Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-Trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal.
The evidence that humans are causing global warming is strong, but the question of what to do about it remains controversial. Economics, sociology, and politics are all important factors in planning for the future.
According to the National Geographic, even if we stopped emitting green house (GHGs) today, the earth would still by another degree Fahrenheit or so, but what we do from today forward makes a big difference. Depending on our choices, scientists predict that the earth can be eventually warm by as little as 2.5 degrees or as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
A commonly cited goal is to stabilize GHG concentrations around 450-550 parts per million(ppm), or about twice per thus industrial levels. This is the point that which many believed the most damaging impacts of climate change can be avoided; current concentrations are about 380 ppm, which means there is not much to lose. According to the IPCC, we would have to reduce GHG emissions by 50% to 80% of what they are on track to be in the next century to reach this level.
Many people and government are already working to cut greenhouse gases and everyone can help.
Researchers Stephen Pacala and Robert Socdow at Princeton University have suggested one approach that they call “Stabilization Wedges” that could each reduce emissions, at approximately current levels for the next 50 years, putting us on potential path to stabilize around 500ppm.
There are many possible wedges, including improvements to energy efficiency and vehicle fuel economy (so less energy has to be produced), and increases in wind and solar power, hydrogen produced from renewable sources, biofuels, produce from crops, natural gas and nuclear power. There is also the potential to capture the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuels and store it underground. A process called “Carbon Sequestration” .
In addition to reducing the gases we emit to the atmosphere, we can also increase the amount of gases we take out of the atmosphere. Plants and trees absorb Co2 as they grow “sequestering carbon “naturally. Increasing forest land and making changes to the way we form could increase the amount of carbon we are storing some of this technologies have drawbacks and different communities will make different decisions about how to power their lives, but the good news is that there are a variety of options to put us on path toward a stable climate.
Reference: National Geographic, Union of Concerned Scientists