Climate change is a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. Climate change is not something that’s only started happening in the late twentieth century as our planet has been going through different cooling and warming periods, with the end of our last climate change only 7,000 years ago. The problem we are having now is that with all of the new technology that has been created in just the last couple centuries we have been burning a lot of fossil fuels, and with all the oil, coal, and natural gas we’ve been burning is that our planet is warming at 10x faster than its normal rate. The question is, is this really as big of a problem as the media has been portraying it to be?Since 1880 earth’s global temperature has risen 1.7 degrees fahrenheit. This information gives us a better idea of just how fast global warming is beginning to affect our planet.
Our global temperature is not the only thing that our rapid climate change is affecting at such an astonishing rate, our carbon dioxide level (measures how much carbon we put out, most of it a result of fossil fuel burning) is up to 407 million, whereas in 1950 it was only 310 million. This data shows that in just 67 years the carbon level increased by 97 million. The main point in most people’s argument for global warming is that “it’s melting the ice caps and sea levels are rising,” and this is true, we are losing 286 gigatons of ice every single year, one gigaton is equal to 1 billion tons, so 286,000,000,000 million tons of ice is melting every year.Finding out the science behind global warming is a key part in helping to slow down the process of it so that our global temperature doesn’t increase as fast as it has in the last couple hundred years. Certain gases get trapped in our atmosphere and warm the planet, one of these gases being carbon dioxide.
Humans release carbon dioxide primarily by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas by doing things like driving, heating our homes, generating electricity, etc.. As the population of the planet continues to increase the need to burn fossil fuels grows more and more, and as long as we are burning lots of oil or coal the temperature of the planet will continue to increase.
Today’s media (social media, news, etc..) always talks about how big of a threat global warming is to us, but it seems like no one is ever talking about reasons why global warming is not a big deal. The biggest argument is that we are solely responsible for destroying our planet with all of the carbon we emit, but human Co2 emissions throughout history account for only 0.00022% of all the naturally emitted Co2 from earth’s mantle. The 1.7 degree temperature increase since 1880 is completely consistent with all long term temperature trends, and is not moving rapidly due to climate change.
The rise in sea levels due to the melting of polar ice is also not as big of a deal as the media is making it seem because the sea level has been increasing steadily since the time of the last ice age, and is on track with predictions just as the rise in temperature was.To further prove the point that climate change isn’t a big deal, over 1,000 scientists (most of them former UN IPCC scientists) say that human activity is not the sole reason for global climate change, nor is human activity contributing to the planets carbon dioxide level. Even though humans are in fact generating a lot of carbon dioxide, human produced Co2 always gets absorbed by oceans, forests or any other carbon sinks, which would combat climate change. In a 2011 study that was published by the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science, they reported that almost 50% of carbon generated by burning oils or other fossil fuels has already been re-absorbed by our planets carbon sinks. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recognized that global warming rates have been starting to slow down, even when our atmospheric Co2 is continually increasing. In the IPCC’s 2013 report it stated that they have noticed a slowdown in global warming over the last decade and a half, they stated “the earth has not warmed significantly over the past 16 years despite an 8% increase in atmospheric Co2.” One easy fix to the problem our generation is facing with this climate change, is to lower our Co2 emissions as a whole.
There are plenty of way we can go about lowering our carbon emissions and an easy way to do this on a personal level is by lowering our carbon footprint. One obvious but not so practical way to go about lowering your carbon footprint is to buy and drive an electric car, or to walk or bike whenever possible. This idea is clearly not practical because not everyone can afford to go out and buy an electric car as some are pretty expensive, the tesla model s starting at $68,000 being one of the more expensive electric cars being produced today. Another reason using electric cars isn’t practical is because they have a limited amount of miles you can drive on a fully charged battery and charging stations for electric cars are few and far between as hardly anyone owns them. A simpler way to lower your carbon emissions would be to properly insulate your home. This idea is more practical than buying a whole new car but we are still not likely gonna see people buying proper insulation for their homes if the insulation is outdated because it is still expensive, as insulation can cost anywhere from $1 to $1.50 per square foot.
One more easy, and by far the most practical way to reduce your carbon emissions would be to eat locally. Although, it is more expensive to eat locally, it’s certainly cheaper than buying a new car or insulating your home. Eating locally produced food helps lower Co2 emissions because if more people are eating food grown around them, the carbon produced by transporting food from around the world to put in your local grocery store would be drastically reduced as the need for imported food would be less.
All the things people are doing locally to reduce carbon emissions is something that will cause a drop in the planet’s Co2 level eventually, but to see more immediate effects of efforts to reduce Co2 emissions we would need change on a national level, even an international level. Some countries are doing more than others when it comes to trying to fix what they started. The EPA (environmental protection agency) has a “clean power plan” that primarily focuses on the Co2 emissions of power plants, and by 2030 when the clean power plan is fully in place, they expect that power plant Co2 emissions will be 32% lower than they were in 2005. Other efforts the EPA are taking to see a fall in carbon emissions is voluntary energy and climate programs, through these programs, partners of the EPA prevented over 345 million metric tons of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere in 2010 alone, this is equal to emissions from 81 million vehicles, and saved consumers and businesses $28 billion. Both of those are examples of what’s being done in the U.
S. whereas in other countries, with a more industrial based economy, little to nothing is being done. China, for example has one of the biggest amounts of carbon emitted as their economy relies heavily on all the factories they have in the country. One of the things they’re doing is reducing the amount of coal they use for the third year in a row and it has made a big difference, but even if China continued their reduction of coal use into the next decade, we would still see a slight increase in Co2 emissions. This shows how we need to call for Co2 reductions on an international level to see any serious change in our current carbon levels.