This post isn’t going to be any sort of new information for most of y’all- I’m pretty sure at this point we all know that greenhouse gases increase the pace of global warming and that global warning affects virtually every aspect of our lives (see several of my previous posts). The United Nations has recently released a report that discusses how global warming is already having negative effects on our lives in natural ways. Our seas are higher due to arctic melt, people around the world have been forced to combat devastating heat waves, torrential rains have resulted in massive flooding (just look at the headlines concerning India) and the list of other climate extremes goes on.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said specifically that “human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reduction in snow and ice, and in global mean-sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century…” So, to further clarify- this is a result of OUR actions. Everyone has used products that are made with and/or utilizes and/or releases heat-trapping gases such as CO2. Yes, this means anything that has petroleum, natural gas and coal. If we, as a society, hope to limit/control the risks to our future generations, it is imperative that we “green” companies and figure out ways to avoid using our rapidly dwindling resources. It is only through these steps that we can remotely begin to slow the process of global warming.
The numbers are staggering: from 1970-2000, fossil fuel emissions increased by 1.3% each year; from 2000-2010. That rate of emissions grew to 2.2% EVERY YEAR. If that doesn’t trouble you, I don’t know what will. Now, you may be wondering, “Peyton, what caused this massive jump?” Why, dear reader, how funny that you ask! Population growth in places like China have had dire effects on the environment. In fact, China’s industrialized corporations and activities account for HALF of the international coal use. One country=half of all coal use in the WORLD.
In most Western countries, like the US, there has been an increased focus on sustainability and sources that release fewer emissions. Hence why I have a job here at OnAir. President Obama has joined this cause and is using his executive authority in an attempt to impose domestic limits on greenhouse emissions; unfortunately, the maze of bureaucratic smorgasbord that haunts our legal and political systems has presented unnecessarily immense challenges.
Just to sort of wrap things up, here is a final thought from the report that I’d like to leave y’all with: should the warming continue at the same rate, economic growth will continue to “slow down,” will “make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing poverty traps and create new ones, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger.” The destabilizing effect of climate change on governments, especially those lacking infrastructure, is real and serious.
What do you think? What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?