The Earth’s climate is changing and it can be very detrimental to life across the globe. It not only harms us, but it is also primarily caused by our actions. I care about the well-being of the Earth’s environment because I care about the future generations of humans.
I want future generations of my family to live comfortably, not in fear of a dangerous climate. People, businesses, and our community should do more to prevent global warming from destroying our planet.
People all around the world need to change their habits in order to prevent the dangerous effects of global warming from destroying the environment. The first thing to worry about is CO2 emissions. CO2, or carbon dioxide, is the number one contributor to the Greenhouse Effect. The Greenhouse Effect is the Earth’s natural process of trapping gasses in the atmosphere in order to warm the Earth. Most environmentalists think it is the cause of the changing climate. The natural process is not harmful, but because of the excess emission of greenhouse gasses by humans, it has become harmful. The Earth is trapping too much gas in the atmosphere, which gradually warms the Earth. NASA monitors these changes and discovered that atmospheric CO2 levels have not been above 300 ppm for 650,000 years. They are now at 400 ppm, and have increased sharply in the last 50 years. The evidence shows that CO2 emissions is a current issue humans face and need to act against now.
Businesses play a big role in stopping carbon emissions because humans are responsible for many types of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. According to a study on global Warming edited by Michael Anderson, 82% of human induced CO2 emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels and 18% come from deforestation.
The burning of fossil fuels is a result of things that came about during the Industrial Revolution, such as electricity production and transportation, e.g. cars, trucks, and planes. In fact, according to the same study edited by Michael Anderson, before the U.S. started monitoring emissions, this country was increasing CO2 emissions by 10 ppm every five years for 50 years after the Industrial Revolution.
Let’s take a look at greenhouse gases in more detail.
Different greenhouse gases differ in their ability to absorb radiation, and how long they stay in the atmosphere (their “lifetime”). The GHG that has the longest lifetime in the atmosphere are Fluorinated Gases.
Fluorinated gases are a family of gases that are emitted in a range of industrial processes, such as the production of refrigerants, aerosol propellants and fire suppressants. They can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
When comparing greenhouse gases, we need to think about each of these factors: how much heat they absorb, how long they stay in the atmosphere and how much humans emit.
Carbon Dioxide (CO₂)
CO₂ is the single most important greenhouse gas directly released by human activity. It is produced in high quantities by human sources, and stays in the atmosphere for a long time.
Methane’s lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than CO₂ but it is more efficient at trapping radiation.
Nitrous Oxide (N₂O)
Nitrous oxide has a much greater GWP than CO₂, but less is emitted, and from fewer sources, so it has less of an impact on the global climate at present.
Fluorinated gases can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years and have a high GWP, but emissions are lower than those of other greenhouse gases . An example of a fluorinated gas is HCF-23 (CHF₃).
In conclusion, humans releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is causing rapid climate change. We have looked at different greenhouse gases and how much they each contribute to global warming!