There is little doubt that our earth is undergoing a gradual increase in temperature: global warming is real. Baffling statistics by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) indicate that the earth’s temperature has risen by roughly 0.6 degrees Celsius, the highest since the mid 1800s, further reports indicate that the duration from 1997-2003 are the hottest years ever recorded. Worst is yet to come as the United Nations committee on climate has predicted a temperature rise of between 1.8 to 6 Degrees Celsius by the end of the century which enough to melt all ice and polar caps (IPPC, pg. 2). This would spell disaster as many countries, cities and towns will be submerged, including the Netherlands and New York City. The threat is real and unless we take the appropriate measures, almost half of all earth will be under the sea at the turn of the century.
Causes of global warming
Global warming is mainly contributed by Greenhouse gases, this consists of water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and Ozone. The highest contributor of these gases to the atmosphere is man. The Industrial Revolution had greatly increased the amounts of CO2, CH4, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere with levels of CO2 and CH4 increasing by 40% and 150% respectively since the mid 18th century. These values are the highest during the last 650,000, the last time CO2 levels were higher than this was roughly 20 million years ago (IPPC, pg. 1). The high levels of CO2 have been contributed by burning of fossil fuels, followed by de-forestation. The evidence that man is responsible for global warming is admissible , therefore, we need to know of some of the remedies of global warming.
Solutions to global warming
The solution to global warming is quite simple, you do not have to make long journeys or spend large amounts of money, rather, implementation of the strategies that I have outlined below will assist in averting this menace.
The first step is energy efficiency. This is a very large topic and covers almost all facets of energy use contributing to global warming. Energy efficiency involves adoption of energy forms that limit global warming, also referred to as alternative or renewable energy. The three main sources of these energy forms are the sun, tidal and wind energy. Other forms include hydroelectric, geothermal, diesel and biodiesel energy forms (Clean Energy Ideas, para. 2).
Solar and wind energy present us with a greener and more environmentally friendly energy options, besides being renewable, they can be harnessed from almost any place on earth as opposed to hydroelectric, tidal and geothermal power. Efficient use of electricity can contribute significantly towards reducing the pace of global warming. Did you know that an average household can save up to $2,000 every year on electricity by using electricity efficiently?
Efficient energy use starts from the home. The first step in efficient use of electricity is to replace or do away with the biggest energy-users, if this is not possible, then we can regulate their usage. Space heaters should only be used to heat rooms that you are in instead of heating the whole house, this alone is able to save more than $1,000 per year. You could still avoid using the heater by putting on a jacket or sweater when it gets cold. Another strategy is to use ceiling fans rather than the power-consuming air conditioners, this saves yet another $400 per year. Others include turning off lights that are not in use, shutting down unused electrical appliances and using energy-saving appliances such as energy-saving bulbs and fluorescent tubes instead of the normal bulbs (Bluejay, para. 7).
Another simple process of keeping global warming in check is to plant trees around the house, school or in any open field. As simple as it may sound, this goes a long way to eliminating the Greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, making the earth cooler. Convince your friends to plant a tree, you can even compete on who has planted the highest number of tree seedlings. The process does not end there; ensure the trees are well watered and maintained.
Other outdoor activities such as using bicycles or walking over short distances instead of using a car are very pivotal in reducing the levels of Greenhouse gases. While using the car, maintaining an average speed is also of benefit as high speeds increases the fuel usage, hence increase in emission of CO2. In addition, SUVs emit approximately six times their weight in CO2 annually, therefore, a smaller car is better especially over short distances.
We should strive to recycle materials around the house, especially non-biodegradable types such as packaging material. Plastic packaging bags can be re-used to reduce the environmental damage related to these materials. The manufacturing process of plastic bags also leads to an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.
If everybody follows these rules, we would be helping ourselves and even the future generations by preserving the earth. If all of us takes a role in preserving the earth, the cumulative effect would be significant to cause a drop in the level of Greenhouse gases, hence the earth’s temperature.
- Bluejay, Michael. Saving Electricity. 2010. Web.
- Clean Energy Ideas. Energy Articles- Solar, Wind & Geothermal. 2010. Web.
- Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007.
- IPPC. Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science. Contribution of Working.