As Thanksgiving has come to an end for those who celebrate it, the US and countries around the world resumed talks about issues that may impact the planet for the next hundred years. In Doha, Qatar, leading global climate officials met in November to discuss the issues that are affecting global warming. With a year filled with freakish storms, heat waves and droughts, those around the world are beginning to see the effects of a warming planet and the need for a reduction in the world’s carbon footprint. There are very few scientists left who don’t see that the cause of global warming is due to man-made forces. Let’s take a closer look at some of these forces.
While the world certainly goes through cycles, the warming of our planet must be taken into account by other thing than natural changes. The IPCC, a UN group of the leading scientists, was asked to determine what the main heat-trapping gases were that were causing the rise in temperature. They concluded that the number one gas was CO2. In fact, since 1990, our CO2 emissions grew at a rate of 20%. Other gases included methane and nitrous oxide. So what’s the connection between man-made forces and higher emissions?
As China, India and other developing countries’ economies grow, so do their emissions. China is in fact now the world’s leading carbon emitter. Additionally, these countries are not part of the expiring Kyoto Treaty – neither is the United States for that matter because of the definition of developing nations. The Kyoto Treaty aimed to reduce emissions but did not put as many restrictions against developing nations. When developing nations and developed nations burn fossil fuels for energy, they are releasing carbon dioxide in the air. A universal climate treaty is crucial to changing this.
The more people you have in the world, the greater the amount of CO2 because humans exhale CO2. A larger population also means you have more mouths to feed. Agriculture is a significant contributor of methane and other greenhouse gases. This is due through the animals we raise and the manure we use to fertilize our fields for crop production.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you may want to look at the type of automobile you drive. A growing and economically-stronger population means more people are driving. These automobiles are a significant source of CO2 emissions. Businesses and individuals alike must make an effort to reduce fuel consumption and improve emissions standards to reverse this dangerous trend.
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Chris Hardwick is a freelance writer from New Jersey who writes on a variety of topics. He is currently at work on his first YA mystery novel. Follow him @hardwickman.