Toward a Sustainable Future
Toward a Sustainable Future
Greenhouse gases are any gases present in an atmosphere that are able to absorb and emit thermal radiation within a specified infrared range, therefore, containing heat in the atmosphere. This constant absorption and emissions of radiation leads to an increase in heat in the atmosphere, consequently causing greenhouse effects. Over time, the greenhouse effects ultimately cause global warming. There are several greenhouse gases. Some are natural while others are because of industrial emissions. The key greenhouse gases are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are the only non-naturally occurring gas.
Carbon dioxide has the highest concentration of all the greenhouse gases that are attributed to the industrial revolution. This is because; fossil fuels such as coal are needed for the energy production process. The continual use of fossil fuels results in anthropogenic carbon emissions, that is, emissions due to human activities. Methane, though having a lower concentration, is actually more efficient as a greenhouse gas. It is released when fossil fuels are mined from the earth and burned, and through anaerobic decomposition of livestock manure. Nitrous oxide, despite its even lower concentrations, has greater greenhouse gas efficiency. Nitrous oxide is emitted from the use of fertilizers during agricultural activities, deforestation of trees and combustion of fossil fuels.
Global warming is the gradual rise in the average temperature of the earth due to extensive greenhouse effects. Global warming has adverse effects that are felt throughout the world. Therefore, it should be controlled as future generations will suffer increasingly for the global warming occurring today. According to Lallanilla (2013), the earth is 1.4 degrees hotter than it previously was 100 years ago. The melting of glaciers and icebergs in the North and South poles leads to the rise in sea water levels and anthropogenic climate warming. This results in reducing land mass in Greenland and Antarctica (Potsdam-Institut and World Bank, 2012). This means that they are slowly being covered by the sea.
Sound science refers to the making of a conclusion based on decisive results from observation, experiments and investigations. These results have to be verified through scientific methods before they are documented, as they are used to form the basis of a conclusion brought about by consensus. Some of these methods include the use of clear and proper hypotheses, systematic data collection techniques, accurate data analysis equipment and well represented results. Citation of possible references used is also important as it gives the documentation credibility. Sound science supports the theory on global warming in this research paper as the sources used for data collection are from existing institutions. These institutions, for example, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), have the mandate of providing accurate and credible data and information.
Emission reductions can be done by taking preventive measures where possible, and controlling the current emissions experienced from human activities. One way of reducing emissions is by embracing new technologies that are independent of fossil-based fuels. Hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular aiming to reduce the carbon footprint on the earth. They run using modified internal combustion engines powering electric motors that run the car. Electrical power is used to charge the vehicles as opposed to fossil fuels. This helps reduce emissions. Another effective method is by using eco friendly products. They can be easily recycled, thus creating sustainability within the environment. Putting up stiffer penalties for industries that solely use fossil-based fuels will encourage the use of renewable energies.
Lallanilla, M. (2013). Effects of Global Warming. Retrieved from: http://www.livescience.com/37057-global-warming-effects.html
Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung, & World Bank. (2012). Turn down the heat: Why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided. Washington, DC: The World Bank.