Our Earth is warming up and humans are partly to blame. Understanding the causes, effects and complexities of global warming is crucial in order to fight for the health of our environment.
3 WAYS TO REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING
Science suggests us to minimize carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce the impact of human activity on global warming. Even if we swiftly achieve considerable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, some additional warming is unavoidable, thus we should make efforts and strategies to prepare for future climate change. A well-chosen geoengineering strategy might theoretically offer an emergency stopgap to reduce global warming.
- Limiting Emissions
There is no one solution to the complex, intricate, and potentially expensive problem of emissions control. On the other hand, unregulated global warming will certainly have considerable costs as well. Several economists have reached the conclusion that implementing current scientific and technological solutions and inventing new ones could boost the economy and result in considerable short-term improvements in public health through reduction in air pollution.
The Carbon Mitigation Initiative, a university and industry partnership based at Princeton University, has identified strategies that, if implemented in combination over the next 50 years and based solely on existing technologies, would prevent the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from more than doubling that of the pre-industrial level. (Many scientists think that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide will seriously interfere with the climate.)
These strategies include:
- Energy Efficiency:
Increase the energy efficiency of our cars, homes, and power plants while lowering our consumption by adjusting our thermostats and traveling fewer miles in order to reduce global warming.
- Carbon Sequestration:
Capture the carbon emitted by power plants and store it underground
- Renewable Energy:
Produce more energy from nuclear, natural gas, and renewable fuels—solar, wind, hydroelectric, and bio-fuels
Governments and business will need to implement some of these initiatives, but individuals may also take a lot of action on their own. On average, for example, individual Americans emit 19 tons of carbon dioxide annually while driving cars and heating homes—more than people in any other country. If Americans can reduce their personal emissions by just 5 percent, total U.S. emissions would drop by 300 million tons. This reduction might be readily attained by switching to more energy-efficient appliances and lightbulbs, making better travel plans, using more fuel-efficient vehicles, flying less, and other similar actions.
- Adapting to Climate Change
Climate has been fluctuating throughout Earth’s history, and recently, humans have become one of the major factors contributing to climate change. Human activity-related changes are already apparent. Even if we managed to completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions today, the climate would nevertheless continue to change as a result of emissions already present in the atmosphere. In order to adjust policies, disaster response plans, or infrastructure to anticipated changes, many governments and corporations are starting to do so. While some adjustments are challenging and expensive, many are relatively cheap and provide benefits right away.
Adaptation strategies vary from region to region, depending on the greatest threat posed by climate change locally. For example, coastal regions facing rising sea levels and increased coastal erosion might eliminate incentives to develop high-risk coastlines and encourage a “living buffer” of sand dunes and forest between the ocean and infrastructure.
Plans for disaster response by local governments may be modified to account for changing weather patterns. The city of Philadelphia (USA), for example, recently put in place an emergency response strategy to lessen the detrimental effects of heat waves on the population’s health. Officials in Philadelphia believe that their heat response strategy has already lowered the number of heat-related fatalities.
In other areas, more drastic and expensive changes might be required.
At least 166 settlements in Alaska are currently under risk due to permafrost melting, storms, wind, and coastline erosion. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that it will cost between $30 and $50 million per town to relocate each hamlet to a safer location. Already, six communities have made the decision to go.
The process of adapting to climate change for people, governments, and businesses entails understanding and accepting the risks of regional climate change, evaluating the short- and long-term costs and benefits of adaptation strategies, and putting adaptations into action that will have the greatest positive impact relative to the risk and cost.
Geoengineering, although uncertain and risky, might offer a further short-term option for reducing global warming until carbon emissions can be sufficiently lowered to prevent catastrophic climate change. Geoengineering generally refers to the purposeful modification of the atmosphere, land, or ocean to mitigate the impacts of global warming.
Numerous geoengineering plans have been proposed, but they can be collectively reduced to two main strategies: either cut back on the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (which will increase the amount of infrared radiation that escapes to space) or cut back on the amount of solar energy the Earth system absorbs. Two of these geoengineering techniques that are most frequently used are providing fertilizer to certain ocean locations to boost phytoplankton growth and injecting tiny, non-absorbing particles (aerosols) into the upper atmosphere to reflect more sunlight.
Both of these kinds of geoengineering might temporarily slow global warming, yet they could potentially have serious disadvantages. Increasing fertilizers and/or phytoplankton growth may have unforeseen effects on ocean ecosystems, such as an increase in hazardous blooms and ocean dead zones. Aerosol addition could alter the chemistry of the high atmosphere, influencing ozone and potentially having unforeseen effects on the lower atmosphere.
Any large-scale geoengineering method could have negative unintended effects since the consequences of geoengineering on the intricate global climate system have not been thoroughly investigated. Because of this, most scientists only think about geoengineering as a last-resort, emergency measure.