Global warming is a complex problem. First of all, it is extremely difficult to study global warming because there is no laboratory large enough or a computer powerful enough to consider all the variables. Nevertheless, the impact of global warming should not be ignored.
Top scientists agree that the root causes are greenhouse gas or GHG (Aldy, Ley, & Parry 20). A major component of GHG is carbon dioxide, a substance that people can control. If there is a way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, then, there is a way to mitigate the impact of global warming.
The term GHG was created when scientists saw the link between GHG and the heat generated inside a greenhouse. A greenhouse is an artificial environment created by botanist and plant enthusiast to propagate flowers, vegetables and even, fruit trees all year round. They were able to accomplish this by maintaining the temperature inside the greenhouse all throughout the year.
In a typical greenhouse design, the walls and roof are replaced by glass or plastic. As a result, sunlight can penetrate and nourish the plant. In a natural setting, sunlight bounces back and dissipates throughout the environment like waves. However, due to the installation of the glass or plastic material, the light from the sun is refracted and gets trapped inside the greenhouse.
As a result, the greenhouse’s temperature rises, and in the absence of ventilation, the temperature remains warm inside the building. This illustration can be used to understand the impact of GHG on planet earth. A second way to visualize the effect of GHG is to observe the planet Venus. The atmosphere of the planet is composed mostly of carbon dioxide. As a consequence, Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system.
In order to solve global warming, there must be a concerted effort to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Naturally, the solution begins in tracing the major sources of carbon dioxide emission. The first major source of carbon dioxide comes from factories and power plants. The second major source comes from various modes of transportation.
The third major source of GHG is the carbon gases released by burning solid wastes, trees, and wood products (Hansen 7). The combined effect of these tree major sources of GHG emission is global warming. In effect, the sun’s rays can easily penetrate the earth’s atmosphere but trapped within that system because of greenhouse gases.
Solving the Global Warming Problem
Solving the global warming crisis requires a concerted effort because every human being shares one planet (Dolsak 418). A person’s action in one continent can cause a ripple effect, affecting those who live on the other side of the world. Globalization is a frightening aspect of global warming.
If industrialized nations continue to use large amounts of fossil fuel to power their industries, the negative impact will not be contained within each nation’s respective political boundaries (Mohr 3). The effect will spill out to neighboring regions, and because of global warming, its result can be felt as far as the North Pole.
Based on the three major sources of carbon dioxide emissions, there must be three major solutions to the problem. First, government policies must curb the emission of carbon dioxide from factories, power plants, and exhaust fumes coming from various modes of transportation.
Second, government policies must lead to the development of alternative sources of energy. And finally, ordinary people must be encouraged to contribute in their little way to reduce their carbon footprint.
Before going any further, it is important to point out that a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released through the consumption of fossil fuels. Thus, the first practical solution is for the government to develop policies that penalize companies with a significant carbon footprint.
The penalty comes in the form of steep taxation measures. At the same time, the reward for lowering carbon dioxide emission must come from tax breaks and other similar incentives (Aldy, Ley & Parry, 17).
Harsh penalties for significant GHG emissions can compel large companies and major industries to develop energy-saving measures. A closer examination of current business practices will reveal that employees and managers are not doing their best to reduce the consumption of the company’s resources. Also, energy-saving measures are not implemented because there are no incentives from the government.
For example, a logistics company like FedEx and DHL utilize large fleets of vehicles to deliver parcels and documents all over the United States. A tax incentive from the government will inspire CEOs to deliver energy saving measures, such as the use of GPS trackers on the vehicles, to monitor idling time and assess efficient travel routes.
If tax incentives are dangled in front of companies, business leaders will develop practical energy-saving measures, like the efficient use of air conditioners, the proper maintenance of factory equipment, and the implementation of various work-at-home schemes, so employees are encouraged not to commute to the office on certain days of the week.
Energy saving measures are one way to reduce GHG emissions, but radical improvements to global warming are impossible without the total eradication of fossil fuel use (Eshel & Martin 12). The root cause of global warming is fossil fuel. It is only logical to find alternative fuel sources to achieve zero emission of GHG.
Three of the most promising alternative sources of energy are solar power panels; hydroelectric power; and wind energy (Jacobson 149). Solar cells or solar panels create energy by utilizing the power of the sun. Not a single drop of crude oil or an ounce of coal is needed to power a solar panel.
At present, the only disadvantage of solar panels is its price tag and its output. It is expensive to produce solar cells and solar panels. It is still cheaper to pay the current electric bills of the average household than to invest in solar panels. At the same time, the average person must spend a great deal of money to power all the electric appliances in the household if he or she decided to switch to solar energy.
It is therefore imperative to look for other options. A promising source of alternative energy is wind energy from wind turbines. By utilizing the power of the wind consumers can expect a reliable source of electricity. However, the same limitations exist for wind energy.
The cost of the turbine can be prohibitive for many people. There are only a few nations in the world that can afford to install wind turbines to support a large population. In addition, wind turbines have to be installed in windy areas.
Hydroelectric power, on the other hand, is the most cost-efficient source of alternative energy. It is more reliable than wind energy because the flow of water coming from dams and waterfalls is constant. The only challenge is the initial cost of the project and the need to exploit natural resources like rivers and waterfalls.
Finally, the most practical and sustainable solution can be seen in the individual level. Students, young professionals and educated members of society must start a revolution that will lead to a lifestyle change.
Practical steps like energy saving techniques; the use of energy efficient equipment; and the use of zero-emission vehicles; and reduction in the consumption of manufactured goods can gradually reduce a community’s carbon footprint. It will add up to the concerted effort in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Global warming will eventually destroy the planet because it will lead to elevated temperatures. It will wreak havoc to weather patterns and the earth’s ecosystem (Hansen 2). It is important to develop practical and sustainable measures to significantly reduce the emission of HGH into the atmosphere. It will require the active participation of governments all over the world, as well as individuals from every nationality and ethnic background.
A concerted effort is needed. The action of one person in another continent will reverberate and affect those who are living halfway around the world (Eshel & Martin 3). Government policies must be created to encourage companies to participate in the fight against global warming.
Government incentives should inspire scientists to develop alternative sources of energy. The use of alternative sources of energy is the only way to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emission (Jacobson 149). Individual contribution is also appreciated because it will contribute to the overall strategy of reducing the carbon footprint of nations around the world.
Aldy, Joseph, Ley, Eduardo, & Ian Parry. “A Tax-Based Approach to Slowing Global Climate Change.” Resources for the Future 1.1 (2008): 1-25. Web. 1 Aug. 2014.
Dolsak, Nives. “Mitigating Global Climate Change.” Policy Studies Journal 29.3 (2001): 414-436. Web. 1 Aug. 2014.
Eshel, Gidon & Pamela Martin. “Diet, Energy, and Global Warming.” Earth Interactions 10.9 (2006): 1-15. Web. 1 Aug. 2014.
Hansen, James. “Assessing Dangerous Climate Change.” Public Library of Science 8.2 (2013): 1-12. Web. 1 Aug. 2014.
Jacobson, Mark. “Review of Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security.” Energy & Environmental Science 2.1 (2009): 148-173. Web. 1 Aug. 2014.
Mohr, Noam. “A New Global Warming Strategy.” EarthSave International 1.1 (2005): 1-8. Web. 1 Aug. 2014.