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Lecture 18

SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Microgram, World Health Organization, Price Signal

Course Code
Sheldon Ungar

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Feb 26th Lecture 18 Sociology of the Environment Byrm
Important Terms
Technology is often defined as the application of scientific principles to the improvement of
human life.
Normal accidents are mishaps that occur because the very complexity of modern
technologies ensures they will inevitably fail, though in unpredictable ways.
A risk society is a social system distributes danger and advantage among all social groups,
although some are more exposed than others are.
(What are the most serious consequences of technology? How can we overcome the danger of
climate change? )
Global Warming and Polar Ice
(Begin at 18 centuries)
1. Heat-trapping gases produced mainly by human activity collect in the atmosphere (CO2
[carbon dioxide], CH4 [methane], etc.)
2. More heat enters the atmosphere than escapes because some of it is absorbed and some of it
is reflected back by the blanket of heat-trapping gases.
3. Heat melts ices, creating water and revealing tundra.
4. Tundra releases CH4, a more effective heat-trapping gas than CO2.
5. Water reflects less heat than ice does because its darker than ice, speeding up global
Average Annual Surface Air Temperature and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, 1880 2012
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (大气层中的二氧化碳)
Safe upper limit by scientific consensus: 17.5 parts per 50,000 or 350 parts per million
Atmospheric carbon dioxide in parts per 50,000
Average annual surface air temperature in degrees Celsius
Since 1880, atmospheric carbon dioxide starts to increase
Since 1880, average annual surface air temperature in degrees Celsius also starts to increase
From 1970, atmospheric carbon dioxide starts to increasing like rocket

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Global Warming, 1880 2012
(North is warmer than south. Summer ices in north melting.
lheimajökull Retreats
(Consequences: more water, more melt, benefits for insurances)
As early as 2050, there will be no summer sea ice in the Arctic
Ocean Acidification
The high level of CO2 in the atmosphere is partly absorbed by the oceans, causing them to
acidify (lowering pH due to the formation of carbonic acid) faster than at any point in the
past 300 million years.
56 million years ago, ocean pH is falling by .1 unit per century.
Coral reefs, oysters, salmon, and other species are threatened by ocean acidification.
Worldwide Insured Losses Due to Natural and Human Catastrophes, 1970 2012 (in 2005
$US billions)
Insurances running raise for natural dissert
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