Climate change has become the topic of scientific and political discourse for decades. But as the world leaders in climate change denial continue to try to steal some of that global warming spotlight, we need to have serious discussions on how we can stop it from happening in the first place. When parking uphill on a two-way street with no curb, your front wheels should be?
Unfortunately, carbon emissions have steadily increased because of deforestation, burning fossil fuels, and other such practices. The problem that is at hand is how we’re going to reverse this trend so that global temperatures don’t rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
1. Stop Deforestation
This is by far the easiest thing that we can do. Unfortunately, the world’s governments continue to allow deforestation as a means of economic growth, as well as to free up land for projects that range from farming and lumbering to mining.
As an example, let’s look at Indonesia. In 1990, Indonesia was responsible for about 10% of the deforestation in Southeast Asia. By 2005, this rate had more than doubled and by 2010, it nearly tripled again . This has greatly contributed to rising temperatures in Southeast Asia and the world at large.
What’s more important is that Indonesia is still increasing its rate of deforestation.
2. Stop Burning Coal and Oil-based Energy Sources
Coal and oil are not the only energy sources in the world. But there are a number of other ways to generate electricity without burning coal, such as solar power and geothermal energy. But the problem is that most of these alternative methods cost much more than coal-based power plants.
New York City’s Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report in February 2013 stating that as much as $1 billion in tax revenues would be lost every year because of these subsidies amounting to $3 billion over five years, up until 2020. This means cuts in public services, higher utility bills for New Yorkers, and much more.
3. Stop Air Travel
According to an article in High Net Worth magazine, the aviation industry has a carbon footprint that is roughly equal to that of Germany. A scientist by the name of Paul Ekins stated that air travel is roughly as bad for climate change as coal-based power plants.
Moreover, according to studies conducted by scientists at Stanford University, the problem is not just with global warming; there are also substantial contributions in global pollution. Considering that most people will fly several times in their lifetime and contribute to these carbon footprints, we need to make serious changes .
4. Stop Automobile Use
Automobile use has risen by more than 130% since 1990 and almost every nation has experienced an increase in vehicle use. According to statistics from the United States, Ireland and Australia, carbon emissions from automobiles are consistently rising .
Although we should encourage carpooling and public transportation as much as possible, we need to impose regulations that will reduce the number of vehicles on the road. One such measure could be a tax on gasoline to discourage people from using their vehicles.
5. Stop Building New Coal Plants
The energy industry worldwide is still heavily dependent on burning fossil fuels such as coal. In fact, according to estimates by Greenpeace International , more than 1,200 coal-fired power plants are being planned or constructed in 62 different countries. These new coal plants will considerably raise global CO2 emissions and perpetuate climate change even further.
6. Use Fertilizers More Wisely
Fertilizers are used to promote the growth of crops, but they have a tendency to wash into bodies of water and create massive algal blooms that lead to dead zones . According to scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, the fertilizer runoff from farms is responsible for as much as 60% of the nitrous oxide in our air.
This study has caused some scientists to call for agriculture reform. Most crops in America are irrigated with fertilizers, and if we can reduce our need for these fertilizers by a few percentage points, it’ll have a major impact on global climate change.
7. Make Energy More Efficient
The energy industry worldwide is still heavily dependent on burning fossil fuels such as coal. In fact, according to estimates by Greenpeace International , more than 1,200 coal-fired power plants are being planned or constructed in 62 different countries . These new coal plants will considerably raise global CO2 emissions and perpetuate climate change even further.
8. Stop Using Cows as a Source of Hides and Lubricants
The dairy industry has had an enormous contribution to the greenhouse effect . Cows release methane from their digestive systems into the atmosphere when they eat grass that isn’t naturally rich in nutrients. This methane is about 25 times more destructive for the atmosphere than CO2.
The meat industry has also contributed to the emission of over 150 billion gallons of water per day , which is needed to keep animals hydrated. Moreover, when it comes to livestock, almost all the grain that is produced in this world is used for feeding cows or pigs.
We can still enjoy eating meat, but we need to make smarter choices by switching from cows to chickens or fish in order to reduce our carbon footprint.
There are a number of things that we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. By taking measures that focus on energy efficiency, we can reduce our contribution to global warming and in turn, lessen the damage done to the environment.
Many people may argue that all these actions can only help us, but if we continue to follow this path, it will lead us into a world with no oxygen and very few animals left.