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Summary

In this part I have presented evidence showing that even apparently remote regions of our planet are intimately connected through physical processes. For example, once an organic POP is transported to the poles, then biological processes can take over and through bioaccumulation perhaps cause harm. But this physical connection has allowed the ice to preserve unique proxy records of the past climate of our planet. Directly measuring the gases trapped in the ice has enabled histories of past at
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • appreciate how chemical processes in the rest of the world affect the Arctic environment and the species inhabiting it;

  • recognise the physical processes that determine atmosphere and oceanic flows in the Arctic;

  • appreciate the scientific research process and the use of scientific evidence;

  • use quantitative scientific evidence to examine the link between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels a
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2.6 An evolving consensus on attribution

The fact that the Earth really is warming up now commands near-universal support. However, it is one thing to detect a global warming trend that appears to be unprecedented in the past millennium (Subsection 2.2.2), and quite another to establish with a given level of confidence that it has been caused by (i.e. can be attributed to) human activity – specifically, the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and associated radiative forcing since pre-industrial times (reviewed in Sec
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2.2.2 Temperature changes over the past millennium

One of the most striking images in the IPCC TAR is reproduced (in adapted form) in Figure 24. Together, these two temperature records tell a compelling story, crystallised in our earlier quotes from the SPM. So let's just pause to take a closer look at each of them.

Figure 24

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1.4 An overview of the global energy budget

Figure 12 incorporates the additional factors considered in Section 1.3, including the non-radiative energy transfers across the surface-air boundary (green arrow). Essentially a more detailed version of Figure 7, this figure gives quantified estimates of the globally averaged energy budget for the whole Earth-atmosphere system, and its component parts. Question 3 should help you to find your way around Figure 12, and to draw together many of the key points developed so far in this chapter. M
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References

Capra, F. (1996) The Web of Life. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc., and, in the UK, reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Capra, F. (2002) The Hidden Connections: Integrating the Biological, Cognitive, and Social Dimension of Life into a Science of Sustainability. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc., and, in the UK, reprin
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1.3.4 Bringing remote sweatshops within reach continued

Another claim made by the movement is that we are all in some way connected to a market system which effectively allows sweatshops to exist in the first place. This is about more than targeting the big brand names and linking them directly to exploitation abroad; rather, it is about piecing together the global market machinery that ties the corporate buyer, the boardroom executive, the factory owner and the consumer into a system which establishes particular lines of responsibility (Ha
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Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit you should be able to:

  • explain the main characteristics of ‘sweatshops’, and their presence in today's system of globalised production;

  • set out the arguments for and against overseas sweatshop exploitation;

  • consider how far the consumption of cheap branded goods makes consumers responsible for the conditions under which they are made;

  • show how consumers are distanced from overseas sweatshop exploitation,
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2.4.2 Ecological restoration

The changing science of ecology, coupled with a greater awareness and development of alternative styles of managing natural resources, continues to influence our notion of what is good and what is right for nature. One of the first and most influential formal expressions of an environmental ethic that arose from early organic and ecosystems models of ecology was that of Aldo Leopold. Leopold’s argument is regarded as an environmental ethic because it explicitly gives moral consideration to,
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1 Natural climate change?

The chart below shows a record of the global mean surface temperature of the Earth compiled for the past 140 years. Clearly there is an upward trend, but what does a chart like this really show?

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes for this unit are to:

  • Develop an understanding of the current evidence for global warming.

  • Model and apply the techniques of ‘measuring’ the Earth's temperature.

  • Understand the current warming in relation to climate changes throughout the Earth's history.

  • Explain factors forcing climate change, and the extent of anthropogenic influence.

  • Assess the ‘best predictions’ of current climate model
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5.3.3 Training, education, testing and validation

An audited plan has not been proved to work. It has simply been checked for major omissions. The next stages are to train people in the plan's contents and procedures, and to validate the plan. The relationship between ‘training and education’ and ‘plan validation and testing’ is a bit ambiguous. It could be argued that it is not worth putting a lot of resources into training until the plan has been validated. On the other hand, a plan cannot be properly validated unless the people va
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5.3 Emergency planning as a formal requirement

Several pieces of legislation make the preparation of emergency plans a statutory requirement. The European Directive on the control of major accident hazards (Council of the European Union, 1996a), the ‘Seveso II Directive’, outlines the planning requirements for industrial sites with large inventories of hazardous substances. In the UK, the requirements of this directive have been incorporated into the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (Health and Safety Executive, 1999a). I
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5.2 Why plan?

Captain James Lovell chose the title ‘A successful failure’ for an article on the Apollo 13 Lunar Mission. The failure was that the lunar landing was abandoned. The success was that, although an explosion blew a gaping hole in the spacecraft three-quarters of the way to the moon and knocked out the electrical systems as well as the service module's engine, the three astronauts returned safely to Earth. Can you think of a better example of the value of emergency planning?

Two feature
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Glossary

Glossary itemDefinition
atomthe smallest amount of a chemical element that still retains the properties of that element.
biodiversitya contraction of ‘biological diversity’, in general it describes the variety of life on Earth and specifically the total sum of the genes, species, ha
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2.2 We are part of nature

Take a few minutes to look around at your surroundings before you read on. What do you see? Obviously this depends on where you are at the moment: at home, at work, or perhaps travelling in between, or maybe you have the misfortune to be laid up in hospital. Possibly like me you are at home. I am fortunate to have a study where I do much of my writing and you won't be surprised to hear that I'm looking at a computer screen at the moment. What else can I see? Books and bookshelves, furniture o
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7 Conclusion

One might think of the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice as running along a spectrum, from which we shall now identify four different positions.

  • The first interpretation would argue that, overall, the extension of rights to the international sphere has been benign and effective. It has led and will lead to further successful claims for justice.

Evidence for the development of a globa
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5.5 Feminist critiques of international rights

The second source of criticisms that we would like to explore comes from feminist critiques. Some feminists argue that the universal notion of rights makes invisible the special problems faced by women as a group, and that, thereby, specific articles of the various human rights declarations and conventions reinforce traditional gender roles in the family and the workplace. This criticism comes in at least two forms.

The first is that rights for women (as for other disadvantaged groups)
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5.4 The influence of the Western perspective

With regard to the first set of problems – that the rights discourse is not universal but is deeply informed by a Western perspective – it is striking that many actors and commentators on the international stage now frame their arguments and assertions in terms of the language of rights and justice. Yet we need to ask to what extent this language of rights and justice really underpins shared understandings and values. There is a strong case for saying that if there are shared understandin
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3.3 Examples of rights

Many things have been claimed as rights, as can be seen in the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Table 1. One set of rights is citizenship rights. Primarily concerned with basic constitutional issues, these rights should, in Dworkin's phrase, ‘trump’ other considerations such as political
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