As a phenomenon, global warming has been observed and confirmed in all major industrialized nations.
The question of what to write is academic: scientific topics, such as how ecosystems are affected, or how quickly the weather is changing, are as good as examining more political topics like international cooperation to stop deforestation, how a community should contribute, and so forth.
It is possible to write a purely factual essay on global warming and its causes, effects, and also projections for the future. You might choose one place that is already affected in some way, or will be (e.g. an island which will lose arable land to rising water levels), or focus instead on a phenomenon such as the weather.
- Cause and Effect: How fast is global warming occurring? What elements are helping it along (deforestation, air pollutants, or fossil fuel?) and how is a given ecosystem affected by it? Have animals lost their natural habitats? Has the weather gotten more violent? Have animals gone extinct, or are they in danger of doing so?
- Social Systems: In addition to the destruction of natural animal habitats, human social systems are affected too. For example, the Native Village of Kevalina, Alaska, is facing migration because of flooding they claim is caused by global warming. Rising temperatures, water levels, and the increasing violence of weather are only a few of the problems implicated by global warming.
- Alternative Energy: what are our choices, and can they replace fossil fuels? You might look at the costs or effectiveness of solar power, biofuel, wind energy, and whether these contribute to solving the problem of global warming or not. How do they compare to fossil fuels, for example?
Social and Political Topics
Global warming is a very political topic because it spans the entire globe.
Countries may sign treaties and agree to take measures together, and non-political organizations often try to influence the decisions of their leaders or protest actions they don’t approve of. These are an important part of addressing the problem, as national leaders must be the ones to implement wide-spread changes such as the reduction of fossil fuel emission.
- International Treaties: Groups such as the UNFCCC exist to encourage multiple countries to set limits on greenhouse gases. A specific treaty, like the Kyoto Protocol and the leaders who signed it, would make a good topic. The European Climate Change Programme is another good place to look.
- Media Coverage: The media can significantly affect public opinion, but is often accused of distorting facts. You might choose a report on global warming, look at the facts it presents, and compare these to your own scientific research.
- Non-Political Groups: International groups like Greenpeace have gotten involved in fighting global warming, as well as other environmental dangers. You might look at some of their campaigns and their outcomes and examine whether they are more or less effective than political resolutions, or how they have raised awareness of the problem.
- Controversy: Some energy industries (e.g. oil companies) are threatened by the reduction of fossil fuels, and contradict the effects of climate change. There are also some countries which do not believe global warming is a fact. For a paper you might look into why these factions take these positions, how they take action, and how the controversy affects international attempts to combat the problem.