What is a sophisticated and intuitive introduction paragraph to an essay about climate change? 

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paepin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An introduction to an essay about climate change should give an overview of our current state of knowledge, the difference between anthropogenic (human-caused) and non-anthropogenic climate change, and the impacts of climate change on living organisms.

A good start to an essay on climate change will start with a hook. What do we know? We know that humans are impacting Earth's climate system and that a changing climate has negative effects for the planet as a whole. A strong first sentence will help to call attention to the issue and will communicate the subject, attitude, and direction of your paper.

Secondly, the introduction should make very clear for a reader that the kind of climate change we talk about most often (in politics, media, daily life) is the anthropogenic kind. Throughout Earth's climate history, fluctuations have propelled the Earth in a back-and-forth pattern from high to low temperatures. Evidence for this fluctuation exists in climate records like ice caps, marine sediments, and tree rings. Over time, the average global temperature (note: average) has been on the rise; however, today's average temperature is much higher than we would expect if Earth's climate was behaving normally. Likewise, Earth's carbon dioxide levels are much higher than we would expect without the human influence of fossil fuels. Although the Earth's climate has always been changing, the change we observe in the present day exceeds what is "normal" and is largely forced by humans.

An introduction paragraph should also tell the reader why they should care about the issue of climate change. Why does it matter? Climate change impacts the planet as a whole, which has impacts for plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and land forms. That being said, climate change has a huge impact on people. Of course, an essay on this topic can take many different angles; however, impacts are a critical point to bring up early on.

Finally, like all essays, an introduction will need a strong thesis statement. What is your argument? You will be responsible for supporting that argument with facts throughout your essay. In the thesis, communicate to your reader what your goal is in the essay - what you want them to understand - and be sure you aren't just giving an opinion. Proper source support will come from academic papers, scientific papers, and government reports. For a quick start, begin with the three included links.






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