Greenhouse gases are, as the majority of folks are well aware, the primary cause of global warming. These include chlorofluorocarbons, methane, water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and ozone. Because these gases all absorb infrared radiation, they all of have the unfortunate effect of making it tougher for heat to escape from the Earth’s atmosphere.
Over forty percent of all the carbon dioxide emissions from the United States emanate from coal powered electric plants, which have many additional and seriously negative environmental impacts. Changing to a cleaner burning fuel, even if that switch was to nuclear power, would have a major impact that would drastically improve the state of our environment, as well as saving everybody money in the long term.
Cars along with other gas powered motor vehicles across the United States account for thirty three percent of the country’s carbon dioxide discharges and are one more cause of global warming.
The Environmental Protection Agency reckons that for every gallon of petrol consumed by a motor vehicle, twenty pounds of carbon is discharged into the atmosphere. The city gridlock phenomenon, which is the major traffic jams that cities are renowned for, wastes six hundred million gallons of gasoline annually, and that is just in L.A. and New York alone. That translates into approximately eight million tons of carbon dioxide.
Alternative fuels are the solution, although increasing the fuel consumption rate of new cars would take pressure off the atmosphere as well as the economy, by alleviating the effects of this cause of global warming.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calculates that modern air travel accounts for between three and four percent of global greenhouse emissions, and they believe that this figure will increase to fifteen percent by 2050.
Buildings around the world account for another twelve percent of global greenhouse emissions. However, laws across the US are forcing public, and on occasions, private buildings, to adhere to rigorous green building, which lessens emissions by making the structures consume less power. Nevertheless, to be successful, these measures would have to be implemented retroactively in buildings across the globe although the chances of that happening are next to zero.
Cattle and Rice Fields
Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas that can cause global warming. In fact, ecologists reckon that methane is twenty times more damaging than CO2. Unbelievably, the primary methane emitters are cattle and rice fields. There are various ideas floating around about how to harness this release of methane while simultaneously using it as a power source and preventing it from adding to the greenhouse effect. However, none of them has been given serious consideration.
Aside from the cause of global warming above, deforestation is among the biggest contributors to the problem. Forests are declining in size, by approximately thirty four million acres a year. For perspective, that is almost the size if Italy. Deforestation is responsible for a quarter of global CO2 emissions. The felling along with burning of tropical forests by it self pumps hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. This serves to perpetuate global warming by more than simply the initial carbon it throws up since trees in addition help assimilate CO2. The less of them there are the more greenhouse gases there are helping heat things up.
What Can I Do to Help
The effects of global warming are real, and there are means that every one of us can help stop it. Folks often proclaim, “I am but one person, what difference can I make?” However, they fail to consider that it is not one individual or even one single factor that is hurting the environment.
Purchasing energy efficient products, using a high gasoline mileage car, maintaining gardens and planting front lawn trees can all help in the fight against climate change. Blindness on the part of everybody contributes to the problem more than any other reason. That being true, what would happen if we all opened our eyes to the cause of global warming?