Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject Business economics - General, grade: 2,0, University of Applied Sciences Constanze, course: Environmental Economics, 21 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Is Global Warming a reality? Will there be more serious disasters and will they be more frequent? And can human activities change the Earth´s climate system? These are questions that everyone is asking in these days. Global warming has become familiar to many people as one of the most important environmental issues of our day. Vice President Al Gore has divined that the threat of global warming, resulting from human production of greenhouse gases, is 'the most serious problem our civilization faces.' A series of studies on the impacts of climate change have systematically shown that the older literature overestimated climate damages by failing to allow for adaptation and for climate benefits. The scientific evidence is now overwhelming, that climate change presents very serious global risks, and it demands an urgent global response. It threatens the basic elements of life for people around the world. Access to water, food production, health, and use of land and the environment. Global warming is a reality. The global temperature has risen significantly over the last hundred years. In this past century, the temperature rise was faster and lasted longer than any period over the past ten thousend years. It is one of the most pressing environmental, social and economical problems facing the planet. Numerous studies have already reported changes in nature driven by global warming. The results of a recent study by American researchers suggests that, because of a rapid warming trend over the past decades, the Earth is now reaching, and exceeding, the warmest levels in the current interglacial period, which has lasted nearly 12,000 years. In figure 1 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, you can see the global variations on the Earth´s surface temperature for the past 140 years, and for the past 1000 years in the Northern Hemisphere. On current trends, average global temperatures will rise by 2 - 3°C within the next fifty years or so. The Earth will be committed to several degrees more warming if emissions continue to grow. This may not sound very much, especially when it is compared with normal temperature variations from day to night or between one day and the next. But you have to remember that it is not the temperature at one place but the temperature average over the whole world. Rising temperatures may sound appealing to people who live in cooler climates, but an increase in temperature will lead to global climate change.