Telegraph (a UK newspaper and website) argues that global warming is a real concern. However, media often misrepresents the truth about global warming for shock value.
This article emphasizes the need to carefully and realistically examine global warming in order to fix it. The article states that focusing on cutting emissions has not worked and “climate economics” should be examined in order to find more effective solutions.
Want to learn a little more about climate economics? Read this sample essay: A Review of the Economics of the Clean Air Act.
MLA 8 Citation
Lomborg, Bjorn. “Climate Change Is a Problem. But Our Attempts to Fix It Could Be Worse Than Useless.” The Telegraph, 3 Nov. 2014, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/ 11205420/Climate-change-is-a-problem.-But-our-attempts-to-fix-it-could-be-worse-than-useless.html.
Lomborg, B. (2014, November 3). Climate change is a problem. But our attempts to fix it could be worse than useless. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/ 11205420/Climate-change-is-a-problem.-But-our-attempts-to-fix-it-could-be-worse-than-useless.html
Global warming article #10: Trump’s Domestic War on Climate Action Has Propelled States into Battle
Originally published on Fusion’s Project Earth vertical (and reposted by Newsweek), this article highlights the fact that the Trump administration is repealing many Obama-era environmental regulations. However, states such as New York and California are pushing back by maintaining their own high standards of climate action plans.
Want to explore Trump’s views on climate change? This sample essay about his pre-election positions on environment-related topics is a good primer: Donald Trump’s Campaign and His Disregard Towards the Environment.
MLA 8 Citation
Harvey, Chelsea. “Trump’s Domestic War on Climate Action Has Propelled States into Battle.” Project Earth, Fusion, 7 Apr. 2017, projectearth.us/trumps- domestic-war-on-climate-action-has-propelled-sta-1796423123.
Harvey, C. (2017, April 7). Trump’s domestic war on climate action has propelled states into battle. Project Earth. Retrieved from http://projectearth.us/ trumps-domestic-war-on-climate-action-has-propelled-sta-1796423123
Global warming article #11: Tropical Lowland Frogs at Greater Risk From Climate Warming Than High-Elevation Species, Study Shows
This article focuses on how global warming affects one specific species of frogs.
The article (originally published in the Ecology and Evolution journal)explains that Peruvian frogs living at lower elevations are at greatest risk of climate change because “…the lowland creatures already live near the maximum temperatures they can tolerate.”
Not into frogs but want to discuss how global warming affects another animal? Get inspired by this sample essay: The Effects of Human Intervention on Climate Change and Disturbance of Animals.
MLA 8 Citation
University of Michigan. “Tropical Lowland Frogs at Greater Risk From Climate Warming Than High-Elevation Species, Study Shows.” ScienceDaily, 7 Apr. 2017, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170407103546.htm.
University of Michigan. (2017, April 7). Tropical lowland frogs at greater risk from climate warming than high-elevation species, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/ 2017/04/170407103546.htm
Global warming article #12: Americans Finally Realize That We Cause Climate Change
Published by The Huffington Post, this article highlights a study that reports 65% of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by human activity. Gallup pollsters believe the recent years of unseasonably warm weather have likely affected people’s opinions.
For some extra ideas on how this could fit into a larger essay, check out this sample essay: Humans’ Responsibility for the Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming.
MLA 8 Citation
Visser, Nick. “Americans Finally Realize That We Cause Climate Change.” The Huffington Post, 18 Mar. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/climate-change-caused-by-humans-poll_us_56ec27f9e4b09bf44a9d164c.
Visser, N. (2016, March 18). Americans finally realize that we cause climate change. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/climate-change-caused-by-humans-poll_us_56ec27f9e4b09bf44a9d164c
Writing the Essay
Of course, these global warming articles aren’t the only available sources you might use in your paper. This post simply provides a select few articles to give you an idea of what types of sources you might use.
Looking for more information about global warming? Take a look at this list of articles about global warming compiled by Kings College.
Need even more help locating credible sources on global warming? Read 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper.
If you need assistance in putting it all together, check out these helpful articles about writing a research essay:
Need inspiration? Check out theseexample essays on global warming.
After you’ve finished writing, don’t forget to have our editors review your paper!
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In the past 1,300 years, the earth has not experienced such a warming trend as we are having now (NASA, 2016). In fact, the World Meteorological Organisation has stated that the global temperature is 1.2C above pre-industrial levels and for three years in a row, it has been the hottest year on record (Carrington, 2016). Though the scientific evidence seems overwhelming in favor of global warming, there are those, for various reasons, who believe that global warming is a hoax or not empirically verified. This is disappointing, as the future of our planet is at stake, and the last thing we should do in this critical time is argue whether or not our world is being destroyed. In order to enlighten those who believe global warming is not currently happening, I will present evidence that will show that global warming is real due to sea levels rising, global temperatures rising, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets, declining Arctic sea ice, glacial retreat, extreme temperature events, ocean acidification, and decreased snow cover. In turn, I will also discuss counterarguments and their refutations.
The world over, sea levels are rising at an unprecedented rate. Two reasons why sea levels are rising is because of the warming of sea water (water expands when it warms) and the melting of land-based ice, such as glaciers and ice sheets. According to scientists John Church and Neil White, the global sea level rose 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. Furthermore, the rate in this last decade has been nearly double compared to the last century (Church & White, 2006). So, if we compare the sea levels from this century to the last, it is obvious that sea levels are taking an unexpected turn—and the global rise in temperature has much to do with this.
A global rise in temperature has been obvious for some years now. T.C. Peterson et.al., in their analysis for the Special Supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, found most of the warming happened in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring from 2001. In addition, 2015 was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average (T.C. Peterson et.al, 2016). This clearly demonstrates that global warming is a recent phenomenon, and should be considered especially dangerous if it continues at its current rate.
Like sea levels rising from warming, the oceans are also shown to be warming. According to geophysical research by Levitus, et. al., the oceans have absorbed the increasing global heat, with the topmost 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of oceans demonstrating a warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969 ( Levitus, et. al., 2009). Even on the surface of oceans, something that is easy to record scientifically, global warming is more than noticeable.
Another happening that is also easy to detect is the shrinking of ice sheets. Specifically, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are decreasing in mass at an accelerated rate. Information from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment point to Greenland, which lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, and to Antarctica, which lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005 (NASA, 2016). This is not normal by any means, and shows there is an uncertain future for animals that inhabit those ice sheets and for us as a species, as higher ocean water levels means certain masses of land will be covered by water.
Along with ice sheets, Arctic sea ice is declining rapidly. The National Ice & Snow Data Center show that the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has dissipated quickly over the past several decades (National Snow and Ice Data Center, 2016). This is a telltale sign that global warming is at work.
Glaciers are also being attacked by global warming, like other frozen bodies of water. The National Ice & Snow Data Center presents evidence that glaciers are retreating globally. This includes areas such as the Alps, the Himalayas, the Andes, the Rockies, Alaska, and Africa (National Snow and Ice Data Center, 2016). It is not a rarity or a strange, local phenomenon: it is a global catastrophe that needs to be addressed.
Extreme events come hand in hand with catastrophes. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the amount of record-high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the amount of record-low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. In addition, the U.S. has seen increasing amounts of intense rainfall events (Gleason, 2016). There is no doubt we still have cold winters, but the extreme high temperatures we continue to experience worldwide are becoming more and more harsh, which can kill more people and ravish crop lands.
Another dangerous result of global warming that is present is ocean acidification. The PMEL Carbon Group states that since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has grown by approximately 30 percent (PMEL Carbon Group, 2016). To put this conundrum into greater perspective, C. L Sabine, in his article, “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2, ” noted that the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is growing by near to 2 billion tons per year (Sabine, 2004). This leaves coral reefs and many other species living in the oceans vulnerable to adverse effects and points to our own demise as a species in the near future.
Now let us rise to the mountains from the oceans. Spring snow, that beautiful sight we have while driving through the mountains, is in danger. Gleaned from the research done by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, we get to know that satellite observations demonstrate that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades. In addition, the snow is melting earlier than usual (National Snow and Ice Data Center, 2016). Not only does this mean less of a chance to do winter sports, but it also endangers the habitats that these mountains maintain.
Despite all these factors involved and the evidence shown from highly-credible sources (mostly governmental), there are critics of global warming as a scientific fact. One such criticism is that there is no real consensus that it is real, and that it is something up for discussion. However, the fact is that according to the authors of seven major climate consensus studies, about 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming (Skeptical Science, 2016). The critics who try to debase these results point to minor studies funded by far-right politicians and lobbyists.
Another significant criticism of global warming as a true phenomenon is that what is happening now is a part of Earth’s geophysical processes. Every 1500 years, approximately, the heat distribution of Earth switches between hemispheres, though total heat globally remains the same. However, this is a much different happening than human-produced global warming, which has been created by emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere within the last 200 years. Unlike natural heat variations, the present temperature increase made by CO2 is being recorded globally—on the ground, in the air, and in the oceans (Skeptical Science, 2016). So, it is not a natural heat distribution issue that happens precisely at the same time (the 1500 year hemisphere seesaw), but rather an issue of global heat increase that has been happening since the Industrial Revolution.
Though this was only a glimpse at the mountains of evidence pointing to the fact of global warming, it is difficult to dismiss. From frozen bodies of water melting more rapidly, to water levels rising and having more acidity, to global temperatures rising to increasingly-common events of extreme heat, global warming is showing its signs in a variety ways. However, there are those that are against global warming as a fact, citing counter arguments, though most of them are illogical when faced with the growing mounds of empirical evidence that demonstrate global warming as a real phenomenon and the strong consensus in favor of it being a fact within the scientific community. And if you still do not believe in global warming after reading this essay and after seeing the data proving it, you have to admit that emitting CO2 in the atmosphere cannot be healthy for Earth in the long run, and that we should do whatever we can to change the way we treat our planet and ultimately ourselves.
- “Climate Change: How Do We Know?” NASA. NASA, n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.
- Carrington, Damian. “2016 will be the hottest year on record, UN says.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 2016. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
- Church, John A., and Neil J. White. “A 20th century acceleration in global sea-level rise.” Geophysical Research Letters 33.1 (2006): n. pag. Web.
- T.C. Peterson et.al. “NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015.” NASA. NASA, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
- Levitus, S., J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, R. A. Locarnini, H. E. Garcia, and A. V. Mishonov. “Global ocean heat content 1955-2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems.” Geophysical Research Letters 36.7 (2009): n. pag. Web.
- NASA. NASA, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
- “National Snow and Ice Data Center.” SOTC: Sea Ice | National Snow and Ice Data Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
- Gleason. “U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI): Introduction.” U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI): Introduction | Extremes | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
- “What is Ocean Acidification?” What is Ocean Acidification? PMEL Carbon Group, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
- Sabine, C. L. “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2.” Science 305.5682 (2004): 367-71. Web.
- “Climate Science Glossary.” Skeptical Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
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