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FIGHTING GLOBAL WARMING – is it too late?

Pollution is a big problem all around the world. It can cause or exacerbate health problems such as allergies, asthma, diseases such as cancer or heart disease, and even death. Pollution is harmful to humans and animals, and it also can affect crops, which puts our food supply at risk.

In recent years, pollution has also been all over the news because of global warming. This is an increase of the earth’s atmosphere that is caused by a high level of CFCs, carbon dioxide, and other forms of pollutants. Because of the potential effects of climate change, more nations are making an effort to reduce pollutants. Cardon dioxide – CO2 – emissions are one of the biggest problems and occur through the combustion of oil, natural gas, and coal. Some nations are cutting down on their CO2 emissions by using alternative forms of energy such as solar and wind power.

However, there are still nations where pollution is a big issue. In 2018, the European Commission and Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency released the EDGAR database, which tracks the fossil CO2 emissions by country. Based on this data, the highest emissions were from China. Next on this list was the United States, which had about half of the emissions of China but still a significant number. The nations that are part of the European Union had the third highest emissions.

The top 10 nations with the highest CO2 emissions are: China, United States, European Union, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia.

Obviously, the first solution in order to face the global warming consist of being efficient. A potentially simpler and even bigger impact can be made by doing more with less. Citizens of many developed countries are profligate wasters of energy, whether by speeding in a gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicle or leaving the lights on when not in a room.

Good driving—and good car maintenance, such as making sure tires are properly inflated—can limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from a vehicle and, perhaps more importantly, lower the frequency of payment at the pump.

Similarly, employing more efficient refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances, such as those rated highly under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, can cut electric bills while something as simple as weatherproofing the windows of a home can reduce heating and cooling bills. Such efforts can also be usefully employed at work, whether that means installing more efficient turbines at the power plant or turning the lights off when you leave the office.

Another solution consist of decreasing the overpopulation; there are at least 6.6 billion people living today, a number that is predicted by the United Nations to grow to at least nine billion by mid-century. The U.N. Environmental Program estimates that it requires 54 acres to sustain an average human being today—food, clothing and other resources extracted from the planet. Continuing such population growth seems unsustainable.

Falling birth rates in some developed and developing countries have begun to reduce or reverse the population explosion. It remains unclear how many people the planet can comfortably sustain.

Ultimately, a one child per couple rule is not sustainable either and there is no perfect number for human population. But it is clear that more humans means more greenhouse gas emissions.

Increasing in wind and solar power, biofouling from organic waste, setting a price on carbon, and protecting forests are all potent ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases trapping heat on the planet.

 

By Domenico Greco

 

 

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