Chapter 10 Study Questions

  1. For a society that has developed an addiction to fossil fuels, any significant reduction in greenhouse gases would seem hard to achieve. Can you think of transition policies that would lead to public support for reducing fossil fuel use?
  2. Over the next several decades, the average yearly temperature of the northeastern U.S. may increase by 1–2°C. This temperature difference is equivalent to the difference between the temperatures of Washington D.C. and New York City. Consequently, people might think that global warming is of little consequence. Why is this comparison of cities misleading?
  3. Some climate change models suggest that glacial melt water into northern oceans will weaken ocean currents and lead to a cooling of Europe and eastern North America. Other models suggest a significant warming of these regions. Given that some models suggest a cooler climate and other models suggest warmer climates, isn’t the most likely outcome that the models will cancel each other and the climate will remain the way it is now? How would you argue against this complacent position?
  4. What steps are necessary to demonstrate climate impacts on species? How did Camille Parmesan identify these effects on Edith's checkerspot butterfly? (See Article 8.) Given how much effort went into Parmesan’s efforts, how many species are likely to be studied in enough detail to detect such trends and changes? How might we learn more about potential effects on the ecology of other species?